Marc Dion: Stealing the Tools (Creators Syndicate)
In my life, I've worked through layoffs, buyouts, forced overtime, no overtime, pay cuts, company bankruptcies, "staff reductions" and sudden closings. I know when it's coming, but this is the first time I've ever seen a boss scurry out the back door with a box of tools.
Ted Rall: Meritocracy Is Stupid and Evil and Must Die (Creators Syndicate)
Robotics, algorithms, augmented and virtual reality and all manner of automation are replacing flesh-and-blood humans. Automation will eliminate 10% of all jobs in the U.S. in 2019 alone, while adding 3%, for a net loss of 7%, according to Forrester Research. The numbers are shocking: Experts predict that anywhere between a third to half of all jobs in the U.S. will be eliminated by automation by 2025. If we're smart, we'll start paying people not to work. We can easily afford to care for everyone; we simply need to prioritize people and to stop denigrating nonworkers as lazy. Otherwise, we will face soaring crime and political unrest.
Mark Shields: He Actually Was a Great Man (Creators Syndicate)
[Ernest "Fritz"] Hollings, a decorated World War II combat veteran, spoke heresy, shocking the privileged students [at Dartmouth]: "I want to draft everyone in this room for the good of the country."Hollings rejected "the old Vietnam-style draft where if you had enough money, you were either in college or in Canada." He had his student audience's attention but not its applause. "Conscience tells us that we need a cross-section of America in our armed forces. Defense is everybody's business ... everybody's responsibility. A professional Army is un-American. It is anathema to a democratic republic - a glaring civil wrong."
Lenore Skenazy: Scared Out of Our Minds (Creators Syndicate)
Inevitably, the mom congratulates herself on having had the wherewithal to figure out what was going on just in time and bravely thwart the heinous crime by ... um ... staring the guys down or something. Then they usually say something like "If it happened to me, it could happen to you!" without reminding readers that, in fact, nothing DID happen. No one grabbed a kid. No one sex trafficked anyone. (In fact, David Finkelhor, the head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, says he knows of ZERO cases of children being kidnapped from a parent in public and sex trafficked.) It's all in the mom's heads.
Susan Estrich: The Lessons of Rejection, or How Cheating Cheats our Kids (Creators Syndicate)
I will never forget the day. I stood just inside the door with the thin pile of envelopes. I opened them one by one. Radcliffe (Harvard) said no. Yale said no. Princeton said no. Pembroke (Brown) said no. The top male schools were opening their doors to the brightest women in America. And none of them wanted me. I had never - I mean never - gotten a grade lower than A. I did splits in the mud at football games and was the president of the largest region of B'nai B'rith Girls in the world.
Susan Estrich: Insurance Anxiety (Creators Syndicate)
I'm lucky. Very lucky. There are a million things I wish I could do that I am absolutely terrible at. But there is one thing I am very, very good at, by necessity. I know how to fight with insurance companies.
Connie Schultz: Vetting Democrats Is Not 'Eating Our Own' (Creators Syndicate)
Democrats, please, I'm begging you. Let's call a moratorium on the phrase "eating our own," and all of its variations, for the duration of the Democratic presidential primary season. Exploring and discussing candidates' strengths and weaknesses is a crucial part of the primary process. Sharing our views and listening to the opinions of others - informed and otherwise - is part of the process, too. So is hashing out coverage of candidates and responding to how they evolve, or don't, on the campaign trail.
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Michelle in AZ
• Years ago, almost everyone working for the Denver Morning Post was fired when the newspaper folded. H. Allen Smith, who had been offered a job with the Evening Post, got drunk out of sympathy for his fellow reporters. A young woman named Libbie Block, who had been fired from the Morning Post, told the inebriated Mr. Smith that she was desperately unhappy because now that she had been fired, her parents would force her to marry an old, stinky man whom she hated. Mr. Smith said that he would tell her parents a thing or two, so Libbie took him home and got her parents out of bed. Midway through Mr. Smith's lecture to them, her parents began laughing, then Libbie began laughing, and after Libbie explained that she had made the whole story up, Mr. Smith began laughing.
• Eastman Boomer, the agent of comic singer Anna Russell, was a practical joker. He frequently told Ms. Russell that a notable personality such as Arturo Toscanini was staying at her hotel and wanted to meet her - but this always turned out not to be true. One day, Boomer called her and said the great conductor Leopold Stokowski was coming over to meet her. Of course, Ms. Russell didn't believe him, so she put her hair up in curlers and put cold cream on her face. When a knock sounded on the door, she opened it, expecting to see Boomer - but standing before her was Maestro Stokowski.
• Hugh Troy had an aunt whom he considered officious. Once, she arrived for a visit while his parents were out of town, so he and his sister prepared for her visit by bringing down several pieces of furniture from the attic to the living room. After eating super, the officious aunt were sitting in the living room when Hugh and his sister arrived carrying hatchets and loudly discussing the furniture, saying that there was way too much and that it was always getting in their way. Then they started chopping up the furniture and carrying it out of the house. The aunt returned to her home the next morning.
• While attending Harvard, Robert Benchley and a friend pulled a notable practical joke. At Louisburg Square, they knocked on the door of an elegant house and when the maid answered, Mr. Benchley said, "We're here for the davenport." The maid asked, "Which one?" Looking past her, Mr. Benchley pointed and replied, "That one." They then removed the davenport, carried it across the square, and knocked on the door of another elegant house. When the maid answered, they said, "We're here to deliver the davenport. Where do you want it?" The maid pointed to the sitting room, and there Mr. Benchley and his friend left it.
• Russell Johnson, who played the Professor on Gilligan's Island, had the hardest lines to learn because so much of what he said was scientific. One day, as a practical joke, the series' producer, Sherwood Schwartz, wrote out a half page of scientific-sounding gibberish and told Mr. Johnson to memorize it for the next day's shooting. The next day, to Mr. Schwartz's surprise, Mr. Johnson was letter-perfect in his recitation of the gibberish. (Mr. Johnson had suspected the practical joke and had stayed up half the night to learn his lines.)
• Opera singer Leo Slezak's mother-in-law had been a beautiful wife with two sons and two daughters. One day, she and her daughters were beautifully dressed and riding in their carriage at a big social event, throwing flowers to the crowds watching them. Suddenly, her two sons, who had dressed themselves as filthy street urchins, came up to the carriage and yelled, "Mama, Mama, we want to ride in the parade with you." Of course, the crowd enjoyed the scene, but she was furious at being made the laughing-stock of Vienna.
• Oscar Levant once became interested in the daughter of a Los Angeles society family, but she declined to date him until he and a member of his family were introduced to her family. Since no members of his family were in LA, Mr. Levant took along Harpo Marx when he visited her family and introduced Harpo as his uncle. Big mistake. Within five minutes, Harpo had insulted the butler, flirted with the maid, and chased the society woman's mother through the house. Of course, Oscar and Harpo were quickly thrown out of the house.
• Some youths decided to play a trick on Mulla Nasrudin. They hid eggs in their clothing, then went to the public baths with Nasrudin. At the baths, the leader of the youths said, "Each of us will attempt to lay an egg." Each youth squatted, then let drop the egg he had hidden in his clothing. Immediately, Nasrudin began crowing and flapping his arms. "Why are you doing that?" asked the leader of the youths. Nasrudin replied, "All of you hens need a rooster."
• Members of the Benson Company, a traveling Shakespearean troupe, often played practical jokes on newcomers to the company. Once, a newcomer arrived at the train station wearing a kilt because the company was crossing the border into Scotland that day, and he had been told that it was a tradition that members of the Benson Company wore a kilt whenever they traveled into Scotland.
• A man died, leaving behind a will that stated that in a certain closet was a sealed box. The will gave the strictest order that the box must not be opened, but must be burned until it was nothing but ashes. The man's sons and daughters carried out his wishes - only to learn that the box was filled with firecrackers.
• Comedian Eddie Cantor grew up in the city and believed that oranges grew underground. When he went to California and saw his first orange tree, he thought that his friend Georgie Jessel was trying to pull a practical joke by tying the oranges to the tree.
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Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
The person who created the file about what an awful excuse for a human Predator is has obviously never met my ex or there would be two people on the "hate even from the grave " list!
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
from that Mad Cat, JD
JD is on vacation.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Frisky raccoons, again.
Plays Bach In Shadow Of Border Crossing
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. Laredo's "Day of Action" featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities.
Ma played the opening notes of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello" in a park next to the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, one of the crossings that connect the U.S. and Mexican cities.
The Laredo performance took place on an elevated stage before an audience of officials and onlookers. Concerns over possible rain disappeared as Ma began to play in the morning sunshine.
It was part of his Bach Project, which uses the composer's 300-year-old music to explore connections between cultures. The project has taken him all over the world. On Friday it brought him to Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University in San Antonio, and on Saturday it brought him to Laredo, within a few feet of the Rio Grande.
"As you all know, as you did and do and will do, in culture, we build bridges, not walls," he said. After his performance, he gestured to the bridge to his right. "I've lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations."
World Press Photo Award
The haunting image of a little girl crying helplessly as she and her mother are taken into custody by US border officials Thursday won the prestigious World Press Photo Award.
Judges said veteran Getty photographer John Moore's picture taken after Honduran mother Sandra Sanchez and her daughter Yanela illegally crossed the US-Mexico border last year showed "a different kind of violence that is psychological".
The picture of the wailing toddler was published worldwide and caused a public outcry about Washington's controversial policy to separate thousands of migrants and their children.
Moore was taking pictures of US Border Patrol agents on a moonless night in the Rio Grande Valley on June 12 last year when they came across a group of people who tried to cross the border.
"I could see the fear on their faces, in their eyes," Moore told the US-based National Public Radio broadcaster in an interview shortly afterwards.
After the WGA and ATA failed to reach an agreement, writers and showrunners started posting their letters terminating their working relationship with their agents. Damon Lindelof and Hart Hanson are the latest to post their letters joining a mass of other top industry names including Steven DeKnight, Alexi Hawley, Tim Doyle and Chrissy Pietrosh. Most are very cordial to their agents but not the wire creator David Simon who has been outspoken.
Lindelof, who is currently working on the forthcoming Watchmen adaptation for HBO, posted his letter to CAA on Instagram. My agents signed me in 1999," he wrote. "When no one else believed in me, they did. For that, I will be forever grateful. Twenty years later, the business has radically transformed… as such, it is time to remember and reinstate the principle upon which "representation" is based. My agents have become my friends… I am relying on that friendship to persevere as we all move through a trying period of transition. As brutal as it is to send this letter, I UNEQUIVOCALLY stand with my sisters and brothers and my union. Only through collective action can we restore balance. #IStandWithTheWGA"
Hart took to Twitter posting his letter to WME, saying: "Standing with my Guild. #IStandWithWGA And I love my agent, Matt Solo. We've been friends for 21 years."
The form letter which was sent to each member to send to their agency read: "Effective April 13, 2019, if your agency has not signed a franchise agreement with the Writers Guild of America, whether in the form of a Code of Conduct or a negotiated agreement, under WGA rules I can no longer be represented by you for my covered writing services. Once your agency is again in good standing with the Writers Guild, we can reestablish our relationship. Thank you."
The new Code of Conduct, approved by the WGA membership last month, includes the elimination of packaging and agencies' affiliation with production entities, and all of the major agencies have said that they will not sign it.
Exhibit Opens In Belfast
'Game of Thrones'
It's here: The largest "Game of Thrones" exhibit to date has opened in Northern Ireland.
"Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition" made its grand debut in Belfast this week with the addition of two new exhibits created exclusively for the Northern Ireland stop: the Winterfell Crypt, guarded by stone direwolves featuring six of the Stark ancestors and the ancient dragon skulls.
The touring exhibit recreates the fictional, mystical GoT universe with costumes, props and settings from all seven seasons of the hit HBO series. Exhibits include the wintry landscapes of the North; treelined pathway of the Kingsroad; the home of the Night's Watch, Castle Black; and the showstopping centerpiece, the Iron Throne Room.
The exhibition kicked off its worldwide tour in Barcelona in 2017, before moving to Paris and Oberhausen, Germany.
Along with the touring exhibit, the franchise will also be extended into a series of legacy projects that include a "Game of Thrones Studio Tour" set to open next spring in Northern Ireland. The 110,000 square foot Linen Mill Studios is the original filming location for many of the iconic scenes and will be turned into an interactive experience for fans.
'Game of Thrones'
Fashion Brand Seeks Trademark
Erik Brunetti's four-letter fashion brand starts with an "F'' and rhymes with "duct." The federal government calls it "scandalous" and "immoral" and has refused to register the trademark. Brunetti has a different word for his brand and designs: "thought-provoking."
"We wanted the viewer to question it: Like, is that pronounced the way I think it's pronounced?" he said of his streetwear brand "FUCT," which began selling clothing in 1991.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear Brunetti's challenge to a part of federal law that says officials should refuse to register trademarks that are "scandalous" or "immoral." Brunetti says it should be struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on speech.
The government is defending the century-old provision. The Trump administration says in court papers that the law encourages trademarks that are appropriate for all audiences. It argues it isn't restricting speech but rather declining to promote it.
Brunetti and others like him who are denied trademark registration under the "scandalous" provision can still use the words they wanted to register for their business, nonprofit or brand. They just don't get the benefits that come with registering a trademark. For Brunetti, that would largely mean a better ability to go after counterfeiters who knock off his designs.
Country's First Tornado
A deadly storm that tore through Nepal almost two weeks ago was the country's first ever recorded tornado, say researchers there. A team identified the extremely rare event in southeast Nepal without the aid of typical tornado-detecting instruments, instead relying on satellite images, analysis of social-media posts and a visit to the affected area.
The government says 28 people died and more than 1,100 were injured in the storm on 31 March, which also damaged about 2,600 buildings and a national park that is listed as a World Heritage Site.
The storm shifted slabs of concrete 50 metres, which requires a massive amount of power not typical of storms observed in Nepal, says Dhiraj Pradhananga, a meteorologist and president of The Small Earth Nepal, a non-governmental organization in Kathmandu. "We don't even have a Nepali word for tornado," he says.
Reports of the storm's damage took many meteorologists by surprise. A team of researchers at The Small Earth Nepal and the country's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) initiated an investigation into the nature of the storm the morning after it struck.
To determine whether the storm was in fact a tornado, the Nepali research team analysed high-resolution images from the European Earth-observing satellite pair Sentinel-2, taken before and after the event. The researchers also looked at social-media posts and plotted them onto Google Maps using the posts' geolocation data or locations mentioned in the text. During a four-day visit to the affected towns, they took measurements of the trail of damage left by the storm and the distance that debris had moved. The team also collected surveillance footage of the storm.
For the first time "No Religion" has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity, according to a new analysis by a political scientist. The non-religious edged out Catholics and evangelicals in the long-running General Social Survey.
Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that 23.1% of Americans now claim no religion.
Catholics came in at 23.0%, and evangelicals were at 22.5%.
The three groups remain within the margin of error of each other though, making it a statistical tie. Over 2,000 people were interviewed in person for the survey.
"Religious nones," as they are called by researchers, are a diverse group made up of atheists, agnostics, the spiritual, and those who are no specific organized religion in particular. A rejection of organized religion is the common thread they share.
Employees who force smiles at work in front of customers may be more at risk for heavier drinking after work, a new study finds.
Researchers at Penn State University and the University at Buffalo studied the drinking habits of those who routinely work with the public, such as food service workers, nurses and teachers.
Alicia Grandey, professor of psychology at Penn State, says the result may be because of people consistently using their self-control at work. Afterward, the employees may not have the self-control left to regulate how they drink.
"Smiling as part of your job sounds like a really positive thing, but doing it all day can be draining," Grandey said. "In these jobs, there's also often money tied to showing positive emotions and holding back negative feelings. Money gives you a motivation to override your natural tendencies, but doing it all day can be wearing."
The study also found factors like how rewarding the work is or surprising any negative emotion contributed to the amount employees may drink as a result.
Mini-Baby Boom Off New England
North Atlantic Right Whale
An endangered species of whale is experiencing a mini-baby boom in New England waters, researchers on Cape Cod have said.
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the rarest species of whale on the planet, numbering only about 411. But the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said Friday its aerial survey team spotted two mom and calf pairs in Cape Cod Bay a day earlier. That brings the number seen in New England waters alone this year to three.
That's big news because the whale's population has been falling, and no calves were seen last year. In all, seven right whale calves have been seen so far this year.
The whales give birth off Georgia and Florida in the winter and travel to feeding grounds off New England in the early spring, including the Gulf of Maine, a body of water that touches Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Canada.
Cape Cod Bay is part of the Gulf of Maine and is a critically important feeding ground. The animals often feed close to shore, providing watchers on land "unbeatable views of one of the rarest of marine mammals," the Center for Coastal Studies said in a statement.
North Atlantic Right Whale