I wish I was the moon tonight...

14 Oct 2014

“Gilovich’s prior work has shown that experiences tend to make people happier because they are less likely to measure the value of their experiences by comparing them to those of others. For example, Gilbert and company note in their new paper, many people are unsure if they would rather have a high salary that is lower than that of their peers, or a lower salary that is higher than that of their peers. With an experiential good like vacation, that dilemma doesn’t hold. Would you rather have two weeks of vacation when your peers only get one? Or four weeks when your peers get eight? People choose four weeks with little hesitation.”

11 Oct 2014

futurejournalismproject:

New York Times reporter James Risen, via Twitter.

James Risen recently won the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Journalism Award for excellence in journalism.

The Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter has long been hounded by the US Justice Department to disclose his confidential sources from his 2006 book State of War.

As the Washington Post wrote back in August, “Prosecutors want Mr. Risen’s testimony in their case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official who is accused of leaking details of a failed operation against Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Risen properly has refused to identify his source, at the risk of imprisonment. Such confidential sources are a pillar of how journalists obtain information. If Mr. Risen is forced to reveal the identity of a source, it will damage the ability of journalists to promise confidentiality to sources and to probe government behavior.”

While accepting the Lovejoy Award, Risen had this to say:

The conventional wisdom of our day is the belief that we have had to change the nature of our society to accommodate the global war on terror. Incrementally over the last thirteen years, Americans have easily accepted a transformation of their way of life because they have been told that it is necessary to keep them safe. Americans now slip off their shoes on command at airports, have accepted the secret targeted killings of other Americans without due process, have accepted the use of torture and the creation of secret offshore prisons, have accepted mass surveillance of their personal communications, and accepted the longest continual period of war in American history. Meanwhile, the government has eagerly prosecuted whistleblowers who try to bring any of the government’s actions to light.

Americans have accepted this new reality with hardly a murmur. Today, the basic prerequisite to being taken seriously in American politics is to accept the legitimacy of the new national security state that has been created since 9/11. The new basic American assumption is that there really is a need for a global war on terror. Anyone who doesn’t accept that basic assumption is considered dangerous and maybe even a traitor.

Today, the U.S. government treats whistleblowers as criminals, much like Elijah Lovejoy, because they want to reveal uncomfortable truths about the government’s actions. And the public and the mainstream press often accept and champion the government’s approach, viewing whistleblowers as dangerous fringe characters because they are not willing to follow orders and remain silent.

The crackdown on leaks by first the Bush administration and more aggressively by the Obama administration, targeting both whistleblowers and journalists, has been designed to suppress the truth about the war on terror. This government campaign of censorship has come with the veneer of the law. Instead of mobs throwing printing presses in the Mississippi River, instead of the creation of the kind of “enemies lists” that President Richard Nixon kept, the Bush and Obama administrations have used the Department of Justice to do their bidding. But the effect is the same — the attorney general of the United States has been turned into the nation’s chief censorship officer. Whenever the White House or the intelligence community get angry about a story in the press, they turn to the Justice Department and the FBI and get them to start a criminal leak investigation, to make sure everybody shuts up.

What the White House wants is to establish limits on accepted reporting on national security and on the war on terror. By launching criminal investigations of stories that are outside the mainstream coverage, they are trying to, in effect, build a pathway on which journalism can be conducted. Stay on the interstate highway of conventional wisdom with your journalism, and you will have no problems. Try to get off and challenge basic assumptions, and you will face punishment.

Journalists have no choice but to fight back, because if they don’t they will become irrelevant.

Bonus: The NSA and Me, James Bamford’s account of covering the agency over the last 30 years, via The Intercept.

Double Bonus: Elijah Parish Lovejoy was a minister in the first half of the 19th century who edited an abolitionist paper called the St. Louis Observer. He was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in 1837. More via Wikipedia.

Images: Selected tweets via James Risen.

10 Oct 2014

laughterkey:

land-of-propaganda:

3 years in Rikers Island, 2 in solitary confinement, this high school student, NEVER CHARGED, gets released

16-year-old high school sophomore Kalief Browder, of the Bronx, spent nearly three years locked up at the Rikers Jail after he says he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack.  Amazingly, Browder never pleaded guilty, actually refused to plead guilty and requested a trial, even when pressured, but was never convicted and was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed.

Near the end of his time in jail, the judge “offered” to sentence him to time served if a guilty plea was entered, and warned him he could face 15 years in prison if convicted, but Browder still refused to accept the deal.  The only reason Browder was finally released was because his case was dismissed, but the damage had been done.

Browder, a high school student, spent an unbelievable 800 days, or over 2 years, in solitary confinement, which is a common juvenile imprisonment practice that the New York Department of Corrections has now banned after several investigations.

How does a teen end up in jail for 3 years, of which 2 years was spent in solitary confinement, and never be charged with a crime?

Browder’s case highlights several broken mechanisms in the New York legal system that feeds itself to civil liberty abuses on our youth.

  1. The 6th amendment gives us a right to a speedy trial, but in New York they have a “Ready Rule”.  The “Ready Rule” allows the courts to postpone trial dates by offering continuances. The system may give a continuance for 1 week, but logistically it may be 1 month before the trial actually comes to fruition and the still not convicted civilian only gets “credit” for the 1 week, not the actual time they have served.  In Browder’s case, he was given an absolutely ridiculous number of continuances initiated by the prosecution which left him locked up because he could not afford the $3000 bail.
  2. Browder was a high school student and juveniles are supposed to continue their education while behind bars .. except for juveniles that are in solitary confinement.  Guards would place juveniles in solitary and the schooling would stop relinquishing any educational support.
  3. While in solitary, Browder says that guards would routinely refuse to give him his meals.  Hunger is a common complaint by teens that are locked up because of the 12-hour stretch between dinner and breakfast.  Guards would use starve tactics at their discretion for punishment or their own personal enjoyment.  Browder says the worst of his starvations lasted for 4 meals in a row, meaning he was denied breakfast, lunch, dinner and another breakfast.
  4. As it stands, the courts place people in these situations and it is human nature for some to strike a plea deal just to get out of jail.  But Browder did not play into their game and take a plea deal, but maintained his innocence and requested a trial which came at a snail’s pace. This leads one to believe that the courts use this a planned tactic or procedure to play on human nature all in the name of getting convictions.
  5. The issues of using a Public Defender have long been recorded across the country.  In New York, court appointed lawyers make $75 a case.  In order to make money, that PD has to take on huge caseloads which leads to other problems.  Browder, although locked up for nearly three years in Rikers, where his PD was located everyday, never once was visited by his PD or had anyone to advocate his case for him.  This shows a reckless disregard which leads to a vicious cycle of apathy that often leads innocent people to copping pleas or getting longer sentences.

Read more here

He was charged, but never convicted. Per the newyorker:

The next day, he was led into a courtroom, where he learned that he had been charged with robbery, grand larceny, and assault. 

Not trying to imply that in any way makes this better. It’s horrifying from top to bottom.

8 Oct 2014

greenthepress:

Happy birthday to Neil deGrasse Tyson!

greenthepress:

Happy birthday to Neil deGrasse Tyson!

3 Oct 2014

stay-strong-mydear:

deny—these—butterflies:

raquelegee:

awildhyzyappears:

kids books, reimagined for 20-somethings

are you there god? its me the crushing doubt that you exist

This is utterly genius

30 Sep 2014

strangelyobsessedwithstuff:

revengeofnemo:

If a 16 year old would want to adopt a child no one would give it to her because she isn’t 21 yet or not an adult or maybe too irresponsible.

So if a 16 year old is so irresponsible and not an adult yet so she wouldn’t even be allowed to…

Truth

26 Sep 2014

wilwheaton:

socialjusticekoolaid:

HAPPENING NOW (9.26.14): And in an instance, mayhem. The police attacked protesters without warning or clear provocation, mind you, WHILE the police chief was out chatting/marching with them. More to come tonight. Stay woke. #farfromover (PT I) (PT II)

So while the Chief was PR stuntin, one of his officers decided to charge through the crowd and INCITE A MELEE. I repeat, the officers got physical with protesters, and in the ensuing mayhem, used it as an excuse to whoop on some of the protesters. THERE IS VIDEO! CNN is already misreporting it as an attack on the chief. Do not let them spread that lie. These pigs have no regard, respect, or consideration for the protesters, peaceful or otherwise. #staywoke #farfromover

LIVESTREAM

So I *strongly* disagree with this post calling police pigs, and I don’t think that’s helpful at all. The rest of this post, though, needs to be seen.

26 Sep 2014

thepoliticalfreakshow:

BREAKING: Peaceful Protesters In Ferguson MO Get Pummeled By Police Officers After Their Chief Marched With Protesters

  • I think the PD is aggressively attacking protestors because they assume & no longer gives a damn
  • Chief Jackson did this. His officers did this. Women were attacked. He said he was marching with us. Lies..he set us up
  • And Chief Jackson didn’t do ANYTHING to stop the attacks and mayhem. DID NOTHING!
  • LOTS of cops out right now. A short clash with the police after arrests were made. Live Feed Here:

26 Sep 2014

timelordblogging:

allofmylovetess:

dlubes:

clarknokent:

You know she regrets this lmao

watch the whole video. no way she does.

It’s your juicy jewel of flavor, Ring Pop!

WATCH THE FUCKING VIDEO

timelordblogging:

allofmylovetess:

dlubes:

clarknokent:

You know she regrets this lmao

watch the whole video. no way she does.

It’s your juicy jewel of flavor, Ring Pop!

WATCH THE FUCKING VIDEO

(Source: shogunofyellow)

26 Sep 2014

leslieknope:

shoutout to the best onion article of all time


Best. Ever.

leslieknope:

shoutout to the best onion article of all time

Best. Ever.