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By Atom Eyes in "Struggle for the Heart of Dixie" on MeFi

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CNN [Twitter video]: Roy Moore campaign spokesman responds with silence when asked if he knew people can be sworn in with a text other than the Christian bible

This has to be seen to be believed.
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iridesce
14 hours ago
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Oh my god. Like it was out of a TV show
philly
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MeFi: Don't blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.

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The Columbia Journalism Review did an analysis of election 2016 election coverage and found "the various Clinton-related email scandals—her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks—accounted for more sentences than all of Trump's scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions." Meanwhile"the breathlessly repeated numbers on fake news are not as large as they have been made to seem when compared to the volume of information to which online users are exposed."

From the CJR piece:

"For example, a New York Times story reported that Facebook identified more than 3,000 ads purchased by fake accounts traced to Russian sources, which generated over $100,000 in advertising revenue. But Facebook's advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $8.8 billion, or $96 million per day. All together, the fake ads accounted for roughly 0.1 percent of Facebook's daily advertising revenue. The 2016 BuzzFeed report that received so much attention claimed that the top 20 fake news stories on Facebook "generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments" between August 1 and Election Day. Again, this sounds like a large number until it's put into perspective: Facebook had well over 1.5 billion active monthly users in 2016. If each user took only a single action per day on average (likely an underestimate), then throughout those 100 days prior to the election, the 20 stories in BuzzFeed's study would have accounted for only 0.006 percent of user actions."

"Roughly four times as many Clinton-related sentences that described scandals as opposed to policies, whereas Trump-related sentences were one-and-a-half times as likely to be about policy as scandal. Given the sheer number of scandals in which Trump was implicated—sexual assault; the Trump Foundation; Trump University; redlining in his real-estate developments; insulting a Gold Star family; numerous instances of racist, misogynist, and otherwise offensive speech—it is striking that the media devoted more attention to his policies than to his personal failings. Even more striking, the various Clinton-related email scandals—her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks—accounted for more sentences than all of Trump's scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions."

"In just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton's emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election."

Jill Filopivich points out how prominent Glenn Thrush, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer were in covering the election and notes that "a pervasive theme of all of these men's coverage of Mrs. Clinton was that she was dishonest and unlikable. These recent harassment allegations suggest that perhaps the problem wasn't that Mrs. Clinton was untruthful or inherently hard to connect with, but that these particular men hold deep biases against women who seek power instead of sticking to acquiescent sex-object status."
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iridesce
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wreichard
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Your Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Was Made By Child Slaves – Affinity Magazine

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You’re in the line at CVS when the chocolate and candy protruding from the cashier’s counter catches your eye. It’s your cheat day — one chocolate bar won’t do any harm, right? What you don’t know is that the chocolate bar you crave took the sweat of millions of children, many of them slaves, to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which is primarily found in Latin America and Western Africa. Most of it is harvested in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is reaped.

Major companies such as Hershey’s, Mars, Nestle, and Ferrero Roche have been found guilty of using child labor and child slavery.

These companies and many others like them are responding to the increasing demand for chocolate with a demand for cheap labor. Thus, they buy cocoa for cheap from their suppliers in the Ivory Coast. However, the reason the cocoa is cheap is because those mining it are children, who work on measly wages if they get any at all.

The children of Western Africa live in poverty and are desperate to help their families, this makes them vulnerable to child traffickers who tell them they will be paid well for their work. Some children are even sold by their own relatives to the cocoa industry.

The children work in dangerous conditions using chainsaws and climbing tall trees with machetes to cut cocoa bean pods.

The large knives and other dangerous equipment are used by all children in the cocoa industry, violating the worst child labor laws from the United Nations. After cutting the bean pods the children must carry bags that usually weight about 100 pounds through the forests.

Aly Diabate, a former cocoa slave said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”

Many of the children are whipped or beaten for working slowly and at night many are locked in so they can’t escape. The children also must open the cocoa bean themselves by hitting the tip of the pod with a machete and prying it open. The majority of the children hurt themselves during this process and are left with scars on their hands, arms, shoulders, and legs.

Recently freed slave Drissa has never tasted chocolate despite harvesting it for years.When he was asked what he would tell people who eat slave-harvested chocolate he said this “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are an estimated 2.12 million child laborers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. So, the main concern is what can we do to solve this problem, to help the children thousands of miles away?

Well, first we could demand that the chocolate companies take responsibility for their suppliers and end child labor and slavery within their supply chain. Despite, their promises to do so little has changed for the children in the Ivory Coast.

Hershey, the largest chocolate manufacturer, still refuses to address accusations of child labor and will not release any information about where the cocoa comes from.

In 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives considered a bill that would require every chocolate to be labeled “slave free” or not, to combat child slavery in the cocoa industry. However, the chocolate industry immediately responded sending intense and persuasive lobbyists to stop the bill.

The Chocolate Manufacturers Association even hired former Senate majority leaders, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, to persuade the other congresspeople from passing the bill. Ultimately, their efforts succeeded and the bill failed but the need for people to know how their chocolate is made persists.

Promising to only buy chocolate that is fair trade is an effective way to make sure that workers are paid fairly for their work, had safe and clean working conditions, and were of the appropriate age. Demanding that workers be paid fairly for their work and are given rights is crucial to prevent their exploitation and enable their success. I myself have stopped eating chocolate or chocolate products that are not certified as fair trade.

However, perhaps the most important thing you can do however is get involved. Sign petitions like this one Ferrero: stop child slavery, watch and support documentaries like The Dark Side of Chocolate, and talk about this issue on social media. The future of millions of children lies in your hands and in the persistence of your sweet tooth.

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iridesce
4 days ago
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angelchrys
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Overland Park, KS
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Fake Balance and Asymmetrical Polarization: A Dismal Combination

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Krugman really can’t say this enough:

There are two central facts about 21st-century U.S. politics. First, we suffer from asymmetric polarization: the Republican Party has become an extremist institution with little respect for traditional norms of any kind. Second, mainstream media – still the source of most political information for the great majority of Americans – haven’t been able to come to grips with this reality. Even in the age of Trump, they try desperately to be “balanced”, which in practice means bending over backwards to say undeserved nice things about Republicans and take undeserved swipes at Democrats.

This dynamic played a crucial role in last year’s election; it’s one of the reasons major news organizations devoted more time to Hillary Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined. But it has been going on for years. It’s the whole story of Paul Ryan’s career: journalists trying to be centrists desperately wanted to show their neutrality by praising a Serious, Honest, Conservative, and promoted Ryan into that role even though it was obvious from the beginning that he was a con man.

And it’s still playing out, as we can see from what looks like a looming debacle in Facebook’s efforts to institute fact-checking.

[…]

Notice the implicit assumption here – namely, that impartial fact-checking would find an equal number of false claims from each party. But what if – bear with me a minute – Republicans actually make more false claims than Democrats?

Take a not at all arbitrary example: tax policy. The GOP is deeply committed to the proposition that tax cuts pay for themselves, a view that has no support whatsoever from professional economists. Can you find any comparable insistence on a view experts consider false on the Democratic side?

Similarly, the GOP is deeply committed to climate change denial, despite the overwhelming consensus of scientists that anthropogenic climate change is real and dangerous. Again, where’s the Democratic counterpart?

There are, of course, individual liberals who say things that aren’t true, on all sorts of issues. But huge falsehoods by major party figures – where by falsehood I mean something demonstrably false, not a view you disagree with – are far more common on the right than the left.

But are there major Republicans who are equally bad on the extraordinarily important issue of email management best practices? Oh, there are, and the media went back to remembering that nobody actually cares about this stuff? Well…did Paul Ryan ever personally deliver 100% of the world’s supply of uranium to Vladimir Putin? CHECKMATE LIBS!

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wreichard
4 days ago
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“First, we suffer from asymmetric polarization: the Republican Party has become an extremist institution with little respect for traditional norms of any kind. Second, mainstream media – still the source of most political information for the great majority of Americans – haven’t been able to come to grips with this reality.”
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iridesce
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fxer
3 days ago
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"The GOP is deeply committed to the proposition that tax cuts pay for themselves, a view that has no support whatsoever from professional economists. Can you find any comparable insistence on a view experts consider false on the Democratic side?"
Bend, Oregon

‘White hat’ hacker Amanda Rousseau hacks back at malicious software

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Rousseau is No. 94 on the Recode 100.

Amanda Rousseau is a “white hat” hacker and a senior malware researcher at security firm Endgame. Earlier this year, she reverse engineered the massive WannaCry ransomware attack — a cyber attack targeting Microsoft Windows that hit 200,000 victims in 150 countries — in order to prevent future outbreaks.

She’s also an avid voice on Twitter about cybersecurity and women in tech.

In August, Rousseau published a piece in Teen Vogue on what it’s like to be a female hacker.

“Since I was one of the few women on the floor, I had a higher standard to perform because I stood out and was an anomaly,” Rousseau wrote of her previous job at the U.S. Department of Defense. “In return, I was forced to learn how to get the job done efficiently and with no mistakes in a short amount of time, which allowed me to quickly rise through the ranks.”

This year she also founded VanitySec, a blog for women who are into fashion and cybersecurity.

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iridesce
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superiphi
6 days ago
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Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
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Not only are Americans becoming less happy — we’re experiencing more pain too

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Americans “are in greater pain than citizens of other countries” and have been growing steadily more miserable for decades, according to a new working paper by David G. Blanchflower of Dartmouth College and Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick.

For their paper, Blanchflower and Oswald investigate claims about happiness made by the Brookings Institution's Carol Graham in her recent book, “Happiness For All?". In the book, Graham draws primarily on Gallup data to argue American happiness is faltering as a rational response to growing inequality.

Among Graham's most striking finding is, as she puts it, “markers of well and ill-being, ranging from life satisfaction to stress, are more unequally shared across the rich and the poor in the U.S. than they are in Latin America, a region long known for high levels of inequality.” Low-income Americans are particularly skeptical that hard work will improve their economic situation.

Blanchflower and Oswald wanted to see if other data sources corroborated Graham's findings. They first turn to the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally-representative survey administered every several years and used frequently in social science work.  The GSS data shows, unambiguously, that Americans' evaluations of their own happiness has been falling in recent years.

The decline is plainly visible across multiple demographic groups. Declines have been steepest among Americans with the least education, and the happiness gap between the most-educated and least-educated Americans has nearly doubled since 1972.

Blanchflower and Oswald note the GSS data shows similar trends for Americans' feelings about their finances — everyone is less optimistic about money relative to 1972, but optimism has dropped particularly sharply among the least-educated. They call these disparities a form of “psychological inequality,” which is both a reflection of actual monetary inequality and a driver of it — after all, it's difficult to improve your financial situation if you don't believe your financial situation can be improved.

As another marker of psychological distress, Blanchflower and Oswald look at cross-country data on the experience of pain. In 2011, the International Social Survey Programme asked respondents in over 30 nations how often they had experienced bodily aches and pains in the past month.

Americans were the most likely to report frequent pain, with 34 percent saying they experienced it “often” or “very often.” The average across all countries surveyed was just 20 percent.

“As the US is one of the richest countries in the world, and in principle might be expected to have one of the most comfortable lifestyles in the world, it seems strange — to put it at its mildest — that the nation should report such a lot of pain,” Blanchflower and Oswald write.

Aware that some of this could be attributable to question translation issues or cultural differences (for instance, Americans may just be more predisposed to complain about pain than members of other nations), the authors ran the numbers controlling for age, gender, marital status, labor force status and education. The United States remained an outlier even when these factors were accounted for.

The nation's relatively stingy social safety net may be one factor contributing to this exceptionalism. Many Americans still lack access to health care, which is available universally in most other wealthy nations. The expense of health care, even for those who have insurance, could mean Americans experiencing aches and pains are more likely to tough it out and forego treatment, relative to people in other countries.

In the United States, health issues remain a major contributor to financial insecurity, meaning they likely contribute to some of the declining happiness and financial pessimism seen in the other research surveyed by Blanchflower and Oswald.

All told, the data underscore how country-level material wealth can be a poor indicator for the well being of its inhabitants.

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