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July 13, 2013

hoomie says: Regarding that picture of that racist ass TX protester in the burqa, I cannot believe whoever runs this blog didn't think for a single damn second how racist and Islamophobic that was. I really thought you guys were at least a little intelligent, but I guess not. Done with this blog until someone who still follows it reblogs an apology from you guys onto my dash. This is disgusting of you.

» SFB says: I was at the protests all week, and this protester’s statement stood out, so I took a picture and posted it on the blog. I didn’t say I supported the costume; I just posted a picture of it. That’s what photojournalism is. I apologize if you found it offensive or disrespectful, but my goal with this photograph, and the others I took, was to document what was happening in Texas this week—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So again, I understand why you found it offensive, but we weren’t implying an opinion either way on the image. — Seth @ SFB

14:23 // 1 year ago
July 11, 2013
This is undoubtedly an amusing headline, but it actually touches on a serious issue in democracies: How can policymakers sell and implement necessarily policy when the general public is almost comedically misinformed about what policy is needed? The poll cited showed that Britons believe that 24% of jobless benefits are fraudulently claimed (the actual number is .7%); that violent crime is rising (it’s falling); that immigrants comprise 1/3 of the population (more like 13%); and that teen pregnancy is roughly 26 times higher than it actually is. “Politicians need to be better at talking about the real state of affairs of the country, rather than spinning the numbers,” said one of the pollsters involved. In addition, “the media has to try and genuinely illuminate issues, rather than use statistics to sensationalise.” So, in other words, the incentives structure of politics and the media needs to do a complete 180 from where they are now. Awesome, that should be a quick fix. source

This is undoubtedly an amusing headline, but it actually touches on a serious issue in democracies: How can policymakers sell and implement necessarily policy when the general public is almost comedically misinformed about what policy is needed? The poll cited showed that Britons believe that 24% of jobless benefits are fraudulently claimed (the actual number is .7%); that violent crime is rising (it’s falling); that immigrants comprise 1/3 of the population (more like 13%); and that teen pregnancy is roughly 26 times higher than it actually is. “Politicians need to be better at talking about the real state of affairs of the country, rather than spinning the numbers,” said one of the pollsters involved. In addition, “the media has to try and genuinely illuminate issues, rather than use statistics to sensationalise.” So, in other words, the incentives structure of politics and the media needs to do a complete 180 from where they are now. Awesome, that should be a quick fix. source

20:22 // 1 year ago
July 10, 2013

Apparently, leftover campaign shirts from Mitt Romney’s presidential run are being put to good use in Kenya. Philanthropist Cyndy Waters founded a charity, The Orbit Village Project, that provides clothes and housing to impoverished Kenyans, and it just so happens that Waters’ nephew worked for Romney’s campaign last year. After the election, the nephew had a bunch of shirts left over, and so Waters gave them to the Kenyan kids. “It was a big deal that they could pick between short or long sleeved and blue and white,” Waters said. “For an African youth from such an impoverished area to pick out something new is very rare.” (Image credit: Orbit Village Project) source

11:58 // 1 year ago
July 9, 2013

Edward Snowden accepts political asylum in Venezuela—maybe

  • announcement Alexei Pushkov, chair of an international affairs committee in the Russian legislature, tweeted today that "Predictably, Snowden has agreed to [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro’s offer of political asylum. Apparently, this option appeared most reliable to Snowden.”
  • retraction The tweet was deleted moments later, but Russia Today grabbed a copy. Pushkov then sent another tweet, saying that the information regarding Maduro’s asylum offer came from a Russian TV station and referring inquiries to said station. source

Maduro did confirm earlier that Venezeula hadreceived an asylum request from Snowden on Monday; considering Maduro previously pledged to offer Snowden asylum anyway, it’s not too tough to put two and two together. The tweet-then-delete by the Russian MP is odd, but we’re guessing Maduro (or someone) will make an official announcement soon enough.

11:25 // 1 year ago
July 8, 2013
22:29 // 1 year ago
July 5, 2013
20:47 // 1 year ago

Death toll rises in wake of Egyptian coup

30 killed in Egypt today as protests over President Morsi’s ouster flare up around the country. Muslim Brotherhood supporters are calling today the “Friday of Rage,” and over 10,000 have taken to the streets to protest the President’s removal two days ago by the military. The National Salvation front, which supported Morsi’s overthrow, has called for counter-protests this Sunday. source

20:34 // 1 year ago
Pre-abortion ultrasounds are now mandatory in Wisconsin: Continuing the current Republican trend—one might say “strategy”—of pushing draconian anti-abortion legislation when they think no one’s looking, Governor Scott Walker today signed a bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound before the operation. He did so during the July 4th weekend, without a public signing, and announced it in a press release—titled “Governor Scott Walker Signs Several Bills Into Law"—buried on his website (it’s there, but is conspicuously omitted from the “Latest News” section on the home page). The new law—which exempts pregnancies from rape and incest from the ultrasound requirement—also requires doctors to show the women images of their fetus’s organs, and enacts new requirements on facilities that will require two clinics to close. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has already filed a lawsuit against the law, and is seeking a restraining order to block it from taking effect (Photo credit: AP). source

Pre-abortion ultrasounds are now mandatory in Wisconsin: Continuing the current Republican trend—one might say “strategy”—of pushing draconian anti-abortion legislation when they think no one’s looking, Governor Scott Walker today signed a bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound before the operation. He did so during the July 4th weekend, without a public signing, and announced it in a press release—titled “Governor Scott Walker Signs Several Bills Into Law"—buried on his website (it’s there, but is conspicuously omitted from the “Latest News” section on the home page). The new law—which exempts pregnancies from rape and incest from the ultrasound requirement—also requires doctors to show the women images of their fetus’s organs, and enacts new requirements on facilities that will require two clinics to close. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has already filed a lawsuit against the law, and is seeking a restraining order to block it from taking effect (Photo credit: AP). source

16:44 // 1 year ago

America underwater: Artist Nickolay Lamm has created a series of striking images depicting what coastal cities in America will look like over the next several centuries if ocean levels continue to rise at their current rates (between 1992 and 2012, that’d be roughly one inch per decade). The images above are of San Francisco’s AT&T Park and Boston Harbor in 300 years, at which point they’ll be immersed in 25 feet of water.  (Images credit: Nickolay Lamm; higher resolution images posted at Business Insidersource

13:26 // 1 year ago
July 4, 2013
No extradition for you: Bolivia will not extradite Edward Snowden to the US should he enter its territory, the country’s foreign ministry announced yesterday. The Bolivian government, which has said it will consider granting asylum to Snowden, called the request “strange, illegal, unfounded and suggestive,” and was particularly irritated that Washington submitted the request on the same day a cadre of its European allies forcibly grounded President Evo Morales’ plane mid-flight under suspicion it was harboring Snowden. It wasn’t, and while there’s no direct evidence Washington pressured its allies to ground Morales’ flight, South American leaders are putting the blame squarely on the United States. (Photo credit: AP) source

No extradition for you: Bolivia will not extradite Edward Snowden to the US should he enter its territory, the country’s foreign ministry announced yesterday. The Bolivian government, which has said it will consider granting asylum to Snowden, called the request “strange, illegal, unfounded and suggestive,” and was particularly irritated that Washington submitted the request on the same day a cadre of its European allies forcibly grounded President Evo Morales’ plane mid-flight under suspicion it was harboring Snowden. It wasn’t, and while there’s no direct evidence Washington pressured its allies to ground Morales’ flight, South American leaders are putting the blame squarely on the United States. (Photo credit: AP) source

15:24 // 1 year ago