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[spam] The Wednesday Word (on Thursday) – March 22, 2017
UUCF [office=oruuc.org@mail207.suw12.mcsv.net] on behalf of UUCF [office@oruuc.org]
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Sent:
Thursday, March 23, 2017 9:49 AM
To:
Joel Snell

The
Wednesday
Word
Reflection
Rev. Robin Bartlett

Saved

What was it like? The day you were saved?

I wonder if you’ve ever been asked that question.

In our scripture text from the third chapter of the Gospel according to John, Nicodemus is a religious leader genuinely puzzled by the question of salvation. Jesus tells him that he needs to be “born from above” in order to see the kingdom of God. “How is that possible?” Nicodemus asks. “I am old. I can’t be born again. I can’t squeeze myself back into the womb of my mother, and come out anew.” 

“Yes, true, but you can start your life over in the spirit,” Jesus suggests. A spiritual re-birth is possible. The spirit is not like the flesh, it’s like the wind. And the wind is powerful. You can’t see it, but it rustles the trees and knocks out power lines, and you hear the loud howling sound of it wooshing through the wind tunnels the sky scrapers create in the cities. You can feel the impact of the wind when it touches ground in a tornado. And the spirit is also like water. It cleanses you, like a newborn baby bathed in amniotic fluid, as yet untouched by the world.

The passage we heard today contains John 3:16, perhaps the most famous scripture from the New Testament, the one often used as a purity test and a cudgel:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Here’s what I want you to remember from these sometimes weaponized words. Here is what I want you to teach the children:

1.    FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD.
2.    God did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.
Continue Reading the sermon…

God, in Your wisdom,
Grant us not solutions,
But questions and challenges
That we might engage.
Grant us not appeasers
But skeptics, who enliven our mind.
Grant us not comfort,
But life, which contains in it some pain,
And some sorrow.
Cover us over in Your Love
Which does not shield us from life,
But leads us into the heart of it,
Toward our knowledge
And communion
Of and with our neighbors and You,
Which is the portal between midnight and morning.
All this, in Your name, we pray.
Amen.
 
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Posted in New Essays | Comments Off on WEDNESDAY WORD/ 3/23/2017

INFINITE IDENTITIES

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This week’s TIME cover story, with exclusive data from GLAAD, explores a change taking hold in American culture. The piece explores how you-do-you young people are questioning the conventions that when it comes to gender and sexuality, there are only two options for each: male or female, gay or straight.
Those aspects of identity — how one sees themselves as a man or woman, for instance, and who they are drawn to physically and romantically — are distinct but undergoing similar sea changes, as teenagers and 20-somethings reject notions of what society has told them about who they are supposed to be.
In a new survey from LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD, conducted by Harris Poll, those open minds are reflected in the numbers: 20% of millennials say they are something other that strictly straight and cisgender, compared to 7% of boomers. The people in that group may be be a little sexually curious about people of their own gender or may reject the notion that they have a gender in the first place.
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This variety of identities is something that people are seeing reflected in the culture at large. Facebook, with its 1 billion users, has about 60 options for users’ gender. Dating app Tinder has about 40. Influential celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus (who spoke to TIME for this article), have come out as everything from flexible in their gender to sexually fluid to “mostly straight.”

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Even young people who don’t understand the nuances of gender or sexuality that their peers describe tend to be more accepting of whatever identities they encounter. When market research firm Culture Co-op, which specializes in young Americans’ attitudes, asked about 1,000 young people whether they think that Facebook’s 60 options for gender are excessive, nearly a third of them responded that they believe this amount is just about right or too few.
Not everyone is on board. LGBTQ people continue to be at risk for harassment and assault at school, as well as for attempting suicide. Many experience family rejection, as well as both peers and adults who question whether their feelings about gender or sexuality are “real.”
In state legislatures, lawmakers are meanwhile debating the very meaning of the words sex and gender in debates over so-called “bathroom bills.” Lawsuits alleging that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under bans on sex discrimination are fleshing out the meaning of that word too. But it is clear that for many people these binaries are bedrocks they will fight to defend.
“It’s not easy when we talk about these issues. Cisgender. Transgender. How many genders are there? Are we created man and woman? Or do we internalize something different?” a Texas lawmaker recently asked while defending a bill that would require people to use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate. “I think the god I believe in, the cross I wear today,” she added at another hearing on the bill, “said there was man and woman.”
But many experts say that language is more limited than the sum of human experience and that words are important for people in the throes of self-discovery, whether they feel they belong in these binaries or beyond them.
Young people “are not just saying ‘Screw you,’” says Ritch Savin-Williams, a professor emeritus of psychology at Cornell University who studies sexual behavior. Their embrace of a vast array of identities “says, ‘Your terms, what you’re trying to do, does not reflect my reality or the reality of my friends.”

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SHOPPING MALL IS DECLINING

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The death of the American mall
Once-proud visions of suburban utopia are left to rot as online shopping and the resurgence of city centres make malls increasingly irrelevant to young people
• Why does anyone still live in Detroit?

Rolling Acres shopping mall in Akron, Ohio. Photograph: Seph Lawless

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David Uberti
Thursday 19 June 2014 06.02 EDT
Last modified on Friday 11 November 2016 09.15 EST
I
t is hard to believe there has ever been any life in this place. Shattered glass crunches under Seph Lawless’s feet as he strides through its dreary corridors. Overhead lights attached to ripped-out electrical wires hang suspended in the stale air and fading wallpaper peels off the walls like dead skin.
Lawless sidesteps debris as he passes from plot to plot in this retail graveyard called Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio. The shopping centre closed in 2008, and its largest retailers, which had tried to make it as standalone stores, emptied out by the end of last year. When Lawless stops to overlook a two-storey opening near the mall’s once-bustling core, only an occasional drop of water, dribbling through missing ceiling tiles, breaks the silence.
“You came, you shopped, you dressed nice – you went to the mall. That’s what people did,” says Lawless, a pseudonymous photographer who grew up in a suburb of nearby Cleveland. “It was very consumer-driven and kind of had an ugly side, but there was something beautiful about it. There was something there.”
Gazing down at the motionless escalators, dead plants and empty benches below, he adds: “It’s still beautiful, though. It’s almost like ancient ruins.”
Dying shopping malls are speckled across the United States, often in middle-class suburbs wrestling with socioeconomic shifts. Some, like Rolling Acres, have already succumbed. Estimates on the share that might close or be repurposed in coming decades range from 15 to 50%. Americans are returning downtown; online shopping is taking a 6% bite out of brick-and-mortar sales; and to many iPhone-clutching, city-dwelling and frequently jobless young people, the culture that spawned satire like Mallrats seems increasingly dated, even cartoonish.
According to longtime retail consultant Howard Davidowitz, numerous midmarket malls, many of them born during the country’s suburban explosion after the second world war, could very well share Rolling Acres’ fate. “They’re going, going, gone,” Davidowitz says. “They’re trying to change; they’re trying to get different kinds of anchors, discount stores … [But] what’s going on is the customers don’t have the fucking money. That’s it. This isn’t rocket science.”

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Rolling Acres shopping mall. Photograph: Seph Lawless
Shopping culture follows housing culture. Sprawling malls were therefore a natural product of the postwar era, as Americans with cars and fat wallets sprawled to the suburbs. They were thrown up at a furious pace as shoppers fled cities, peaking at a few hundred per year at one point in the 1980s, according to Paco Underhill, an environmental psychologist and author of Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping. Though construction has since tapered off, developers left a mall overstock in their wake.
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Currently, the US contains around 1,500 of the expansive “malls” of suburban consumer lore. Most share a handful of bland features. Brick exoskeletons usually contain two storeys of inward-facing stores separated by tile walkways. Food courts serve mediocre pizza. Parking lots are big enough to easily misplace a car. And to anchor them economically, malls typically depend on department stores: huge vendors offering a variety of products across interconnected sections.
For mid-century Americans, these gleaming marketplaces provided an almost utopian alternative to the urban commercial district, an artificial downtown with less crime and fewer vermin. As Joan Didion wrote in 1979, malls became “cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”. Peppered throughout disconnected suburbs, they were a place to see and be seen, something shoppers have craved since the days of the Greek agora. And they quickly matured into a self-contained ecosystem, with their own species – mall rats, mall cops, mall walkers – and an annual feeding frenzy known as Black Friday.
“Local governments had never dealt with this sort of development and were basically bamboozled [by developers],” Underhill says of the mall planning process. “In contrast to Europe, where shopping malls are much more a product of public-private negotiation and funding, here in the US most were built under what I call ‘cowboy conditions’.”
Shopping centres in Europe might contain grocery stores or childcare centres, while those in Japan are often built around mass transit. But the suburban American variety is hard to get to and sells “apparel and gifts and damn little else”, Underhill says.
Nearly 700 shopping centres are “super-regional” megamalls, retail leviathans usually of at least 1 million square feet and upward of 80 stores. Megamalls typically outperform their 800 slightly smaller, “regional” counterparts, though size and financial health don’t overlap entirely. It’s clearer, however, that luxury malls in affluent areas are increasingly forcing the others to fight for scraps. Strip malls – up to a few dozen tenants conveniently lined along a major traffic artery – are retail’s bottom feeders and so well-suited to the new environment. But midmarket shopping centres have begun dying off alongside the middle class that once supported them. Regional malls have suffered at least three straight years of declining profit per square foot, according to the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC).

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Most of the windows in Rolling Acres shopping mall have been smashed. Photograph: Seph Lawless
The trend is especially noticeable in the Midwest, a former blue-collar bastion where ailing malls have begun dotting suburban landscapes. Outside of Chicago, Lakehurst Mall was levelled in 2004 and the half-vacant Lincoln Mall is costing its host village millions in botched redevelopment plans. Dixie Square Mall sat vacant for more than 30 years after serving as the backdrop for the iconic chase scene in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. It was finally demolished in 2012. Many others will similarly lie dormant as they wait for the wrecking ball.
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These hulking monuments to American consumer culture make up the subject of Lawless’ book Black Friday. The work includes photographs from Randall Park Mall, a Cleveland-area shopping centre being demolished after five years of vacancy, and Rolling Acres, to which the tattooed, mohawk-sporting photographer returned in late May.
Vandals have left none of the mall’s glass storefronts in tact – “kids coming in and breaking shit,” Lawless explains. Shattered skylights allow rain to fall inside and douse the musty hallways. Coupons offering $10 off at Radioshack, a retailer that announced the closure of up to 1,100 stores last year, are still scattered about the tile floors.
Built in 1975, when times were good, Rolling Acres and its 1.2 million square feet once boasted 140 stores. “All of Akron shopped at the megamall,” the Cleveland Plain-Dealer recalled. “Gone are the glory days.” A man was electrocuted in 2011 when trying to steal copper piping from the structure, and the body of a serial killer victim was found in a shallow grave behind the mall that same year.
The shopping centre sits on the nondescript outskirts of Akron, a shrinking city of 200,000 that’s a short drive south of Cleveland. Dubbed the “Rubber Capital of the World”, it hosted much of the country’s tire manufacturing industry in the 20th century. But it has faced economic hardship and a 30% drop in population over the past 50 years, just as nearby Cleveland took an even deeper plunge.
Formerly home to a slew of big-box stores, the area surrounding Rolling Acres has more recently attracted discount shops, storage warehouses and a recycling centre. The structure itself is drowning in a sea of cracked and fading asphalt, a parking lot that looks naked without the thousands of cars for which it was paved.

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Rolling Acres’ picnic place. Photograph: Seph Lawless
“Everyone has good memories of the malls. It was a happier time, essentially,” Lawless says over lunch in Cleveland, whose Arcade shopping centre downtown fell into foreclosure after the financial crisis. Initiatives to improve feeble malls often prove palliative, he adds, “because it’s about the communities, not just the malls.”
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Various estimates project dozens to hundreds of struggling US shopping centres will close in the next 20 years. It’s the “natural lifecycle of any business”, says Jesse Tron, a spokesman for the ICSC trade group. And it often mirrors the natural lifecycle of the surrounding community. “Demographics dry up,” he says. “Everyone felt the effects of the recession, but some places felt it far more than others. Does it mean that it’s difficult for retail to come back [there]? Yes. Does it mean that it won’t come back? No.”
Leaders in many towns that once fought for malls now grapple with how to inter their remains. Highland Mall in Austin, Texas, is being converted into a community college campus, and Lakeland Mall in Florida now houses a megachurch. Others have been redeveloped to include housing, offices and even green space. But it’s hard to envision many ageing malls, especially those in the Rust Belt, mustering demand for such transformations.
Driving past Northland Centre in Southfield, Michigan, unfamiliar passersby would have been hard-pressed to judge whether the mall had a pulse on recent afternoons. Located just past Detroit’s racially charged border at Eight Mile Road, the shopping centre opened to great fanfare in 1954. A New York Times article the next year estimated that it attracted 30,000 daily carloads of shoppers who “stroll about and window-shop just as they do on Fifth Avenue in New York”. The mall “created a new downtown”, the piece concluded.
That may be true, but not without helping destroy another. Some locals today point to Northland as the symbolic beginning of the end, an emblem of the postwar sprawl that gradually decimated Detroit. Indeed, the shopping centre heralded a new wave of malls in nearby suburbs – a dozen were built in southeast Michigan over the next 20 years. They drew consumers away from downtown shops like Hudson’s, once the second-largest department store in the world. The 410-foot titan was demolished in 1998, leaving young Detroiters with a block-long expanse of concrete as the only clue to its former grandeur.
For middle-class white people who fled Detroit in the boom years, Southfield was a prime destination: its population quadrupled between 1950 and 1980. But the well-off have continued sprawling to more distant suburbs – a trend that accelerated after 2000 – and poorer Detroiters have continued moving in to replace them. Northland Centre likewise stagnated; its last major update came in the early 1990s. Only two anchor stores remain, with the shell of another set to house a local church. Many local shoppers have turned toward more lustrous megamalls in outer suburbs.

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The North Randall Mall. Photograph: Seph Lawless
There used to be life in this place. It used to be where families would go on Christmas Eve for last-minute holiday shopping. It used to be where teenagers cutting class would dodge mall cops so they could pick up Dr Dre’s latest single. And it used to be where young, middle-class Detroiters like Betty Booth, wearing their Sunday best, would come for weekend outings. “It was an all-day event,” says Booth, who was a teenager when the mall opened. “This is where you met people.”
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Booth is the president of the Northland Pacers, a mall-walking club that gathers for morning exercise around the shopping centre’s one-mile perimeter. The club reached nearly 1,000 members in the 1980s, even garnering sponsorships from retailers. But the Pacers have withered alongside their namesake.
Northland was sold to a private real-estate investment company in late 2008 for a reported $31m, just a hair over its construction cost a half-century earlier. Though Northland’s occupancy hung near 70% at the time, the new owners Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp saw “great potential” in the mall, citing its location among a web of highways crisscrossing the densely populated metro area. But hope for the impending renovations has since dimmed. Five years after the sale, the management has yet to release any plans for Northland, and did not respond to a request for comment.
The mall’s structure, meanwhile, is growing increasingly antiquated. Its monstrous parking lots are crumbling. And its three- or four-level anchor stores have proven less viable than they once were, according to Terry Croad, Southfield’s director of planning. “The new owner has a good track record. They’ve got a portfolio with some big-ticket projects that are more in that lifestyle, pedestrian-oriented, indoor-outdoor sweet spot … But we haven’t seen much movement on their part here.”
And it shows. Employees at Northland’s stores appear to outnumber shoppers on a warm May afternoon, and Eminem’s Sing for the Moment blares from overhead speakers and bounces off the worn floors. Many of the mall’s tenants have departed over the years, leaving behind dark, vacant storefronts sadly reminiscent of the once-proud city on the other side of Eight Mile.
But Booth still arrives at Northland at 9:30 every morning to meet friends, most of them elderly women, and hold court. They meet in the food court, no less. For three or four hours, they share the latest news and gossip, including occasional whispers that the mall might close. “We always hear rumours about it happening, and it always scares us,” she says.

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The food court in the North Randall Mall. Photograph: Seph Lawless
Those rumours may be premature. There are no immediate plans to close Northland. But factors that could ease any sort of recovery seem unlikely to improve. While Detroit is no longer in socioeconomic free-fall, it has entered a prolonged slump with no end in sight. The same goes for many nearby suburbs that likewise relied on the motor industry. Five megamalls sit within a 45-minute drive of Southfield – all at least 20 years Northland’s junior – in addition to several smaller competitors. Violence in the shopping centre won’t help matters. One patron died this year while fighting security guards.
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Such signs only fuel Booth’s worries. Sipping coffee at a long line of tables surrounded by unlit shops, empty restaurants and the painted-over entrance to a former anchor store, she addresses most people who pass by name. Booth came of age when Americans went to malls not only to buy things, but also to shop. The pastime had its own peculiar type of social value, helping friends and strangers alike stay connected before the days of the internet.
Booth still needs that connection. She hesitates to walk in her northwest Detroit neighbourhood due to safety concerns. And while the city’s inner core has seen a modest revitalisation in recent years, it’s driven by young professionals of a social breed far different than hers. For Booth, Northland is still downtown, and the linoleum jungle is home. The mere mention of adapting to a new environment makes the 75-year-old shake her head.
“If this mall closed, I don’t know where we would go,” she says. “Where would we go?… This is where I meet my friends. We’ve been sitting here all these years, all in the same spot.”
Liz Abrom, a former president of the Northland Pacers who’s next to Booth and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with their group’s name, adds: “This was Detroit’s mall. And over the years, a lot of people picked up and left the city. The same thing happened to the mall.”
David Uberti is a writer based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @DavidUberti
Black Friday: the Collapse of the American Shopping Mall, by Seth Lawless, is available here.
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Guardian Pick
The information age has disrupted many aspects of industrial age life, but perhaps none more so than The Mall. Good riddance, I say. I can’t think of anything more soul-destroying than trudging around a strip-lit, concrete monstrosity out in Nowheresville.
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Since people are returning to live in city centers for the proximity of shopping and entertainment maybe what’s needed is to take some of those expansive parking lots next to the under performing malls and build condos and apartments. A similar concept can be found at the Reston Town Center in Northern Virginia outside DC. Few malls can survive without upgrading their brand as THE go-to destination. Two come to mind- SouthPark in Charlotte and Pe…
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DAILY SAVINGS TIME

 

  

Introduction
When we change our clocks
Incidents and anecdotes
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First there was Standard time
Early adoption
and U.S. law
Worldwide
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When we change our clocks
Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.
In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.
See more information about elsewhere in the world.
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Spring forward, Fall back
During DST, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

 
 
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Spelling and grammar
The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game, rather than as a savings account.
Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an ‘s’) flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.
Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.

When in the morning?
In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. In the EU, clocks change at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
In the United States, Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption. However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. At 2:00 a.m. in the fall, however, the time switches back one hour. So, can bars serve alcohol for that additional hour? Some states claim that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59 a.m., so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time. Other states solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until “two hours after midnight.” In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.
In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.

Some U.S. areas
For the U.S. and its territories, Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona. The Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states.

A safety reminder
Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because Daylight Saving Time provides a convenient reminder. “A working smoke detector more than doubles a person’s chances of surviving a home fire,” says William McNabb of the Troy Fire Department in Michigan. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

> For information about world calendars, see Calendars through the Ages.

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PHILIPINES DRUG WAR

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Duterte’s controversial drug war: 6 months, 6,000 deaths in the Philippines

Thomas Maresca, Special for USA TODAY Published 7:04 a.m. ET Jan. 6, 2017 | Updated 5:50 a.m. ET Jan. 9, 2017

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MANILA — Sammer Torculas had just returned home from playing with his children outside in Pandacan, a lower-middle-class district in the Philippine capital, when he heard a knock at the door.
Several men with guns drawn stormed into the house.
The target of the incident Dec. 7 was Torculas’ mother — an admitted dealer of shabu, the local name for crystal meth. Torculas’ girlfriend, Chilotte Flaviano, took their five kids into the bedroom. She heard loud voices, then gunfire.
Torculas, 27, died, struck by eight bullets on the street. Police said he fired first, but Flaviano insisted Torculas didn’t own a gun. His mother was arrested.
Like many cases in the Philippines’ war on drugs, details are murky, and no official police report has been produced. All that is left behind is fear over how Flaviano will raise the young children.
“What are my options right now?” she asked. “I’m the only one left.”
Duterte backs off claim he tossed man from helicopter — sort of

Similar scenes have played out here and in other cities under President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial drug war. The total body count of suspected drug dealers or users tops 6,000. More than 2,000 were killed in police operations, and the other 4,000 died in vigilante or extrajudicial killings.
Duterte has made the drug war his signature issue. After taking office June 30, he vowed to clean up the problem in six months. He recently told a local news station that he had “miscalculated” and that the problem was larger than he realized. He vowed to continue the drug war “until the last pusher is out in the streets, until the last drug lord is killed.”
The spate of killings has drawn condemnation from human rights groups that contend many of the deaths amount to illegal executions.
Duterte — who boasted to the BBC in December that he personally killed three suspects while mayor of the southern city of Davao — has remained defiant. He called the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein an “idiot” for suggesting the president be investigated for murder after that admission.
As nightly images on television show bodies lying in the streets, public support for Duterte’s approach is strong. A poll in December by Philippine research group Social Weather Stations found 85% of Filipinos were satisfied with the anti-drug operations.
But 78% of respondents said they feared that they or someone they know would be killed in the wave of extrajudicial killings. There have been numerous news accounts of bystanders killed in shootouts or unrelated killings taking place under the cover of Duterte’s drug war.
One widely publicized example was the killing of Mark Anthony Culata, 27, in October in the town of Tanza in Cavite. Culata’s body was found mutilated, taped up and bearing a sign that read, “I am a pusher.”
Culata had no record of drug use and was scheduled to head back to Saudi Arabia, where he worked. A surveillance video showed him being picked up by police, and many in his family are convinced his death was connected to a jealous policeman who was dating Culata’s ex-girlfriend.
Eva Culata, the slain man’s mother, said the family didn’t want his name to be forgotten. “We want to seek justice for Mark,” she said. “He does not deserve to die like this.”
The National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine’s FBI, is looking into the incident, and four policemen from the town were suspended in September.
Police and criminal violence predates Duterte’s presidency, according to Philippine Sen. Richard Gordon, who led a judicial committee that cleared Duterte of culpability for the extrajudicial killings in December. Gordon said the president’s rhetoric inflames the violence, but its roots run deeper.
“I think people have missed the point that our system is rotten,” Gordon said. “The whole prosecution system is rotten. The whole investigation system is rotten. There’s not enough money for more investigators. There’s not enough money for crime laboratories. There’s too many passes being issued to people who do crime, and that’s what gives them impunity.”
The public’s distrust and frustration with the system allows Duterte’s message to resonate, said John Gershman, a professor of public service at New York University and an expert on the Philippines.
“I think he’s effectively tapped into this dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system,” Gershman said.
Perhaps the biggest question looming over Duterte’s drug war is whether he will win it. Duterte claims the country of 102 million has 4 million drug users and is in danger of turning into a narco-state. Many drug policy experts say that without a public health approach to addiction, drugs and crime will not go away.
“You can’t kill your way out of this problem or jail your way out of this problem,” said Sanho Tree, director of the drug policy program at the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Washington. “You can temporarily drive down the market or suppress it, but the moment you let up the pressure — because you haven’t treated these people — it’s going to cause a huge backlash.”
A comparison can be drawn to nearby Thailand, which launched a crackdown on drugs in 2003, killing 2,800 people during the first three months of a campaign by then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The campaign initially reduced drug consumption, but the prison population soared, and methamphetamine use rose again.
Thai Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya recently proposed that meth be taken off the list of dangerous narcotics, saying measures to suppress drug use have failed.
“Once Duterte has driven away or killed a lot of these gang members, he’s creating turf wars that eventually will come back to haunt him and haunt Philippine society in my opinion,” Tree said.
Many living in drug-ravaged neighborhoods in Manila said they feel safer. Others who have seen the violence up close were fearful.
“I’m afraid now,” Flaviano said. “Anyone could be a victim. … All of a sudden, you could be next.”

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The company that built the United States’ first offshore wind farm says the powerful storm that hit the Northeast this week was a chance to go “full throttle” and put the turbines through their paces.
Deepwater Wind says all five turbines off Rhode Island operated at full capacity during much of Tuesday’s nor’easter.
It says the wind farm automatically powered down for several hours when the sustained wind speeds exceeded 55 mph, the designated limit. Winds got as high as 70 mph.

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E-CIGARETTES

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Some e-cigarettes are designed to look like regular tobacco cigarettes, but there are many different styles. © kitiara65/iStock/Thinkstock

Despite our growing knowledge that smoking tobacco is bad for us more than 40 million Americans are cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes is known to cause damage to every organ in your body, and smoking-related illnesses are responsible for one out of every five deaths in the U.S. [source: CDC]. But nearly 70 percent of smokers report they want to quit, and a little more than 42 percent say they’ve tried to quit during the past year [source: CDC]. In 2009 there was a 10 percent decrease in cigarette sales in the U.S., and while that directly followed an increase in the federal cigarette tax, it’s not only price that’s changing the habits of American smokers. Electronic cigarettes (known also as e-cigarettes) have also contributed. Global sales of smokeless tobacco products, including smokeless inhalers, has grown to nearly $3 billion — and continues to grow. In an attempt to quit the tobacco habit as many as one-fifth of smokers have tried e-cigarettes [source: Ross].
E-cigarettes were first developed in China and were introduced to the U.S. market in 2007. Many are similar enough in appearance to be mistaken for regular tobacco cigarettes. But one look inside and you’ll see the main difference: This is a tobacco-free product. E-cigs are actually vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, the mechanism heats up a liquid. The liquid turns into vapor, which is then inhaled, or “vaped.” While some argue that vapor offers health advantages over traditional cigarette smoke, regulatory agencies and some health experts aren’t so sure that’s true. Before you consider taking up the e-cigarette habit, read on to get the facts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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BARRIS/ THE GONG SHOW

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Chuck Barris, ‘Gong Show’ host who claimed he was a CIA assassin, dies at 87

Jayme Deerwester , USA TODAY Published 5:18 a.m. ET March 22, 2017 | Updated 14 hours ago

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Chuck Barris, the man who gave us game shows like The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, has died at 87.
Publicist Paul Shefrin, speaking on behalf of Barris’ family, confirmed to the Associated Press that the self-proclaimed “King of Daytime Television” died at his home in Palisades Park, N.Y.
Born in Philadelphia in 1929, Charles Barris had a hardscrabble youth after his dentist father died of a stroke, leaving his family destitute.

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He graduated from what is now Drexel University in 1953 and worked odd jobs until he found his way into television through a short-lived entry level position at NBC, which he followed with a gig at ABC. It was there that he began building his game-show empire.
During this period, Barris wrote the 1962 hit song Palisades Park, which was recorded by Freddy Cannon, but his true calling was game shows.
He made an immediate impact on the genre with The Dating Game, which premiered in 1966 and featured a young woman or man posing  tongue-in-cheek risqué questions to three prospective dates who were hidden behind a screen. Jim Lange served as the original host and Chuck Woolery emceed the show during its final years.
The Dating Game also introduced several future celebrities to the audience, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sally Field, John Ritter and a pre-Charlie’s Angels Farrah Fawcett.
Barris also created and hosted The Gong Show (1976-1980), which was synonymous with 1970s game-show kitsch.
The Gong Show, a progenitor of America’s Got Talent, repackaged vaudeville for TV, with assorted acts of varying talent levels auditioning on air. Instead of receiving three strikes and being torn to shreds by Simon Cowell, Barris would beat a gong and the condemned performer would be mocked by B-list celebs.
A number of stars avoided getting gonged and went on to become famous: comedians Steve Martin and Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens; country musician BoxCar Willie; Cheryl Lynn, who would go on to record the disco hit Got to Be Real; and Andrea McArdle, who would originate the title role of Annie on Broadway in 1977.
Barris was the Mark Burnett of his day, supplying network TV with 27 hours worth of game-show programming at his peak. But by 1980, he realized his heyday was coming to an end and sold his production company for a reported $100 million.

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Chuck Barris, whose game show empire included The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and that infamous factory of cheese, The Gong Show, has died at 87.  Ron Tom, NBC, NBC via Getty Images

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His next undertaking, movie production, was not as successful and his Gong Show Movie adaptation stayed in theaters for only one week.
That brought on a crisis of confidence and Barris holed up in a New York hotel for two months writing his 1984 memoir Confessions of A Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed to have been a CIA assassin. It was adapted into a 2002 film directed by George Clooney.
He would write three other books, including 1993’s The Game Show King: A Confession and 2004’s Bad Grass Never Dies: A Sequel to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Its claims that a game-show host spent his spare time traveling the world taking out bad guys were met with raised eyebrows.
“It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years,” quipped CIA spokesman Tom Crispell. “Chuck Barris has never been employed by the CIA and the allegation that he was a hired assassin is absurd.”
Barris took the CIA’s response as tacit confirmation, noting, “Have you ever heard the CIA acknowledge someone was an assassin?”
Barris was married three times: first to Lyn Levy, the niece of a CBS founder, which lasted from 1957-1976. The marriage produced Barris’ only child, daughter Della, who died of a drug overdose in 1998 at age 36.
In 2010, he wrote about her substance-abuse struggles in Della: A Memoir of My Daughter.
In 1980, he married Robin Altman; they divorced in 1999 and he married his third and final wife, Mary, in 2000.
That year, he also suffered a health crisis: part of one lung had to be removed due to cancer and a post-operative infection led to a month in intensive care.
Contributing: Joscelyn Payne and Bob Thomas, Associated Press
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NAKED NEWS

March 23, 2017
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Victoria Sinclair Become a fan
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Uncovering Naked News
Posted: 09/26/2013 4:01 pm EDT Updated: 11/26/2013 5:12 am EST

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Nudity is everywhere these days, and there is just about any kind you may or may not want, so why does Naked News continue to endure some 14 years after it burst onto the scene in 1999?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about… here’s a cheat sheet. Naked News is a 20-minute daily internet broadcast program that presents current events delivered by a crew of delightfully naked and cheerful women. Over the course of a decade the show has evolved from a five-minute snippet delivered by a cast of one (yours truly); it grew to its longer format with four strong iconic women within a year. In those early days the familiar news style was very formal and the women imitated that so perfectly that the nudity was indeed shocking. It was an impish poke at what had become a slightly stuffy industry with an additional satirical bent in the form of gleeful political jokes embedded in the graphics – a frequently missed subtlety. A CNN executive once stated that the industry could take its cue from Naked News, a thought that was widely misunderstood and probably meant to express the need for a break in tradition to keep the audience engaged. That break in tradition was further carried out by such shows as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
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Today the Naked News program, under its current producer, has expanded its program to offer 10 colourful hosts presenting a wide variety of topics. Some new offerings include Nerd specialist Kat Curtis, and many segments that include interacting with the public either topless or nude, plus interviews with authors, musicians and performers.
Naked News is a genuine child of the internet, its existence justified through the simple democracy of people choosing to watch. Perhaps a viewer watches at first out of curiosity, then many stay and enjoy the rarity of nudity personified, not objectified. It is certainly a friendly and welcoming environment, where you also get caught up on what’s going on in your world. Nothing wrong with that.
Over time of course, audience desires and expectations change, especially now in the face of social media where the viewer is accustomed to having a participatory voice. While Naked News enjoys a loyal core following, there is a struggle to reinvent ourselves and stay relevant. The question of whether that is possible at all, is explored quite thoroughly by the docuseries Naked News Uncovered by AllScreen Entertainment airing on Superchannel.
Through the deft touch and relentless gaze of Barrie Cohen and Allan Novak, the last remaining veil shrouding Naked News is swept aside to expose what was once a closed system. Now available to the public, for better or for worse, are the inner workings of the once wildly successful Naked News company. Allscreen Entertainment is presenting the public with a clear eyed, objective view of our news organization’s daily life. Previously unseen are the elements that bring you Naked News, from the invisible owner to the producer, the editing and camera departments, and of course, the writers. In this era of hyper sharing through social media and reality shows, it appears to be time to share with our fans and perhaps new friends, who we really are. It is a risk of course, to spread your secrets before the world, and I do flinch from the unsparing editing, but at the end of the day, I truly have nothing to hide.
Naked News Uncovered airs on Mondays at 11 pm EST on Super Channel.
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FEARLESS GIRL

State Street: Why we commissioned the Wall St. ‘Fearless Girl’

The Wall Street bull has company.
Early on Tuesday morning, State Street Global Advisors installed a statue of a defiant girl, with hands on her hips, chin high and pony tail out, in front of the charging bull.

The bronze statue, entitled “Fearless Girl,” was installed a day ahead of International Women’s Day.
“Fearless Girl” is designed to call attention to a new initiative by the asset-manager to increase the number of women on their clients’ corporate boards.
Related: See more of the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue

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“Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action,” Ron O’Hanley, president and CEO of SSGA said in a statement. “A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise.”

SSGA invests in more than 3,500 companies in the U.S., UK and Australia. Altogether, it represents more than $30 trillion in market capitalization.
O’Hanley detailed the initiative in a keynote speech delivered at the Corporate Governance Symposium on Tuesday.
We wanted to highlight the power of women in leadership. So we made room in the one place business couldn’t ignore. pic.twitter.com/SrOmEMynNj
— State Street (@StateStreet) March 7, 2017

“Certain research shows that companies with greater levels of gender diversity have had stronger financial performance as well as fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles and fraud,” he said.
The statue will remain in its place for at least a week.

CNNMoney (New York)

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