December 5, 2018 in 2,297 words


Setting my mood • • •


‘We’re one community’: border cities fear Trump’s crackdown

Those who live and work in the US and Mexico worry hardline immigration enforcement will erode their cross-border lifestyle

Above: People attempting to cross into the US look on by their vehicles as the San Ysidro port of entry stands closed at the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico.


The San Ysidro port of entry is the busiest land border crossing in the world, a fortress of concrete, steel and concertina wire through which some 70,000 cars and 20,000 pedestrians travel each day.

They include tourists, migrants, and long-distance truckers, but also commuters: people who begin and end their day in San Diego, with a trip to Tijuana to have lunch with family – or who live south of the border, but travel every day through San Ysidro to work in the US.

And, as Donald Trump turns up the heat on America’s southern frontier, they are wondering if the president’s hardline immigration enforcement will erode their cross-border lifestyle.

Andrea Guerrero, the executive director of the community group Alliance San Diego, told the Guardian that Tijuana and San Diego are “one community, with one heart”.

“Our future and our potential is tied together and we feel together,” Guerrero said. “We feel together when there is pain and we feel together when there is hope.”


California wildfires accelerated climate change as much as a whole year of power use

CARBON FOOTPRINT


The 2018 fire season amounted to 15% of the state’s total emissions.

California’s 2018 fire season, including the largest fire in state history, released nearly as much climate-warming and air-polluting emissions as a year’s worth of electricity use there.

The wildfires released 68 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, according to the US Geological Survey, or 15% of the state’s total emissions. For comparison, all electricity use in California in 2016 produced roughly 76 million tons in emissions.

Those figures were the highlights of a Nov. 30 statement from the Interior Department that blamed the wildfires largely on forest-management practices. The statement echoed a tweet from US president Donald Trump that there is “no reason” for the fires except “poor” forest management.

“There’s too much dead and dying timber in the forest, which fuels these catastrophic fires,” Interior secretary Ryan Zinke wrote in the statement. “Proper management of our forests, to include small prescribed burns, mechanical thinning, and other techniques, will improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires, while also helping curb the carbon emissions. The intensity and range of these fires indicate we can no longer ignore proper forest management.”

Fire officials, scientists, and California government officials have all rebuked this sentiment. Fire officials note that it also mischaracterizes the problem: Many of the burns were not in forests at all.


Rudy Giuliani’s typo became an anti-Trump message. He blamed Twitter, but this Atlanta man pranked him.

Trump’s new lawyer has not helped wind down the Russian election interference probe and may have entangled Trump in more legal trouble.

Jason Velazquez instantly noticed something wasn’t quite right with one of the tweets from Rudolph W. Giuliani.

It was Friday and President Trump’s lawyer had issued yet another missive criticizing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But unlike Giuliani’s other tweets, one pesky missing space between two sentences turned previously normal text into a bright blue hyperlink.

“I kind of chuckled a little bit that he created this accidental link,” Velazquez, 37, told The Washington Post in a phone interview Tuesday. The Atlanta-based digital marketing director said he “knew immediately that it was just a typo,” but that didn’t stop him from clicking on the link.

Velazquez didn’t know it at the time, but this was just the beginning of what would become a viral social media prank that resulted in Giuliani’s typo being used to send an anti-Trump message: “Donald J. Trump is a traitor to our country.” The stunt infuriated Giuliani, who falsely blamed Twitter Tuesday for allowing “someone to invade my text,” prompting many to mock the president’s cybersecurity adviser for his lack of tech savvy.

DEGREE OF OPPORTUNITY: After clicking on the link, Velazquez realized no one owned the domain. What to do, what to do?


Be sure to click the hyperlink. I laughed.


5 Remarkably Stupid Ideas Silicon Valley Keeps Falling For

The tech world has brought us some incredible, world-changing ideas, like the website where your weird aunt tries to sell you weight-loss products, or the app that tells you what Rob Schneider had for breakfast. Miracles, truly miracles. But even the most innovative industry can be vulnerable to outright bad ideas. And tech? Hoo boy, does tech have its share of those. Here’s but a sampling …

5. “Throw Free Money At Customers” Is Now A Business Model


The main lesson tech learned from Uber isn’t “People will happily ride alone with a potential serial killer solely to avoid public transportation,” but instead “Investors don’t care if your company loses money, as long as it keeps growing.” This has created a new type of company where the entire business model is basically: 1) round up some cash, 2) give it away to customers without any real hope of making it back, and 3) nobody knows. Here’s a topical example:

Recently rebranded “MoviePast.”

MoviePass’ whole deal was buying movie tickets at full price, then selling them to subscribers for a tiny fraction of that. Anyone familiar with the concept of “math” will see a problem there. They seriously figured they could make a profit off of people who bought subscriptions but didn’t use them, like a gym membership (forgetting that most people actually enjoy movies).

Then there was car sale site, Beepi, which would hire mechanics to check and detail your car, sell the service for a small commission, and deliver it to the buyer with a bow on the front. They threw $150 million at this (must have been some fancy-ass bows) before going out of business.

But the king of “burning through investor cash without a clear idea of how to make it back” is music streaming.


How Shared Hatred Helps You Make Friends

People form quick and close bonds over shared dislikes — especially when what the hate is another person.

You’re meeting someone for the first time — a friend of a friend. She seems pleasant. She mentions her love of burrito bowls and HGTV. You like burrito bowls. You like HGTV. This seems like a person you can get along with. But then she leans forward and, lowering her voice, confides that your mutual pal has been driving her nuts lately. Five minutes of shit-talking later, and you feel like you have a new best friend.

Since at least the 1940s, social psychologists have recognized that shared opinions — negative, as well as positive — can facilitate bonding between two strangers. But it was always assumed that if two people don’t know each other well, sharing positive attitudes is the best way to form a relationship. Negativity is a turnoff as well as a faux pas — or so the thinking went.

But a handful of recent studies have turned some of this conventional wisdom on its head. Sharing negative attitudes with someone — and, in particular, sharing negative opinions about other people – seems to be among the quickest and most effective ways for two strangers to form a bond. If you want to cozy up to someone, there may be no better way to do it than to gossip about the people you both hate.

“Similarity is a big attractor in general, so I don’t want to downplay the effectiveness of sharing likes,” says Jennifer Bosson, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. “But learning that you share a negative attitude has a stronger effect and facilitates liking more.”


Can Compassion Be Taught?

Researchers are developing programs that promise to teach people how to be better.

By now, the news cycle is familiar: The United States is using tear gas on asylum seekers. Hundreds of migrant children remain separated from their families. A professor’s office is vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

It’s easy to feel like we’re living in a social climate increasingly unconcerned with the suffering of others. A frequently cited 2009 study suggests that people may be getting less empathetic over time, and as politics, current affairs, and rhetoric fuel anger and polarization, it can certainly seem like we’re becoming a less compassionate society.

Can that change?

* * *

There are a lot of factors, including wealth, religion, and whether you experienced childhood trauma, that contribute to how we feel about others and our desire to help them. A 2018 study even suggested that genes may play a role in empathy, arguing that genetics accounts for 10 percent of individual differences in empathy.

Empathy, compassion, and altruism are often lumped together. And while they’re linked, they have different meanings. Empathy describes an emotion you feel when you observe it in another person. For instance, you might be able to feel pain when someone else is injured.

“Compassion is a more positive, other-directed emotion,” says Anne Böckler-Raettig, an assistant professor at Würzburg University’s Institute of Psychology in Germany. It’s feeling the suffering of others and the desire to help. Altruism is “the tendency to behave in a way that enhances the well-being of another person.”


Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

Unbeknownst to many Americans, there is one legal scenario in which the president’s power substantially increases. This is the moment he declares a national emergency.

Although Congress has passed more than 100 provisions that outline the power that the president gains in this circumstance—such as the ability to shut down media channels or take them over, and the deployment of military troops inside the United States—there is no legal definition of a national emergency. There is no requirement that Congress ratify the decision. There is no judicial review.

In other words, the decision to invoke emergency powers is left entirely to the president’s discretion.

“The legal powers available to the president during a national emergency are ripe for abuse,” argues Elizabeth Goitein, an Atlantic contributor and a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, in a new Atlantic Argument.

“In practice, we’ve been relying on presidents to exercise self-restraint, and hoping the courts will step in if they don’t,” she says. “That’s a gamble we can no longer take.”

In the video, Goitein goes on to explain how authoritarian leaders across the globe have sought to consolidate power in this way. She also explains the ways in which Congress may be able to step in and provide better protections against abuse, lest the president decide to threaten our democracy.

For more, read Goitein’s article, “What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency,” in the January/February 2019 issue of The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/…


An attack ad made by George Bush’s supporters for his 1988 presidential campaign is infamous for stoking racial fears. The ad served as a precursor to the racially charged politics of today.


The new president of Mexico was installed on Saturday, amid rising violence in Juarez. More than 10 years after the war on drugs was launched in Mexico, VICE News looks at current state of Mexican drug cartels as a new president prepares to take office on December 1, and a new phase in the drug war begins.

THANKS to HBO and VICE News for making this program available on YouTube.


The President announced a trade deal with China that hasn’t yet been signed, sealed, delivered, or described in any detail whatsoever.


Votes were cast in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district and now doubt is being cast on the results.

THANKS to CBS and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert for making this program available on YouTube.


CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

Me critical analysis of people getting f#%ked up running with the bulls in Spain (EDIT: Nah, Portugal by the sounds! Cheers). Some bloody big hits taken here ey.


誕生日の特別企画として、2009年のビデオを使って作りました。 As a special plan of Maru’s birthday, I made “I am Maru 2.” with videos of 2009.


FINALLY . . .

9-year-old Dane Best’s bid to end Severance’s ban on snowball fights pushed onto the national stage


Kyle Rietkerk’s phone rang all day Monday. He was called into work at 11 p.m., and stayed until 2 a.m. Tuesday for interviews with national news outlets. That’s nothing, he said, compared to how many phone calls Brooke Best — the mother of the Severance 9-year-old who got the town to reverse a rule that banned snowball fights — received all day Tuesday.

“Her phone has not stopped ringing. I’m not exaggerating,” he said. “She gets off one phone interview and does another.”

Dane Best, Brooke Best’s son, convinced the Severance Town Board on Monday to repeal a ban on snowball fights, a story that has received a flurry of attention from news outlets as far away as London. Rietkerk said the family was tired Tuesday — and Dane stayed home from school to do interviews — but they’re excited about all of the attention Dane’s story has received.

For more than a month, Rietkerk, the assistant to Severance’s town manager, and other town officials have been encouraging Dane to present research to the town board to repeal the ordinance’s language.

He came prepared to the meeting Monday, telling the town board snowball fights are what the world pictures when they think of Colorado.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: “Today’s kids need a reason to play outside.”


Ed. More tomorrow? Possibly. Maybe. Probably Not? Groundhog Day. Sorry. It will happen again.