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Trump’s Campaign Is Launching a Nightly News Show on Facebook

‘Members of the media quickly seized on the event, calling it a test drive for Trump TV, the post-election television network that Trump is rumored to be considering in the event he loses in November. Despite reports that his son-in-law has been talking to media dealmakers about Trump TV, Trump himself has denied he has any interest in such a thing…’

Source: WIRED

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California to Vote On Wiping Old Weed Arrests

‘California’s ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana could be a beacon of hope for anyone with a criminal record for using or possessing weed.Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. But it would also allow judges to resentence individuals convicted of weed-related crimes, and for the destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. That’s important because about 15,000 to 20,000 people in California are arrested every year for misdemeanor and felony marijuana crimes, according to an August report by the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy non-profit…’

Source: Motherboard

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America’s founders screwed up when they designed the presidency. Donald Trump is exhibit A.

It is quite easy to portray Trump as an “anti-constitutional” candidate. It can well be doubted that he has ever seriously read or thought about the document, and he exhibits dangerously dictatorial tendencies that we hope are precluded by the Constitution. But we should realize that his candidacy also tells us things we might not wish to hear about the Constitution and its political order in the 21st century. In his own way, he may be the canary in the coal mine, and the question is whether we will draw the right lessons from his improbable candidacy and his apparent ability to garner the votes of at least 40 percent of the American public…’

Source: Sanford V. Levinson, professor of law and government at the University of Texas Austin, Vox

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The battle for the Senate is coming down to the wire

‘Donald Trump’s campaign seems to be going down in flames — but it’s still far from clear how much that will help Democratic candidates in their effort to retake the Senate. Democrats would need a net gain of four seats to retake the chamber if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. And right now, they’re already likely to win two Republican-held seats, with five more looking like toss-ups. Then there is just one Democratic seat that appears to be up for grabs. So depending on how those six toss-up races go, Democrats seem likely to end up with a net gain of anywhere between one and seven seats. And the difference between 47 Democratic Senate seats and 53 could be enormously consequential for a Clinton administration’s agenda and the balance of power on the Supreme Court…’

Source:  Vox

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John Cleese & Jonathan Miller Turn Profs Talking About Wittgenstein Into a Classic Comedy Routine (1977)

‘Everyone interested in philosophy must occasionally face the question of how, exactly, to define philosophy itself. You can always label as philosophy whatever philosophers do — but what, exactly, do philosophers do? Here the English comedians John Cleese of Monty Python and Jonathan Miller of Beyond the Fringe offer an interpretation of the life of modern philosophers in the form of a five-minute sketch set in “a senior common room somewhere in Oxford (or Cambridge).”

There, Cleese and Miller’s philosophers have a wide-ranging talk about Ludwig Wittgenstein, senses of the word “yes,” whether an “unfetched slab” can be said to exist, and the very role of the philosopher in this “heterogeneous, confusing, and confused jumble of political, social, and economic relations we call society.” …’

Source: Open Culture

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Jimi Hendrix Plays “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” for The Beatles, Just Three Days After the Album’s Release (1967)

‘There are many ways to celebrate a new album from a band you admire. You can have a listening party alone. You can have a listening party with friends. You can learn the title track in a couple days and play it onstage while the band you admire sits in the audience. That last one might be overkill. Unless you’re Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was so excited after the UK release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 that he opened a set at London’s Saville Theater with his own, Hendrix-ified rendition of the album’s McCartney-penned title song. In the audience: McCartney and George Harrison.

It’s a loose, good-natured tribute that, as you might imagine, made quite an impression on the Beatles in attendance. “It’s still obviously a shining memory for me,” McCartney recalled many years later, “because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you’d put it in, but he just opened with it. It’s a pretty major compliment in anyone’s book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career.” …’

 

Source: Open Culture

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When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem “The Raven”

‘Poe reviewed the first four chapters of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge for Graham’s Magazine, predicting the end of the novel and finding out later he was correct when he reviewed it again upon completion. He was particularly taken with one character: a chatty raven named Grip who accompanies the simple-minded Barnaby. Poe described the bird as “intensely amusing,” points out Atlas Obscura, and also wrote that Grip’s “croaking might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama.”

It chanced the following year the two literary greats would meet, when Poe learned of Dickens’ trip to the U.S.; he wrote to the novelist, and the two briefly exchanged letters (which you can read here). Along with Dickens on his six-month journey were his wife Catherine, his children, and Grip, his pet raven. When the two writers met in person, writes Lucinda Hawksley at the BBC, Poe “was enchanted to discover [Grip, the character] was based on Dickens’s own bird.” …’

Source: Open Culture

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Seeing and Saying

‘New York radio station WQXR used to inflict this pronunciation test on prospective announcers — try reading it aloud:

The old man with the flaccid face and dour expression grimaced when asked if he were conversant with zoology, mineralogy, or the culinary arts. ‘Not to be secretive,’ he said, ‘I may tell you that I’d given precedence to the study of genealogy. But since my father’s demise, it has been my vagary to remain incognito because of an inexplicable, lamentable, and irreparable family schism. It resulted from a heinous crime, committed at our domicile by an impious scoundrel. To err is human … but this affair was so grievous that only my inherent acumen and consummate tact saved me.’

It’s a minefield. In Another Almanac of Words at Play, Willard R. Espy lists the pronunciations that were considered correct:

  • flaccid FLACK-sid
  • inexplicable in-EX-plic-able
  • dour DOO-er
  • lamentable LAM-entable
  • grimaced gri-MACED
  • irreparable ear-REP-arable
  • conversant KON-ver-sant
  • schism SIZ-m
  • zoology zoh-OL-o-ji
  • heinous HAY-nus
  • mineralogy miner-AL-o-ji
  • domicile DOMM-i-sil
  • culinary KEW-li-ner-y
  • impious IM-pee-yus
  • secretive see-KEE-tiv
  • precedence pre-SEED-ens
  • grievous GREEV-us
  • genealogy jan-e-AL-o-ji
  • inherent in-HERE-ent
  • demise de-MIZE
  • acumen a-KEW-men
  • vagary va-GAIR-y
  • consummate (adj.) kon-SUMM-it
  • incognito in-KOG-ni-toe

Getting 20 of the 25 “stumpers” right was considered excellent. But that was 40 years ago, and even at the time Espy found 21 dictionary listings that accepted different pronunciations. “So not to worry when you don’t sound like WQXR,” he wrote. “One man’s AB-do-men is another man’s ab-DOUGH-men.”

Source: Futility Closet

I certainly would not have cut the mus-TARD at WQXR! I would have pronounced at least 12 of them differently:

  • flaccid FLA-sid
  • inexplicable in-ex-PLIC-able
  • lamentable lam-ENT-able
  • grimaced GRI-maced
  • conversant con-VER-sant
  • secretive SEE-kre-tiv
  • precedence PRE-sed-ens
  • vagary VEY-gar-y
  • consummate KON-summ-it
  • incognito in-kog-NI-toe

 

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The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle May Finally Be Solved

‘This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes. The Bermuda Triangle lore includes such stories as that of Flight 19, a group of 5 U.S. torpedo bombers that vanished in the Triangle in 1945. A rescue plane sent to look for them also disappeared. Other stories include the mystery of USS Cyclops, resulting in the largest non-combat loss of life in U.S. Navy’s history. The ship with a crew of 309 went missing in 1918. Even as recently as 2015, El Faro, a cargo ship with 33 on board vanished in the area.

Altogether, as far as we know, 75 planes and hundreds of ships met their demise in the Bermuda Triangle. Possible causes for the catastrophes have been proposed over time, ranging from the paranormal, electromagnetic interference that causes compass problems, bad weather, the gulf stream, and large undersea fields of methane.

Now, a new theory has been proposed by meteorologists…’

Source: Big Think

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R.I.P. Tom Hayden

Civil Rights and Antiwar Activist Turned Lawmaker, Dies at 76

‘As a civil rights worker, he was beaten in Mississippi and jailed in Georgia. In his cell he began writing what became the Port Huron Statement, the political manifesto of S.D.S. and the New Left that envisioned an alliance of college students in a peaceful crusade to overcome what it called repressive government, corporate greed and racism. Its aim was to create a multiracial, egalitarian society.

Like his allies the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in 1968, Mr. Hayden opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations, like the occupation of Columbia University campus buildings by students and the burning of draft cards. He also helped plan protests that, as it happened, turned into clashes with the Chicago police outside the Democratic convention…’

Source: The New York Times obituary