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In-N-Out Burger

The NCAA's business model is about to collapse – and that's good

ncaa college football 2014 ea sports cover

The NCAA's business model is about to collapse – and that's good

Scott Lemieux (correct for byline)

Scott Lemieux

An almost radical court ruling has only one downside: it didn't go far enough to pay student-athletes for the sham that is 'amateur' college athletics

The ruling didn’t go far enough: there are still far too stringent caps on how players can be compensated, and the judge permitted the NCAA to maintain its indefensible ban on third party payments to players. But, not unlike the first tentative state court opinions requiring states to make civil unions available to same-sex couples in lieu of marriage, the biggest NCAA ruling in this era of backlash could have a ripple effect and eventually reverse their increasingly unpopular standards. Or, it’s possible that the ruling will allow the NCAA to tinker with, but maintain, a terrible system: the implications of the ruling are too unclear to be sure.

But given that the NCAA’s professed commitment to “amateurism” is an increasingly farcical sham that allows administrators and even comically inept coaches to rake in massive amounts of money while players get paid a fraction of their value, that judgment day can’t come soon enough.

The NCAA’s position in the suit, brought by a group of athletes led by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, was two-fold: that restrictions on both the direct compensation of players (currently limited to scholarships that in many cases do not even cover the full cost of attending school) and the ban on third-party compensation were justified by the NCAA’s commitment to “amateurism”. This is the same NCAA which generously offered its athletes “unlimited meals” earlier this year after one of its stars admitted to going hungry after games because the league’s commitment to amateurism that doesn’t extend to the many people and organizations who profit from those very amateurs. The NCAA is only committed to amateurism insofar as it’s committed to the nearly $900m in annual revenues that it makes off “student-athletes”.

 
Mike Lupica: Death of Kevin Ward Jr.

Death of Kevin Ward Jr. blamed on rivalry he had with NASCAR champ Tony Stewart

Death of Kevin Ward Jr. is a tragedy fueled by rage and need to be fastest

Mike Lupica

There have been so many incidents when one driver went after another after a race, because of the kind of collision we got with Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. Saturday night. Usually it all happens after the race, when both men are out of their cars. But this one happened when Ward got out of his car and walked into traffic, pointing at Stewart, who was in his car racing down the track.

We will never know what Ward was thinking in the last moments of a young life, what he thought was going to happen once he got out of his car and took even a few steps onto that track, and into traffic. Only Stewart knows what he was thinking when the car in front of him was out of the way and there was Kevin Ward Jr., who imagined about having the kind of life because of fast cars that Tony Stewart, NASCAR champ, has had.

 
50 Million New Reasons BuzzFeed Wants to Take Its Content Far Beyond Lists

50 Million New Reasons BuzzFeed Wants to Take Its Content Far Beyond Lists

“As we grow, how can we maintain a culture that can still be entrepreneurial?” said Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. “What if a Hollywood studio or a news organization was run like a start-up?”

 
Simplifying the Bull: How Picasso Helps to Teach Apple’s Style

Simplifying the Bull: How Picasso Helps to Teach Apple’s Style

Inside Apple’s Internal Training Program


Taking a Cue From Picasso

Apple has religiously embodied the notion that function and beauty come from elegant simplicity, and teachers in its internal training program sometimes point to a collection of Picasso lithographs that artfully illustrate the drive to boil down an idea to its most essential components.

 
Bull images by Art Resource, NY; 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

That drive can be seen in many of Apple's endeavors today, including its product marketing and the design and ergonomics of its mouse.

 
Jimmy Carter, the pariah president

Former President Jimmy Carter has co-written an op-ed criticizing Israel's actions in Gaza. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) .  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Jimmy Carter, the pariah president

Outcast finds a career as a cheerleader for Israel’s enemy

Editorial

Jimmy Carter complains that he “don’t get no respect” from Barack Obama, who never calls him for advice. But why should the former president expect more from Mr. Obama than he gets from everybody else? Last week, Mr. Carter busied himself accusing Israel of “war crimes” for defending itself against the rockets and artillery barrages of Hamas, which the United States officially regards as a terrorist organization.

“There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict,” wrote the former president for Foreign Policy magazine, which was a curious assertion for a man who once boasted of his experience as a “nukular” engineer, since “nukular” weapons by definition are designed to kill mostly civilians. “These are war crimes,” he continued. “This is true for both sides. Hamas’ indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians.”

Mr. Carter, writing with Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, wants to be Mr. Fix-it. He prescribes American and European recognition of Hamas as “not just a military force, but also a political force,” meaning, a legitimate force due the respect that peaceful nations pay to peaceful nations. “Hamas cannot be wished away,” he and Mrs. Robinson write, “nor will it co-operate in its own demise.” Just so. But Mr. Carter is preaching the wrong sermon to the wrong choir. Israel cannot be wished away, either, nor can it be expected to “co-operate in its own demise.”

Read Full Opinion

 
Cowboys' Website: Jerry jones is a "family man"

Speaking out: Speaking after practice this weekend, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted the racy pictures of him with two women were taken five years ago

Jerry Jones insists photos showing him with strippers five years ago were 'misrepresented'

By Lydia Warren

Finally breaking his silence on the racy images a week after they were released, the 71-year-old billionaire told reporters after practice on Sunday that everything was not as it seemed.

'Someone has misrepresented photos taken at a restaurant five years ago for their own purposes,' he said. 'And so I’m not just going to comment. That's really all I’d like to get into.'

The images showing Jones - who has three children with his wife of 50 years - posing with two strippers at a Dallas restaurant emerged on August 3 when they were shared on Twitter.

Racy: A man who is alleged to be Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is seen fondling a much-younger woman in a picture that surfaced last weekend. The 71-year-old has been married for 50 years

Previous reports by TMZ, claimed that the strippers - Lindzie and Jordan - contacted their lawyers out of fear that the married billionaire would go after them in court.

'There was a lot of alcohol involved,' the women said, denying that they had anything to do with leaking the photos or being a part of an extortion plot against Jones.

The photos show Jones grabbing one blonde woman's breasts some five years ago. In another shot, a brunette woman on her knees grins as she leans her head against the man's pelvic area.

Jones appears to be in a restroom with both women in the two pictures.

Blackmail? The photos were released by a Dallas man who says they were taken to extort Jones. Above, another shot that allegedly shows Jones with a woman who is not his wife

The photos emerged in connection with a manifesto posted online titled 'Uncovering the Truth' which has 'For: Jerry Jones' written on the cover.  A link to the report was tweeted to several news outlets on August 3.

According to the manifesto, the pictures were taken by a different person to blackmail Jones, but the manifesto strays into theories about numerology and he also calls himself the 'Son of God'.

Sources told Deadspin that the man who tweeted the link to the report 'used to be fairly well connected in Dallas' and would often attend parties with Cowboys and Mavericks players. 

Jones has been married to his 72-year-old wife Gene for 50 years.

They have three adult children together: sons Stephen and Jerry Jr and a daughter Charlotte. All three of their children work for the Cowboys company and the couple have nine grandchildren.

Jones is described as a 'dedicated businessman and family man' on the Cowboy's official website.

 
How a Squad of Ex-Cops Fights Police Abuses

In Broward County, Florida, a bold experiment in public defense.

—By Jason Fagone

He shot a guy here, he says.

Allen E. Smith and I are sitting in his black Chevy Avalanche with tinted windows, staring out at a small deli in northwest Fort Lauderdale. It was 1976, Smith tells me. He was 28, an officer in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department working a detail that involved watching certain vulnerable stores for robberies. Sure enough, one night while he was crouching under a tree across the way, a robber overpowered the elderly clerk. Smith caught him coming out the door. The guy had a gun in his waistband. Smith had a shotgun. He pumped it and said, "Freeze!" The guy made like he was reaching for his gun. "So I shot him."

He says this blankly, without a hint of sympathy or remorse. It was his job to protect the store. The job entailed blowing a hole in a man's torso, and this he did. The guy died a few days later.

Smith is 65 now, with a rough slab of nose and a deeply grooved forehead. He has a soft voice and he's not especially huge, but you can tell he used to lift weights; as a younger man, his arms were as thick as his neck. For years, he had an unusual specialty within the department. Whenever the police caught wind that someone was trying to hire a hit man, Smith would offer his services to the plotter. He called himself Al Sanetti, and he did his best to look the part, wearing a gold-nugget bracelet and a lion-head pendant with a diamond in its mouth and rubies for eyes. His business card said only SANETTI SERVICES, with a pager number.

...................................................

The legal rationale for America's system of public defense is simple and clear, and it originated in Florida. In 1961, a drifter named Clarence Gideon was convicted of breaking and entering into a pool hall in the panhandle town of Panama City. He represented himself and lost, but in the prison library he began studying law books, and he wrote to the United States Supreme Court asking for relief. In a landmark 1963 decision, the high court granted Gideon a new trial, arguing that "even the intelligent and educated layman has small and sometimes no skill in the science of law" and that access to a defense attorney was "fundamental and essential to a fair trial." (Gideon was later acquitted.)

Five decades later, that promise has badly eroded. Due in large part to the rise of the drug war in the '80s, and budget cuts as municipal finances have gotten squeezed, public defender's offices have too few lawyers and far too many cases. The National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association have recommended that a public defense attorney should handle no more than 150 felonies or 400 misdemeanors per year. Most offices burn past those limits, sometimes by a factor of two or three.

Al Smith's boss, Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein, says the average attorney in his office handles 120 felony cases or 200 to 250 misdemeanors at a time. In neighboring Miami-Dade County, the average noncapital felony caseload for an assistant public defender is 400, almost triple the recommended maximum, and some of the attorneys have juggled up to 700. Criminal caseloads there have grown 29 percent since 2004, even as the office went through waves of belt-tightening. The situation became so dire that county officials went to court in 2008, asking that certain felony cases be handled by the state instead. In May 2013, the Florida Supreme Court approved the request, citing "the breadth and depth of the evidence of how the excessive caseload" has affected poor defendants.

 
Republicans and race: why Mississippi drama matters

Republicans and race: why Mississippi drama matters

By Linda Feldmann

At an emotional meeting in Chicago, the Republican National Committee steered clear of 'race-baiting' allegations in Mississippi's GOP Senate runoff. But the issue of how Republicans reach out to blacks is very much alive.

Last week, at its summer meeting in Chicago, the Republican National Committee didn’t want to touch this thing with a 10-foot pole. Ed Martin, chairman of the Missouri GOP, stood alone in his effort to get the RNC to censure Mississippi committeeman Henry Barbour for alleged “race-baiting” in the campaign, and the motion died.

Senator Cochran is poised to win a seventh term in November. But emotions still run high among conservative activists over how the senator got to this point, and over the role of race in Republican politics. In particular, Mr. Martin was upset that pro-Cochran forces used racial arguments against the tea party that are usually deployed by Democrats.

“This is the discussion at the heart of the Republican Party: Are we the party that has certain principles that we’re not willing to give up in order to win elections?” Martin said in an interview at the RNC meeting. “I’m not making this argument in just the Mississippi context.”

But to Martin, the Mississippi runoff brought the issue to the fore. Ads paid for by an outside group run by a black minister and funded by Mr. Barbour’s super-political action committee warned African-American voters that “the tea party intends to prevent you from voting.”

Those ads were “far beyond acceptable,” says Martin, who was reminded of ads that Democrats ran in 2004 accusing US Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Missouri Republican, of trying to block African-Americans from registering to vote.

 
GOP, DOJ duel on migrants' legal aid

GOP, DOJ duel on migrants' legal aid

By DAVID ROGERS

Undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the border are shown. | AP Photo

House Republicans have again denied funding for the Justice Department to help child migrants obtain legal counsel when called before immigration courts to face deportation orders.

Government records indicate more than 40 percent of the children — many under 14 years of age and with little understanding of English — are processed through the system now without counsel. That figure is expected to go higher given the crowded docket of deportation hearings this summer, and immigrant rights advocates say the result is a denial of due process.

 
The Illusion of the 'Libertarian Moment'

The Illusion of the 'Libertarian Moment'

The political philosophy has captured weary Republicans—but not America's young people.

By David Frum

Has the libertarian moment finally arrived? Robert Draper asks that question in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. His answer: Yes! Young voters are leaning libertarian, he says, and a Rand Paul presidential candidacy could energize those voters for the GOP.

Spoiler alert: Draper’s wrong, emphatically wrong. Young voters are not libertarian, nor even trending libertarian. Neither, for that matter, are older voters. The "libertarian moment" is not an event in American culture. It's a phase in internal Republican Party factionalism. Libertarianism is not pushing Republicans forward to a more electable future. It's pushing them sideways to the extremist margins.

Every serious study of the political attitudes of voters under 30 has discovered them to be the most pro-government age group since the cohort that directly experienced the Great Depression. Young voters are more likely than their elders to believe that government should intervene in the economy to create jobs. They support government aid to education and healthcare more than any other age group. Their voting behavior tracks their values: Under-30s massively voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

It’s demography that explains the shift in ideology.

Nonwhite voters favor government intervention in the economy much more than white voters do. That’s true at every age, both over-60 and under-30. But there are many more nonwhites among under-30s than among over-60s,  so their preferences exert more sway over the group as a whole.

 
What Hillary Can Learn From LBJ

What Hillary Can Learn From LBJ

Jonathan Darman

Should the presumptive Democratic nominee try to channel the 36th president?

Lyndon Baines Johnson is having an awfully good year. Fifty years after he was swept into the White House by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Americans are remembering Johnson’s presidency with previously unknown fondness and nostalgia. This summer marked the 50th anniversary of his signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an achievement which, along with his landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, made Johnson the most consequential crusader for the cause of racial equality to serve in the White House since Lincoln. In All the Way, the popular Broadway play, Bryan Cranston has reincarnated President Johnson in his golden 1964 glory, a larger-than-life master of the legislative process, not yet besieged by Vietnam. In a country ruled by political paralysis and polarization, people are understandably drawn to the image of a leader who could force Washington into action—a modern day LBJ.

Might Hillary Clinton fit the bill? Clinton, some have suggested, possesses many of the Texan president’s greatest strengths and could be the Johnson to Barack Obama’s JFK. Like Johnson, Clinton hopes to follow an inspiring but often ineffective president from her own party, to be the less smooth but more savvy successor, the skilled-operator who skips the stirring speeches and simply gets the big things done.

Clinton has invited comparison with Johnson in the past. When asked in her 2008 primary campaign to comment on her then-opponent Obama’s emphasis on hope, Clinton unwisely made a flattering comment about Johnson at the expense of Martin Luther King Jr. "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," she said. "It took a president to get it done."

Her campaign jumped to clarify her comments—no, no, she wasn’t disparaging King’s accomplishments. But the remark revealed a core Clinton belief: Change doesn’t happen through words. Change comes from savvy pragmatism, hard experience, and backbreaking work. Johnson had that combination, Clinton was saying, and so does she.

 
Why the super-rich aren’t leaving much of their fortunes to their kids

Why the super-rich aren’t leaving much of their fortunes to their kids


Roxanne Roberts

What used to be a private matter has become a public discussion about wealth, privilege and responsibility.

What do Sting, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? All three have huge fortunes, and none of them are giving it to their kids.

Sting just revealed that most of his $300 million won’t end up with his six adult children. “I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks,” the musician told the Daily Mail in June. “They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose in February, left specific directives in his will, which was made public last month: His son should be raised in a large American city and “be exposed to the culture, arts and architecture” that such a setting offers. The will was created before the birth of his two younger children, but the actor deliberately didn’t give his $35 million to his children because he didn’t want them to be “ ‘trust-fund’ kids.” (They’ll be fine; his entire estate went to their mother, his longtime girlfriend.)

The rap on trustafarians — all those spoiled rich kids with more money than sense — is that they won’t make smart choices or live healthy, productive lives if they have unfettered access to a large inheritance. Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has stated she has no intention of leaving a substantial inheritance: “I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money.”

Wealthy families have always struggled with this issue. But the same drama is now playing out on a smaller scale for millions of baby boomers, who are poised to give away $30 trillion over the next 30 years — the largest transfer of wealth in U.S. history, according to consulting firm Accenture. What used to be a private family matter has become a public discussion about wealth, privilege and personal responsibility. Who gets the big money? Should it be the heirs? Or are they better off without it?

 
Hillary Clinton: 'Israel Did What It Had to Do'

Hillary Clinton: 'Israel Did What It Had to Do'

The former secretary of state on America's failures—and foreign-policy future

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Of course, Clinton had many kind words for the “incredibly intelligent” and “thoughtful” Obama, and she expressed sympathy and understanding for the devilishly complicated challenges he faces. But she also suggested that she finds his approach to foreign policy overly cautious, and she made the case that America needs a leader who believes that the country, despite its various missteps, is an indispensable force for good. At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters).

This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

She softened the blow by noting that Obama was “trying to communicate to the American people that he’s not going to do something crazy,” but she repeatedly suggested that the U.S. sometimes appears to be withdrawing from the world stage.

During a discussion about the dangers of jihadism (a topic that has her “hepped-up," she told me moments after she greeted me at her office in New York) and of the sort of resurgent nationalism seen in Russia today, I noted that Americans are quite wary right now of international commitment-making. She responded by arguing that there is a happy medium between bellicose posturing (of the sort she associated with the George W. Bush administration) and its opposite, a focus on withdrawal.

“You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward,” she said. “One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.”

 
Political Crisis in Iraq Deepens as President Nominates a New Prime Minister

Political Crisis in Iraq Deepens as President Nominates a New Prime Minister

Iraq’s president on Monday formally nominated a candidate to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a political breakthrough that also seemed to take Iraq into unchartered territory, as Mr. Maliki gave no signal that he was willing to relinquish power.

The nomination of Haidar al-Abadi, who is a member of Mr. Maliki’s Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, came hours after a dramatic late night television appearance in which a defiant Mr. Maliki challenged the Iraqi president, Fouad Massoum, and threatened legal action for not choosing him as the nominee. As he spoke in the middle of the night, extra security forces, including special forces units loyal to Mr. Maliki, as well as tanks, locked down the Green Zone and took up positions around the city, heightening the sense of drama.

There were no immediate signs Monday afternoon that Mr. Maliki had taken further steps to use military force to guarantee his survival. And Mr. Maliki was scheduled to make a public statement on television, along with other members of his Dawa Party who remain loyal to him.

Mr. Maliki’s television appearance, in which he appeared to be trying to intimidate Mr. Massoum by mentioning the army in the context of protecting the constitution, alarmed American officials, and left Baghdad wondering if a coup was underway.

Under Iraq’s constitution, Mr. Abadi now has 30 days in which to form a government that offers meaningful positions to Iraq’s main minority factions, Sunnis and Kurds. During that time, Mr. Maliki will remain as a caretaker leader, and as commander-in-chief of Iraq’s security forces.

Mr. Maliki’s and Mr. Abadi’s Dawa Party has its roots in the clandestine political opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime, and Mr. Abadi, like many of Iraq’s current leaders, lived in exile during part of the Hussein regime. He has recently been first deputy speaker of Iraq’s Parliament.

 
Prime Prep Academy: A Star-Powered School Sputters

A Star-Powered School Sputters

Prime Prep Academy, Founded by Deion Sanders, Comes Under Scrutiny

 By

A few years back, Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback and N.F.L. commentator who still digs being called by the nickname Prime Time, was approached with a splendid business proposition.

A partner suggested creating a Texas charter school. They would name it after Sanders: Prime Prep Academy. They would collect and mentor the finest male athletes in Texas and elsewhere and become a powerhouse.

God only knows what business opportunities might come along, particularly if they could tap Sanders’s deep-pocketed backers, like the sports clothing manufacturer Under Armour, for which Sanders works as a brand ambassador.

All went swimmingly. The Texas Board of Education fell over itself to accommodate Sanders. The coach of a small Christian school defected to Prime Prep and brought along his collection of nationally ranked basketball players, including Emmanuel Mudiay, a preternaturally talented, 6-foot-5-inch, 190-pound point guard.

Just like that, Prime Prep went world class. It had a top-ranked basketball team, its games broadcast on ESPN.

As for Prime Prep’s academics? Not so world class.

A respected Texas nonprofit group has ranked Texas public schools. Prime Prep’s lower grades received an F. I could not find the grade for Prime Prep’s high school, so I called the nonprofit group.

“Unfortunately,” a spokeswoman said, “we were unable to rank it due to missing data.”

We’re accustomed to living in the shadow of the rotten tree that is major college sports. It’s almost refreshing that so many college administrators and coaches have dropped the pretense that recruits are more than underpaid young men and women in shorts, jerseys or shoulder pads.

Prime Prep was conceived in celebrity, its charter proposal offering a near satirical turn on edu-speak. The proposal mentioned “our training methods” and a “Leadership Studies Curriculum” without explaining the nature of that special sauce. Students, the proposal noted, would “model traits” such as “responsibility” and “courage.” Students would “become self-actualized.”

“Sanders made himself available, and I was quite embarrassed by this, to pose for pictures and sign autographs for my colleagues on the board,” he said. “The financial planning was suspect; the curriculum design was nonexistent — it was laughable.”

The proposal noted the school would rely on a Sanders company, PrimeTimePlayer, to raise money. Here the proposal’s language acquired a legend-in-his-own-mind quality: Sanders’s company “shall introduce” the school to “its vast corporate circle of influence,” which was “not limited to C.E.O.s, C.F.O.s.” PrimeTimePlayer would claim 10 percent of the money raised, as a commission, and collect a monthly retainer of $1,000 to $7,500.

 
NBC's Todd, Mitchell Sour On Obama Over Iraq Excuses: 'A Farce!'

Brendan Bordelon

Andrea Mitchell

'I've been trying to figure out this man's doctrine now for six years. He doesn't have one'

“Look, this was not an administration that was eager to tell [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki, ‘Oh, you don’t want a status-of-forces agreement?’” Todd agreed, explaining how the White House failed to pursue any agreement that would have left a stabilizing force.

“I’ve been trying to figure out this man’s doctrine now for six years,” Todd continued. “He doesn’t have one . . . He pushes and pulls between the idea of democracy first and stability first . . . Now he’s trying for stability first, and I think in this case he’s struggling.”

Mitchell slammed President Obama for his other excuse — that the sudden collapse of American allies, the Kurds, against Islamic State fighters was an unforeseen surprise.

“And to say that he didn’t have intelligence — this is not a hard target, this is [Kurdish capital] Erbil,” she laughed. “We have people there.”

“The fact is, there was intelligence,” she declared. “And to say that they were shocked by the [Kurdish] Peshmerga [fighters], on Saturday night, being routed is a farce!”

 
Tales of the cities: the progressive vision of urban America

Bill de Blasio

Tales of the cities: the progressive vision of urban America

Gary Younge

Gary Younge

Mayors are pursuing policies Obama has been unable to enact on the national stage

After Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992 one of his key aides, Rahm Emanuel, sat in the campaign’s favourite restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas, venting his frustration at those who had tried to stand in their way. He would call out a name, ram his steak knife into the table and, like Bluto in Animal House, shout “Dead!” Then he would pull the knife out and call another name and stab the table again.

Heaven only knows what damage he does to the furniture when he mentions Karen Lewis’s name. Emanuel, who was Barack Obama’s chief of staff, is now mayor of Chicago. Lewis is the head of the Chicago Teachers Union who got the better of him after leading the teachers in a strike two years ago. The two genuinely despise each other. When Lewis took on Emanuel over lengthening the school day, he told her: “Fuck you, Lewis!”; during the strike Lewis branded him a “liar and a bully”.

Now Lewis is seriously considering running against Emanuel for the mayoralty next year. People are wearing buttons urging her candidacy and setting up Facebook pages to support her. When she showed up at a civil rights conference two months ago the crowd cheered “Run, Karen, run!”

Beyond the idiosyncrasies of the case, the possibility that America’s third largest city might elect a union leader over an establishment Democrat marks a broader national shift towards progressive city politics. Across the country, from New York to Seattle and Boston to Pittsburgh, municipal authorities are swinging left. As Harold Meyerson argued in the American Prospect: “The mayoral and council class of 2013 is one of the most progressive cohorts of elected officials in recent American history... They are, in short, enacting at the municipal level many of the major policy changes that progressives have found themselves unable to enact at the federal and state levels. They also may be charting a new course for American liberalism.”

The organisational and electoral bases of these campaigns are virtually the same as those that propelled Obama to victory – trade unions, minorities, young people (particularly young women) and liberals. And they are promising what Obama has been unwilling or unable to deliver. They are trying to raise the minimum wage, introduce green technology, create affordable housing, levy money from the wealthy to fund universal childcare and rein in their police departments from racist excess. These are bold plans and, for the most part, they are acting on them. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, has described the city as a “laboratory” for New Deal-style reforms. In reality these initiatives are more like local triage against the wounds of over a generation of stagnant wages, neoliberal reform and the class and racial polarisation that comes with them – all of which were further aggravated by the most recent economic crisis. It looks like the New Deal only because so many Americans have been getting such a bad deal for so long. Local, populist and redistributive, they owe more to the Occupy movement of 2011 of which they are the most logical, likely corollary. Their agendas, of course, are far less ambitious. But they share a trajectory.

Cities are where the overwhelming majority of the Democratic base lives. The increasingly pronounced inequalities of race and class, the impact of neo-liberal school reforms and general disinvestment in social capital have hit all but the very wealthy hard. Anyone seeking the presidential nomination would be a fool to ignore this.

 
NCAA to appeal athlete payments

NCAA to appeal athlete payments

ncaa mark emmert

Mark Emmert says 'in part we will' appeal after judge found against NCAA on antitrust grounds

The NCAA president, Mark Emmert, said on Sunday his organisation would appeal against a ruling that opens the door for college athletes to receive some of the money they help generate in major sports.

In his first public comments since Friday’s ruling, Emmert told ABC’s This Week that college sports’ largest governing body found a lot in the decision that was “admirable” and some parts they disagreed with so strongly that they could not let it go unchallenged in court.

“Yes, at least in part we will,” Emmert said when asked whether the NCAA planned an appeal. “No one on our legal team or the college conferences’ legal teams think this is a violation of antitrust laws and we need to get that settled in the courts.”

 
David Gregory Slams Obama

David Gregory Slams Obama

'Big, Expansive Terrorist Threat Amassed On His Watch'

 Brendan Bordelon

David Gregory Dick Durbin

NBC’s David Gregory had some unpredictably harsh words for the White House during an interview with Senator Dick Durbin on Sunday, noting that “a big, expansive terrorist threat that has amassed” under President Obama’s watch.

The “Meet the Press” host spoke with the Illinois Democrat over the limited air campaign ordered by the president to blunt the advance of ultra-violent jihadists in northern Iraq. Gregory requested the senator’s insight as to how the United States found itself again involved in the region.

“Is the problem that the Obama administration — wanting to be something other than President Bush – got out of the business of confronting terrorism on a big, global scale and just dealt with it in a more limited way?” he asked. “Is it an underreaction to the terrorist threat?”

 
Is Religion Rooted in Our DNA?

Is Religion Rooted in Our DNA?

By Michael Schulson
 
After three killings, USC tries to better protect foreign students

Increased security at USC

After three killings, USC tries to better protect foreign students

New security measures announced Friday by USC after the slayings of three Chinese graduate students in the last two years are receiving a mixed reception on campus and in the Chinese community.

Some students see the moves as important steps in the right direction while others wonder if they will be enough.

The changes comes two weeks after a 24-year-old graduate student was beaten to death just blocks away from campus, an attack that renewed demands from USC's Chinese community for increased security. USC has the largest foreign student population of any U.S. university; about 3,000 of its 8,000 international students are from China.

The university will require international graduate students to take "extended safety education" programs, create an international student safety advisory group and train campus police about the different cultures of students on campus.

 
Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for Manson family member Bruce Davis

Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for Manson family member Bruce Davis

Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for Manson family member Bruce Davis

Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to deny freedom to a Manson family cult member who passed muster with a state parole board follows a familiar path.

The governor on Friday reversed a parole board's March decision that there would be no danger to the public in releasing Bruce Davis, convicted of two murders as well as conspiracy to commit murder. He was not directly involved in the Tate-LaBianca slayings that terrified Los Angeles residents in 1969.

Brown, in his decision, noted the barbaric nature of the murders Davis took part in.

"The exceptional brutality of these crimes and the terror the Manson family inflicted on the Los Angeles community 45 years ago still resonate," Brown said in his decision, released Friday evening. "These crimes represent that "rare circumstance" in which the aggravated nature of the crimes alone is sufficient to deny parole."

 
What It Was Like to Report Watergate

A journalist relives the bizarre moment when a president stepped down in disgrace.

Forty years after Richard Nixon's resignation, a journalist relives the bizarre moment when a president stepped down in disgrace.

Forty years ago Friday, America's gravest constitutional crisis since the Civil War ended with the unthinkable—the resignation of an American president in disgrace. After more than two years of legal and political trauma that wracked and divided a nation, the 2,026 days of Richard M. Nixon's presidency were over.

 
Hillary Clinton takes on Obama

Hillary Clinton takes on Obama

By MAGGIE HABERMAN

President Barack Obama (left) and Hillary Clinton are pictured. | AP Photo

Hillary Clinton has taken her furthest and most public step away from President Barack Obama, describing his decision against helping build a “credible” force that could battle the Assad regime in Syria early on as a “failure,” rejected the core of his self-described foreign policy doctrine and standing firmly with Israel in the Gaza conflict.

The interview with The Atlantic was conducted early last week before Obama authorized airstrikes in Iraq, and it is one of the longest Clinton has given on policy since she stepped down as Secretary of State early in 2013. At the end of the week, Obama, in his own one-on-one interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, reiterated his view that early arming of Syrian rebels in that conflict was a “fantasy.” He’s expressed that view repeatedly over recent months.

The Clinton interview — lengthy and detailed — is consistent with a view of American exceptionalism that she has discussed throughout her book tour this summer.
 
Lawmakers weigh US role against Islamic fighters

Photo - FILE - This July 24, 2014, file photo shows Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as he listens to other Senators speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a news conference on the violence in the Mideast. Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria are a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply disagreed on what role the United States should play in crushing them. (AP Photo, File)

Lawmakers weigh US role against Islamic fighters

Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria is a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply disagreed on what role the United States should play in trying to crush them.

President Barack Obama last week approved limited airstrikes against Islamic State fighters, whose rapid rise in June plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the end of 2011, when U.S. troops withdrew from the country at the end of an eight-year unpopular war. Obama said the current military campaign would be a "long-term project" to protect civilians from the deadly and brutal insurgents.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the militants threaten not just Iraqis but also Americans. He said Obama's strikes were insufficient to turn back the militants and were designed "to avoid a bad news story on his watch."

 
5 Surprising Techniques to Increase Your Creativity

5 Surprising Techniques to Increase Your Creativity

By Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

Writers, advertising executives, entrepreneurs, and many other occupations require creativity in order to succeed. Trying to increase creativity by sitting at a desk or staring out the office window often doesn’t work. What strategies will improve your creativity?

Noise. Surprisingly, a little bit of noise can boost creativity. Research has shown that the right amount of ambient noise – background noise such as the sound of traffic or the ocean – can lead to greater creativity. Perhaps that is why so many people like to work in coffee shops. In fact, you can actually purchase the sounds of a coffee shop online, to try to capture that creative surge that people sometimes get at Starbucks. I found that my best creative thinking comes in the shower – likely due to the ambient noise.

 
In Texas, a Star-Powered School Sputters

In Texas, a Star-Powered School Sputters

By MICHAEL POWELL

With its academics and finances under fire, the academy created by Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback, faces the loss of its charter.

A few years back, Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback and N.F.L. commentator who still digs being called by the nickname Prime Time, was approached with a splendid business proposition.

A partner suggested creating a Texas charter school. They would name it after Sanders: Prime Prep Academy. They would collect and mentor the finest male athletes in Texas and elsewhere and become a powerhouse.

God only knows what business opportunities might come along, particularly if they could tap Sanders’s deep-pocketed backers, like the sports clothing manufacturer Under Armour, for which Sanders works as a brand ambassador.

All went swimmingly. The Texas Board of Education fell over itself to accommodate Sanders. The coach of a small Christian school defected to Prime Prep and brought along his collection of nationally ranked basketball players, including Emmanuel Mudiay, a preternaturally talented, 6-foot-5-inch, 190-pound point guard.

 Just like that, Prime Prep went world class. It had a top-ranked basketball team, its games broadcast on ESPN.

As for Prime Prep’s academics? Not so world class.

A respected Texas nonprofit group has ranked Texas public schools. Prime Prep’s lower grades received an F. I could not find the grade for Prime Prep’s high school, so I called the nonprofit group.

“Unfortunately,” a spokeswoman said, “we were unable to rank it due to missing data.”

We’re accustomed to living in the shadow of the rotten tree that is major college sports. It’s almost refreshing that so many college administrators and coaches have dropped the pretense that recruits are more than underpaid young men and women in shorts, jerseys or shoulder pads.

Now that rot has spread, its roots extending deep into high schools and even middle schools.

 
Still White, Still Male: The Anachronism of Harvard's Final Clubs

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

Still White, Still Male: The Anachronism of Harvard's Final Clubs

Philip Sopher

The college is about to welcome its most diverse incoming class. But its social scene is still dominated by highly exclusive all-male groups.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s breakthrough novel, This Side of Paradise, his protagonist, Amory Blaine, faces a stressful decision. Where should he go the following fall? Attracted by nothing but prestige, Amory tells a family friend, "I don't know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies." He looks more favorably on Yale, which has “ a romance and glamor from the tales of Minneapolis and St. Regis’ men who had been tapped for Skull and Bones.” Ultimately, though, he settles on Princeton, which he famously describes as “the pleasantest country club in America.”  

Fitzgerald goes on to describe Princeton's eating clubs in lyrically snobbish phrases: one club is "detached and breathlessly aristocratic," another is "an impressive mélange of brilliant adventurers and well-dressed philanderers," a third is "broad-shouldered and athletic," and a fourth is "anti-alcoholic, faintly religious and politically powerful."

Over the past hundred years, all three of these colleges have attempted to shed their elitist reputations. They've been coed for long enough that their single-sex pasts are mostly documented in black and white photographs. They've championed affirmative action and established generous need-based financial aid programs. Yet among the Ivies, Princeton is still seen as a bastion of white, upper-class privilege, due in large part to its eating clubs.

 
White students no longer to be majority in school

This photo taken July 21, 2014, shows  teacher Jane Cornell working with young students on their storytelling skills during summer school at Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center in Kennett Square, Pa. For the first time ever _ U.S. public schools are projected this fall to have more minority students enrolled than white, a shift largely fueled by growth in the numbers of Hispanic children. White students are still expected to be the largest racial group in the public schools this year at 49.8 percent, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics, minority students, when added together, will now make up the majority. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

White students no longer to be majority in school

- Associated Press 

For the first time ever, U.S. public schools are projected this fall to have more minority students than non-Hispanic whites enrolled, a shift largely fueled by growth in the number of Hispanic children.

Non-Hispanic white students are still expected to be the largest racial group in the public schools this year at 49.8 percent. But the National Center for Education Statistics says minority students, when added together, will now make up the majority.

 
Why Is Being Alone With Our Thoughts So Hard?

Why Is Being Alone With Our Thoughts So Hard?

By David DiSalvo

Have we become so enraptured with gadgets, social media and the dull roar of crowds that we can’t stomach facing ourselves?

Most people really don’t like being in their own heads, new research suggests. Some would even rather give themselves an electric shock instead of facing their thoughts.

 
American Apparel, please spare us your fantasies about schoolgirls

american apparel

American Apparel, please spare us your fantasies about schoolgirls

Barbara Ellen

Barbara Ellen

The clothing company's latest ad is just part of the whole unsavoury sexualisation of teenage girls

Clothing company American Apparel is always so desperate for attention ("Look at us being edgy – betcha you oldsters can't cope!") that one rather balks at being obliging, but its "Back to school" ad campaign borders on dangerous.

After the command "Your first assignment is to dress accordingly", School Days features shots from behind of a young model bent over in a plaid skirt with buttocks and knickers showing, in what amounts to an up-skirt shot. Elsewhere, there are Lolita-branded crop tops and skirts, modelled beside school lockers. Very subtle.

Obviously, this is not about real schoolgirls (knee-length skirts, bobbly cardigans, double maths). These are the types of nubile "bad girls" who would appear in Aerosmith videos, as in, they barely exist outside some feverish imaginations. Though frankly I would credit the average Aerosmith video with more wit and irony than what's going on in the American Apparel ad campaign, which is practically screaming: "We're still at school, sexually attack us!"

Then again, isn't this the eternal problem with teenage girls, or, more particularly, the perception of teenage girls – there are always going to be those who consider them up for grabs?

 
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