down state news

mod_dbrss2 AJAX RSS Reader poweredbysimplepie
DownState News
Contact Us

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

The privileged few are tightening their grip on the arts

Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Natalie Dormer in The Riot Club.

The privileged few are tightening their grip on the arts

Nick Cohen

Politics, journalism, the arts – they are all increasingly controlled by nice people from wealthy backgrounds. And their niceness is strangling us

Dame Judi tells the Observer today aspiring actors beg her for money to help fund their training. She worries that acting may become an elite occupation for the children of the rich, because no one else will be able to meet the costs and take the risks. Ben Stephenson, the BBC's head of drama, said much the same at the Edinburgh festival but did not add that television is a racket, too. You cannot get a job in broadcasting unless you are prepared to work as an intern. In most cases, you cannot work as an intern unless you have family money to feed and house you.

But then who am I to criticise Stephenson when journalism is as much of a rich kids' game? Lindsey Macmillan of the Institute of Education found that journalists used to come from families 6% better off than average, whereas now they come from homes that are 42% richer. Indeed, British journalists, the supposed tribunes of the people, now hail from wealthier backgrounds than, er, bankers, an awkward fact that ought to cause embarrassment all round. I look at my younger self today and wonder if he could become a journalist on a serious newspaper. My parents were teachers. They were comfortably off by the standards of 1980s Manchester, but they could never have afforded to rent me rooms in London and cover my expenses while I went from internship to internship. They had to look after my sisters as much as anything else.

The hypocrisies of British culture are enough to drive the sane paranoid, but it is not quite the class conspiracy it seems. To be sure, it is suffocating, narrow and on the edge of a descent into a mediocre mush. But not a conspiracy for all that. Working-class actors or musicians cannot live on the dole now while they struggle to break through. The sanctions from the jobcentres whip them into line. If you want to know why British pop has lost its rough energy, you should blame the Department for Work and Pensions, not a plot by the record label executives. In any case, tens of thousands of young people want to work in the arts, television, music and journalism. Why shouldn't their potential employers, often short of money themselves, take advantage of the laws of supply and demand?

Inside the TV Trailer at the FedEx Cup

Inside the TV Trailer at the FedEx Cup

How Golf Channel/NBC Manages Controlled Chaos

As the FedExCup Playoffs culminate this weekend at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, a media truth stands out. Like most sports with a big television footprint, golf is a fundamentally simple game, but awash in statistics. TV sports loves numbers. They can help tell the story through insights into why a team or a player is failing ("Tiger has missed his last four fairways to the left") or succeeding ("That was Chris Kirk's 14th consecutive sand save, the most on Tour this year").

It is always a challenge, however, for broadcasters to get the balance right between narrative and information. "Too many numbers on the screen make the eyes glaze over," said Tommy Roy, NBC's lead producer for golf as well as many other sports. "We don't read television, we watch television. The statistics are there to enhance the action."

Jerry's World at Jerry's World...

Jerry Neuheisel

This truly was Jerry's World.

This may have been the stadium Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built, another Jerry had a spotlight moment Saturday.

UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel casually strolled in for the postgame news conference and said, "Usually, holders don't get to talk."

Reveling in the moment? This was Nirvana for a sophomore whose last name stirs a lot of UCLA memories.

Neuheisel may have salvaged the Bruins' season, pulling out a 20-17 victory over Texas with a late touchdown pass.

Neuheisel stirred memories of his father, former UCLA quarterback and coach Rick Neuheisel. He tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton with three minutes left lift the No.21 Bruins to victory.

"It took me until I got into the locker room and did the fight song before it kind of sank in," Jerry Neuheisel said. "I felt like I was in a haze."

"Today it was Jerry Neuheisel's chance to act like he'd been there before, and I'm thrilled for him, I'm thrilled for him, I can't be happier for him," Rick Neuheisel said. "Pinch me, pinch me . . . we need a shower in this studio."

Obama's great dilemma: to be or not to be the world's policeman

Obama, Michael Cohen

Obama's great dilemma: to be or not to be the world's policeman

Michael Cohen

  The president's willingness to lead the fight against Isis doesn't tally with his talk of curbing America's role on the world stage

Iraq… America just can't quit you. For 23 years and across four presidencies, American planes have been waging war either against or on behalf of Iraqis. And if President Obama's prediction of a long-term struggle against Isis is correct, it might soon be five presidents and a quarter of a century.

How does that keep happening? How did a candidate who won the nation's highest office on a platform of ending the war in Iraq find himself six years later announcing yet another military engagement in Iraq? How has a president who has seemingly made it his priority to pivot to Asia, rely less on the military and put forward a more restrained foreign policy been thwarted once again?

A good part of the reason is that while Americans might talk about imposing limits on American power and defining our global interests more narrowly, we rarely follow through – and here Obama, who has sought to step back from using American power to solve every international problem, must shoulder some of the blame.

The fact is, the same president who has tried to offer something of a more modest and realistic vision for American foreign policy can't seem to keep himself out of the swampy environs of American exceptionalism. Don't take my word for it – look at his speech on Wednesday announcing America's strategy for "degrading and defeating" Isis.

On the one hand, Obama played down the threat from Isis by noting "we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland" (even though he warned that Isis could attack in the future). His strategy was eminently reasonable and relatively restrained. America would be one of many acting in Iraq; would rely on air power and no boots on the ground; would work with regional allies and utilise a few tools in the national security toolbox other than aerial bombardment.

This looks a lot different from the wars in Iraq or the ill-fated 2009 surge in Afghanistan. It's outsourced counter-terrorism, reliance on proxy militaries in Syria and Iraq and American air power. So far so good, right?

It's the rest of Obama's speech that is more problematic, because to sell his strategy for destroying Isis he laid it on pretty thick. According to Obama, the reason for America to act in Iraq is not just because Isis might one day be a threat or because it challenges key US interests in the region or because the group is a deeply nihilistic and malignant force that merits a militarised response to its hateful actions, but rather, well, because we're America.

"American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world," said Obama. "It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilise the world against terrorists."


In 2008, when Obama was running for president he said his goal wasn't simply to end the Iraq war but to end the mind-set that got America involved in that terrible conflict in the first place. Six years later, there's a lot more work to do and it begins with Obama's bully pulpit.

Judi Dench laments that young actors are held back by wealth divide.

Judi Dench

Judi Dench laments that young actors are held back by wealth divide.

Dalya Alberge

Oscar-winning star fears working-class talents being lost by the cost of drama school training and demise of repertory theatre.

Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Laurence Fox … the ever-growing list of public school-educated actors dominating British film and television is often offered as proof that posh actors are squeezing out working-class talent. Acting, some fear, is increasingly the preserve of those with cut-glass accents whose parents can afford to bankroll them when starting out.

Further evidence of the struggles that those from more modest backgrounds face comes from Dame Judi Dench, who has told the Observer that she receives countless begging letters from aspiring young actors asking her to help fund their training.

The Oscar-winning actress said: "Anyone who's in the theatre gets letters countless times a week asking for help to get through drama school. You can do so much, but you can't do an endless thing. It is very expensive."

Dench, considered one of the greatest thespians of her generation, added that since the demise of repertory theatre – "where you went to learn and make your mistakes and watch people who knew how to do it" – financial barriers to training have made the profession more elitist.

The actress, who won an Academy award for her performance as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, believes it is vital for young actors to watch professionals on stage. "I always say to young students, 'Go and see as much as you possibly can', which is what we used to do. But then we paid a pittance for sitting in the gods," she said.

Ideally, she said, she would reinstate reps all over the country, but knows this is impractical, though she does not believe that government has to choose between hospitals and theatre: "In a civilised country, there's money for both."

Americans Won't Relax

Americans Won't Relax

On a typical weeknight, a quarter of U.S. employees did some kind of work between 10 at night and six in the morning.

By Bourree Lam

A new paper by economists Dan Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli found that Americans not only work longer hours, but they are more likely to work late at night and on weekends as well.

They found that on a typical weeknight, a quarter of American workers did some kind of work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. That’s a lot, compared with about seven percent in France and the Netherlands. The U.K. is closest to the U.S. on this measure, where 19 percent work during night hours. On the weekends, one in three workers in the U.S. were on the job, compared to one in five in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Paths to Middle East War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama

Paths to Middle East War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama


Before recently announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East.

Just hours before announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists last week, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East — the frenzied weeks leading up to the American invasion of Iraq a decade ago.

“I was not here in the run-up to Iraq in 2003,” he told a group of visitors who met with him in the White House before his televised speech to the nation, according to several people who were in the meeting. “It would have been fascinating to see the momentum and how it builds.”

In his own way, Mr. Obama said, he had seen something similar, a virtual fever rising in Washington, pressuring him to send the armed forces after the Sunni radicals who had swept through Iraq and beheaded American journalists. He had told his staff, he said, not to evaluate their own policy based on external momentum. He would not rush to war. He would be deliberate.

“But I’m aware I pay a political price for that,” he said.


He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. “This will be a problem for the next president,” Mr. Obama said ruefully, “and probably the one after that.” But he alternated between resolve as he vowed to retaliate against President Bashar al-Assad if Syrian forces shot at American planes, and prickliness as he mocked critics of his more reticent approach to the exercise of American power.

“Oh, it’s a shame when you have a wan, diffident, professorial president with no foreign policy other than ‘don’t do stupid things,’ ” guests recalled him saying, sarcastically imitating his adversaries. “I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn’t make for good theater.”

Mr. Obama went on to reveal his thoughts on challenges he faces in combating the threat from ISIS. He expressed his frustration with the French for paying ransoms to terrorists, asserted that Americans are kidnapped at lower rates because the United States does not, resisted the idea of Kurdistan’s breaking away from Iraq and even speculated on what he would have advised ISIS to do to keep America out of the war in the region.

Three Bedtime Reflection Routines that Will Help You Sleep

Three Bedtime Reflection Routines that Will Help You Sleep

By Ran Zilca

There’s a lot going on in the critical moments when you lie in your bed with your eyes closed. As you slowly fall asleep, your brain goes through the gradual process of disengaging from the external world, and quieting your normal train of thoughts.

Acknowledge your good fortune, recall the smile , and recognize the bad
Lifelong Democrat Tom Harkin has witnessed his party’s evolution

Lifelong Democrat Tom Harkin has witnessed his party’s evolution

Lifelong Democrat Tom Harkin <br>has witnessed his party’s evolution

Dan Balz - THE TAKE

The progressive Iowan on the cusp of retirement is convening his last steak fry.

Sen. Tom Harkin keeps two mementos on the wall of his office, reminders of where he came from. One is a picture of his mother’s birthplace in Slovenia, a house with a dirt floor, a house that her family shared with the animals. The other is the card his father received when he joined the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal.

His mother died when he was 10. His father never got beyond sixth grade and was in his 70s and suffering from black lung and other maladies by the time Harkin was in high school. He watched one of his brothers, who was deaf, struggle and eventually lose his job when the factory owners broke the union.

Harkin learned his politics from those experiences growing up in tiny Cumming, Iowa, whose 2010 population was 351. He saw what the New Deal and Social Security, and later Medicare, did for his father. Out of all that, he came to believe that “government could do good things for people. It could help lift people up and give people hope.”

He has been described in many ways over the years: brash, in your face, a no-excuses Democrat, a partisan and bare-knuckle orator with a zest for political combat. When he announced his candidacy for president in the fall of 1991, he said, “I’m here to tell you that George Herbert Walker Bush has feet of clay, and I intend to take a hammer to them.”

How big a threat is the Islamic State?

Kurdish police remove the Islamic State's flag in northern Iraq. (Erin Trieb)

How big a threat is the Islamic State?

Greg Miller and Juliet Eilperin

Intelligence agencies remain uncertain about the scope of the danger that the militant group poses to the United States.

Hours before President Obama announced a new U.S. military offensive against the Islamic State, one of his top counter­terrorism officials testified to Congress that the al-Qaeda offshoot had an estimated 10,000 fighters.

The next day a new assessment arrived from the CIA: The terrorist organization’s ranks had more than doubled in recent months, surging to somewhere between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.

The enormous discrepancy reflects, in part, significant uncertainty among U.S. intelligence agencies over the dimensions of and danger posed by America’s latest Islamist adversary.

But the trajectory of those numbers — and the anxiety that they have induced among U.S. counter­terrorism and military officials — also helps to explain Obama’s decision to go to war against an Islamist group that has yet to be linked to any plot against the United States.

In his speech, Obama laid out a rationale that leaned heavily on what-ifs. The United States has “not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland,” Obama said. But Islamic State leaders “have threatened America and our allies,” he said, and are on a path to deliver on those threats “if left unchecked.”

Is This David Letterman's Most Shameful Top 10 List?

Is This David Letterman's Most Shameful Top 10 List?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.

I'm used to lame jokes about single people, but David Letterman's "Top 10 reasons why you are still single" left me reeling. Do you think his list – especially the last reason – was acceptable?

10. It is impossible to tell where you end and the couch begins.

Midnight in the garden of Goodell and evil: why the NFL never learns

Roger Goodell

Midnight in the garden of Goodell and evil: why the NFL never learns

When you are selling a fantasy, you will do anything to convince the world that bad news does not exist.

Alan Yuhas

The strangest story about an NFL storyline in the summer of 2014 – the summer of domestic violence, illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, outright racism, cultural insensitivity and homophobia, and, oh yeah, the inherent brutality of the game itself – was on the website of the NFL Network. It was written by a former New York Times football reporter but in the tone of a news organ from an unusually friendly communist regime. It was about how her boss, Commissioner Roger Goodell, was “doing the right thing going forward” in toughening up the penalties for domestic abuse, after he’d “gotten wrong” a suspension for Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back, who knocked his fiancée unconscious and dragged her body from a casino elevator.

“It is an admirable effort. But this is not really the time to applaud the NFL.”

The league tried to control, for six months, the story of another star who, like the dog-fighter Michael Vick and the unsolved-murder suspect Ray Lewis, perhaps was not beyond a stage-managed redemption. By the careful script of the NFL, a temporary villain can be even more valuable than a conventional hero. Because if a player misbehaves, the league can suspend him, abandon him or prepare him for a possible comeback – all depending on which story might still be told and profited from. In the National Football League, where a great story – good or evil – is the most valuable commodity, there’s almost always a chance to applaud the bad guy.

Then, this week, inevitably, the celebrity gossip site TMZ released video of Rice and his then-fiancée from within the elevator. Whatever the NFL knew before TMZ, it clearly decided after the video’s release that it could no longer profit from the illusion that Rice was just another flawed character in a bigger storyline. The video forced the NFL to abandon its fantasy that the game and its athletes are somehow divorced from reality. Ray Rice is not at the lowest arc of his and the Ravens’ drama; he is a man who did a monstrous thing to a woman he later married.

But that’s what the NFL is – what it aspires to be and especially what it sells: fantasy. The league exploits the way stories and sports bring us together and lift us up. The NFL sells us a fantasy that athletes are characters, not people, that it’s just a game and also that we are living history – indeed, a history without consequences.

It is no surprise that the NFL’s preferred storylines – of redemption and dueling dynasties (Denver’s Peyton Manning and Tom Brady of New England), of victory against all odds (Seattle’s Russell Wilson) – find a ready audience among Americans. We hear versions of these clichés in everything from Star Wars movies to presidential speeches; even our president’s speeches attempt football metaphors and Star Wars allusions, even if he often fumbles the “mind meld” with America. But we’re hooked long before we turn to the NFL’s vast media network, complete with “insider” reporters and billion-dollar ESPN deals. The story of football, after all, is the story of America: hard work and a little talent can take you to glory, wealth, contentment and maybe even a comeback.
Tech's Depression Problem

Tech's Depression Problem

Start-up founders might seem like they've got it made, but long hours, isolation, and stress put them at risk of mental illness.

By Roni Jacobson

In tech circles, depression is “more prevalent than anyone really talks about,” Brad Feld, managing director of the venture capital firm Foundry Group, and co founder of TechStars told me. Building a company involves long hours, late nights and an enormous amount of stress. The competitive nature of the startup industry—less than 10 percent of ventures succeed—discourages people from talking about their problems and feeds into the myth that successful founders are confident and in charge at all times.

“The notion that you can be vulnerable, the notion that you can share a weakness, those are antithetical to the great CEO archetype,” Feld says.  

As a result, many founders believe they are struggling alone, and slowly become isolated from social networks and resources that could potentially help them recover. Fortunately, some influential players have started to speak out, including Y Combinator President Sam Altman, who wrote an encouraging blog post addressed to founders dealing with depression and anxiety this past June. "Most of the founders I know have had seriously dark times, and usually felt like there was no one they could turn to," Altman wrote. "For whatever it’s worth, you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t be ashamed."

Rick Warren’s Troubling Africa Mission


Rick Warren’s Troubling Africa Mission

Is the megachurch pastor doing good in Africa—or cynically exploiting African leaders to enhance his position and spread a social conservative message that oppresses women and gays?

There are many sides to American megachurch pastor Rick Warren.

There is the Warren who has announced his 2015 “All-Africa Purpose Driven Church Leadership Conference,” hyping it as part of a five-point “P.E.A.C.E.” plan to Plant churches, Equip “servant leaders,” Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation. He says he hopes to attract attendees from all 54 countries in Africa to spread the evangelical gospel.

Then there is the Warren who disavowed but, critics maintain, also helped inspire Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), under which violence against LGBT people increased tenfold, according to a report prepared by Sexual Minorities Uganda, including “lynching, mob violence, homes burned down, blackmail, lost jobs, arrests, evictions and suicides.”

So is Warren leading a double life? No—more like two sides of the same coin.

Critics accuse him of cynically exploiting African leaders to enhance his own position and spread a socially conservative message that oppresses women and LGBT people.

At the same time, Warren’s socially conservative message is right there in plain view. Yes, he is concerned about poverty and climate change, but he makes no secret of his opposition to abortion (he has compared the idea of making abortion rare to saving only some people during the Holocaust) to the Holocaust) and same-sex marriage (which he has compared to pedophilia and incest). President Obama may have tapped Warren to give his inaugural invocation, but he’s no moderate.

Indeed, Warren’s newfound emphasis on Africa may well reflect the sense among Christian conservatives that America has already been lost, but Africa may yet be saved. Here, the culture war has been won by Satan; there, it may still be won by God.

Sun and Wind Alter German Energy System

New wind turbines off Germany, where renewable energy is soaring and driving down prices. Credit Djamila Grossman for The New York Times

Sun and Wind Alter German Energy System


Germany’s renewable-energy push has had an impact far beyond its shores, driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago.

Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea.

They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.

It will be another milestone in Germany’s costly attempt to remake its electricity system, an ambitious project that has already produced striking results: Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources. Many smaller countries are beating that, but Germany is by far the largest industrial power to reach that level in the modern era. It is more than twice the percentage in the United States.

Germany’s relentless push into renewable energy has implications far beyond its shores. By creating huge demand for wind turbines and especially for solar panels, it has helped lure big Chinese manufacturers into the market, and that combination is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago.

Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their long-established business plans. Fights are erupting across the United States over the future rules for renewable power. Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset.

A reckoning is at hand, and nowhere is that clearer than in Germany. Even as the country sets records nearly every month for renewable power production, the changes have devastated its utility companies, whose profits from power generation have collapsed.

Nancy Pelosi: Civilization ‘In Jeopardy’ If GOP Takes Senate

House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks before she helps unveiling the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Nancy Pelosi: Civilization ‘In Jeopardy’ If GOP Takes Senate

Chuck Ross

On the one hand, California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims that Democrats are not “fear-mongers;” on the other hand, she believes civilization is doomed if Republicans take control of the Senate from Democrats in November.

The former speaker of the House made those dramatic, incongruous statements on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which aired live from Washington, D.C. Friday.

Maher asked Pelosi about recent polling which shows that the GOP is likely to take over the upper chamber and asked, given gridlock in Washingon, why it matters that Democrats keep control.

“It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate,” Pelosi told Maher. “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”

Krauthammer: Executive Action On Immigration After Midterms Is 'Pure Politics'

 Al Weaver

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.22.22 PM

'What galls here is the way he lies about it so brazenly'

How can we defeat the Islamic State?

How can we defeat the Islamic State? Look at how we did it the first time.

Ishaan Tharoor

Another reason to be pessimistic about the Obama administration’s chances of defeating the Islamic State.

WorldViews explained why the ongoing U.S. drone wars in Yemen and Somalia are hardly reasons for enthusiasm, especially when taking into account the considerable capabilities of the Islamic State, which eclipse al-Qaeda and its affiliates: The Islamic State commands swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, is cash rich and very well-armed.

The Islamic State is far more powerful than its predecessor, boasting as many as 31,500 fighters, according to new estimates from the CIA. That includes an influx of radicalized European nationals, as well as opportunistic defectors from other Syrian rebel groups. The United States does not have the boots on the ground as it did during its occupation in Iraq; nor is it certain that the Obama administration or the Iraqi government can call on the same Sunni militias that helped first push back al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Lastly, the challenge this time requires action in two countries, not one, and it's still unclear how the United States will proceed in taking out the Islamic State's positions in Syria, a country ravaged by a civil war that the Obama administration has tried desperately to avoid.

Should Kids Be Held Back for Kindergarten?

Should Kids Be Held Back for Kindergarten?

WSJ Essay: Many parents are holding back their 5-year-olds from school for a year, but the benefits are doubtful.

Erin Odom and her husband, of Mooresville, N.C., spent months last year debating what to do about kindergarten for their daughter. They worried that her fifth birthday fell too close to their school's cutoff date, which would make her one of the youngest children in the class. Their nursery schoolteacher assured them that their daughter would do "just fine" moving ahead, Ms. Odom says, but "we didn't just want her to survive school—we wanted her to thrive."

What ultimately persuaded them to hold her back for a year was talking to other parents. "Those who had pushed their children ahead came to regret it," says Ms. Odom, "while parents who held their children back didn't." She estimates that in her daughter's preschool class of nine children, roughly half were held back, too.

This sort of voluntary delay is known as "academic redshirting," after the practice in college sports of benching a hot prospect for a year to give him time to practice and become an even better player during his four years of eligibility.

Some parents redshirt for the competitive edge that they think an extra year brings—time for a child to grow bigger, smarter, more assertive. Yet Meg Meeker, a pediatrician in Traverse City, Mich., and the author of "Strong Mothers, Strong Sons," says that she sees too many parents redshirting children for the wrong reasons. "While some children really do need that extra year to mature," she says, "I've found redshirting often isn't about what's best for the child. It's about what's best for the parents." Today's hypercompetitive parents, she says, want their children to win in the classroom and in sports, not only so the child looks good but so the parents themselves can feel superior.

The research on the benefits of being older is mixed. Elizabeth Dhuey, an economist at the University of Toronto Scarborough, didn't specifically study redshirting, but she has published several studies showing that being relatively older in a class has some advantages. In one large-scale study, Prof. Dhuey and co-author Kelly Bedard compared the birth months and test scores of more than 200,000 students in several countries. They found the oldest students in fourth grade scored 4% to 12% higher than the youngest, a trend that continued in eighth grade. In another large-scale study, Prof. Dhuey and economist Stephen Lipscomb found the relatively oldest students were 4% to 11% more likely to hold leadership positions in high school.

James Franklin: The Man in the Middle for the Nittany Lions

The Man in the Middle for the Nittany Lions

Penn State Coach James Franklin May Face More Tests Off the Field Than on It


At 6 a.m., Penn State’s campus is quiet, other than sleepy students staggering out of the library and a few joggers. The stoplights are not activated yet, so James Franklin can drive from his house to the Lasch Football Building in about four minutes.

Through floor-to-ceiling windows in his office, he can see the sun rise over Mount Nittany to the east, the dim lights of Beaver Stadium to the north. He can see the farms and the highway.

Outside the office is an expansive patio that overlooks one of the practice fields, but it is empty.

“You believe that?” he said. “This has been here for 15 years, and there’s never been a piece of furniture out here.”

That is expected to change, another modification on a list of personal touches from the man settling in as the Nittany Lions’ football coach.

Franklin’s mother was a janitor; his father worked the tool and die line at the General Motors plant in Ewing, N.J. Neither went to college. Now Franklin, 42, is paid more than any state employee in Pennsylvania, more than $4 million per year.

That alone would be enough to heap expectations on his shoulders and rankle those uncomfortable with the outsize role of athletics on college campuses. But this is Penn State, which is still confronting the ripple effects of the child sexual abuse scandal involving the former assistant Jerry Sandusky in the fall of 2011. Franklin’s salary is but one note in a discordant cacophony that includes the voices of faculty members, alumni, others with ties to the university and loyalists of the old regime, which was led by Coach Joe Paterno.

This is Franklin’s community now, and how he handles being the most visible face of the program will probably test him far more than the football field.

UCLA med student 'stole iPad from a dying cancer patient and re-registered it'

stolen ipad

UCLA med student 'stole iPad from a dying cancer patient and re-registered it as her own'

Police have charged med student Virginia Nguyen with petty theft, grand theft of lost property, and computer access and fraud

Family of cancer victim Natalie Packer found the deceased's iPad re-registered to Nguyen after Packer passed away

Device went missing when Packer went into cardiac arrest and Code Blue response attempted to revive her

A felony conviction in the case could severely damage Nguyen's future in medicine said Cassandra Hockenson, a spokesperson for the California Medical Board. The accused has declined to respond to interview requests.

As NBC Los Angeles notes, Nguyen's LinkedIn profile lists her summary as 'committed to providing social justice and healthcare for diverse populations.' However the University has issued a statement that she is: 'not currently employed at UCLA.'

UCLA would not comment on her current status as a student, only that the university enforces an honor code.

'In those instances when a student's conduct does not meet those standards, we have administrative procedures that ensure appropriate due process is afforded to the student while also moving swiftly yet fairly to ensure accountability to these standards,' read a UCLA statement.

The Psychology of Ray Rice Supporters

The Psychology of Ray Rice Supporters

By Jesse Singal

 Over at Time, Megan Gibson argues that the ongoing existence of Ray Rice supporters can be explained, at least in part, by "the kind of God-like status our society gives to professional athletes." I actually don't think that's a primary cause of this weird behavior. A simpler, more convincing explanation is "motivated reasoning," and you'd be just as likely to see it show up, in a similar form, in a case involving an abuser who wasn't famous at all.

Those few Ravens fans still sporting Rice jerseys are engaging in a potent strain of motivated reasoning. Many of them have spent years admiring Rice and feeling a sense of connection to him, and now, all of a sudden, a horrifying video and subsequent wave of national outrage are calling into question a small but rather well-cemented aspect of who they are. 

"Support the Player and Be Quiet": What It's Like to Be an NFL Wife

"Support the Player and Be Quiet": What It's Like to Be an NFL Wife

 By Tracy Treu, as told to Ian Gordon

A former Oakland Raiders spouse on the Rice scandal and the league’s culture of secrecy.

"The NFL is a culture that values secrecy. When you're with an NFL team, the message to you is clear: Don't fuck anything up for your partner, and don't fuck anything up for the team. Don't be controversial. Don't talk to the media. Stay out of the way. Support the player and be quiet."

The Raiders didn't formally sit us down—they're not structured like that as an organization to sit the wives down and school them, and say, "This is what we ask of you." But it is definitely passed down by the veteran wives in the league. The veteran wives will talk to the rookie wives. So will the administrative or coaching wives. It's made very clear to you, and not in a hateful way, by any means: "Let's work together for this one common goal: to win the Super Bowl." That will mean, for the coaches' families, that you're not going to get fired and you'll get to stay here for another year. And that might mean, for some of the marquee players, that they're going to get a better contract.

They really don't want anything to be a distraction from that goal. I remember getting a lot of grief for planning my first pregnancy poorly because I had our daughter during the season. You only have babies in the offseason. There are lots of informal rules like that.

And the media is the devil—the enemy. I had my husband come home and tell me, "Don't ever talk to the media." Guys would get teased; they'd rib each other if they were in the news, or if the wife got mentioned. There was a sportswriter for the Oakland Tribune whom I'd sometimes see at games, and Adam would be like, "What'd you say to him? Were you talking to him? Don't talk to him." And that's not just Adam's personal preference; that's what he'd been told. I don't know everything that was said in meetings, but that's how it came down to me: "Did he call you? What did he say to you? What did he ask you? Don't tell him anything."

Janay met Ray in high school. They have a daughter together. So we're asking her to walk away from this, and it's like, "How?" This is all she's ever known. A lot of these wives don't work. They can't. They're only living in a place for six months. Maybe the guy is playing on a new team every two or three years. He wants her home. You know, he's not coming home and cooking himself dinner. When Adam played, I don't think any of the wives worked. So what's she going to leave and go do?

"Be seen and not heard." That's the assumption. Well, that and, "You're just lucky to be here, so shut up." He's making great money, so you support him and shut your mouth. You're put in a subservient position financially. He's the star. Keep him happy.

Personifying information to aid memorization.

Memory Characters

By Neel Burton, M.D.

Personifying information to aid memorization.

Personification is a strong human tendency that can be applied to all sorts of areas and subjects. A chemistry student might personify the elements, and a law student might picture bills of law as various dictators. I myself have extended the method from diseases to drugs, which I usually picture as little beasties which I can then group like animals (family, genus, species) and immerse into ridiculous situations. Potassium channel blockers are little purple fish, purple because potassium burns with a purple glow, and fish because they swim around in the heart.
Michael Brown's hands were raised, witness says.

Michael Brown's hands were raised, witness says.

David Batty

Benjamin Crump, Michael Brown family lawyer

Footage of two construction workers moments after black teenager's fatal shooting appears to support other accounts

The video shows one of the men raising his hands immediately after the fatal shooting and shouting, "He had his fuckin' hands up."

The man told CNN he heard a gunshot, then another about 30 seconds later. "The cop didn't say get on the ground. He just kept shooting," said the unnamed contractor. He added that he saw Brown's fatal head wound and repeated that the teenager's "hands were up".

The men told CNN they were 50ft (15m) away when Wilson opened fire. The second man said he saw Brown running away from a police car. The teenager "put his hands up", and "the officer was chasing him". Wilson then fired a shot at Brown while his back was turned.

The Moral Downfall of an NFL Commissioner

The Moral Downfall of an NFL Commissioner

 Patrick Hruby

The questionable choices made by Roger Goodell in running America's favorite league.

The NFL commissioner portrays himself as a guy who takes after his father, a principled senator who opposed Nixon. His actions reveal just the opposite.

Like many sports stories, this one is about fathers and sons. Before Roger Goodell was National Football League commissioner—before fans and pundits alike began calling for his ouster in the wake of the ongoing Ray Rice domestic-violence scandal; before members of Congress began sending angry letters and demanding answers—Goodell was an 11-year-old boy, watching the Nixon White House crush his dad’s political career.

The year was 1970. Charles E. Goodell, then a moderate Republican senator from New York, was running for reelection. The previous summer, he had sponsored a high-profile bill that would have ended funding for the Vietnam War. He subsequently led a Washington march against the war—right down Pennsylvania Avenue, alongside Jane Fonda, arm-in-arm with Coretta Scott King. Before going to the New York Times, Daniel Ellsberg even asked Goodell to leak the Pentagon Papers.

Unsurprisingly, President Nixon was furious. He ordered his staff to give the senator a “going over,” turning the Republican Party against the incumbent candidate in favor of a conservative challenger. Meanwhile, Vice President Spiro Agnew savaged Goodell’s GOP bona fides in a series of speeches.

In response, Goodell’s campaign deployed the candidate’s five sons, including Roger, on busy Manhattan street corners, where they would stump for their dad. I’m Senator Goodell’s son. Please vote for my father. No luck: The elder Goodell split the liberal vote with his Democratic opponent, allowing third candidate and Nixon loyalist James Buckley to win the election.

Buffett's No. 2 on Berkshire's Success

Buffett's No. 2 on Berkshire's Success

The Intelligent Investor: Fifty years ago next year, Warren Buffett took control at Berkshire Hathaway. For that anniversary, Mr. Buffett is asking Vice Chairman Charles T. Munger to answer two questions: "Why did it work? And will it continue?"

Why did nearly 250 investors converge on Los Angeles this past week to listen to a 90-year-old man address the annual meeting of a tiny legal-publishing and software company? To hear Charles T. Munger—better known as Warren Buffett’s right-hand man—expound on one of his least-known holdings and just about everything else.

Since 1977, Mr. Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has also been the chairman of Daily Journal, a peculiar combination of a venture-capital firm and a mutual fund. His public appearances are so rare and his remarks so entertaining and illuminating that investors came from as far away as Alabama, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Ontario to hear him speak.

They weren’t disappointed. Mr. Munger talked almost nonstop for two hours, lambasting the banking and money-management industries, hailing the economic potential of China and, above all, dispensing common-sense advice that anyone can benefit from. His central message: Investors can reach their fullest potential only by thinking for themselves. “If you stay rational yourself,” he told the crowd, “the stupidity of the world helps you.”


Fifty years ago next year, Mr. Buffett took control at Berkshire. For that anniversary, Mr. Buffett is asking Mr. Munger to answer two questions: “Why did it work? And will it continue?”

The questions are “very interesting,” said Mr. Munger, “because the actual result at Berkshire is really preposterous.” Even he is a bit puzzled by how two men could take a jumble of dying textile mills, stagnant department stores and a trading-stamp company and turn it into the fifth-biggest firm in America, with a stock-market value of $337 billion.

“How the hell does this thing end up blowing past GE?” asked Mr. Munger, a sense of wonder in his voice. (General Electric’s stock is valued at $260 billion.)

First, he said, other companies like GE “long had a history of moving [division leaders] around internally, and that’s like asking an oboe player in the symphony to perform on the piano and expecting the quality of the music not to suffer.” At Berkshire, Messrs. Buffett and Munger let great managers stay put.

Second, he added, “I think we have had a temperamental advantage: Warren and I know better than most people what we know and what we don’t know. That’s even better than having a lot of extra IQ points.”

Mr. Munger continued: “People chronically misappraise the limits of their own knowledge; that’s one of the most basic parts of human nature. Knowing the edge of your circle of competence is one of the most difficult things for a human being to do. Knowing what you don’t know is much more useful in life and business than being brilliant.”

Mr. Munger had mentioned during the annual meeting that some $120,000, apparently from a retirement-account distribution, had “floated” into his account earlier in the week. He sees nothing worth investing it in right now and hasn’t bought an investment in his personal accounts in at least two years, because he is waiting for an irresistible bargain.


Successful investing, Mr. Munger told me, requires “this crazy combination of gumption and patience, and then being ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself, because in this world opportunities just don’t last very long.” Mr. Munger showed that in March 2009, when he bought 1.6 million shares of Wells Fargo for Daily Journal at an average cost he estimates at $8.58 per share. The stock was trading at around $51.50 this week.

“It’s waiting that helps you as an investor, and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait,” he said. “If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.”

Clinton’s New Workouts Speak Volumes

Clinton’s New Workouts Speak Volumes


Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has said she will decide next year whether to run for president, is getting in shape, a necessity for any candidate who faces the rigors of the campaign trail.

She is building stamina through tough new workouts with a personal trainer and yoga. She is talking about how to address income inequality without alienating corporate America. And she is reviewing who’s who in the Democratic Party in Iowa, a crucial early voting state in the presidential cycle.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has said publicly that she will decide early next year whether she will undertake a second campaign for the presidency. But inside the Clinton operation, the groundwork is already quietly being laid for a candidacy.

On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton will appear at the 37th annual Iowa steak fry hosted by Senator Tom Harkin; it will be her most overtly political appearance since resigning as secretary of state in February of last year.

Meanwhile, the largest Democratic fund-raising group, Priorities USA, which helped get President Obama elected, recently rebranded itself as a vehicle to help Mrs. Clinton. Publicly, the group says it is focused on raising money for Democrats for this fall’s congressional elections, but privately, Priorities has already started reaching out to donors to secure 2016 commitments for Mrs. Clinton.

George Will: Scotland’s epic vote on independence from the United Kingdom

Scotland’s epic vote on independence from the United Kingdom

In “The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century,” Cambridge University historian David Reynolds notes that World War I, a breaker of empires and maker of nations, quickened interest in nationalism and the nature of nationhood, especially the distinction between a civic nation and an ethnic nation: The former is “a community of laws, institutions, and citizenship,” whereas an ethnic nation is “a community of shared descent, rooted in language, ethnicity, and culture.” France embodied civic nationalism, forged by its revolution; Germany, “steeped in Romantic conceptions of the Volk ,” exemplified ethnic nationalism.

The United States is a civic nation because it is a creedal nation — founded, as Jefferson said, on “truths” deemed “self-evident,” and dedicated, as Lincoln said, to a “proposition” (that all are created equal). Scotland is largely an ethnic nation, and whether Scots opt for or against independence, the continued vitality of their national sentiments testifies to the ability of differences to resist homogenization by the commercial and cultural forces of modernity.

Gillibrand rips Rush's 'chickifying'

Gillibrand rips Rush's 'chickifying'


Kirsten Gillibrand (left) and Rush Limbaugh are pictured in this composite image. | AP Photos

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ripped Rush Limbaugh on Friday, after the conservative radio host said the uproar over Ray Rice and domestic abuse is just liberals “feminizing” and ‘chickifying’ the NFL.

“Well if he believes criminals should be playing in the National Football League, he’s got a serious issue. These are criminal cases of assault and battery and sexual violence. Our players are role models, we don’t young kids looking up to these folks who are beating their wives. It’s not right. And so we should have a zero tolerance policy. And he’s wrong,” Gillibrand said Friday on CNN in response to Limbaugh’s comments.

On his show earlier Friday, Limbaugh slammed a letter sent by 16 female senators—including Gillibrand—to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for a zero tolerance policy toward domestic abuse.

“We’re feminizing this game. It’s a man’s game and if we keep feminizing this game we’re gonna ruin it. If we keep chickifying this game we’re gonna ruin it,” Limbaugh said, according to a transcript.

Echoing comments he made earlier this week, Limbaugh added that politics have gotten too embroiled with sports—specifically with the NFL, which he said has “become nothing more than the latest extension of the Democrat Party leftist agenda.”

“Of course I’m against wife beating. I’m also against mixing social issues with broadcast of sporting events, too. But that line has been blurred now,” the radio host said.

“Sorry, this is not why I watch football. This is going to be the death of this sport. It is no longer an escape. It’s no longer about great athletes. It’s no longer about amazing athletic achievement and drama,” Limbaugh said. “The never-ending refrain on the Washington Redskins name, and now this? Guns, gays, domestic violence, these are topics that I frankly don’t be need to be preached to about. I don’t need to be lectured, and I certainly don’t want to turn on a football game and end up being accused of all kinds of social misbehavior.”

On the Road With Tim McGraw

On the Road With Tim McGraw

The country singer on his new album, his family and why he doesn't like making music videos

Country singer Tim McGraw and his bandmates are sprinting across the tarmac outside the Dallas arena where he's scheduled to perform that evening. Soon, they'll drop down on the ground for push-ups and lunges—all part of Mr. McGraw's sometimes twice-daily CrossFit exercise routine.

Known for chart-topping songs such as "Live Like You Were Dying" and "Just to See You Smile," Mr. McGraw is on tour before the release of his 13th studio album, "Sundown Heaven Town," on Sept. 16. Later, seated in a dressing room, the 47-year-old singer is wearing his trademark black cowboy hat and a form-fitting black T-shirt. At one point, he pulls up his shirt to reveal the chiseled six-pack he had been perfecting in the 111-degree Dallas heat.

He has been performing all summer, and has made $10.8 million in ticket sales for the first half of 2014, according to Pollstar. (His concerts brought in $27.2 million in 2013.) Since his first album came out in 1993, 35 of his songs have hit No. 1 on the country radio charts. While he's on the road, he says that he has to keep moving. "I quit drinking coming on seven years," he says, "so you just gotta keep busy, and the problem on the road is there's a lot of time waiting." Working out "kills two birds with one stone. It keeps my mind occupied, but it also gets me into shape."

Mr. McGraw hopes that each of the new album's songs serves as a sort of three-minute movie in which the listener can imagine himself as a character. It's the reason he doesn't like making music videos. When you hear a song, "you superimpose the events in your life or something you feel or something in your childhood onto the song, and you create your own movie," he says. "So when you do a video you might take a little bit of somebody else's movie away from them." He wants the experience to feel like he's "sitting in a bar, talking across the table from somebody and telling them a story."

When he's recording a new album, Mr. McGraw tries not to think about what his label or his manager or radio stations might like. "If you start doing that then you're just going to lose yourself," he says. "I think, 'What do I want to say as an artist? How do I want to make my records?' " Mr. McGraw says that he only worries about what other people think later. "You do have all those feelings, but they usually come after you've made the record and put it out in the world, and then the anxiety of all that comes in," he says.

He also wants people to listen to his albums in their entirety—something fewer listeners do today. "You want to be heard all in context and you want people to…dig deeper into what you do." But he knows that he can't control how his music is consumed, especially at a time when songs increasingly reach listeners through streaming services. "As a musician you can't get caught up in iTunes and Spotify and—what's it? Pandora? I don't know the names of all these things," he adds, shaking his head.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 125 - 155 of 27870
Latest News

In-N-Out Burger

© 2014 Down State News - created by JiaWebDesign web design and development