Browsing articles from "February, 2018"

Federal Judge Who Was Disparaged By Trump Greenlights Border Wall Project

Feb 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Federal Judge Who Was Disparaged By Trump Greenlights Border Wall Project

Border wall prototypes on display in San Diego, where contractors offer different designs.

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Border wall prototypes on display in San Diego, where contractors offer different designs.

Elliott Spagat/AP

A federal judge in California has rejected a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plans to build a wall on the Southern border with Mexico.

The state of California and a variety of environmental groups had filed suit against the administration, arguing that it was wrong to launch the border wall project by waiving several federal environmental laws.

But U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that the administration has not violated those laws, in essence giving the project a green light.

Curiel is the same jurist who oversaw a separate lawsuit against Trump University. As a candidate, Trump accused Curiel of bias because the Indiana-born judge is of Mexican ancestry. Trump called Curiel a “hater.”

In his 101-page ruling, the judge said his decision “cannot and does not consider whether the underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent.” He also referred to his Indiana roots with a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts.

“As fellow Indiana native Chief Justice Roberts observed in addressing a case surrounded by political disagreement: ‘Court[s] are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.’ “

But ultimately, Curiel disagreed with the administration’s challengers who had argued that the government improperly waived environmental laws to begin construction of border wall prototypes and replacements for existing border fencing.

The Justice Department issued a statement saying that it is pleased that the Department of Homeland Security can continue the project.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the first challenge against the administration. In a tweet, a senior attorney for the group, Brian Segee said:

“We intend to appeal this disappointing ruling, which would allow Trump to shrug off crucial environmental laws that protect people and wildlife. The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall. They’re giving unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of spectacular borderlands. This is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”

Amazon Acquires Ring, Expanding Reach Into Home Security

Feb 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Amazon Acquires Ring, Expanding Reach Into Home Security

Amazon acquired Ring, a video doorbell maker, on Tuesday, marking another foothold in the home security and surveillance business for the company.

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Amazon acquired Ring, a video doorbell maker, on Tuesday, marking another foothold in the home security and surveillance business for the company.

Paul Sakuma/AP

Amazon really wants to come over to your house. Or at least make it to the front door.

The Seattle-based tech giant announced Tuesday it’s made another move into the home security and surveillance business, acquiring Ring, a smart-doorbell maker that streams audio and video to cellphones.

Neither company has released details about the deal but Reuters reported that it cost over $1 billion.

Amazon may have just officially put a ring on Ring, but the relationship between the two started through its Alexa Fund, which funnels money into companies that create new ways to integrate Amazon’s voice technology into their products. In June, Ring announced they’d figured out how to connect select devices to work with Alexa on Echo Show and Fire TV.

Two months ago Amazon also snapped up Blink, another maker of Wi-Fi-connected security cameras that has recently ventured into the video doorbell industry, according to TechCrunch.

But Amazon is not just leaving it up to other companies to watch what’s going on at your front door. In November, it debuted a new home security camera called Cloud Cam that comes with Amazon Key, an app that lets some Amazon Prime members grant service providers — including dog walkers, house cleaners and delivery companies — keyless entry into homes.

The Key app was supposed to be the online retailer’s solution to widespread theft of delivery packages that online shoppers have been complaining about. Instead, GeekWire reported customers are creeped out by the technology, worrying that it might be vulnerable to hacking.

Just last week, ZDNet reported Amazon implemented a second fix to a bug that let intruders with fairly simple technology bypass the smart lock.

Still, at $119 the Cloud Cam is much cheaper than Amazon’s leading competition, the $199 Google Nest Cam.

Report Updates Landmark 1968 Racism Study, Finds More Poverty, More Segregation

Feb 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Report Updates Landmark 1968 Racism Study, Finds More Poverty, More Segregation

Former Democratic Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, seen in August 2017, holds a copy of The Kerner Report, as he discusses its 50th anniversary. Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission.

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Former Democratic Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, seen in August 2017, holds a copy of The Kerner Report, as he discusses its 50th anniversary. Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission.

Russell Contreras/AP

In 1967, over 100 cities, large and small, exploded in fire and violence, the result of decades of discrimination against black populations in places like Cleveland, Nashville, Boston and Newark. The biggest riot at the time was in Detroit. After five days of rioting, 33 blacks and 10 whites were dead and property damage totaled more than $100 million.

Unnerved by the scale of Detroit’s unrest, and anxious to find the root causes of the violence, President Lyndon Johnson announced to the nation that he’d convened a new commission, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. The 11-person group would be headed by Otto Kerner, then governor of Illinois. Its charge: to discover what happened, why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

The Commission’s members (all male and all white, except for NAACP head Roy Wilkins and Sen. Edward Brooke, R-Mass.) took field trips to several trouble spots. They interviewed residents and consulted with their own team of demographers and analysts to understand the depths of the effects of segregation and other forms of discrimination. (During one such visit, a man told Commission members Fred Harris, then a senator from Oklahoma and his trip partner New York Mayor John Lindsay, he saw more white people in the Mississippi hometown he’d fled than his adopted city of Milwaukee. His life was that segregated.)

Warnings in a best-seller

The conclusions were dire. Institutional and systemic racism were responsible for many of the ills that beset black America, the report said. The segregated housing, subpar public schools and aggressive policing of black and brown communities could all be traced back to the second-class treatment of America’s darker citizens. The nation, the report famously warned, was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

The Commission’s report was published as a paperback, and became a national best-seller. Virtually no one referred to it by its formal name Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders; it simply became the Kerner Report. And while some progress has been made since the report was initially released, a lot of things have gotten worse.

A new study that builds on the Kerner Report’s work was released this week. Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report was co-edited by Fred Harris (the sole surviving member of the original Commission) and Alan Curtis, CEO of the Milton Eisenhower Foundation. It notes that poverty has increased and so has the inequality gap between white America and Americans who are black, brown and Native American. The gains children of color made when efforts continued to desegregate schools in the 60s began to reverse by 1988. Court decisions that loosened oversight of previously de facto segregated schools resulted in a huge change: In 1988, almost half of all students of color went to majority-white schools. Today that number has plummeted to 20 percent. Poverty is such a problem, the study concluded, that if it is not mitigated, America’s very democracy is threatened.

“I was 37 when I served on the (Kerner) Commission,” Harris told NPR. “Whoever thought that 50 years later, we’d still be talking about the same things? That’s kinda sad.”

Amnesty International Finds Human Rights Deteriorating Around The World

Kerner’s continued relevance

Julian E. Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton who has written extensively on the Kerner Commission, said the original report remains germane. “In terms of criminal justice and the way race affects it, I think the findings are so relevant. You could almost take portions of the report, adjust them, obviously, to contemporary times, but they’d still resonate with what we’re dealing with today.”

Zelizer says Johnson wasn’t even sure he wanted to convene a panel to study racial unrest. That would be tricky even in the best of times, and those times weren’t that.

“He’s very fearful from the start that the Commission would end up blaming him,” Zelizer explained. “And at the same time, they’ll say you have to do things that Congress, he knows, will never accept, and he would look bad.”

After his Herculean effort to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, could the architect of The Great Society be remembered instead as the president who bungled race? That possibility was very much on the president’s mind.

Johnson’s trepidation — and his annoyance that his Great Society programs were not credited in the report (members said they didn’t want to politicize their findings) — led him to ignore the Kerner Commission. There was no ceremonial handover of the report in the Oval Office or elsewhere, no handshakes, no thank yous.

“He refused to meet with us to receive our report,” Harris confirms. “And that’s particularly sad to me because President Johnson did more against racism and poverty than any president before or since.”

No love from the White House

Peniel Joseph, a University of Texas historian, says Johnson was in a tight spot. The Vietnam war was not going well. Martin Luther King Jr. was preparing to begin several marches that would highlight the poverty of black America. And politicians in his own Democratic Party, such as Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy and, later former Attorney General Robert Kennedy, were making noises about challenging him for the presidency. He felt hounded on all sides.

“He was being criticized from his left by people like Dr. King, who was saying all the money he was spending in Vietnam should be spent on antipoverty efforts and racial justice efforts,” Joseph says.

“And on his right,” he continued, “He was being criticized by conservatives who supported the war effort, but rejected the Great Society, and who felt as if the Great Society was justifying law and disorder.”

So the Kerner Report was put aside, and would soon be eclipsed by the tsunami of historical events that followed that year: King’s assassination in April, Robert Kennedy’s in June, the train wreck that was the Democratic National Convention in August, with its Chicago street protests and unhinged police violence. Richard Nixon’s election campaign that fall centered on a law-and-order platform.

But landmark anniversaries have a way of focusing people’s attention. The date, the continued attention on problems the Kerner Report focused on (the militarization of police departments, for instance) and the new study may renew people’s interest.

And maybe enlightened self-interest will help. “Racial and ethnic inequality is still with us,” Fred Harris told the Washington Post. “What’s happening in the country is bad for all of us. Doing something about it is good for all of us.”

West Virginia Teachers To End Strike After Reaching Deal With Governor

Feb 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on West Virginia Teachers To End Strike After Reaching Deal With Governor

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announces on Tuesday that teachers would return to work on Thursday and that he’s offering teachers and school service personnel a pay raise.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announces on Tuesday that teachers would return to work on Thursday and that he’s offering teachers and school service personnel a pay raise.

John Raby/AP

The work stoppage that has closed public schools in West Virginia will end Thursday, leaders of teacher and service personnel unions said after meeting with the governor.

The news came at a press conference on Tuesday, where Gov. Jim Justice announced a 3 percent pay increase for all state employees this year, with an additional 2 percent hike for those who work in education, including teachers and service personnel. However, it remains unknown whether leaders of the House and Senate will go along with the deal.

“I’ve talked to the president of the Senate and speaker of the House, and I’m very hopeful,” Justice said. “I think in all fairness to them they should speak. Let’s just give them time.”

The governor left the press conference early to coach a high school girls basketball team in a game.

Leaders of the American Federation of Teacher-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association said Wednesday will serve as a “cool down” period before teachers and service personnel return to the classroom.

They expressed optimism that the deal with the governor would become reality, but kept open the possibility of another strike.

“We reserve the right — we may have to call our people back out again,” WVEA President Dale Lee said, noting that the Legislature would still need to pass the proposed raises to satisfy demands.

Justice proposed paying for the salary increases by raising revenue estimates by $58 million for the next fiscal year. He cited expected revenue increases partly from President Trump’s tax plan, which passed earlier this year. Figures released earlier this month show collections for the state’s general revenue fund in January were $28.2 million, or 6.7 percent, short of estimates for the month. More than seven months into the current fiscal year, the state is 1 percent behind original estimates.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said his chamber will take a hard look at the fiscal environment before agreeing to the salary increases, “while respecting and providing all the pay raises that are available to our public employees and teachers.”

Carmichael also said the reaction to the demands of the unions might have played too much of an influence on the deal.

“It feels like we’re perhaps reacting to pressure as opposed to properly managing the fiscal affairs of our state,” he said.

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead indicated optimism about the governor’s proposed pay increase for teachers, service personnel and all other state workers, citing federal tax cuts for a rejuvenated state economy.

The work stoppage included demands for a long-term fix to the health insurance program for public employees. On that issue, Justice said he agreed to create a task force to study solutions.

The program’s finance board agreed last week to freeze proposed changes to the plan that would call for increases to premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs until July 2019. Legislation to address short and long term fixes to the insurance plan have yet to become final.

Seeking To Make Schools Safer, Florida Legislators Take Up Gun Measures

Feb 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Seeking To Make Schools Safer, Florida Legislators Take Up Gun Measures

Protesters listen during the Senate Rules Committee meeting on gun safety at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

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Protesters listen during the Senate Rules Committee meeting on gun safety at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

Mark Wallheiser/AP

House and Senate Republican lawmakers in Florida unveiled a package of sweeping gun control proposals on Monday, which they hope to pass before a legislative recess in two weeks.

The measures are aimed at making schools safer for children but present a challenge to the National Rifle Association’s grip on the state’s Republican leaders, including the self-professed gun-toting governor, who presented his own plan Friday.

If passed, it will be the first time in more than a decade that lawmakers advance any legislation opposed by the NRA, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Governor Calls For Raising Age Limit For Gun Purchases From 18 To 21

The bills under consideration by the Senate Rules Committee address several concerns raised by gun-control advocates who have been pressuring politicians to enact more protective measures in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Many advocates attended Monday’s hearing wearing orange T-shirts with the slogan Gun Reform Now.

The GOP plan bears several similarities to the one proposed Gov. Rick Scott; both would raise the legal purchasing age of firearms to 21 from 18, implement a ban on bump stocks, increase school safety protocols and give police and courts more authority to take guns out of the hands of anyone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Where they diverge, is in the debate over arming qualified school teachers. Like President Trump, Republican lawmakers argue student safety would be bolstered if teachers with concealed-carry permits and at least 132 hours of weapons training could carry guns on campus. Under the changes they would be acting under auspices of local law enforcement.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is a gun-rights activist and helped craft the plan. NPR’s Greg Allen reported the Republican called it the most far-reaching proposal of any of the 50 states.

Student victims, Democratic leaders and Scott oppose the strategy, which is being called a “marshal plan.”

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Scott said he opposes the idea of giving teachers guns. “I want our teachers to teach. And I want our law enforcement officers to be able to protect the students,” Scott said on the show. “I want each group to focus on what they’re good at.”

But, the Herald-Tribune reported, the governor would “authorize sheriff’s offices to train school personnel to help protect students, if sought by local school boards.”

The state GOP also goes a step further in seeking to impose a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases.

One provision not included in the bills lawmakers are considering is a primary concern for student activists from Douglas High School: a ban on high-powered semiautomatic rifles, including the AR-15 which was used by the gunman to kill 17 students and employees. The Tampa Bay Times reported Democrats, who are largely outnumbered, are seeking to add an amendment to one of the bills that would make buying an AR-15 illegal.

Other security measures backed by leaders from both parties include additional funding to “harden schools” with metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks. And Greg reports, there is bipartisan support for expanding mental health services in schools.

The House Rules Committee will take up a similar package on Tuesday.

Mississippi GOP Senator Gets A Familiar Challenger From The Right

Feb 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Mississippi GOP Senator Gets A Familiar Challenger From The Right

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is expected to make his primary challenge against incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker official on Wednesday.

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Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is expected to make his primary challenge against incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker official on Wednesday.

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is expected to mount a conservative primary challenge to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, setting in motion an intraparty battle from a Tea Party challenger who nearly knocked off an incumbent four years ago.

In a Facebook Live video Monday night, McDaniel didn’t officially announce his candidacy. But he did invite supporters to a rally he’s holding on Wednesday afternoon in his hometown, admitting that, “I think you can probably read between the lines as to why I would be holding an event.”

“We’re looking for a fight, and I can’t wait for you to be on my team again,” McDaniel previewed.

In 2014, the Tea Party acolyte challenged longtime GOP Sen. Thad Cochran in what devolved into a particularly nasty primary fight. During that campaign, a McDaniel supporter snuck into the nursing home room of Cochran’s bedridden wife, who had dementia, and posted the photos online. McDaniel denied any connection, but the tone of the bruising race was set.

In Mississippi, A Senate Race Derailed By A Blogger's Photos

Will Mississippi's Black Democrats Save A Republican?

McDaniel actually topped Cochran in the first primary election, but because he didn’t get a majority of the vote, the two met later in a runoff. After national Republicans sounded the alarm over Cochran’s floundering campaign, and with the help of crossover Democratic voters, the incumbent did eventually prevail.

McDaniel alluded to that rough race on Monday in his online video, and admitted it did give him pause on whether or not to run again.

“It’s only natural, after some of the things that we went through in 2014, and the nature of the present political environment, whenever a person has strong positions and takes strong stances, sometimes that person has to pay a terrible price,” McDaniel said. “And because of that, there is always some trepidation, some hesitation about big decisions.”

McDaniel has long teased a run, but had to make a decision ahead of Thursday’s filing deadline in the state. Part of his seeming indecision appears to have stemmed from the prospect possibly two races to choose from in 2018. There have been rumors that Cochran, who has been battling health issues, could step down and trigger a special election. That race for an open seat would be much easier than taking on another entrenched incumbent like Wicker.

But, unlike Cochran four years ago, Wicker appears to be well-heeled for a fight. He has over $4 million in his campaign account, has been a loyal supporter of President Trump, and he led the GOP’s Senate campaign arm in 2016 when they kept their critical majority. On Monday, Wicker released one campaign ad featuring an endorsement from state senator who supported McDaniel during the last go-around.

Republicans Struggle To Find Senate Recruits In Key Races

McDaniel initially enjoyed the support of former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, as part of a plan to boost insurgent challengers to take out lawmakers who were loyal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But after Bannon’s relationship with Trump and many conservatives imploded last year following disparaging comments he made about the president’s son, that effort has also faded — and with it, any major lift McDaniel could have gotten from it.

“Before Trump, before Bannon, we were fighting to bring change to Washington,” McDaniel told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger a few weeks ago. “Our original goal was to drain the swamp, and that hasn’t changed.”

2018 Midterms: What To Watch For One Year Out

McDaniel’s entry makes Wicker at least the second GOP incumbent who’s being challenged from the right. In Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller faces a primary from frequent candidate Danny Tarkanian. But in that race, if Tarkanian does beat Heller, it could have major repercussions in November because the general election will be an equally tough fight, since Nevada is the only state where a Republican is seeking reelection in a state Trump lost. If Tarkanian is the nominee, national Republicans expect they will lose that seat.

The stakes are less high in Mississippi if McDaniel — who begins as a heavy underdog — does somehow prevail. The Magnolia State went heavily for Trump in 2016, and Democrats have yet to convince a credible candidate who could appeal to disaffected Republicans — as now-Sen. Doug Jones did in neighboring Alabama — if there is a primary upset.

Corker 'Listening Closely' As Some Have Encouraged Him To Reconsider Retiring

The other 2018 race that could see an intraparty squabble is in Tennessee. Last year, Sen. Bob Corker announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn entered the race and quickly became the frontrunner. There were some concerns that a Blackburn nomination might make a race against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen a competitive affair, while Corker could have easily won.

The incumbent has been reconsidering his decision to step aside in recent weeks. However, Blackburn has signaled she intends to remain in the race no matter what Corker decides, and many Republicans expect that if Corker — who has been highly critical of Trump in the past — does jump back in, he would easily lose to Blackburn.

In Arizona, Sen. Jeff Flake was going to face a tough, conservative primary fight that many assumed he would lose. Instead, Flake announced he wasn’t seeking re-election.

Trump Pays Treasury Undisclosed Sum For Hotel Profits From Foreign Governments

Feb 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Trump Pays Treasury Undisclosed Sum For Hotel Profits From Foreign Governments

Donald Trump, center, then the Republican presidential nominee, attends the opening of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in October 2016. After winning the election, Trump did not divest himself of his business holdings or put them in a blind trust. Lawsuits have been filed that allege he is violating anti-corruption provisions in the Constitution.

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Donald Trump, center, then the Republican presidential nominee, attends the opening of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in October 2016. After winning the election, Trump did not divest himself of his business holdings or put them in a blind trust. Lawsuits have been filed that allege he is violating anti-corruption provisions in the Constitution.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump Organization sent the U.S. Treasury an undisclosed sum last week, in the first of what it says are annual payments to compensate for hotel profits from foreign officials.

“This voluntary contribution fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar businesses during President Trump’s term in office,” George Sorial, the company’s chief compliance counsel, said in a written statement on Monday.

A Treasury spokeswoman confirmed the payment was received.

The size of the payment was not disclosed. The transactions the payment was based on and the foreign governments involved were also not disclosed.

The payment comes as the Justice Department is defending President Trump in three lawsuits that allege he is violating the foreign emoluments and domestic emoluments clauses of the Constitution — anti-corruption provisions that bar the president from taking rewards or gifts from foreign or state governments. Sorial’s statement doesn’t refer to emoluments.

The payment “is woefully inadequate,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits.

The payments are calculated on profits from foreign governments at Trump hotels and similar properties, as explained in a pamphlet from the Trump Organization. The calculation does not include other profits — for example, on rent paid by the government of China for space at Trump Tower — or non-monetary benefits for Trump properties in other countries, or payments or benefits from state governments.

Bookbinder said that even if those problems were solved, the president might be influenced simply by knowing that foreign officials stayed at his properties.

Unlike other recent presidents, Trump did not divest himself of his business holdings or put them in a blind trust when he took office. He frequents the Trump International Hotel near the White House and often spends weekends at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

For 1 Attorney, A Lonely Legal Fight To Make Trump Comply With Rules

Federal Judge Seems Sympathetic To Anti-Corruption Case Against President Trump

Feeding the Green-Eyed Monster: What Happens When Envy Turns Ugly

Feb 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Feeding the Green-Eyed Monster: What Happens When Envy Turns Ugly

Envy is a useful tool for social comparison. But sometimes, it can lead us to wicked places.

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Envy is a useful tool for social comparison. But sometimes, it can lead us to wicked places.

Steve Scott/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Envy: it’s an unflattering, miserable emotion. And it’s universal. All of us, at some time or another, will experience that feeling of wanting what someone else has, and resenting them for having it.

Of course, like all human emotions, envy has a purpose. It’s a tool for social comparison, one that can alert us to imbalances in the social hierarchy. Sometimes, these feelings of envy can prompt us to improve our lives, says Harvard social psychologist Mina Cikara.

“If you have more than what I have, I may be inspired by what you have,” she says.

But envy can also turn malicious, causing us to feel resentment, rage, and a desire for revenge. University of Kentucky social psychologist Richard Smith says malicious envy is often intertwined with another dark emotion, schadenfreude — the pleasure we feel at the suffering of others.

Researchers have found evidence that malicious envy and schadenfreude may be fueled by competition in realms like politics and sports. In one study, researchers found that hard-core sports fans felt pleasure when a rival team’s player was badly injured. In another study, researchers found that some people felt joy when American service members died in large numbers in the war in Iraq, because it made the other political party look bad.

The research into the link between envy, schadenfreude and harmful actions is just beginning, but Mina Cikara says there’s growing evidence that dark emotions and violent acts are related.

Schadenfreude, she says, “is present in the most dire of human conflicts. If I feel good every time I watch a bad thing happen, maybe next time I’ll make a bad thing happen.”

This week, we explore emotions that can inspire us to become better people — or to commit unspeakable acts.

The Hidden Brain Podcast is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Rhaina Cohen, Jennifer Schmidt, Parth Shah, Renee Klahr, and Matthew Schwartz. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Reopens After Shooting

Feb 26, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Reopens After Shooting



SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

In Florida, the Broward County sheriff is facing criticism after revelations that a sheriff’s deputy who was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, waited outside while the shooting was taking place and never went it. Republican lawmakers are calling on the state’s governor to suspend Sheriff Scott Israel. Governor Rick Scott says the state will investigate the local police response to the shooting in which 17 people died. Meanwhile, students returned to the high school in Parkland today for the first time since the massacre. Junior Macie Chapman was there with her mother, Heather.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MACIE CHAPMAN: I’m trying to not cry. Mostly because, like, I’m just excited to see my teachers and my friends that’ll be here because I haven’t seen them in a long time. And a lot of them don’t even have their phones because they all are left here.

HEATHER: No way to communicate.

CHAPMAN: Yeah, you can’t really talk to them.

MCCAMMON: NPR’s Greg Allen is at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and joins us now. Hi, Greg.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Sarah.

MCCAMMON: So what’s going on at the high school today?

ALLEN: Well, this is an orientation day. It’s really a chance for students to come back for the first time and walk through the door and mostly to pick up the possessions they left behind that day because, you know, as you recall, that – when that happened, everybody ran out the door, left their backpacks, their phones behind. But it’s also just for their chance to see their friends and see their teachers. And we’ve seen some tears, some people going in holding hands. But it’s been tough for them. Here’s Mike Glass, who’s – came today with his son. His son was in the freshman building, and he left his backpack behind, Mike said.

MIKE GLASS: It’s time for them to get their personal effects. There’s no agenda. They’re free to roam the school. Supposedly, there’s all kinds of banners inside the school from all over the place that the kids will be able to see and to read what others have – other schools and other areas of the country have sent the school. So it’s just more of a time to get back together.

MCCAMMON: So we’ve heard so much about these students – how resilient they’ve been, how vocal they’ve been about wanting gun control, but it must be a difficult day to go back into that building. What’s the mood like?

ALLEN: It really is. What you’re seeing is a lot of hugging going on. People are seeing their friends and walking in with their family members. It’s a lot of mutual support going on. Outside the school, there’s a large memorial that’s, of course, sprung up. There are 17 crosses, which big mounds of flowers are in front. And so a lot of the students are going by there, have been here before to visit the memorial.

But you know, we had some students like Macie Chapman, who we heard at the top, she told me she thought it was too soon to go back. She wasn’t ready. Her mother convinced her to go back. Talked to others who said, yeah, they’re ready to go back. They’re worried about falling behind. Some people talked about SATs in a few weeks, and they want to be ready for that. So learning is going to get back happening again here, but it’s going to be difficult really for some weeks at least.

MCCAMMON: And meanwhile, there are questions about the police response the day of the shooting and in the weeks and months beforehand when they received those warnings about the alleged shooter. Briefly, Greg, what’s the latest word on that?

ALLEN: Well, of course, we heard from Sheriff Scott Israel from Broward County that the sheriff’s deputy who was here that day, the school resource officer, resigned when it was learned that he stood outside for four minutes while the shooting was going on and never went inside. That’s going to be a source of an internal investigation by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Then, meanwhile, you have the House speaker in Tallahassee and many other Republican lawmakers calling on the governor to suspend Scott Israel, the sheriff here. The governor has not gone that far yet, but says he is going to conduct this investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Then we have this backdrop revelation of 23 contacts that the sheriff’s department had with Nikolas Cruz and his family in the years before the shooting. So there’ll be a lot of soul-searching in the weeks ahead and months ahead, looking about how the warning signs were missed here.

MCCAMMON: That’s NPR’s Greg Allen in Parkland, Fla. Thank you, Greg.

ALLEN: You’re welcome.

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Pedro The Lion Frontman Says Becoming A Dad Was The Turning Point In His Religious Journey

Feb 26, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Pedro The Lion Frontman Says Becoming A Dad Was The Turning Point In His Religious Journey

It’s been over a decade since David Bazan has created music under the moniker, Pedro the Lion. Now he’s on tour with the band and working on a new album. NPR’s Sarah McCammon speaks with the singer.

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