I really want to help but I have no clue how. If anyone know of any ways to help please comment on here
The two main ways you can get involved:
1) Go to a Palestine solidarity rally where you live. There have been thousands of protests happening around the world.
2) Research and support the Boycott, Divstment and Sanctions Campaign.
A hit pop song is sweeping Central America, called “La Bestia.” It’s about a freight train that migrants often brave from South Mexico up to the US border, with the hopes of crossing - often illegally. People are kidnapped, raped, robbed, and murdered on the train. The song warns of the dangers of taking the train to illegally emigrate. Like most pop songs, it’s completely manufactured. Unlike most pop songs, it’s manufactured by the US government. More specifically, it’s part of US Customs and Border Protection’s Dangers Awareness Campaign, and it was commissioned to deter South Americans from making the trek to the US border. The Resident discusses how pop songs are all kind of “prop” songs in the end.
USA: Creepiest nation on Earth?
Laws that criminalize homelessness are on the rise across the country, according to a new report by an advocacy group. The laws prohibit everything from sleeping in public to loitering and begging. Advocates for the homeless say the laws are making the problem worse.
Susan St. Amour is among those who could be affected by the new restrictions. Twice a week, she stands on a median strip at an intersection in downtown Portland, Maine, asking passersby for cash. She says she needs the money to get by.
"[If] for some reason I don’t get a bed at the shelter and I have nowhere to stay, it means I can’t eat that night unless I have a few dollars in my pocket," she says. "Or it may be because I need to take the bus to the other side of town. I might have a doctor’s appointment."
Last year, though, the city passed a law that banned loitering on median strips. A federal judge has since declared the law unconstitutional, but the city plans to appeal. Council member Ed Suslovic says the goal of the legislation was not to hurt the homeless — just the opposite, in fact.
"This was a public safety threat, mainly to the folks in the median strip, but also to motorists going by as well," Suslovic says.
To Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, such measures are counterproductive — as well-meaning as they might be. Especially if they subject individuals to jail time or fines they can’t afford to pay.
"It’s really hard to get a job when you’re homeless anyway, or to get housing," Foscarinis says. "You have no place to bathe, no place to dress, no money for transportation. But then, if you also have an arrest record, it’s even more challenging."
Still, her group says such laws are on the rise. The National Law Center found that local bans on sleeping in vehicles have increased almost 120 percent over the past three years. Citywide bans on camping have grown 60 percent, and laws against begging have increased 25 percent. This all comes at a time when the U.S. government estimates that more than 610,000 people are homeless on any given night.
CNN removes reporter Diana Magnay from Israel-Gaza after calling Israelis celebrating the death of Palestinian civilians ‘scum’
July 18, 2014
CNN has removed correspondent Diana Magnay from covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after she tweeted that Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza, and who had threatened her, were “scum.”
“After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement to The Huffington Post. (Neglecting to even acknowledge that it was directly related to the people cheering on Palestinian deaths.)
“She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew,” the spokeswoman continued. “She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken.”
The spokeswoman said Magnay has been assigned to Moscow.
Magnay appeared on CNN Thursday from a hill overlooking the Israel-Gaza border. While she reported, Israelis could be heard near her cheering as missiles were fired at Gaza.
After the liveshot, Magnay tweeted: “Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum.” The tweet was quickly removed, but not before it had been retweeted more than 200 times.
The removal of Magnay comes a day after NBC News pulled Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza.
NBC’s decision to remove the widely praised Mohyeldin, and unwillingness to explain why, has been met with anger and frustration from journalists inside and outside the network.
A source with knowledge of the decision told The Huffington Post that NBC executives cited security concerns. But at the same time Moyheldin was pulled, NBC assigned chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel to Gaza.
One of Mohyeldin’s tweets and Facebook posts were recently deleted, a move that has fueled speculation that his social media use could have been the cause for his removal. But the source said the reason given internally by network executives was security.
The war drums are beating hard in the media. Anyone who dares to hint at the truth will be removed from the area by the corporate media owners. Shame on CNN and NBC both.
By now I hope at least some of you have heard of Javier Payne, a 14-year-old black boy from the Bronx who was attacked by the NYPD last weekend as he was walking home from a hookah shop in his neighborhood.
Cops said he was fighting with another boy, a 13-year-old neighbor in the area.
So what do you do when two boys are fighting?
Well, if you’re the NYPD, and the boys in question are black, you throw one of them through a window, puncturing his lung. As he lies there with blood filling his lungs, you handcuff him and refuse to call an ambulance. When you do call an ambulance, you enter the protocol for an adult drunk, instead of a dying child. When the ambulance comes, you refuse to let the paramedics uncuff him. Even as the paramedics explain that this boy is dying, you argue that he’s faking it and that he deserves to die there on the street for fighting with another boy. When you finally do let the paramedics uncuff him and take him to the hospital, you fail to report that you threw him through a glass window despite dozens of eye-witnesses reporting the opposite. When you are called upon by the community to account for your actions, you decide to do an “internal investigation” - therefore being accountable to no one outside your division. You encourage the deregulation of police conduct and refuse to let outsiders investigate how you train your officers.
And what do you do, if you’re a concerned citizen who is tired of seeing this? You write Bill de Blasio and you ask him to start an outside investigation into police brutality. Or at least that’s what I did. And if you want to cosign what I wrote him, you can do that here. And if you want to signal boost that for Javier Payne, you can do that too. You can sign my petition letter here.
Watch John Oliver Explain Why “It’s Your Fault You’re Not Rich” Is Bullshit
by Hannah Levintova
On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host and comedian John Oliver ripped into American politicians’ colossal mishandling of the US wealth gap, which continues to grow to ever more astronomical proportions. As Oliver points out, plenty of lawmakers insist the game isn’t rigged against the poor — ahem, Marco Rubio — while others recognize the problem but are too afraid to be gung-ho on the issue because of, well, politics.
(via: Mother Jones)
When we feel down and find ourselves at the doctor’s office for help, the best person to get us to open up about our problems isn’t a person at all. It’s a computer.
A new USC study suggests that patients are more willing to disclose personal information to virtual humans than actual ones, in large part because computers lack the proclivity to look down on people the way another human might.
The research, which was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army, is promising for people suffering from post-traumatic stress and other mental anguish, said Gale Lucas, a social psychologist at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, who led the study. In intake interviews, people were more honest about their symptoms, no matter how potentially embarrassing, when they believed that a human observer wasn’t in on the conversation.
“In any given topic, there’s a difference between what a person is willing to admit in person versus anonymously,” Lucas said.
The study, which will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, provides the first empirical evidence that virtual humans can increase a patient’s willingness to disclose personal information in a clinical setting, researchers said. It also presents compelling reasons for doctors to start using virtual humans as medical screeners. The honest answers acquired by a virtual human could help doctors diagnose and treat their patients more appropriately.
The recruitment process
Researchers recruited 239 adults through Craigslist to participate in the study. The adults, whose ages ranged from 18 to 65, were invited to a laboratory to interact with a virtual human as if they were being admitted to a clinic or hospital.
Subjects were interviewed as part of an evaluation of SimSensei, a virtual human application that can be used to identify signals of depression and other mental health issues through real-time sensing and recognition of nonverbal behaviors. It is a research project designed to assess the potential of such technology and is based on more than 10 years of virtual human research and development at ICT.
Some participants were told the virtual human’s responses were fully automated, others were told that the responses were remotely controlled, puppet-like, by a human observer in another room. In reality, all participants were randomly assigned a fully or semi-automated virtual human, regardless of what they were told, and their video interviews were later analyzed by a (human) researcher.
The mere belief that participants were interacting with only a computer made them more open and honest, researchers found, even when the virtual human asked personal questions such as, “What’s something you feel guilty about?” or “Tell me about an event, or something that you wish you could erase from your memory.”
In addition, video analysis of the study subjects’ facial expressions showed that they were also more likely to show more intense signs of sadness — perhaps the most vulnerable of expressions — when they thought only pixels were present.
Opening up to a virtual human
One participant who thought the virtual human was automated said the experience was “way better than talking to a person. I don’t really feel comfortable talking about personal stuff to other people.”
In contrast, a participant who thought the conversation was being observed told researchers, “I wish you hadn’t told me that other people were in the other room listening in. It was weird, like, I don’t even know these people. I would have said a lot more stuff if they weren’t there.”
The virtual human named Ellie opened the conversation with questions such as “Where are you from originally?” and incorporated feedback (“I’m sorry to hear that”) and empathetic listening through facial expressions and nodding. Secondly, “her” virtual nature gave participants a sense of anonymity, making them more willing to disclose personal information in a private setting without fear of criticism.
“We know that developing a rapport and feeling free of judgment are two important factors that affect a person’s willingness to disclose personal information,” said co-author Jonathan Gratch, director of virtual humans research at ICT and a professor in USC’s Department of Computer Science. “The virtual character delivered on both these fronts and that is what makes this a particularly valuable tool for obtaining information people might feel sensitive about sharing.”
The researchers were careful to emphasize that the virtual human could supplement — not replace — trained clinicians. Still, the implications of the findings are plentiful both in terms of reducing costs and improving care, and several are being explored in projects being developed at ICT, including virtual humans to help detect signs of depression, provide screening services for patients in remote areas or act as role-playing partners for training health professionals.
In an age where people are increasingly interacting with computers over real people for everything from banking to grocery shopping, the researchers hope that opening up to a virtual character will open the door for people to get the care they need in a variety of health care settings as well.
By Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain
The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.
According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:
• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.
DemocracyNow 7/9/2014 Headlines also mentions this story.