Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gay Tolerant Progressive Muslims

At first, the devout Muslims who gathered in a Washington, D.C., conference center seemed like they could have come from any mosque. There were women in headscarves and bearded men who quoted the Quran.
But something was different. While mingling over hors d'oeuvres, they discussed how to change Islam's future. A woman spoke about fighting terrorism; she had married outside the Islamic faith, which is forbidden for a Muslim woman. A Pakistani man mentioned his plans to meet friends for drinks, despite the faith's ban on alcohol.
In a corner of the room, an imam in a long gray tunic counseled a young Muslim with a vexing spiritual conflict: being gay and Muslim. The imam, also gay and in a relationship, could easily sympathize with the youth's difficulties.
On this brisk Monday night in late October, members of Muslims for Progressive Values, a nascent American reformist organization, had gathered from around the country to celebrate a milestone: In four years, the group had grown from a few friends to a thousand members and spawned a string of small mosques and spiritual groups that stretched from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nine Inch Nails On Their Meds

Pitchfork- Today in things you never thought you'd see: Footage of Nine Inch Nails performing on the cheesy late-1980s/early-1990s live dance program "Dance Party USA" (think: Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt in Girls Just Want to Have Fun). They perform their debut single "Down In It". And it is the best thing you will watch all week.
A user on the message board Echoing the Sound (via the NIN Hotline) has posted the performance, which comes from a first-generation video recording purchased for $100. Spoiler alert: Trent Reznor is wearing a scrunchie. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Azelia Banks Released A New Single With Diplo

"Funk Up the Fun", a new song from Azealia Banks produced by Diplo. This one finds Banks at her speediest, smack-talkingest peak, saying: "Outta here, y'all little internetbitches. I really do this... snitches still on the Myspace and on YouTube, still tryna y'all little video views up to a million."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Police Chief In Charge of Trayvon Martin Case Steps Down

At a hastily called press conference Thursday afternoon, Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. announced that beleaguered police Chief Bill Lee Jr. is stepping down temporarily amid growing anger over his handling of the investigation into the killing of Trayvon Martin. Bonaparte told reporters that he hoped the move would "restore calm to the city of Sanford" and help speed the case through the legal process. He said that the city has not yet appointed an interim chief.
"I am aware that my role as the head of the department has become a distraction," said Lee at the press conference. "I have come to the decision to temporarily remove myself."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Get Away With Murder and Other Things the Killing of Unarmed Black Teen Trayvon Martin Teaches Us

If you want to kill someone and get away with it, do it during half time of the NBA All-Star game. Appoint yourself captain of the neighborhood watch. Don't set it up with the national program. The national program won't let you carry a gun or pursue suspects. Do it in a gated development where your black neighbors — 20 percent of the community — are targets of suspicion afraid of leaving their homes. Drive around in an SUV and keep an eye out for suspicious individuals. Look for young black men, the kind you've warned people about, the kind you think "always get away." Monitor the 7-11. Find someone who "looks like he's up to no good, or [is] on drugs, or something," someone "carrying something," someone "looking about."
Describe the suspicious person to the dispatcher, the way you always do, the way you've done at least nine times before. There have been a lot of break-ins in this neighborhood. You've probably spoken to this dispatcher before. You called the police 46 times last year. Say, "He's a black male... He's got a button on his shirt. Late teens." Tell the dispatcher that "something's wrong with him." The dispatcher will tell you that police are on their way. He'll tell you not to follow the kid.
Do it anyway. He's running. Find him. Wrestle with him. Shoot him, once.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple Plans $10B Stock Buyback

Al Jazeera- Apple has announced it plans to pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share and authorised a $10bn stock buyback programme to be executed over three years.
The pioneering technology giant said it planned to initiate the quarterly dividend in the fourth quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, and to begin the stock repurchase programme in the 2013 fiscal year, which starts on September 30.
Wall Street had speculated that Apple was planning to return cash to shareholders, taking a cue from comments made by Tim Cook, the company's chief executive, about "active discussions" at the top levels about the matter.
Cook recently said he had been "thinking very deeply" about investors' demands that Apple return some of the cash to shareholders via a dividend, pushing Apple shares up more than 35 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Apple shares rose 2.4 per cent in trading in New York on Monday, ending the session at $598.84 a share.
The move appears to mark a change from corporate policy under Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and  former chief executive who died last year, when dividends were often mentioned but not acted upon.
Still, Cook said on Monday that the company's priority remained "making great products", echoing his predecessor's mantra.
"Innovation is the most important objective at Apple and we will not lose sight of that," Cook said.
Apple has experienced a phenomenal turnaround in fortunes since the 1990s, when it struggled to stay afloat before its co-founder the late Steve Jobs returned to take the helm.
The company, known as Apple Computer Inc when it was founded in 1976, was on a steep decline before Jobs returned in 1997 to re-energise the company with innovative products such as the iPod music player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet computer.
With a market value of about $546bn, the company last year eclipsed oil giant Exxon as the world's most valuable company based on its stock value.
Had it kept amassing cash and low-yielding securities, Apple could eventually have opened itself to legal challenge from shareholders, who could have argued that it was misusing their money.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange To Run For Senator

Since wiki's are no stranger to crowd sourcing, it's not a giant leap for Julian Assange to run for Senate in Australia, from the AP:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in elections due next year despite being under virtual house arrest in England and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, the group said Saturday.The 40-year-old Australian citizen is fighting extradition to Sweden. He has taken his legal battle all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on his case soon. Assange has criticized Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s center-left government for not standing up for him against the potential threat of his extradition to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Russell Brand Arrested After Stealing Cell Phone

From TMZ- Russell Brand has been arrested for allegedly grabbing a photog's cell phone and firing it through the window of a New Orleans law firm ... TMZ has learned. Russell turned himself in to New Orleans police within the last hour and is currently in police custody. TMZ broke the story ... Russell got pissed Monday night, after a photog began taking pictures on his iPhone.  Russell allegedly took the cell phone and hurled it through the window of a law office. The photog got the phone back and Russell agreed to pay for the window, but that didn't satisfy cops and prosecutors.  A warrant was issued for Russell's arrest.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs Exec Quits, Cites The Company's Change In Culture

A Goldman Sachs Exec wrote a bridge burning letter after he resigned, citing the change in culture from when he joined the company in 2002. He believes there used to be a focus on diligently earning clients money, rather than dumping bad loans on clients and using the capital for the company's investments. Here's an excerpt:

Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm's "axes," which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) "Hunt Elephants." In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren't — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cory Booker On Marriage Equality. Clinton/Booker in 2016?

If you haven't seen Newark Mayor Cory Booker's short but impassioned speech on marriage equality-and really civil rights-check it out. He defines the issue in a way that is really inarguable. But whether or not people will change their minds remains to be seen and hopefully we'll hear more of Booker's articulate and visceral delivery in 2016.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Much Ado About Critical Race Theory

So before Breitbart hopped on a steep slide to hell, he procured a video of a young Barack Obama introducing Albert Bell, a Harvard professor famous for his contribution to the field of Critical Race Theory. CRT essentially states that the liberal view that a colorblind approach to assimilating blacks was either ineffective or simply too gradual, so in order to make immediate progress one should not only highlight racial differences, but proactively seek remedies based on these differences. Affirmative action would be an example. Of course Breitbart's audience who, like himself, have not shown themselves to be critical thinkers, have decided that this video is evidence of Obama's generic "radicalization." As I've just stated the conservative right, which relative to other first world countries should be termed the extreme right, have never been able to specifically pin any radical ideology to Barack, only associations, because he's never actually acted in a way consistent with extremism on any issue: he's essentially been the prototypical moderate. Desperate times...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Scariest Movie Of The Year...And You've Probably Never Heard Of It

The Inkeepers is terrifying fun, and it'll have you looking over your shoulder rather than cringing at gratuitous violence. If you want to see a horror movie done right, and the adorable and talented Sara Paxton in peril, check it out.

I'll Just Put This Here...Dammit

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lil' Bieber

Underrated Overrated

I'd like to coin a new term to describe relatively unknown shows/movies/bands that are oversold by their rabid fanbase: "underrated overrated." Sure the s/m/b should be more popular, but they're not the greatest s/m/b in the world just because they're underappreciated. Examples:

  • Community
  • It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  • Firefly
  • Janelle Monae
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Primer

If You Liked Zach At The Oscars, You'll Love Him Between Two Ferns

Harvard Cheaper Than A Cal State

Amazingly it appears that Harvard grads are not only getting the superior name brand and educational value, they're also paying less than so-called third tier universities. How did this happen? Well Harvard took the very progressive approach of basing tuition on your parents' income. That's about as meritocratic a system as could be offered.

An Introduction To The Blog

I wanted to start a blog that reflects a wide variety of interests: basically a brain dump for all the thoughts that go through my head minute to minute. Everything from pop culture memes to Economics will be covered, so really it'll be no more schizophrenic than the internet itself. Hopefully you find my thoughts intriguing and join in on the conversation!

Dennis Rodman Has Never Looked Better