Google maps search for N***** House returned: the White House

google maps search for n**** House yields White HouseIt’s an embarrassment to the search giant that Google Maps produced highly inappropriate racist results, even though it happened because racist terms are often shared on the internet. A Wired reporter explains:

It was discovered that when searching for “n***a house” and “n***a king,” Maps returned a surprising location: the White House. A search for “slut’s house” led to an Indiana women’s dorm. Initially, you may have suspected this to be the work of a lone vandal, or even a coordinated campaign. But Google Maps gave racist, degrading results not because it was compromised, but because the internet itself is racist and degrading … It … means that if enough people online refer to a specific place using vile epithets, even one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States can be reduced to racist garbage.

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Feel-good social analysis fails to show how real change happens

the wire hbo image

HBO’s The Wire (Photo courtesy of HBO)

Through analyzing what’s wrong with The Wire, Dave Zirin takes a hard look at what is missing altogether from supposedly progressive TV shows that supposedly delve into the social injustices that are screaming for attention all across the US recently. Interesting read. Dave says:

I always shoved it to the back of my mind when my friends in Baltimore – I live about 45 minutes from the city – almost uniformly would tell me they either did not like or would not watch the show. People were hostile toward The Wire for a multiplicity of reasons. Some felt it was like gangster rap for a more sophisticated audience, glorifying black-on-black hyper-masculine street violence while selling itself as somehow more literate and ennobling to consume. My friend Mark once pissed me off fiercely when he told me that my favorite show was “NWA for people who read The New Yorker.”

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Prison to Whole Foods Pipeline: artisanal foods crafted by inmates

Prison work in progress

Flickr: kathrynsdays / Via Kathryndays Flickr

Fortune publishes the oddest stuff. This intriguing article covers the burgeoning artisanal food prison business, thriving because its labor force is prison inmates that earn – get this – 60¢ an hour. Although, Colorado Corrections Institute director Steve Smith points out, a whole $3-400 a month can be earned with incentives (emphasis mine). Naturally, the prison industry itself profits handsomely from these relationships as middleman and overseer, making it pretty clear what has been driving Big Money’s strategy to lock up 1% of the United States population. The US is returning to a slave labor model … and calling it “help” for prison inmates. UK politics professor Genevieve LeBaron says,

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Bill Benzon writes rocking tribute to B.B. King

BB KingMy friend Bill Benzon writes a sweet tribute to B.B. King on his New Savanna blog. Bill plays trumpet and in the 80s, once opened for The King in an Albany venue.

My memories of the Albany gig are a bit richer. To be sure, as I recall, King’s music was better at that SPAC gig, for the music comes and goes even with the best of them. Our manager (and saxophonist) Ken Drumm had seen to it that King had champagne waiting for him when he arrived in his dressing room and that got us an opportunity to meet him after the gig. But we had to line up with everyone else – mostly middle-aged ladies in big hats and Sunday dresses – and wait our turn. We didn’t have more than a minute, if that, in the man’s presence.

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Gay rights advance in Ireland and are defended by a Vermont mom

In honor of Ireland’s historic vote to allow same-sex marriage throughout the country, Truthout’s Senior Editor William Rivers Pitt shared this fabulous Letter to the Editor from a Vermont mother addressing the community of neighbors that began tormenting her son from age 6, mercilessly bullying him and calling him a “fag” because he didn’t walk and have the same interests as other students. In 2000 Sharon Underwood wrote:

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Newark Students’ May 22 walkout and protest over 2000 strong

Newark 1505 student walkoutOn May 22 2015, over 2000 students and supporters shut downtown Newark NJ down for several hours to create visibility and bring awareness to the horrors Newark students have experienced at the hands of Chris Christie, Cory Booker and Cami Anderson, who jointly created a plan to break the back of public education in this city.

Anderson’s “One Newark” plan has young children from a single family barred from attending the school local to their home and instead, being sent far outside their neighborhood to 4 different schools in different corners of the city. Each child must take 2-3 bus rides and spend an hour of commuting time each way to reach school. Throughout the city, public school students are denied books and sanitary food; the principals and administrative staff of the city’s most successful schools are fired; and police charges were filed against a PTA president for hanging flyers announcing the PTA’s next meeting.

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Taking pix of or on a plane can get you clipped wings or worse

banned pilotIn the continuing saga of how weird America has become, HuffPost reports on the Kafka-esque rules concerning airplanes and cameras.

It’s not illegal or even against airline policy to take photos or video of airplanes, on airplanes or of airline staff. But if you do, the staff can decide to blacklist you, remove you from flights or create a report about your “bad behaviour”. They can also decide to do nothing and let you snap, or film, away without any consequences whatsoever. And by the way, these unpublished rules, not made accessible to the public, are subject to change without notice.

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Let evildoers fade into obscurity while we celebrate heroes

Arredondo saving bomb victimThe day after the surviving Boston Marathon bomber was sentenced to death last Friday, May 15 2015, Boston Globe writer Kevin Cullen reminds us to let the evildoers fade into the obscurity of history, while we focus on the heroes. Kevin asks, “How do we forget the Tsarnaev brothers? How do we write them out of the narrative, so that the legacy of the attack on the Boston Marathon focuses on those worth remembering?”

…the Tsarnaev brothers made choices, too, and they actually had much, much more time to make them. They spent months listening to the jihadi propaganda that promised them paradise if they murdered innocents. They spent more months preparing their bombs, preparing their minds, dehumanizing the strangers they would kill and maim.

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Empty hatred of Jews is being incited worldwide – but some people are not convinced

jew bashingStand With Us reports on the transformation of Jordanian born Abe Haak from Jew hater to ardent Zionist and shares excerpts from an interview with him. Mr. Haak gives this explanation for why Jews are increasingly becoming targets of hate in the world today:

Having failed five times to defeat Israel on the battle field, the Arab world is now intent on tarnishing Israel’s name globally, he said. Muslims and others who hate Israel are working together under “an umbrella coalition known as BDS, boycott, divest and sanctions,” and the movement is targeting Jewish youths on college campuses, “the softest part” of our society.

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33 brilliant tricks to keep your home organized

This is the best home item organizing list I’ve come across. I might be in love. Two of my favorites:

duvet covers inside pillow cases

Store duvet covers inside pillow cases

paper clip end of tape

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Why the 20 week abortion ban is unconstitutional, unjust and dangerous

keep abortion safe & legalRoe v. Wade established women’s constitutional rights to decide whether we will carry pregnancies to term. It is unconstitutional to impose any ban on abortions. Yet on Wednesday May 13, Congress voted 242 to 184 to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The ban will make it impossible for women to abort babies that are seriously ill, fail to develop properly or when a pregnancy threatens the mom’s life.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate the idea of aborting a fetus this far advanced in term. But this is an important point: doctors who could perform an abortion of this type probably hate it more, so it will always be difficult to find a doctor willing to perform a late term abortion. Except when there is clear medical need.

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Real companies don’t call to offer tech support: end robocalls

tired of robo callsConsumer’s Union wants us to know about a robocall scam that has victimized way too many people:

Benita from Washington, DC, wrote in with this warning about a phone scam where the caller pretends to be offering tech support:

“Have you received a call telling you that they notice that you are having problems with your computer, and you should go to “run” and enter a code — which would allow them to take over your computer and repair your problem? This is a major SCAM and your computer will be corrupted. Hang up — do not continue call.”

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A short list of remarkable truth-telling journalists

speak truth to power
After reporting on Colbert’s public attack on David Koch at a Time Magazine Gala, journalist David Harris Gershon shares his list of truth-telling US journalists we should honor and pay close attention to.

Honor, because they are ‘swimming upstream’ in an era of cowardly and self-interested reporting. He starts off with, “Stewart. Colbert. Maher (at times),” and expands his list to include:

As According to Fish and kovie point out, it’s important to recognize those journalists and political commentators who swim upstream in their efforts to serve as truth-tellers, such as (to name just a few of my favorites) Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Robert Scheer, Paul Krugman, Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald.

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Obamas celebrate Native American youth with website & tribal gathering

Generation Indigenous
The White House launched its new Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) portal to serve as a one-stop shop for Native youth.

The Gen-I initiative focuses on improving the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement. This initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. Gen-I will help improve the lives of Native youth by promoting a national dialogue and policies and programs to mobilize and cultivate the next generation of Native leaders. Key programs address: education, health and nutrition, juvenile justice, housing, and youth engagement.

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What Google knows about you & how to manage some of it

Google logo
6 links that will show you what Google knows about you. You can manage some of the information and other stuff you can find out about.

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