34 amazing first lines of famous books.

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ever wonder how to get your book reviewed?

Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well More »

‘People are hungry for real bookstores’: Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are growing

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop and joining a business sector thats flourishing again in the US   She might be a beloved and More »

Progressives Take On New Yorks Democratic Machine In Historic Primary

The Resistance is coming ― for New York’s Democrats.

The blue bastion, which nominates Democrats for state office on Thursday, has a liberal reputation. In practice, however, its state government is corrupt, undemocratic and beholden to a handful of rogue Democrats who have effectively blocked progressive priorities, including protections for undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, increased support for abortion rights and the modernization of voting rules.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and eight renegade Democratic state senators all face robust primary challenges Thursday. The left is backing Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout in a vicious three-way battle for attorney general, and a new crop of local activists are vying for spots in the Democratic Party’s influential but little-known county committees. 

Polls close in New York at 9 p.m. Thursday. Here’s what’s at stake. 

J. Conrad Williams Jr./pool via REUTERS
Cynthia Nixon is credited with nudging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the left, but few predict an upset win for her in the New York Democratic gubernatorial primary on Thursday.

Andrew Cuomo, Progressive Villain?

The highest-profile Democratic primary in New York ― the contest between Cuomo and actress Cynthia Nixon ― will be the toughest one for progressives to win.

There are few Democrats in American politics who elicit as much scorn from the activist left as Cuomo. To these critics, Cuomo uniquely personifies the sort of inauthentic and transactionalbig-money-driven politics that has helped sink the Democratic Party to its lowest point of national strength since the 1920s.

Cuomo has drawn the ire of many in the party base for enabling GOP control of the state Senate, first by approving its gerrymandering plan and then by reportedly blessing the formation of the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, a breakaway faction of Democrats that handed Republicans power. He is likewise loathed for cutting corporate taxes andeducation spendingcozying up to corporate donors, employing close aides who were convicted of corruptionneglecting the New York City subway system and reveling in political dirty tricks

Nixon’s showing that you actually can stand up to bullies and effect real policy change. Joe Dinkin, Working Families Party

In short, knocking out Cuomo would be by far the biggest progressive primary win in this election cycle and would set New York on a path to take its place among the most progressive state governments. Beating back his money advantage alone ― he raised $35.6 million to Nixon’s $2.5 million ― would spook establishment Democrats across the country. 

If the polls and pundits are to be believed, however, Nixon stands little chance of unseating Cuomo on Thursday. Nixon trails the governor by 41 percentage points in the latest public poll.

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is running for lieutenant governor as Nixon’s running mate, likely has a better shot of defeating Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a moderate Democrat from upstate characterized by her loyalty to Cuomo. As The New York Times noted in its endorsement of Williams, he could bring a much-needed check on Cuomo’s power to what is ordinarily a symbolic role.

Voters interested in pressuring Cuomo to the left may still consider voting for Nixon.  

Cuomo, who is rumored to be considering a 2020 presidential run, will have his eye on the margin of victory. If Nixon outperforms Teachout, who shocked the state by picking up 34 percent of the vote against Cuomo in 2014, Cuomo may give additional progressive reforms serious thought.

Teachout’s primary challenge already nudged Cuomo in a considerably more progressive direction. In his second term, Cuomo banned fracking, raised the minimum wage to $15, passed paid family leave and created a paltry college scholarship program that nonetheless improved on the status quo.

And since Nixon’s entry into the race, Cuomo has restored voting rights for paroled felons, released a state study that reviewed marijuana legalization favorably and, perhaps most significantly, in April struck a deal to end the IDC (albeit after passage of the state budget in March). The Nixon campaign has dubbed the shift the “Cynthia effect.”

Regardless of the outcome, “Nixon’s showing that you actually can stand up to bullies and effect real policy change,” argued Joe Dinkin, head of campaigns at the Nixon-backing Working Families Party.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
New York state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, former chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference, faces a fierce primary challenge from Alessandra Biaggi.

Democrats In Name Only

Progressive prospects are brighter for the challenges against eight former members of the Independent Democratic Conference, the group of rogue Democrats that ensured Republican control of the state Senate from 2013 to 2018 in exchange for higher pay and other perks. Together with Simcha Felder, another Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, the IDC prevented a raft of key progressive legislation passed in the Democratic-controlled Assembly from even coming up for a vote. GOP control of the state Senate has denied New York the opportunity to become a progressive leader on immigration, women’s rights, climate change, and single-payer health care.

Although the IDC alliance lingered in obscurity for many years, after Donald Trump’s presidential election in 2016, activists began waking up to the scandalous arrangement, and New York’s congressional delegation soon followed suit. State Sen. Michael Gianaris, now chairman of New York’s reunited Senate Democratic Conference, led the effort to recruit challengers for the IDC members (though he has remained neutral since April as part of the deal Cuomo brokered for IDC members to return to the fold).

Punishing the former members of the group is a priority for New Yorkers eager to establish the state as a bulwark against Trump’s agenda and ensure that no future Democratic lawmakers engage in any similar betrayal of their party.

“The states can’t be a laboratory for progressive ideals if you don’t control the state Senate,” said a New York Democratic strategist who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

Traditionally the New York state legislature has a re-election rate slightly higher than the Soviet politburo. Democratic strategist

The strategist also noted that unified control of state government allows Democrats to at least threaten the prospect of retaliation for Republican gerrymandering elsewhere in the country, providing the party a better chance at taking control of the U.S. House.

The candidates challenging former IDC members are Alessandra Biaggi in the Bronx and Westchester (Senate District 34); Jessica Ramos in northwestern Queens (13); Zellnor Myrie in central Brooklyn (20); Robert Jackson in Upper Manhattan (31); John Liu in northeastern Queens (11); Julie Goldberg in Rockland County and part of Westchester (38); Rachel May in metropolitan Syracuse (53); and Jasmine Robinson in Staten Island (23).

All eight candidates are progressives who back the implementation of state-level single-payer health care and support stronger protections for tenants, ensuring that their election would dramatically change the character of the legislative chamber. Those stances and others have won them the support of the Working Families Party, the New York-based group also backing Nixon’s gubernatorial bid.

The IDC challengers face an easier task than does Nixon because they can make a simple partisan case against ex-IDC members in addition to an ideological one.

Biaggi, who is taking on ex-IDC leader Jeff Klein ― the man activists call the “head of the snake” and who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former staffer ― illustrates this phenomenon. A former deputy operations manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Biaggi subsequently worked as an attorney in Cuomo’s office, where reproductive rights legislation she was working on for Cuomo could not come up for a vote because Republican Senate leadership that Klein had empowered would not permit it. (Biaggi has not endorsed anyone in the governor’s race; of the anti-IDC candidates, only Ramos, Jackson and May are backing Nixon.)

Unlike Biaggi’s congresswoman-to-be, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has canvassed for her, Biaggi stops short of describing herself as a “socialist” (“Wouldn’t Jeff Klein love it if I did?”). She identifies as a “progressive” but is keenest to emphasize to voters on their doorsteps that she, unlike Klein, is a “real Democrat.”

Several of the IDC challengers, as they are known, have picked up key momentum in recent weeks, including an outpouring of volunteers, and endorsements from labor unions and prominent elected officials.

Many New York poll watchers expect three to four IDC challengers to prevail. The most commonly named are Biaggi, Ramos, Jackson and Myrie, all of whom won the blessing of the New York Times editorial board and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Even if all eight win, Felder needs to return to the fold or another Republican senator needs to lose for Democrats to retake the majority. (Felder is also being challenged by attorney Blake Morris, but he is a long shot in the race.) 

But the mere fact that the seats are competitive is enough to shake up New York politics and possibly keep the heat on Cuomo to usher in more reforms.

“Traditionally the New York state legislature has a re-election rate slightly higher than the Soviet politburo,” the Democratic strategist said.

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zephyr Teachout, candidate for state attorney general, speaks in front of Cynthia Nixon on Aug. 8, when the two endorsed each other.

New York’s Top Cop

The New York attorney general holds one of the most powerful offices in the country, though its occupant rarely puts that power to much use against the state’s business titans. With so much of the American corporate and financial world ― including the Trump Organization ― headquartered in New York, the attorney general has prosecutorial jurisdiction over everything from Wall Street to the president’s business books.

With Cuomo likely to survive his primary challenge, the open attorney general post is also the best hope for cleaning up the notorious corruption in New York politics. Teachout has won a national audience on the American left for her anti-corruption work and has earned the endorsement of The New York Times and the New York Daily News.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has the support of virtually the entire New York political establishment ― an embrace that has often been a liability in an election year dominated by outsider enthusiasm and status quo discontent.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), doesn’t have James’ endorsements but is supported by millions of dollars raised from real estate developers, Wall Street banks and corporate law firms through a novel campaign finance structure that may be illegal.

Polling has consistently shown a wide-open race: There are more undecided voters than there are supporters for any particular candidate.

Queens Party Bosses Exposed

When the Queens County Democratic Party filled the ranks of its county committee with the names of people who never agreed to run for the elected office and used enforcement of technicalities to disqualify newcomers, it was business as usual.

But when the disqualified candidates fought back with a lawsuit and exposed the scandal in The New York Times, it was a sign that even in New York’s most corrupt backwaters, change is afoot. 

The Queens County Democratic Party committee is a panel of more than 1,000 local Democrats meant to serve as a board of “block captains,” who represent the needs of local Democrats to the county party’s leadership and beyond.

In practice, it has become a patronage body that established players can use to ram through appointments to local judgeships ― and seats on the city elections board, which, of course, is the body that threw out the ballots of the newcomers.

The rejected petitioners were mainly comprised of members of the New Queens Democrats, a reform-minded political club that wants the county committee to meet more frequently and be more transparent about its makeup, goals and meetings. One of them, Jesse Rose, an attorney, sued on behalf of the petitioners, though the ballot rejections were ultimately upheld by the state elections board.

As someone always really invested in national politics, it’s opened my eyes to how important it is to get involved locally, and that matters no matter where you live. Deb Scher, New Queens Democrats petitioner

The lawsuit has nonetheless generated political attention for the petitioners who now have allies like New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides. The petitioners now stand a chance of being appointed to the committee by the Queens County Democratic Party, but they will not appear on the ballot. 

“As someone always really invested in national politics, it’s opened my eyes to how important it is to get involved locally, and that matters no matter where you live,” said Deb Scher, one of the petitioners from the New Queens Democrats.

It’s no surprise then that for progressive leaders Thursday’s elections are as much about democratizing an ossified, corrupt political system as they are about any one given policy.

“We’re looking at the potential toppling of the corporate-driven Democratic Party in New York, which is a machine that’s been in New York for decades upon decades going all the way back to Boss Tweed,” said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, a low-income advocacy group backing the various progressive primary candidates.

“New York is one of the biggest Democratic states in the nation,” Westin added. Progressive victories on Thursday “would have huge effects in terms of how Democrats are standing up to corporations and Wall Street and real estate interests, and really actually working on behalf of the people. That’s what’s at stake here.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/progressives-challenge-new-york-democratic-machine-cynthia-nixon-zephyr-teachout_us_5b987450e4b0cf7b00448b0a

Sounds like Jon Hamm would be interested in playing Batman

Jon Hamm, future Batman?
Image: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

There have been been rumours and speculation about Ben Affleck stepping down as Batman for a long time now — and with the recent reports that Henry Cavill may also be on his way out as Superman, they’ve been given a fresh lease of life.

The question is, who would replace him?

Well, there would probably be no shortage of actors lining up — and it sounds like Jon Hamm is keen to place himself towards the front of the queue.

“It depends on the script, what the story is,” Hamm recently told Graham Bensinger during an In Depth interview, per the Hollywood Reporter. “I am a huge comic book fan, always have been. I’ve read comic books since I was nine or younger. And I’m pretty knowledgeable about a lot of them. And I like the genre, and I like when they’re done well.”

“I’d probably fit the suit.”

Hamm went on to say that he’s heard rumours of fans calling for him to play Batman since the early days of Mad Men — but so far it’s not something he’s ever discussed with anyone.

“I have never been offered anything,” he said. “I think the internet wants what it wants. But, I mean, a lot of people have to sign off on that, obviously not just the internet.” 

So would Hamm be interested if someone were to approach him about the role?

“I’d probably fit the suit,” he said. “I’d have to work out a lot, which I don’t love. But, I am sure there’s an interesting version of that being out there. 

“And if they wanted to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to do it, why not?” 

Why not, indeed.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/jon-hamm-batman/

6 Warning Signs of a Bad Pastor and Spiritual Abuse

Over the last year, I’ve read a number of books about incredible, powerful, visionary people who achieved incredible things, only to have everything fall apart due to their own self-destruction.

I’ve read sobering stories of bad pastors/spiritual abusers (Jimmy Bakker), deceitful startup founders (Elizabeth Holmes), and obsessive athletes (Tiger Woods). I’ve also witnessed the profoundly destructive power of bad pastors and spiritual abuse first hand.

What struck me as I read these books was that in both the “secular” world and the church, destructive leadership tends to look the same. In other words, the same things that caused Jimmy Bakker to implode also led to the downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company “Theranos” (once valued at $1 billion).

And Tiger Woods, though not necessarily a “leader” in the same sense as a pastor or CEO, imploded for many of the same reasons.

More and more, it’s critically important to be able to identify dangerous, destructive pastors BEFORE everything falls apart. Few things cause Christians to become disillusioned more than being ripped to pieces by a really bad pastor. Few things do more to sully the name of Jesus more than abusive spiritual leaders.

Here are six bright red warning signs.

Warning Sign #1: A Bad Pastor Surrounds Himself With “Yes” People

Godly spiritual leadership is about helping people move from where they are to where God wants them to be. It’s a wonderful thing when a leader desires to see people going full-throttle for God.

Unfortunately, what often happens is that pastors and spiritual leaders conflate God’s plans with their own plans. What often starts as good and godly ambitions can curdle into spoiled, selfish ambitions.

They say they want to gather thousands of people and create massive movements and do giant things “for God”. In reality, it’s more about creating something that will shine the white-hot spotlight on them instead of God (even though they might not recognize it as such).

The problem with this (apart from the obvious pride and glory stealing), is that creating massive movements requires massive amounts of momentum. To generate momentum, everyone has to be on board, eager to make the pastor’s vision a reality.

Those who challenge the pastor and the vision only slow things down, making it really difficult to pick up speed and achieve the “big things”.

And so bad pastors and abusive spiritual leaders surround themselves with people who always say, “Yes.” The inner circle — those closest — will support every decision the pastor makes, no matter how destructive or ludicrous.

Warning Sign #2: Spiritual Abuse Isolates Critics

This is closely tied to the previous point. Not only are critics cut out of the spiritual abuser’s inner circle, they are also isolated. After all, the leader can’t afford to have critics talking behind his back.

And so they do everything they can to isolate and discredit critics, smearing their character, accusing them of lacking faith, saying their understanding of the Bible is wrong, and even spreading lies about them. The pastor wants his followers to have nothing to do with critics and seeks to discredit them as ungodly sinners who are holding back God’s plans.

The sad reality is that those labeled “critics” often start as close confidants of the pastor, but once they begin to push back, they are cut off. Instead of being able to provide guardrails for the roaring ambition of the bad pastor, they are sidelined and slandered.

Warning Sign #3: A Bad Pastor Prizes Loyalty Over Diversity

In order for a church or spiritual movement to be healthy, a diversity of opinions is required. In Christ, we are all priests to God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and given unique gifts to build up the church.

But this doesn’t work for the dangerous pastor or spiritual leader. Diversity leads to dissent, which slows momentum and keeps him from achieving his grandiose plans. He doesn’t want a variety of opinions, he wants loyalty. You’re either in or out, for or against.

And if you’re not all in, you’re accused of being disloyal. Of not being a team player. Of being a naysayer and downer. Of not believing in the mission.

Those who are loyal are promoted to positions of honor, while those who criticize are ostracized.

A sure sign that things are going downhill is when everyone in leadership thinks, acts, and even speaks alike. Additionally, if the leadership team gets smaller and smaller, it’s a sign that the pastor is hoarding power and promoting only the most loyal followers.

Warning Sign #4: Spiritual Abuse Refuses Accountability

A bad pastor or spiritual leader doesn’t like to be held accountable for his decisions. Because of this, he’ll take actions specifically designed to minimize accountability. Often times, this involves creating odd leadership structures where those who are supposed to hold the pastor accountable are unable to do it.

They may be misled or kept in the dark about the leader’s actions. Or, when push comes to shove, they may lack the formal power to hold the pastor accountable.

The result is that it may look like he’s being held accountable when in reality he can do whatever he wants.

Warning Sign #5: A Bad Pastor Leads By Force Of Personality

This one is a little trickier to evaluate and should be examined in conjunction with the previous signs. Most bad pastors don’t seem like bad pastors. They’re often charming, dynamic, and even visionary. They are forces of nature, charismatic, able to inspire people to do hard things.

But the personality is often a facade, whitewash splashed over a tomb. On the surface, they appear to be prophets with a direct connection to God. In reality, they’re deceivers who don’t fear the Lord.

It’s the dynamic personality that often causes people to allow destructive spiritual leadership to go on for far too long. They can’t reconcile the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the bad pastor, and so they endure abuse and hope things will get better.

Warning Sign #6: Spiritual Abuse Refuses To Believe Anything Is Wrong

Sadly, most bad pastors refuse to believe that anything is wrong with their leadership style or the way things are headed. They remain convinced that everything is great, up until the point that everything falls apart.

And even if they do harbor doubts, they certainly don’t share them with others. That would be an admission of wrong, of fallibility, of weakness, of insecurity. It would be an acknowledgment that maybe, just maybe, God isn’t on their side. And so they are always full of bluster and bravado, making grand claims about how swimmingly things are going.

The result is that things go from bad to worse to total implosion. Many people get hurt, the Lord’s name is dragged through the mud, and the movement usually falls apart. Even if it doesn’t, it’s only a shell of it’s former “glory”.

Don’t Tolerate Spiritual Abuse

If you suspect that your pastor is a spiritual abuser, don’t hope that things will get better. That rarely, if ever happens.

Instead, talk to someone outside your normal circle of friends and ask their opinion. Share specifics with them, including all the red flags. Getting an outside perspective is helpful because it can be hard to make sense of everything when you’re in the middle of it. Additionally, bad pastors are often manipulators, able to explain away every action, no matter how egregious.

Whatever you do, don’t tolerate spiritual abuse. It will leave you hurt, disillusioned, and feeling betrayed.

God has better things for you. Joy will come in the morning.

Read Next On FaithIt
“He Did Not Want to Die”: Pastor’s Wife Reveals the Truth About Husband’s Suicide

Read more: https://faithit.com/6-warning-signs-bad-pastor-spiritual-abuse-stephen-altrogge/

Best laptops 2018: The definitive breakdown

Picking a new laptop and choosing a new car are pretty similar experiences: They’re two of the most important decisions you’ll make in your precious lifetime.

Okay, laptops are significantly cheaper than that and your life and safety or whatever doesn’t exactly depend on it — but your job and other important life things (like Netflix) are made so much better by the addition of a reliable laptop.

Our point: Laptops are not one-size-fits-all, and this isn’t a choice that can be made just based on price or looks. It’s what’s on the inside that counts: Beginners need something user-friendly and straightforward, frequent travelers need something light with a long battery life, designers and gamers need top-notch 4K graphics and quick central processors, and everyone needs something that’s not gonna shit out on them after a year. We’re sweating already.

Luckily, this is the kind of stuff we enjoy researching, and we’ve put together a definitive guide to the best laptops on the market right now. We compare top brands that you probably have in mind like Apple, Dell, and Acer, as well as other huge players you may not have even seen coming like Huawei and Lenovo. Trust us, you’re in good hands.

Image: Huawei

The Good

Fingerprint reader • Dolby Atmos speakers • 3K screen • Glorious battery life

The Bad

Awkwardly-placed low-quality webcam • Smudges easily

The Bottom Line

A sleek MacBook copycat with powerful insides and movie theatre-like experience outside, yet still relatively affordable for all that it gives you.

1. Huawei MateBook X Pro

Storage: 512 GB SSD
RAM: 16 GB
Battery life: 12 hours
Features: USB-C ports, 3K touchscreen, Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 graphics card, Dolby Atmos speakers, fingerprint sensor, Intel i7-8550U processor, no SD card slot

$1199

See Details
From Amazon

If you’ve done any other laptop research recently, this pick isn’t quite a shocker. The Huawei MateBook X Pro has been dubbed *the best* laptop right now by numerous media brands including PCMag, The Verge, and Tech Radar. Mashable did a video on it earlier this year comparing it to the longstanding champ, the MacBook Pro, and guess who came out on top? Huawei. It’s a pretty obvious shameless copy of the MacBook Pro’s thin look with a fingerprint sensor, but has nicer specs packed into such a lightweight device — which is ideal for people who travel a lot or have an annoying commute to work. Plus, the battery is said to last up to 12 hours (unheard of for a laptop this size), which will make long days significantly more painless.
The 13.9-inch, 3K 3,000 x 2,080 touchscreen display is crystal clear and movie-theatre like, featuring ultra thin bezels and a Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 graphics card. Rare Dolby Atmos speakers along the sides will also give your movie nights a boost. It’s also a powerhouse inside, with a quick Intel i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD (which you’ll need, because you’ll probably download a ton of books, and there’s no SD card slot.) 
If you’re wondering where the camera fits in those thin bezels, we’ll let you know that the camera isn’t up there — it’s in a little pop-up button on the keyboard. This makes everything more compact, but gives an awkward up-the-nose angle. The camera isn’t HD either, but since the person on the other end will basically be looking directly into your nostrils, maybe low quality is better. That’ll be annoying if you’re Skyping with long-distance friends or having to do a video call for work, but don’t let that sway your choice too much.
Read Mashable’s review here and get the MateBook here.

Image: lenovo

The Good

Ultra thin bezels • Sturdy metal build • Fingerprint reader • Awesome battery life

The Bad

Heavier than others of its size • Lacks connection ports • Mini directional keys

The Bottom Line

Lenovo’s upgrade of their already-great convertible laptop gives us more sturdiness, sleekness, and power at a glorious price point.

2. Lenovo Yoga 920

RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB
Battery life: Up to 15 hours
Features: 3840 x 2160 display, 8th gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 1 USB 3.0 ports, 3 USB-C ports, Intel UHD Graphics 620, fingerprint reader

$1370

See Details
From Amazon

In search of a convertible laptop that doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap in half at any second? The powerhouse that is Lenovo can give you one. The Lenovo Yoga 920 has everything people loved about its little brother, the Yoga 910, and fixes almost everything people hated. (It’s also the more expensive, upgraded version of the Yoga 720, if you were confused about that.) 
One of the best updates we see is the webcam being moved from the bottom of the screen to the top, which is (surprisingly) something a lot of other laptops can’t say. IDK what’s with manufacturers forcing that awkward angle on us, but we appreciate Lenovo getting rid of it. It doesn’t support facial recognition via Windows Hello yet, but there is a fingerprint reader, so logging in is still a breeze. It is slightly heavier than most competitors of the same size, but there’s no clunkiness to be found — the 920 is sleek, notably sturdy, and decked out in metal (but that also makes it vulnerable to fingerprints). Inside, the specs are just as good: The Core i7-8550U runs at a stellar 1.8Ghz and is especially quick when it comes to Photoshop and other editing software, giving the MacBook Pro a run for its money when it comes to speed.
The 13.9-inch touchscreen has a standard 1920 x 1080 display with the option to switch to 4K — just note that using 4K takes battery life from 15 hours to around 10. Colors and viewing angles are superb, giving the coveted movie theatre-like experience, especially in tent mode. (The speakers also face you in tent mode, so audio will be loud and crisp for Netflix and chill.) It does smudge a little more easily than we’d like, but snagging the Lenovo Active Pen 2 can solve that. This is ideal for professional creatives who want to sketch or doodle without lugging around physical paper or for college students taking notes. It’s a bummer that it’s not included, and the fact that storing the pen takes up one of the 920’s two USB 3.0 ports is annoying and looks awkward. Small inconvenience compared to the entire package, though.
Read PCMag’s full review here and snag the Yoga 920 for $1,370 here.

Image: apple

The Good

Ultra fast importing and exporting • Quick handling of apps like Adobe • Street cred that goes with a Mac • Siri and touch ID

The Bad

Dongle hell • Pricey • Meh gaming graphics

The Bottom Line

A classic from Apple with the highest specs of any MacBook ever built and ideal for photo and video editing — for those who can afford it.

3. 2018 MacBook Pro

RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB
Battery life: 10 hours
Features: 2,880 x 1,800 FHD display, core six i9 chip with 2.9GHz and Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, 4 USB-C ports, no headphone jack, Radeon Pro 560X GPU graphics

$1799

See Details
From Best Buy

You had to know we’d throw a MacBook Pro in here. And not just because MacBooks give you great street cred, but because the newest MacBook is a badass powerhouse. They’re the most expensive in our list, but with a fast AF i9 chip, 2.9GHz, and Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, the price makes sense. Like we said, MacBooks will seriously last through beatings — if my MacBook from 2012 can last six years and counting, I have no doubts that a 2018 MacBook Pro will last a decade.
Artsy folks, it’s your time to shine. There’s no question that Apple’s latest MacBook Pro is the best laptop money can buy for photo and video editing, featuring unbeatable import and export speeds (even with those tough 4K videos), insanely fast handling of hardcore apps like Adobe and Final Cut Pro (which is only available on Macs), and a crisp 2,880 x 1,800 display to see your work just as clear as in real life.
While Apple hasn’t gone totally touchscreen yet, the OLED touch bar is such an Apple thing to do. Here, you can control brightness, sound, use touch ID, and do what you would with FN keys. (A lot of people question the point of this, though.) Other new changes include a new butterfly keyboard, larger trackpad, True Tone technology, and four USB-C ports — AKA the computer’s only connectors, requiring an adapter to do just about anything. The display’s True Tone technology automatically adjusts the yellow and blue tones in your screen to match your environment, making things easier on the eyes. Like fans of the iPhone’s Night Shift say, the color of your screen can affect your health, and too much blue light before bed can affect your sleep. None of us are in a position to turn down extra shut-eye, am I right?
All in all, the 2018 MacBook Pro packs a punch with the strongest, fastest specs of any of its ancestors, making it a great choice for editing obsessives and regular folks alike — if you can afford it, that is. Prices for the 13-inch start at $1,799 and go up to $2,399 for the 15-inch with the most memory and storage. If you need even more detail before making the plunge, read Mashable’s full review here.

Image: dell

The Good

Massive screen and thin bezels • NVIDIA GeForce 4K graphics • One of the most powerful CPUs

The Bad

Awkward webcam placement • Meh battery life

The Bottom Line

One of the most popular (and affordable) Windows 10 laptops of the year brings speed and 4K graphics to a huge 15.6-inch screen.

4. Dell XPS 15

RAM: 32 GB
Storage: 1 TB
Battery life: 7 hours
Features: 1,920 x 1,080 FHD display, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, USB-A, SD card reader, headphone jack, i7-7700HQ CPUS with 2.2-GHz, NVIDIA GeForce 1050Ti graphics

$999

See Details
From Amazon

Graphic design? Product development? Photography? This is your new righthand man. Dell’s traditional powerhouse laptop, the Dell XPS 15 Touch, continues to see improvements year over year, keeping it a top choice for masses of advanced users and artists alike. Beginners or casual laptop users may not mind a 13-inch screen, but hardcore laptop users who have their entire lives or career on their device will need something bigger. 
If Hercules was a laptop, he’s be this one. The exterior is decked out with Dell’s InfinityEdge technology, which is a fancy term for extra-thin bezels and a wide-as-possible, gorgeous screen. The 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen has double the resolution of a regular HD display, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5 offers graphics clear enough for even the pickiest gamers or designers. It’s also equipped with Dell Cinema, featuring the best color, sound, and up-to-the-second streaming that a video enthusiast could ask for. 
Inside sits an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, memory options up to 32GB DDR4-2666MHz and storage options up to 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe SSD (AKA it can hold your entire life and then some). That amazing CPU helps keep battery life strong, but like any other high-end laptop, constant 4K use drains the battery. You’ll get six, maybe seven hours at best — which isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either. As long as you’re around an outlet, you’ll be fine.
The only thing everyone is begging Dell to change is the webcam placement, which sits near the hinges and gives an unflattering up-the-nose angle. If you travel for work and will have meetings via webcam frequently, consider the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, which can video call in tent mode for a better angle. Learn more and get the Dell XPS 15 for $1,199.99 here and read PCMag’s full review here. (If you love these specs but want something smaller, check out the Dell XPS 13 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.) If you need more clarity between the models, see PCMag’s review here.

Image: razer

The Good

Outstanding battery life • Extremely thin for a gaming laptop • VR-ready graphics

The Bad

Loud fans • Pricey • Strange keyboard layout

The Bottom Line

An all-encompassing gaming laptop that’s *not* a giant hunk of plastic, complete with top notch graphics and no lagging to be found.

5. Razer Blade

RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB
Battery life: Up to 7.5 hours
Features: 3840 x 2160 display, Intel Core i7-8750H, 2.2Ghz, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, three USB 3.1, one USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, Kensington lock port, headphone jack

$2589

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From Amazon

If there’s anyone more finicky over laptop specs than tech geeks, it’s gaming geeks. And I mean, they have a right to be — 4K gaming is no joke, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having your PUBG display be pixelated or having your Fortnite game lag just in time to get shot. Trying to pick the best gaming laptop is damn near impossible — — considering every tech website names completely different ones. What is the truth?
Despite the chaos, there is one laptop that makes it onto every single list we’ve seen, noted by CNET, Digital Tends, PCMag, and Tech Radar as one of the best, and was even picked as a PCMag Editor’s Choice: Meet the newest Razer Blade. While competitors may have a leg up in one super specific area, we think it’s safe to say that the Razer Blade is the best overall gaming laptop. Yeah, its loud, irritating fans could stand to pipe down a bit, but that’s just nitpicking. Aside from that and its rather steep price, this laptop is everything you could want in a go-to gaming device. 
Coming from a tried and true gaming brand, the Razer Blade is truly the ultimate luxury gaming laptop and honestly, the closest thing you’ll get to a desktop that you can actually carry around. Aside from being matte black, it’s a pretty obvious MacBook copycat, but even thinner (with specs that can compete as well). It’s hard to find a hardcore gaming laptop that’s not an ugly, plastic-y clunker, but the Razer Blade is a real looker. Its 3840 x 2160 display is top-notch with optional 4K, a VR-ready NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphic card, a 144Hz refresh rate, reaching to 15.6 inches with crazily thin bezels. 
Luckily, using that gorgeous 4K doesn’t drain the battery too much — the battery life of competing gaming laptops pale in comparison to that of the Razer Blade, which can last up to 7.5 hours if you’re not using maximum brightness or 4K the entire time. That’s hours longer than those from the Alienware and MSI lines, and even slightly longer than the MacBook Pro.
Read Mashable’s full review here and get the Razer Blade here.

Image: samsung

The Good

Included S-Pen • HD webcam in normal place • Extremely portable • Excellent battery life

The Bad

13-inch has worse graphics • Display could be sharper

The Bottom Line

A travel-ready convertible with a glorious included stylus that can easily mold to all note taking and artistic needs.

6. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB
Battery life: 12 hours
Features: 1920 x 1080 FHD display, Intel Core i7-7500U Up To 3.5GHz, two USB-C and two USB-3, HDMI port, micro SD slot, Radeon 540 graphics

$1208

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From Amazon

For all things note taking and drawing, the teched-out Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is an extremely portable convertible laptop tailor made for college students. Unlike almost every other 2-in-1 out there, the Notebook Pro 9 doesn’t make you purchase an expensive stylus. Samsung’s iconic S pen is included in your purchase, making that broke college student life significantly less stressful. Whipping out this bad boy  is the extra motivation you need to get your ass to class.
That snazzy pen makes the NoteBook Pro ideal for creative students, whether their major is something like drawing or design, or they simply enjoy doing these things as a hobby. Plus, we’re sure you’ve at least heard through the grapevine that taking notes via writing helps you retain information better than typing notes, and the S Pen makes that possible without lugging physical paper around. It features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, has an ultra-precise pencil-like tip, and, get this, never needs to be charged. Even Mashable’s Ray Wong, who is team Apple all the way, was blown away. Not many laptops offer this much versatility, y’all. Though a seemingly small addition, the S Pen being included raises the Notebook Pro 9’s creative possibilities infinitely, and IMO, makes the hefty investment worthwhile.
The color-rich full HD touch screen offers complete hands-on control, and while it’s not the highest res display in this list, that’s a minuscule setback. This may be the one time where we’ll insist that the 15-inch model is the way to go — you’ll want as much space as you can to draw and write with the S pen, and the 15-inch has the beautiful Radeon 540 graphics card while the 13-inch model has Intel’s integrated one. The 15-inch is still super lightweight for its size, so you won’t break your bag while carrying it around campus.
Get the 15-inch for $1,208 here and the 13-inch for $928 here.

Image: asus

The Good

Speedy WiFi connection and charging • Lightweight for traveling • Small yet gorgeous HD screen

The Bad

Cheap-feeling touchpad • No legacy desktop apps

The Bottom Line

An well-reviewed, sturdy 2-in-1 with stellar specs that you wouldn’t expect in this price range.

7. Asus Chromebook Flip

RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB
Battery life: 10 hours
Features: 1920 x 1080 FHD display, 6th gen Intel Core m7 processor, two USB-C, micro SD slot, 100 GB free storage on Google Drive

$499

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From Amazon

Let us introduce you to our budget pick. You’re probably thinking “A budget pick that’s not a total piece of crap, please,” — don’t worry, we gotchu. The Asus Chromebook Flip C302 rolls in at just $499, which is less than half the price of some others on our list. You may be thinking that an unusually low price means that it’s shitty, but you’d be wrong. It’s physically sturdy, thin, and sleek like a MacBook, and has specs that can compete with the best of them. (It’s a PCMag Editor’s Choice and is their highest-rated budget laptop.)  It’s a little smaller than the rest, featuring a 12.5-inch full HD touchscreen that can be flipped 360 degrees, and weighs under three pounds, making it one of the best choices for frequent travelers or people who care about a heavy bag.
Inside is a 6th generation Intel Core m7 processor, up to 4GB DRAM, a fully backlit keyboard, and ultra fast loading speeds thanks to the 802.11 ac WiFi connection. In other words, the Chromebook Flip is pretty flippin’ powerful. (One blogger even said that this is the laptop that made him come back to Chrome OS.) The sides are equipped with two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a micro SD card slot (no USB-A, though), and a fully charged battery should last around 10 hours. And, as if you’re not already saving a shit ton of money with this purchase, Asus will also throw in 100GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years. That’s 33,000 pictures, 20,000 songs, or 150 hours of HD video. Dude.
Our point? Having a smaller budget will *not* limit you to a glorified children’s LeapPad that will break within the first few months. Asus has always been a dependable, affordable brand, and we love them for that. Learn something and get the Asus Chromebook Flip for $499 here.

Looking for even more specificity? Check out our stories on the best laptops for students, the best laptops for gaming, the best 2-in-1 laptops, and the best laptops under $500.

Read more: https://mashable.com/roundup/best-laptops/

People calling this cartoon sexist are missing an important point.

A New Yorker comic recently posted to Instagram has sparked a heated debate and it isn’t over whether it’s funny.

No one has a problem with the cartoonist poking fun at people who waste time at the gym staring at their phones.

The big debate raging on Instagram is whether the cartoon is sexist.

It depicts a male walking in to a gym labeled “Actual exercise,” and a female staring at her phone, walking into a gym labeled “Sit on equipment and stare at your phone.”

A cartoon by @jasonchatfield. #TNYcartoons

A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on

First let’s take a look at what sexism means, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

Definition of sexism1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

At first glance, the cartoon appears to say women are the ones guilty of texting instead of doing squats. So, that would make it sexist.

But, when one looks deeper into the cartoon, men and women are both depicted as either working out or staring into the iPhone abyss. So, that seems to make it not sexist.

Here’s what the commenters had to say:

The “it’s sexist” argument:

Just like racism exists in a white supremacist power structure, sexism exists with men as the dominant gender in the that power structure. So that’s the lens through which this image can be viewed as sexist. — @no__regrets

“Look in the background” is similar to saying people of color have the same representation in history books as white people because “”hey are in the background” — @hopecross

Those images are hidden in the background and not everyone will even see those. And it doesn’t hide the foreground misogyny. — @christinebass27

The “it’s not sexist” argument:

Fact: there are more women working out in this cartoon & more men on their phone. & all these women on their phones are upset that there’s a women in the foreground on her phone y’all are ridiculous — @mountain.heather

People really don’t understand this? The whole point is the stereotype: it seems like men “actually” work out in the gym while women use their phones, but the reality is that everyone does both of those things. You just have to look past the foreground…. I’m glad they reposted this so everyone’s heads could explode instead of trying to see the actual message. Art is hard though, I get it hehe. — @broverlin

I also think the artist chose to do it on purpose because people only look at things quickly (including at the gym) before making judgements. The exact point of this comic is internalized judgements and feeling emotions. First time I saw this comic i also immediately got angry – especially as a woman who lifts heavy in the gym (and had seen endless men just sit on machines with their phone). When I looked at the background and saw what the artist did), I laughed at myself. Comics, especially satire, and often a lot of art (music, writing included) often are meant to be looked at for longer than two seconds. And that parallel speaks to gym judgements but societal judgements as a whole. That’s what I felt after seeing this comic (and I am a loud feminist who lifts heavy at the gym). The background is just as important as the foreground – it is ACTUALLY the context to the signs on the door. What is inside the space depicts what happens, more-so than those walking in. @run_for_funner

This article originally appeared on GOOD.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/people-calling-this-cartoon-sexist-are-missing-an-important-point

Sex Abuse Allegations Against Buddhist Monk Rock Famous Chinese Monastery

BEIJING (AP) — One of China’s highest-ranking Buddhist monks is facing a government investigation over accusations of sexual misconduct, in what is seen by some as an indication the #MeToo movement is gaining traction across the world’s most populous society.
Longquan Monastery abbot Shi Xuecheng is accused of harassing and demanding sexual favors from numerous nuns in a 95-page statement compiled by two fellow monks at the storied center of Buddhist learning in Beijing. The statement including testimony from the alleged victims leaked this week on social media, prompting an outcry and unusual coverage by state media before it was censored.
China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs said Thursday it would investigate the claims. Xuecheng and the monastery denied the accusations, which also included claims of embezzlement.

CHINATOPIX
Longquan Monastery abbot Shi Xuecheng, one of China’s highest-ranking Buddhist monks is facing a government investigation over accusations of sexual misconduct, in what is seen by some as an indication the #MeToo movement is gaining traction in the world’s most populous nation

A volunteer who answered the phone at the monastery on Friday said it was unclear if Xuecheng was still serving as abbot. Shi Xianqi, a monastery deacon who had reported the abbot, said in text messages to The Associated Press that he and the other whistleblower, Shi Xianjia, had been expelled from the monastery and were cooperating with the government investigation.
Xuecheng, who heads the Buddhist Association of China and serves on a political advisory body to the central government, is the latest high-profile man to fall under scrutiny as China’s #MeToo movement accumulates momentum. Well-known university professors, activists and media figures have been accused online and placed under investigation, with at least one dismissed from his post, as more women speak out despite the risk of censorship and official retribution.
Xuecheng, 51, is a well-known religious figure in China, having published numerous books and daily blog posts for his large social media following. China has roughly 250 million Buddhists and countless more followers of folk religions containing Buddhist elements.

VCG via Getty Images
A general view of the Longquan Temple is seen on February 17, 2017 in Beijing, China. 

Born Fu Ruilin in southern Fujian province, the charismatic monk is credited with reviving the fortunes of the 1,000-year-old Longquan monastery in northwest Beijing, known these days for attracting tech entrepreneurs and elite university graduates who flock there to spend days — or years — in spiritual retreat and Buddhist study. The temple generated headlines in recent years for allowing monks to study sutras on iPads and building a robot in the shape of a pint-sized monk able to answer questions about Buddhism.
The text messages and documentation compiled by Longquan’s whistleblowers painted a picture of a cloistered life where access to phones and the internet was limited — but where the abbot’s power was not.

Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images
Monks sit in meditation in Longquan Monastery in Beijing, Capital of China, Sept. 27, 2015.

Xianqi and Xianjia, two men who identified themselves as holders of a doctorate in engineering who had entered monastic life more than a decade ago, compiled screenshots of text messages and accounts of women who said Xuecheng sent suggestive text messages and forced them to have sex. The document also included financial statements suggesting he embezzled nearly $1.5 million.
Xianqi said that Xuecheng’s power in the temple meant that only the government could step in to protect nuns. The religious affairs administration has the power to remove Xuecheng from his official position but not to bring criminal charges. It’s unclear whether police will investigate the charges of sexual misconduct and embezzlement.

VCG via Getty Images
The Longquan Temple was built in the Liao Dynasty, between 907 A.D. and 1125 A.D.

“The monks have been controlled for too long to be able to self-cleanse, self-discipline,” Xianqi, whose lay name is Du Qixin, told the AP. “We did this to stop more bhikkhuni (nuns) from being hurt, so we asked the government for help.“
Xuecheng posted a statement on Wednesday under the monastery’s name that decried the document as “forged materials, distorted facts and false accusations.” Typical of Buddhist monks, Xuecheng took a vow of celibacy when entering monastic life.
The park that surrounds the monastery has been closed to visitors this week due to fear of landslides caused by bad weather, domestic media reported, even though Beijing has been in the midst of a sweltering heatwave.
It’s not the first time China’s holy men have faced allegations of malfeasance. Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Shaolin Temple renowned for its fighting monks, was accused by subordinates in 2015 of keeping mistresses and embezzling monastery funds while he jet-setted around the world seeking sponsorship and real estate deals for the 1500-year old cradle of kung fu.
Authorities in central China cleared Yongxin of wrongdoing last year.
Associated Press researcher Shanshan Wang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sex-abuse-allegations-against-buddhist-monk-rock-famous-chinese-monastery_us_5b6461b4e4b0b15abaa2859c

Ex-NASCAR driver Greg Biffle ordered to pay ex-wife $1 for personal recordings, jury decides

Former NASCAR driver Greg Biffle must reportedly pay his ex-wife $1 after a jury on Monday found that he did “intrude offensively upon” her “privacy” by secretly recording her.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the athlete’s ex-wife, Nicole, and her mother, WSOC-TV reported.

TONY STEWART MAY ENTER 2019 INDY 500, BUT NOT AS A ‘SIDESHOW’ LIKE DANICA PATRICK

The pair alleged that, unbeknownst to them, Biffle had recorded them with cameras wired in the master bedroom, bathroom, and a guest room, of the couple’s North Carolina home, the Charlotte Observer reported. They also reportedly claimed that he “has shown images captured by the hidden cameras to third persons.”

During the trial, the former professional driver denied any wrongdoing, insisting that his ex-wife was aware of the recording equipment, WSOC-TV reported.

NASCAR CEO TAKES LEAVE OF ABSENSE AFTER ARREST, DWI CHARGE

“What the jury said sends a loud message that they don’t believe there was wrongdoing,” Biffle said.

However, a lawyer representing Biffle’s ex-wife told the Observer that the jury found his behavior “to be an unlawful invasion of privacy.”

The lawsuit “has never been about money for Ms. Biffle,” the lawyer said. “It’s been about holding Mr. Biffle accountable for the complete violation of her dignity and the right to privacy that should be afforded all persons. And for that she’s proud of the verdict against him.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/auto/2018/08/14/ex-nascar-driver-greg-biffle-ordered-to-pay-ex-wife-1-for-personal-recordings-jury-decides.html

How the GOP Screwed Obama on Immigration Reform

TYLER MORAN

Policy Director, National Immigration Law Center (20012012)

Deputy Policy Director, Domestic Policy Council, White House (20122014)

Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (20142017)

There had been a real pivot to the White House from the advocacy community to pressure the administration to grant legal status to Dreamerswhich, at that time, [the White House] was really pushing back and saying the presidents office didnt have the authority to do it, [that] it was Congresss deal. There was a really ramped-up, intense pressure leading through 11 and then finally in 12.

LUIS GUTIRREZ

D-Illinois, Fourth District, US House of Representatives (1993 )

By this point, theres a broad movement. Its April of 2012, and he sent Cecilia Muoz to speak to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, because I had already met with Senator Rubio on a DREAM Act bill, which would give them status but wouldnt give them citizenship. And I had gone around telling everybody, If Obama wont stop the deportationsbecause his deportation numbers were going upwe should all work with Rubio and get a bipartisan bill and at least set aside the Dreamers.

CECILIA MUOZ

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, White House (20092012)

Director, Domestic Policy Council, White House (20122017)

I remember the meeting. While the press got really excited about a Rubio puts Obama in a tough spot narrative, the impetus for DACA evolved from a bunch of policy shifts… Essentially, therere eleven million people who are deportable, and before the Obama administration, the [Homeland Security] strategy was to find as many of them as possible. So [DHS] Secretary Napolitano [began] modest steps toward establishing a system of priorities so that they went from, Lets find as many people as we can to, Lets be strategic and go after people who are priorities because they pose some kind of harm or threat. Everybody agreed the Dreamers should be low priority for enforcement, and lo and behold, Dreamers kept ending up in the deportation pipeline because the policy was not airtight enough and the behavior at the agency was not changing enough. And Secretary Napolitanos barometer was, Are we still picking up Dreamers? Are we wasting enforcement resources on these folks? Because that kept happening, she brought DACA to us.[2]

TYLER MORAN

On my first day at the White House I was told we were going to move on what became DACA and was in the Rose Garden on Friday for the announcement… The president had basically approved giving deferred action to Dreamers. Then we had sixty days to stand up the program. So it was a pretty crazy summer, because on August 15, the first applications could be accepted… Post-election, obviously the presidents numbers with Latinos were, like, huge. Percentages in some of the states were impressive enough that people felt really confident about immigration. Thats when the senior advisors decided that the White House would make a push on some kind of immigration reform, and it was in November that the president instructed us to have a bill ready for him, I think by the end of Christmas break.

LUIS GUTIRREZ

After the election, they moved in the Senate, and in the House, we were working with the Republicans.

TYLER MORAN

We saw a bipartisan effort there in the House, and we provided support to them, not as intensely as the Senate, because it was in the drafting stages. And the president did tons behind the scenesphone calls that were not public, asking, What can we do? Boehner would say, Well, back off. Give us some space. Okay, we can do that…. Some Republicans sort of looked at the partys position on immigration and felt like, We cant be the party thats going to stick with the old white men. Like, Were going to become dinosaurs, and if we dont start talking to people outside of ourselves, were not gonna survive as a party. That was kind of the postmortem that Priebus took the lead on after the election.[4]

TYLER MORAN

The White House effort [for immigration reform in 2013] was definitely a stealth operation . . . Behind the scenes, we gave a ton of bipartisan briefings. In the Senate, you had this Gang of Eight with Republicans who really believed they needed to reach out to Latinos and that they really had to push for [legislation].

CECILIA MUOZ

In the administration, we had long since drafted a bill. We had a bill drafted in 2010. So we took that bill back out, revised it, [and] essentially fed pieces of that bill to the Gang of Eight in order to speed up the process. The 2013 bill was big and complex, obviously, and it was important to the president that we contribute in whatever way that was most useful… The Gang of Eight dynamic was such that it was important to be behind the scenes, so thats what we did.

TYLER MORAN

Lots of other Republicans were supportive, but they just felt nervous about any type of backlashparticularly if you looked at the composition of Republicans that ultimately came forward and voted for the bill, they didnt until there was this Corker-Hoeven Amendment, which basically put a shitload of resources on the southern border. So much so that Border Patrol could hold hands or something.[6] It was this unnecessary amount of resources, but it brought on a ton more votes, and, if you think about the Senate, the fact that there were sixty-eight votes was insane. That doesnt happen on a huge, huge, huge piece of legislation . . . but there was also some navet about momentum that would be created for the House to then move.

BARBARA BOXER

D-California, U.S. Senate (19932017)

We had a great bill, and that bill got so many votes. The comprehensive immigration reform was so good for the economy. It was fair to everybody, and it died because John Boehner would not bring it up.

TYLER MORAN

Boehners a true believer on immigration, but, you know, it went from the Republican Study Committee to the Freedom Caucus, and… I cant speak for him, but I think he just had to make strategic decisions about rocking the boat. Hed already rolled them on the debt limit. I guess you had to pick and choose when to do that.

LUIS GUTIRREZ

We passed it in the Senate. We never got it done in the House. Then I went back to Obama because Janet Murgua, president of the National Council of La Raza, called him deporter in chief, and that really stung Obama.

TYLER MORAN

The advocates started getting really restless. Instead of turning on the House as their focus for accountability, they turned on the White House . . . You know, trying to push for immigration reform, there was a feeling that [the White House] needed to show the American public that you believed in enforcement, and [that we werent pushing for] open borders. But in hindsight, I was like, What did we get for that? We deported more people than ever before. All these families separated, and Republicans didnt give him one ounce of credit. There may as well have been open borders for five years.

Excerpted from OBAMA: An Oral History, 2009-2017 by Brian Abrams, copyright 2018 by Brian Abrams and reprinted with permission of Little A Books.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-the-gop-screwed-obama-on-immigration-reform

The Species That Inspired Dr Seuss “The Lorax” Change The Story’s Meaning

The Lorax by Dr Seuss has been millions of children’s first introduction to environmentalism, its ominous warning incorporated into countless activist campaigns. Most adults probably assume the species the book describes meeting its doom came entirely from Seuss’ imagination. Almost 50 years after the book was written, however, clues to its origins have been found, leading to an interpretation even more ahead of its time than the one imputed by critics

The story recounts the felling of forests of Truffula trees, to be turned into “thneeds”, because “business is business! And business must grow”. The titular character repeatedly pops up claiming to “speak for the trees” and demand the destruction cease, but is ignored, until the last tree is felled, leaving behind a blasted, barren landscape.

Seuss (Theodor Geisel) invented species at a great rate, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the book’s Truffula trees and Bar-ba-loots were as imaginary as Star-Belly Sneetches. However, Seuss also built powerful cartoons around reality, such as his warnings about the dangers of fascism at a time when most Americans were heedless.

Dartmouth University Professors Nathaniel Dominy and Donald Pease scoured the book, and Seuss’ life, for clues to its inspiration, and how that might change the meaning.

Most of the much-lauded book was written while Seuss was visiting Kenya in 1970, just as the environmental movement was making its first impact in the United States. The healthy Truffula trees look like giant dandelions. However, the book also portrays spikey remnant trees that resemble the whistling thorn acacias Seuss would have seen on his trip.

An early sketch of the Lorax pre-publication, given by Dr Seuss to President Johnson. LBJ Presidential Library, Austin, Texas/Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. 

Dominy and Pease argue in Nature Ecology & Evolution that this similarity is the key to understanding the book. The acacia thorns have a commensal relationship with patas monkeys, who get most of their diet from the trees, but don’t harm them in the process. The Lorax looks and even sounds like the orange monkeys, something Dominy confirmed by having image recognition software compare Seuss’ drawings with a variety of monkey species.

If the Lorax represents the monkeys, the paper claims, he is not an external owner asserting authority, as most discussions of the book have suggested. Instead, the Lorax is; “A part of the ecological system, not apart from it,” Pease said in a statement. The book becomes not just a warning about overharvesting and pollution, but a forerunner of the deep ecology movement.

The paper notes the whistling thorns are today overgrazed and drought-stricken, and the monkeys’ range collapsing. Just as the Lorax ends with a message of hope, however, Dominy and Pease believe both can still be saved. Perhaps the discovery will spark a tourism revival among those who love the book, making acacia thorns more valuable alive than dead.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/the-species-that-inspired-dr-seuss-lorax-change-the-storys-meaning/

Top Dem candidate gave millions to groups advocating for taxing families ‘to the hilt’ for ‘irresponsible breeding’

Scott Wallace, a liberal millionaire candidate running for Congress in Pennsylvania, has given millions of dollars to so-called population control groups.

Such groups have advocated for taxing parents “to the hilt” for having more than two children, calling it “irresponsible breeding,” and said abortion is “a highly effective weapon” to combat overpopulation.

Wallace, grandson of a former vice president who’s running as a Democrat in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District against Republican incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, has used the Wallace Global Fund to give out nearly $7 million to population control groups since 1997.

Zero Population Growth (ZPG) was among the organizations that received the money from the fund. According to public records, it received $420,000 between 1997 and 2003.

“No responsible family should have more than two children.”

– Zero Population Growth, a group that received funding from Scott Wallace.

The group, shortly after being founded in 1968, released a brochure advocating abortion to stabilize population growth and claimed that “no responsible family should have more than two children.” To deal with larger families, it also called for families to be “taxed to the hilt” for “irresponsible breeding.”

Paul Ehrlich, who co-founded the ZPG, once called abortion “a highly effective weapon in the armory of population control.” The goal of the organization, which changed its name to Population Connection in 2002, has remained the same since its inception, arguing that the world needs to contain population growth with particular emphasis on American families.

Wallace’s fund also gave $20,000 in 2010 to the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), a group that sees the economic growth as undesirable and instead supports an economy with “stable or mildly fluctuating levels” and a society where birth rates equal death rates.

The organization openly supports zero population growth and its executive board member, Herman Daly, advocated issuing reproduction licenses, allowing women to have only two children, unless they buy the license for more children from other women. Daly called it the “best plan yet offered” to limit population growth.

Zoe Wilson-Meyer, communications director for Wallace’s campaign, didn’t answer Fox News’ questions on whether Wallace still supports the ideas expressed by the groups.

“The Wallace Global Fund has for decades been a leader in helping women gain access to family planning. Former Co-Chair Scott Wallace is proud of the work of grantees like Planned Parenthood in empowering women and protecting reproductive rights and will stand up for Pennsylvania women,” she said in an email.

“Former Co-Chair Scott Wallace is proud of the work of grantees like Planned Parenthood in empowering women and protecting reproductive rights and will stand up for Pennsylvania women.”

– Scott Wallace’s campaign communications director Zoe Wilson-Meyer

“In Washington, Brian Fitzpatrick voted to defund Planned Parenthood and supports Donald Trump’s effort to take away a woman’s right to choose,” she added.

The revelations of the foundation’s donations come as Wallace faces continuing criticism over past funding activities. The foundation reportedly donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-Israel groups that support a boycott of the Jewish State. Local Democratic groups in the state expressed deep concern about the donations, but have since endorsed Wallace after he renounced the donations made in the name of his family’s fund.

TOP DEM HOUSE HOPEFUL FUNDED GITMO DETAINEES’ LEGAL HELP ‘JUST AFTER 9/11’

Fox News previously reported that Wallace was also a key financier of the Center for Constitutional Rights’ efforts to represent alleged terrorists in the Guantanamo Bay just after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“Just after 9/11 many were afraid of the work the Center was doing,” Vince Warren, executive director of the group, told Wallace’s alma mater’s Haverford Magazine in 2009, adding that funding the center’s work was difficult. “And yet H. Scott Wallace ’73 of the Wallace Global Fund, stepped up and helped.”

The race in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District is among the most high-stakes election in the country in the upcoming midterms. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added Wallace’s candidacy to its “Red to Blue” program aimed at flipping the district.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/20/top-dem-candidate-gave-millions-to-groups-advocating-for-taxing-families-to-hilt-for-irresponsible-breeding.html

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