Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — In 1978, when he was 2 years old, Tuan Andrew Nguyen was on a plane to the United States. He and his parents were “boat people,” postwar refugees from Communist Vietnam. They were lucky: After a week at sea in a small, open craft, they made landfall on Bidong Island, a speck of land that would soon become the world’s largest refugee camp. Then an American church group offered to resettle them in Oklahoma. When Tuan started crying somewhere over the Pacific, a flight attendant gave him a Dennis the Menace comic book. It’s his earliest memory.

Today, at 41, Mr. Nguyen is living in the city his parents fled, one of eight million souls careening around its overheated streets on motor scooters. He is a Viet Kieu, an overseas Vietnamese, who came back with alien influences like hip-hop, graffiti art and comics. He is also a member of the Propeller Group, an artists’ collective that offers a sly commentary on contemporary Vietnam through works like “Television Commercial for Communism,” a 60-second spot that purports to repackage the ideology of Marx and Lenin as a sleek, egalitarian, consumer-friendly lifestyle. It comes with a manifesto, of course, but also with a 24-page booklet of “brand guidelines.” The logo for the new Communism “has been carefully crafted to be fair to every letterform,” the guidelines specify in deadpan fashion. “Equal spacing is important.”

Source: Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

The Case for Allowing Felons to Vote – By DANIEL NICHANIAN – NYT

“In the 1870s, the woman’s suffrage movement claimed the right to vote by citing the new 14th Amendment’s promise that no state “shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Their opponents didn’t see it that way. “Citizenship no more carries the right to vote than it carries the power to fly to the moon,” The Rochester Union and Advertiser scoffed in an 1872 editorial.But suffragists insisted. The right to vote, they argued, cannot be carved away from citizenship. “Is the right to vote one of the privileges or immunities of citizens?” Susan B. Anthony asked in an 1873 speech. Her answer: “It is not only one of them, but the one without which all the others are nothing.”

Anthony’s call remains unfulfilled today, as suppressive voting rules in nearly every state deny many Americans their voting rights. Six million otherwise eligible individuals are stripped of the right to vote because of a felony conviction, removing them from a key arena of public life.But Anthony’s words are a reminder that the right to vote is a bedrock of our ability to govern ourselves democratically. While citizenship need not be a necessary condition for enfranchisement — for example, San Francisco has enabled noncitizens to vote in school board elections — it should be a sufficient one.”

Nasty- Brutish and Trump – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“On Wednesday, after listening to the heart-rending stories of those who lost children and friends in the Parkland school shooting — while holding a cue card with empathetic-sounding phrases — Donald Trump proposed his answer: arming schoolteachers.

It says something about the state of our national discourse that this wasn’t even among the vilest, stupidest reactions to the atrocity. No, those honors go to the assertions by many conservative figures that bereaved students were being manipulated by sinister forces, or even that they were paid actors.Still, Trump’s horrible idea, taken straight from the N.R.A. playbook, was deeply revealing — and the revelation goes beyond issues of gun control. What’s going on in America right now isn’t just a culture war. It is, on the part of much of today’s right, a war on the very concept of community, of a society that uses the institution we call government to offer certain basic protections to all its members.

Before I get there, let me remind you of the obvious: We know very well how to limit gun violence, and arming civilians isn’t part of the answer.No other advanced nation experiences frequent massacres the way we do. Why? Because they impose background checks for prospective gun owners, limit the prevalence of guns in general and ban assault weapons that allow a killer to shoot dozens of people before he (it’s always a he) can be taken down. And yes, these regulations work.”

The Virtue of Radical Honesty – by David Brooks – NYT

“This week I asked a group of students at the University of Chicago a question I’m asking students around the country: Who are your heroes? There’s always a long pause after I ask. But eventually one of the students suggested Steven Pinker. Another chimed in Jonathan Haidt. There was general nodding around the table.

That was interesting. Both men are psychology professors, at Harvard and N.Y.U., who bravely stand against what can be the smothering orthodoxy that inhibits thought on campus, but not from the familiar conservative position.One way Pinker does it is by refusing to be pessimistic. There is a mood across America, but especially on campus, that in order to show how aware of social injustice you are, you have to go around in a perpetual state of indignation, negativity and righteous rage. Pinker refuses to do this. In his new book, “Enlightenment Now,” he argues that this pose is dishonest toward the facts.

For example, we’re all aware of the gloomy statistics around wage stagnation and income inequality, but Pinker contends that we should not be nostalgic for the economy of the 1950s, when jobs were plentiful and unions strong. A third of American children lived in poverty. Sixty percent of seniors had incomes below $1,000 a year. Only half the population had any savings in the bank at all.Between 1979 and 2014, meanwhile, the percentage of poor Americans dropped to 20 percent from 24 percent. The percentage of lower-middle-class Americans dropped to 17 from 24. The percentage of Americans who were upper middle class (earning $100,000 to $350,000) shot upward to 30 percent from 13 percent.”

Protecting America’s Last Great Animal Migrations – By ARTHUR MIDDLETON – NYT

“The interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, recently directed the agencies in his department to work with states and private landowners to minimize development and disturbance in migration corridors and winter ranges used by elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.Because the Trump administration has otherwise reduced many land and wildlife protections, the move was immediately dismissed by some environmental groups as “greenwashing.” But Mr. Zinke’s order is based on solid ecological science, and it reflects broad support in conservative Western states for protecting a natural wonder important to ecosystems and rural communities.

These animals make long, arduous journeys across the most rugged of Western landscapes. My colleagues and I have tracked herds that travel a hundred miles or more each year, struggling across snowbound mountain ranges and raging rivers. They endure all this because the rewards outweigh the risks: The herds can fatten up on green grass in the high country all summer, then shelter all winter in the valleys and on the plains, away from the deep mountain snow.These migratory herds are the lifeblood of many Western landscapes. They sustain apex predators like wolves, grizzly bears and mountain lions; diverse scavengers like eagles and foxes; and businesses that cater to hunters and wildlife watchers. That’s why protecting the migrations of these big-game animals is becoming a priority for a wide spectrum of Westerners from environmentalists to hunters to ranchers.”

A Day of Raw Mourning and Rare Accountability on TV – The New York Times

“What makes teenagers amazing — or infuriating, if you’re in an argument with one — is they don’t know what they’re not supposed to be able to do.

They haven’t learned that being smart means being cynical about what you can accomplish. They haven’t been hard-wired with platitudes and euphemisms. They haven’t internalized a list of questions that are too naïve or impolite to ask.

At CNN’s town hall on gun violence Wednesday, “Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action,” this resulted in something you rarely see on TV: accountability. A week after 17 people died in a mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a group of angry, grieving constituents was questioning public officials as if they worked for the public.”

How the N.R.A. Keeps Federal Gun Regulators in Check – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — For years, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been overlooked in Washington. Overshadowed by more politically powerful law enforcement agencies like the F.B.I., the A.T.F. garnered headlines mostly for notorious episodes, including the deadly 1993 siege in Waco, Tex., and the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal more than a decade later.

Now, the A.T.F. is on the verge of a crisis. The agency, which has not grown significantly since its founding in 1973, is about to confront a staffing shortage and is set to lose its tobacco and alcohol enforcement authorities. President Trump has yet to nominate a director to oversee the agency, which has been without permanent leadership for eight of the past 12 years.

Amid the dearth of leadership and resources, the White House is pushing the A.T.F. to the forefront of its fight against violent crime. In response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school last week, Mr. Trump, who promised to fight violent criminal gangs and illegal guns — two of the A.T.F.’s key missions — announced that he would be relying on the bureau to regulate so-called bump stock accessories.But it is all but politically impossible for Mr. Trump, who counts the powerful gun lobby among his most ardent supporters, to strengthen the A.T.F. The National Rifle Association has long sought to hobble the agency in an effort to curb its ability to regulate guns, which the gun lobby has traditionally opposed.

“Most people in law enforcement know why A.T.F. can’t get a director,” said Michael Bouchard, a former agent and the president of the A.T.F. Association, an independent group that supports current and former bureau officials. “It’s not because of the people. It’s because of the politics.””

Iran Finally Let Her See Her Husband. He Was Dead. – The New York Times

“TEHRAN — When the call finally came, Maryam Seyed Emami’s heart leapt. Except for one brief phone call, she had heard nothing from her husband, Kavous Seyed Emami, a professor and prominent environmentalist, since he was arrested and accused of spying more than two weeks before. Now, she was being told to come to the offices of the Tehran prosecutor, where she could see her husband at last.

She rushed off, but upon arrival quickly sensed that something was wrong. Instead of being taken to see her husband she was closeted in a room with a prosecutor and four intelligence agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and interrogated for several hours. Cooperate, they told her, or you, too, will end up in prison.

In recounting the experience for their two sons, Ramin and Mehran, Ms. Seyed Emami said that the agents had asked about the couple’s friends and parties they had attended. They showed her family pictures and asked her to describe who and what were in them. They inquired about her husband’s environmental work, she told her sons. Did you know, they asked at one point, that he was a spy?

When the agents finally ran out of questions, she was informed she could see her husband. There was just one thing, they said. He was dead, having committed suicide in his cell.

“They should have built a statue to him, not let him die in prison,” Ramin, 36, a well-known singer in Iran who appears under the stage name King Raam, said in a lengthy interview. He and Mehran, 34, said they decided to ignore warnings from the interrogators and speak out in the hope of pressing the authorities to be more forthcoming about what had really happened to their father and to other prisoners who have died recently under mysterious circumstances in Iran’s prisons.”

via Iran Finally Let Her See Her Husband. He Was Dead. – The New York Times

The Shocking Reason Why You Need to Stop Charging Your Phone Overnight | TLC

‘Most nights, the last thing I do before I close my eyes and drift off to dreamland is scroll through my phone and charge it by my bedside overnight. If you are like me, your phone battery won’t last the entire day and you’ve made a routine out of charging up your phone while you sleep. However, the convenience of charging overnight may actually be killing your phone’s battery.

According to tech experts, charging your phone overnight chips away at the phone’s long term battery capacity much faster than if you only charged your phone for a couple of hours each day.

“If you think about it, charging your phone while you’re sleeping results in the phone being on the charger for 3-4 months a year,” says Hatem Zeine, founder of Ossia, a developer of wireless charging technology told Time. “So even though the manufacturers try their best to cover this scenario, this process inevitably lowers the capacity of your phone’s battery.”The good news is that tech experts agree, you can’t overcharge your phone. Once your battery is charged to 100%, the hardware inside shuts off the charging. “Modern smart phones are smart, meaning that they have built in protection chips that will safeguard the phone from taking in more charge than what it should,” says Edo Campos, spokesperson for battery-maker Anker. “Good quality chargers also have protection chips that prevent the charger from releasing more power than what’s needed.”

However, what is killing your battery is the “trickle charge.” What happens during an overnight charge is your charger turns off when your phone reaches 100%, but the charger tops off the charge during the night–this is called the “trickle charge.” So overnight, your phone is constantly switching between 100 percent, a little less, and the “trickle charge.”While you won’t see the battery damage immediately, you will see the effects of overnight charging in about two to three years. If you get a new phone every couple of years, great–but if not, a failing battery can be a real pain.So what do these experts recommend? Don’t wait until your phone gets close to a 0% battery charge until you recharge it. Once your phone gets down to around a 35% or 40% plug it into a charger since full charges wear out your battery faster Keep your phone cool while it charges because heat damages you phone. So take it out of the case while it charges and don’t put it under your pillow or blankets.”

Source: The Shocking Reason Why You Need to Stop Charging Your Phone Overnight | TLCme | TLC

Education: Boys Falling Behind Girls in Many Areas – by Peg Tyre – Newsweek

“Spend a few minutes on the phone with Danny Frankhuizen and you come away thinking, “What a nice boy.” He’s thoughtful, articulate, bright. He has a good relationship with his mom, goes to church every Sunday, loves the rock band Phish and spends hours each day practicing his guitar. But once he’s inside his large public Salt Lake City high school, everything seems to go wrong. He’s 16, but he can’t stay organized. He finishes his homework and then can’t find it in his backpack. He loses focus in class, and his teachers, with 40 kids to wrangle, aren’t much help. “If I miss a concept, they tell me, ‘Figure it out yourself’,” says Danny. Last year Danny’s grades dropped from B’s to D’s and F’s. The sophomore, who once dreamed of Stanford, is pulling his grades up but worries that “I won’t even get accepted at community college.”

His mother, Susie Malcom, a math teacher who is divorced, says it’s been wrenching to watch Danny stumble. “I tell myself he’s going to make something good out of himself,” she says. “But it’s hard to see doors close and opportunities fall away.”What’s wrong with Danny? By almost every benchmark, boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind. In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes. High-school boys are losing ground to girls on standardized writing tests. The number of boys who said they didn’t like school rose 71 percent between 1980 and 2001, according to a University of Michigan study. Nowhere is the shift more evident than on college campuses. Thirty years ago men represented 58 percent of the undergraduate student body. Now they’re a minority at 44 percent. This widening achievement gap, says Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of Education, “has profound implications for the economy, society, families and democracy.” ”

Source: Education: Boys Falling Behind Girls in Many Areas