Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Photographer Noticed Even in New York

New York Times — March 27, 2014 — by Manohla Dargis

Finding Vivian Maier

Excerpts below — Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/movies/finding-vivian-maier-explores-a-mysterious-photographer.html?rref=movies&_r=0

An exciting electric current of discovery runs through “Finding Vivian Maier,” a documentary about a street photographer who never exhibited her work. She scarcely shared it even with those who knew her. Then again, many of her acquaintances when she was taking some of her remarkable images, particularly in and around Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s, were the children she cared for while working as a nanny. Later in her life, some of those children took care of her in turn, first by moving her into an apartment and then the nursing home where she died in 2009. What rotten timing: She was on the verge of being discovered, first as a curiosity and then as a social-media sensation and a mystery.

 

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/movies/finding-vivian-maier-explores-a-mysterious-photographer.html?rref=movies&_r=0

 

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A gay man’s take on Phil Robertson and the A&E controversy

Interesting perspective on recent controversy

Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads’ mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY

Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads’ mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html#ixzz2jxeUtd1S Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

EXPLICIT: But nothing your children have not seen. And yes, it’s British — but READ THIS!  (These  excerpts that omit some of the more graphic material).

From Britain’s Daily Mail: Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads’ mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY

The moment I knew internet pornography had cast its dark shadow over the lives of millions of ordinary British teenagers will live with me for ever. I was sitting in the smart drama hall of a specialist sports college in the North of England with a fantastic reputation. Before me were a group of 20 boys and girls, aged 13-14. Largely white, working class children, they were well turned-out, polite, giggly and shy.

As the presenter of a Channel 4 documentary called Porn On The Brain, airing next Monday at 10pm, I’d been invited to sit in on a forward-thinking class led by sex education consultant Jonny Hunt, who is regularly asked into schools to discuss sex and relationships. To establish what these kids knew about sex – including pornography – he had asked the children to write an A-Z list of the sexual terms they knew, no matter how extreme.

…. it turned out that the children’s extensive knowledge of porn terms was not only startling, it superseded that of every adult in the room – including the sex education consultant himself…. The adults in attendance were incredulous at the thought that not only did this kind of porn exist, but that a 14-year-old boy may have actually watched it.

But the more mundane answers were just as shocking. For example, the first word every single boy and girl in the group put on their list was ‘anal’.  When questioned, they had all – every child in a class of 20 – seen sodomy acted out in porn videos. I was stunned they even knew about it – I certainly hadn’t heard of it at that age – let alone had watched it and as a result may even have wanted to try it.

One 15-year-old girl said, ‘Boys expect porn sex in real life’. ….

When I asked the children if there were parental controls on the internet at home, they all said no, their parents trusted them. They all admitted their parents had no idea what they were watching, and would be shocked if they did know.

What I saw at the school was awful, but sadly not unusual. The findings were backed up in a survey of 80 boys and girls aged 12-16, commissioned for the TV show.  It proves the vast majority of UK teens have seen sexual imagery online, or pornographic films. According to the survey, the boys appear largely happy about watching porn – and were twice as likely as girls to do so – but the girls are significantly more confused, angry and frightened by online sexual imagery. The more they see, the stronger they feel.

But what impact is this steady diet of online depravity having on the attitudes of boys and girls towards real life relationships, and on their self-esteem?  Could it even have a wider impact on their lives, blighting their ability to function in the world, get good qualifications and jobs?

What I discovered left me truly shocked and saddened.  You might be surprised. After all, from 2003-2010 I edited lad’s magazine Loaded.  With its frequent nudity and lewd photo spreads, I’d long been accused of being a soft pornographer, and after leaving Loaded I agonised that my magazine may have switched a generation onto more explicit online porn.

In the documentary I set out on a journey to answer the question: is porn harmless, or is it damaging lives?  I wanted to know what I could do to protect my own son from a seemingly inevitable exposure to hardcore material in just a few years’ time.

I used to be sceptical that porn was as damaging a force as the headlines and David Cameron – who recently said it was ‘corroding childhood’ – suggest. In the past I’d even defended pornography in university debates, on TV and on radio. I claimed it was our freedom of choice to watch it and said it could actually help add to adult relationships.

But what I saw during the making of the film changed my opinion of pornography forever. The true stories of boys I met whose lives had been totally taken over by porn not only moved me to tears but also made me incredibly angry that this is happening to our children.

And the looks of revulsion on those poor girl’s faces in the playground enraged me. I feel as if an entire generation’s sexuality has been hijacked by grotesque online porn.

To find out what porn is doing to young men, and the girls they have relationships with, we spoke to them via online forums and discovered that there were many young lives seriously blighted by an excessive, unhealthy relationship with pornography that can begin when they are as young as 12.

We learned that some had lost their jobs, others had broken relationships, failed exams, or got into serious debt through using porn.

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Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us, the parents. The age of innocence is over.  Like many parents, I fear that my boy’s childhood could be taken away by pornography. So we have to fight back. We need to get tech-savvy, and as toe-curling as it seems, we are the first generation that will have to talk to our children about porn.

We have to tell our kids that pornographic sex is fake and real sex is about love, not lust. By talking to them, they stand a chance. If we stick our head in the sand, we are fooling only ourselves.

Porn On The Brain airs on Monday, 30 September at 10pm on Channel 4 as part of Channel 4’s Campaign for Real Sex

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html#ixzz2jxj6qsCF

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How the World Sees US: Matters Not Widely Reported in Mainstream American News Media

How the World Sees US: Matters Not Widely Reported in Mainstream American News Media

Daily Mail — Is it any wonder the world sees the US as it does?

‘Bored’ teen who ‘gunned down’ Australian student ‘danced and laughed’ after being arrested and said the shooting ‘was no big deal’ as it emerges he tweeted about’ hating white people’

  • James Edwards, 15, and Chancey Luna, 16, are accused of the first degree murder of Chris Lane, an Australian student on a baseball scholarship
  • Friend Michael Jones, 17, is charged with being an accessory to the crime and driving the getaway car
  • Police chief tells MailOnline Edwards ‘danced’ at the booking desk after being arrested
  • Man who turned them in said that he thinks his son was their next target and that the Friday shooting was not random but a gang test
  • Area high school reopened this morning after lock down following anonymous threats
  • Victim’s girlfriend says she will be going to Australia for the funeral
  • White House spokesman says he’s ‘not familiar with’ the case
  • Police think the teens ‘practiced by shooting dead a donkey just over a block away from where Lane was killed’

By JEFF MAYSH IN DUNCAN, OKLAHOMA and MEGHAN KENEALLY

PUBLISHED: 08:52 EST, 22 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:34 EST, 22 August 2013

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2400005/Chris-Lane-shooting-accused-teens-James-Edwards-Chancey-Luna-danced-laughed-arrested.html#ixzz2cx1oL1SG

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Ancient wall in Israel matches up with Bible’s tale of Assyrian attack

Ancient wall in Israel matches up with Bible’s tale of Assyrian attack

Ancient wall in Israel matches up with Bible’s tale of Assyrian attack

Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News — August 19, 2013
Excerpts follow — read entire article at http://www.nbcnews.com/science/ancient-wall-israel-matches-bibles-tale-assyrian-attack-6C10953508
Image: Brick wall

Tel Aviv University
A mud-brick wall was found at the heart of ancient fortifications at the Ashdod-Yam dig.

Archaeologists say they have unearthed the remains of massive fortifications built about 2,700 years ago around an Iron Age Assyrian harbor in present-day Israel. The ruins appear to have a connection to Assyria’s takeover of the region, as mentioned in the Book of Isaiah.

“The fortifications appear to protect an artificial harbor,” Tel Aviv University’s Alexander Fantalkin, leader of the excavations at theAshdod-Yam archaeological dig, said in anews release issued Monday. “If so, this would be a discovery of international significance, the first known harbor of this kind in our corner of the Levant.”

The discovery was announced at the end of the first excavation season at Ashdod-Yam in the contemporary coastal city of Ashdod, just south of Tel Aviv. At the heart of the fortifications is a mud-brick wall measuring more than 12 feet wide (3.6 meters wide) in some places, and 15 feet (4.5 meters) high. The wall is covered in layers of mud and sand that stretch for hundreds of feet on either side.

When they were built in the 8th century B.C., the crescent-shaped fortifications would have defended an inland area covering more than 17 acres (7 hectares).

Image: Interior view of fortification

Philip Sapirstein / TAU
A 3-D rendering created by Tel Aviv University’s Philip Sapirstein shows the extent of the fortifications.

Age of Sargon II
During the late 8th century B.C., Assyrian King Sargon II ruled the entire southeastern part of the Mediterranean basin, including Egypt and the Middle East. Inscriptions tell of a Philistine king in Ashdod, named Yamani, who tried to organize a revolt against the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians responded harshly, took control of Ashdod in 711 B.C. and eventually destroyed the city. As a result, power shifted to the nearby area of Ashdod-Yam, the site of the current excavations.

Tel Aviv University said the fortifications appear to be related to these events, although the precise relationship is not yet clear. They could have been built before or after the Ashdod rebellion was put down, either at the initiative of the local defenders or at the orders of the Assyrians.

Based on earlier excavations, the late Israeli archaeologist Jacob Kaplan concluded that the rebels built the fortifications in anticipation of the attack — but Fantalkin said the construction seems too monumental to have been done under such circumstances.

“An amazing amount of time and energy was invested in building the wall and glacis [embankments],” he said.

Staying out of the fight

Sargon II’s harsh action against Ashdod was mentioned in Isaiah 20, as a warning to those who backed the rebellion. “In that day, the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria!'”

Hezekiah, king of Judah, stayed out of the fight —presumably at the urging of Isaiah.

Fantalkin and his team found more recent ruins on top of the sand of the Iron Age fortifications, dating to the Hellenistic period, between the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C.

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Read the entire article at http://www.nbcnews.com/science/ancient-wall-israel-matches-bibles-tale-assyrian-attack-6C10953508

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com’s science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by “liking” the NBC News Science Facebook page

Fake “Experts”

Fake “Experts”

While most people might ask, “Who?” – followed quickly by “Who cares?” – regarding the author of yet another pseudo-“scholarly” book about Jesus, evidently the latest installment in the long and undistinguished line of pulp fiction benefited from an virally inept cable-TV interview. As new-media commentator Joe Carter points out, the REAL missed story here is not what is known about Jesus, but that author’s own self-promotional misrepresentation of his credentials.

My, my – where are all the “investigative journalists” when you really need them? And why does the news media – of all stripes and flavors – insist on putting people on air who make fake claims to be “scholars” when they have no real expertise in the areas they write about? Excerpts:

Snickering at FoxNews while getting duped by ‘Zealot’ author

July 29, 2013 By Joe Carter

…  critics are right about the interview — it is a mess. But while New Media journalists were snickering at FoxNews.com, they failed to notice that the person being interviewed was pulling one over on them by getting away with misrepresenting his credentials.

…….

The first question by host Lauren Green on why a Muslim would want to write about Jesus isn’t as out of line as the Fox critics seem to think. It’s a fair question — a softball question — that allows the interviewee to explain away any apparent bias. But Green should have moved on after asking it and not made Aslan’s religious background the primary focus of the interview. More importantly, if she had been better prepared she could have called Aslan out for at least one blatant and seemingly undeniable untruth.

After being asked the first question by Green, Aslan responds:

 “…So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.” Later in the video he says it’s his job as a “professor of religion including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” And to make sure we get the point, he later adds, “I am a historian. I am a PhD in the history of religions.

At this point, Green should have stopped him and asked him to clarify since he appears to be misrepresenting his credentials.

For starters, he does not have a PhD in the history of religions. Aslan has four degrees: a Bachelors of Religious Studies from Santa Clara University; a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School; a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa; and a PhD in sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara (his dissertation was on “Global Jihadism: a transnational social movement”).

Why would Aslan claim he has a PhD in history when his degree is in sociology? Does he not understand the difference between the two fields of study?

Aslan also claims that he has a degree in the New Testament. But is this true? Santa Clara doesn’t offer a degree in the New Testament so he can’t be talking about his Bachelors. Perhaps he is referring to the Master’s of Theological Studies degree he earned from Harvard Divinity School in 1999. That school does offer an “area of focus” in “New Testament and Early Christianity.” Is Aslan claiming this was his degree’s area of focus at Harvard? (If so, this would make his claim about having a “degree in New Testament” misleading, at best.)

……………….

When exactly has Aslan taught classes on the New Testament? And as a scholar, has he published peer-reviewed academic articles on Jesus?

Aslan’s book should not be dismissed because it was written by a Muslim. But in making untrue claims about his credentials he raises questions about his credibility. It also raises the question of how often so-called experts and authorities with no real expertise or authority on a subject are presented by New Media outlets as representative “scholars.”

Maybe if these journalists spent less time mocking the gaffes of their competitors and more time vetting the so-called “experts” we wouldn’t have to listen to people snicker about the credibility of online media.

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Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/07/snickering-at-foxnews-while-getting-duped-by-zealot-author/#more-108675

The Atlantic: When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus?

The Atlantic: When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus?

When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus?

Technically, right up until the moment he’s born. And yet we’ve called him a baby the whole time. What media coverage of the recent pregnancy and birth has to do with abortion politics.
by  — JULY 24 2013, 9:12 AM ET

An excerpt:


Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Images

Moral philosopher James Q. Wilson wrote that humanity “has a moral sense.” Whether that moral sense is grounded in evolution, the image of God, or some other foundation, it sometimes leads us to act better than we speak. There are surprising moments, in other words, when our pre-conscious emotional and moral wiring responds to a situation in a way our more studied judgments would not permit.  A usually callous employee comforts a just-fired coworker in genuine sympathy. A man who hasn’t acted chivalrously in all his days instinctively holds a door open for a pregnant woman. A teenager roaming in one of those teenage-mall herds apologizes to a passer-by whom her friends have just mocked.

This week, as the U.K.’s Prince William and Kate Middleton were expecting their child at any moment, the impending birth received a galaxy’s worth of media coverage. That the child would be heir to the throne was a motivating factor in all this attention, to be sure. I was interested not only for this reason but for a less-noticed one: Countless media reports bore news about the “royal baby.”

Why was this noteworthy? Because this term, to get exegetical for a moment, was not used to describe the future state of the child—once born and outside of the womb, that is. No, the American media used this phrase “royal baby” to describe the pre-born infant. It’s not strange for leading pro-life thinkers like Eric Metaxas and Denny Burk to refer to a fetus as a “baby.” It’s not strange, either, for people to refer to a child they’re expecting as a “baby,” regardless of where they stand on the issue of abortion. It is strange, though, for outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post and Boston Globe–which purport to be neutral on the issue–to use this seemingly explosive phrase without so much as a qualification. And why is this strange? Because it codes a pro-life position into their description of the unborn child.

I am a Christian who believes deeply in the sanctity of life, so for me, this language choice is revealing. The two most common arguments made today by thoughtful pro-choicers  are as follows: a) the being in the womb has no distinct personhood when in the mother’s body, as it is only a fetus and not yet a person (as seen in this ruling of a 2004 Houston court), or b) the fetus has some hard-to-define measure of personhood, yes, but a sufficient degree less personhood than the mother such that the mother may conscionably, though sometimes painfully terminate it (as in this New York Times essay). The linchpin of both of these arguments is location, closely related todependence. If the fetus is born, it is outside the womb and relatively independent of the mother. If the fetus is unborn, it is inside the womb, part of the mother’s body, and therefore dependent on the mother and subject to her decisions.

These arguments—which really are basically one and the same—have persuaded many people. The result, virtually enshrined into media law, is this: Pre-born beings are to be called fetuses, and post-birth beings are to be called babies. Here’s the New York Times referring to aborted babies as fetuses in the Kermit Gosnell trial, for example; NPR follows the same logicas does CNN. Fetuses, it seems, are essentially subhuman. Outside of the mainstream media, the rhetoric builds from this impersonal foundation. Not only are pre-born children subhuman; they are considered “clumps of cells,” in fact, or pre-human “seeds.” In both the mainstream media and the pro-abortion movement, fetuses are future humans being knit together in a woman’s body. They are not humans while in the womb. To kill them is not to kill a human, but something not-yet human.

How strange was it, then, that leading news sources referred to the fetus of William and Kate as the “royal baby.” There were no pre-birth headlines from serious journalistic sources like “Royal Clump of Cells Eagerly Anticipated” or “Imperial Seed Soon to Sprout.” None of the web’s traffic-hoarding empires ran “Subhuman Royal Fetus Soon to Become Human!” No, over and over again, one after another, from the top of the media food chain to the bottom, Kate’s “fetus” was called, simply and pre-committedly, a baby. Why was this? Because, as I see it, the royal baby was a baby before birth. The media was right; gloriously, happily right.

Like all babies-in-womb, in the months before Kate gave birth, the royal heir was spinning around, jabbing mom at inopportune moments, reacting in sheer physical bliss to the soothing sounds of dad’s voice, getting hungry, becoming sad and even agitated when voices were raised in marital conflict, sleeping, sucking its thumb, enjoying certain kinds of music, waking mom up in the night in order to do more spinning around/kicking, and eating hungrily what mom ate.

Thoughts for Both Sides of the Abortion Debate

How, if at all, does this “royal baby” phenomenon impact the current cultural debate over abortion? Here are a few thoughts for both sides of the abortion debate, pro-life and pro-choice alike.

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Read more at: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/when-is-a-royal-baby-a-fetus/278056/