“Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Will Smith) – YouTube


via “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Will Smith) – YouTube.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Published on 17 Feb 2014

Jimmy and Will Smith take us through the history of hip-hop dances.

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“Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Will Smith)
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Why do Republicans really oppose infrastructure spending?


via Why do Republicans really oppose infrastructure spending?.

FRI MAY 15, 2015 by RETIII

As the Amtrak derailment showed (again), the refusal to spend on infrastructure literally kills. Also, infrastructure spending: (i) is necessary and unavoidable (failure to timely spend on infrastructure increases the deficit in real terms), (ii) improves the gross domestic product and competitiveness, and (iii) is an obvious source for increased employment, particularly in currently hard hit segments.  Moreover, infrastructure spending remains unambiguously popular.  Indeed, infrastructure spending historically has had bipartisan support.

So, why are modern Republicans ideologically opposed to infrastructure spending today?  For example:

In 2012, House Republicans introduced a transportation bill (including cuts in Amtrak subsidies and increases in truck-weight limits) that Ray LaHood, secretary of transportation during Obama’s first term, called “the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.” LaHood himself had been a seven-term Republican congressman from Illinois before he agreed to serve in Obama’s cabinet.

The most accepted (or easily reported) explanation is that today’s Republican party is dominated by Southern states, the center of heavy infrastructure (and costs) is located in the Northeast, and Republicans refuse to spend on states that don’t vote Republican.  There is truth to this explanation and, frankly, it is not properly reported as part of the wider partisan scandal that it is.  For example, although federal disaster relief is uniformly passed in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc., the Hurricane Sandy relief bill was passed only when (as one of a few instances) the “Boehner Rule” was lifted to allow a bill to pass with largely Democratic votes. Why?  Because only 70 House Republicans could be found who were willing to vote for federal emergency hurricane relief if the affected area was the the East Coast.  Nice.

While as egregious as that geographic partisanship is, there are also at least four other fundamental reasons that explain the new Republican refusal to invest in infrastructure – all of which are largely undiscussed in general reporting.

1.  Starve the Beast: While Republicans continue to refuse to raise revenue necessary to fund infrastructure spending (traditional Starve the Beast), the latest application – Starve the Beast 2.0 – looks to hold hostage any and all necessary spending for cuts to other, unfavored, government spending.  In that sense, you have to understand the crucial (even threatening) need for infrastructure spending as identical to the “debt ceiling.”  For Republicans, the hundreds of billions to trillions of unmet infrastructure spending represents a massive, annualgolden opportunity to extort draconian cuts to social, regulatory, non-defense spending.  That is why Republicans also reject deficit-financing for infrastructure spending (at historically low interest rates) or alternative proposals like a private-public infrastructure bank.  The goal here is not to invest in the country, but to seize upon any vulnerability to “drown the government in a bathtub.”

This is plainly evident, btw.  When President Obama proposed increased infrastructure spending in 2011 Republicans opposed it with a plan that would have “paid for the spending with a $40 billion cut in unspent funding for other domestic programs . . . and would block recent clean air rules and make it harder for the administration to issue new rules.”  In 2014,Eric Cantor explained that  “Congress should not be adding new money, but instead streamlining the process for getting current resources to state and local governments.”  In 2015, Republicans opposed Democrats’ proposed additional infrastructure spending by proposing instead to create a “deficit neutral reserve fund,” that didn’t identify the amount of such fund, or how – or whether – it would be funded. Just yesterday I saw Paul Ryan flatly reject any increased spending for infrastructure, regardless of the fatal Amtrack crash.

2.  Privatizing the nation’s infrastructure: This is the big kahuna that the press generally feels uncomfortable reporting.  Republicans – at the behest of their mega-bank/private equity patrons – really, deeply want to privatize the nation’s infrastructure and turn such public resources into privately owned, profit centers.  More than anything else, this privatization fetish explains Republicans’ efforts to gut and discredit public infrastructure, and it runs the gamut from disastrous instances of privatizing private parking meters to plans to privatizethe federal highway system.

Indeed, if you listen to Republican proposals for “infrastructure reform,” what you hear is: privatization and a longing for private tolls, tolls, tolls.  As the Cato Institute explained in Senate testimony, now is the time to go back in time:

The way to do that is to reduce hurdles to entrepreneurship and more private investment. Private infrastructure is not a new or untried idea. Urban transit services in America used to be virtually all private. And before the 20th century, private turnpike companies built thousands of miles of toll roads. The takeover of so much infrastructure by governments in the 20th century was a mistake, and policymakers should focus on correcting that overreach.

If the goal is to privatize and monetize public assets, the last thing Republicans are going to do is fund and maintain public confidence in such assets.  Rather, when private equity wants to acquire something, the typical playbook is to first make sure that such assets are what is known as “distressed assets” (i.e., cheaper to buy).

3.   Private Activity Bonds:  This one is a real unreported doozy, and is directly related to both privatization efforts and the Starve the Beast scheme. Known as “Private Activity Bonds,” under current law, state and local governments are allowed, effectively, to delegate the ability to issue tax-free bonds to private corporations and investors.  As a result, the private investors have the lower borrowing costs associated with government financing and the interest earned on such bonds is tax-free at both the federal and state level.  Do you get that?  Local governments are financing the efforts to privatize their own public assets and the private equity investors earn tax free profits on their investment.  Privatization is not just a golden opportunity, but a tax-payer subsidized, tax-free opportunity – – with no demonstrated public benefit:

What is more, the projects are often structured so companies can avoid paying state sales taxes on new equipment and, at times, avoid local property taxes. While some deals might encourage businesses to invest where they might otherwise not have invested, there are few guarantees that job creation or other economic benefits actually occur.

4.  Repeal Labor and Environmental Laws:  Finally, Republicans refuse to fund infrastructure spending because the larger goal is to repeal or weaken labor and environmental laws associated with such large scale construction projects.  For example, while you may be rightly worried that your commuter bridge is structurally unsound, Republicans are much more concerned with first repealing laws like the Davis-Bacon Act, a 1931 New Deal law which requires payment of the local prevailing wages on all public works projects for laborers and mechanics. Repealing this employment protection law is a much larger Republican priority than repairing any specific bridge or tunnel.  As Republican Senator Mike Lee explained the priorities of his “infrastructure proposal”:

“The Davis-Bacon Act exemplifies how big government hurts the people it purports to help, gives unfair advantages to favored special interests, and squeezes the middle class,” said Sen. Lee. “It crowds out low-skilled workers in the construction industry, preventing them from getting a fair shot at a job, and funnels taxpayer money to prop up big labor unions, which accrue windfall profits as Davis-Bacon removes the incentive for federal contractors to hire unskilled, non-unionized workers.”

Forcing the American citizens to subsidize labor unions in this way artifically inflates the costs of construction projects to repair and improve our national infrastructure. This is unfair, and unsustainable, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Senator Lee’s “Davis-Bacon Repeal Act” removes these government-imposed obstacles to economic opportunity facing low-skilled workers and returns wasted taxpayer dollars back into the hands of the American people.  Senator Lee will offer the bill as an amendment to legislation that addresses the funding of our nation’s highway and transportation systems.

In sum, the question of why we cannot enact needed, common-sense infrastructure spending is truly mystifying . . . so long as we ignore that the Republican party is hyper-partisan, engaged in a destructive Starve the Beast agenda, wants to privatize public infrastructure, promotes an increasing “financialization” of the economy, and is ideologically opposed to labor and environmental laws.  Most importantly, all of the above must not be even acknowledged in public reporting on this vital issue.  Right?

 

 

Astrophe: The Feeling of Being Stuck on Earth – YouTube


via Astrophe: The Feeling of Being Stuck on Earth – YouTube.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Published on 9 Apr 2015

It’s hard not to look at the ground as you walk. To set your sights low, and keep the world spinning, and try to stay grounded wherever you are. But every so often you remember to look up, and imagine the possibilities. Dreaming of what’s out there. Before long, you find yourself grounded once again. Grounded in the sense of being homebound. Stuck on the planet Earth.

THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows…
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for. Follow the project, give feedback, suggest an emotion you need a word for, or just tell me about your day.

Email the author: obscuresorrows@gmail.com
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ETYMOLOGY: From Greek. Depending on how you slice it, astrophe could mean a couple different things:
– a/strophe would be the act of not turning, or
– astro/phe, the act of turning to the stars.
Reader Krokonil suggested an alternate etymology, from Greek astron “star” + atrophy, the wasting away of muscles or organs due to lack of use or trauma). “For us the stars are wasting away, because we will never reach them.”

TRANSCRIPT:
It’s hard not to look at the ground as you walk. To set your sights low, and keep the world spinning, and try to stay grounded wherever you are. But every so often you remember to look up, and imagine the possibilities. Dreaming of what’s out there. Before long, you find yourself grounded once again. Grounded in the sense of being homebound. Stuck on the planet Earth.

The more you look to the sky, the more you find yourself back on Earth, confronting certain possibilities.

It’s possible there are other names for our planet, that we will never know.

That there are constellations that feature our sun, from an angle we’ll never get to see.

That there are many other civilizations hidden beyond the veil of time, too far away for their light to ever reach us.

We dream of other worlds, and name them after our old discarded gods, and they seem almost as distant-too far to be seen with the naked eye. Only ever in artist’s renditions. Or a scattering of pixels on a monitor, with the colors tweaked to add a bit of flair.

Even our own neighborhood is impossibly vast. We’re used to showing the planets nested together-because if we drew them to scale, they’d be so far apart, they wouldn’t fit on the same page.

And even our own moon, that seems to hang so close to Earth. But still so far away that all the other planets could fit in the space between them.

It’s possible our spacesuits won’t need treaded boots ever again. That one day soon we’ll tire of wandering and move back home for good. And we’ll get used to watching our feet as we walk, occasionally stopping to hurl a single probe into the abyss, like a message in a bottle.

Maybe it shouldn’t matter if anyone ever finds it. If nobody’s there to know we once lived here on Earth.

Maybe it should be like skipping a stone across the surface of a lake. It doesn’t matter where it ends up, It just matters that we’re here on the shore. Just trying to have fun and pass the time, and see how far it goes.

 

Everyday racism: what should we do? Akala | Comment is Free – YouTube


via Everyday racism: what should we do? Akala | Comment is Free – YouTube.

The Guardian

Published on 18 Mar 2015

Racism is a business. Its marketing is so successful that even Akala looks sideways at a young black man holding a lot of cash.
Subscribe to The Guardian ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian
These racial assumptions lead to ‘everyday’ racism – daily encounters and micro-agressions. It’s time to recognise the relationship between top-down propaganda and the bias that we all carry.

Guardian website ► http://is.gd/guardianhome

Endboard videos:
Prisons in America are broken | Eric Schlosser ► http://bit.ly/prisonsus
There’s a lot wrong with the world, isn’t threr? | David Mitchell ► http://bit.ly/davidmitchellcif

Guardian playlists:

Comment is Free ► http://is.gd/cifplaylist
Guardian Docs ► http://is.gd/guardiandocs
Guardian Animations & Explanations ►http://is.gd/explainers
Guardian Investigations ► http://is.gd/guardianinvestigations

Other Guardian channels on YouTube:

Watch Me Date ► http://is.gd/watchmedate
Guardian Football ► http://is.gd/guardianfootball
Guardian Music ► http://is.gd/guardianYTmusic
Guardian Australia ► http://is.gd/guardianaustralia
Guardian Tech ► http://is.gd/guardiantech
Guardian Culture ► http://is.gd/guardianculture
Guardian Wires ► http://is.gd/guardianwires
Guardian Food ► http://is.gd/guardianfood

More Guardian videos:

Mos Def force fed in Gitmo procedure ► http://is.gd/mosdef
Edward Snowden interview ► http://is.gd/snowdeninterview2014
Bangladeshi Sex Workers take steroids ► http://is.gd/sexworkers
How your phone spies on you ► http://is.gd/phonespying
What is freedom today? ► http://is.gd/zizekcif
30 Stone man enters Mr Gay UK ► http://is.gd/stavros
Fighting Isis in Kobani ► http://is.gd/fightingisis
How does Ebola kill? ► http://is.gd/ebolakills
The SlumGods of Mumbai ► http://is.gd/slumgods
Jesus “would have been an atheist” ► http://is.gd/dawkinsjesus
The new global menace ► http://is.gd/owenjonescif

 

Incredible color footage of Berlin at the end of World War II


via Incredible color footage of Berlin at the end of World War II.

MON MAY 04, 2015 by Jen Hayden

Men and women piling rubble in Berlin.

German men and women cleaning up the remains of Berlin after World War II.

 

Watch the mesmerizing color footage of a bombed and burned out Berlin—taken in July 1945—roughly two months after German forces surrendered. The video comes from Chronos Media and shows Germans trying to clean-up the charred remains of the city.

A rare glimpse into life in Berlin in 1945.

 That’s how it looked like just after the Second World War in Berlin!

Fascinating moving pictures in color show the situation of the city in summer 1945, just after the Second World War and the capitulation of Germany. Daily life after years of war.

Pictures from the destroyed city, the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Adlon, Führerbunker, Unter den Linden, rubble women working in the streets, the tram is running again.

 

 

 

Monkey dropkicks young man after the guy appears to flash the middle finger at the wily primate


(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8-BHxaI5iQ)….

Monkey dropkicks young man after the guy appears to flash the middle finger at the wily primate

Looks like he picked the wrong monkey to mess with.

Newly posted security camera footage, purportedly from the monkey-laden city of Shimla in Northern India, shows a primate teaching a young man a lesson: Animals don’t like being flicked off, either.

A couple of guys walk past the monkey in a market area of the capital city of the Himachal Pradesh state and the former British Raj summer capital in the video.

But, rather than passing by the animal like other pedestrians in the video, one of them motions at the monkey, causing it to jump up on a crate for a better view.

The simian bears its teeth at the young man, who, undeterred, appears to raise his middle finger at the animal. That’s when the monkey leaps toward the human and lays him out with a swift push and two-legged primate kick to the torso — an attack the video shows once in real time and again in slow motion for good measure.

The young man in the black shirt and backpack appears to show the monkey his middle finger just before it pounces on him.

The simian lands on its feet as if it’s kicked plenty of people in its time and retreats behind a fence, while the guy’s mate has a good laugh at his expense. The visibly stunned young man fortunately gets up with no more injuries beyond his hurt pride.

The video, which was posted on Friday, represents only the latest in man and monkey run-ins in Shimla, and several of the animals have exacted a much more serious impact than this one. One of the state’s 300,000 monkeys found its way into a home late last summer and took 10,000 rupees (about $156) before tossing down the money to passersby atop a nearby roof, BBC News reported.

In November, some members of the “marauding monkeys prowling in gangs” bit a girl while she was in school and spooked a woman into jumping off her own roof to her death when they attacked her, according to the Hindustan Times. A local hospital treats over 60 monkey bites every month, one local authority told the Indian newspaper. Wildlife officials rounded up the primates and returned them to the jungle roughly seven years ago, but many local residents say the animals have returned in numbers large enough to warrant another relocation, according to the newspaper.

A local tourist website even warns tourists looking to take in the ancient Jakhoo Temple about the wily creatures.

The monkey pushes the young man with its upper limbs before sending him sprawling with a two-legged kick to the torso in the shocking footage.

“The monkeys of Shimla are not pleasant animals, they roam around in gangs looking for the opportunity to rob tourists of their food or any other item which catches their eyes,” according to the website.

“The situation has deteriorated so much that visitors to Jakhoo temple must rent a substantial stake with which to threaten Shimla’s monkeys. Without the deterrent of the stick expect to have pockets and bags rummaged through no less intensely than by a human criminal.”

NubianBrothaz.tumblr.com ♥

Amazing! The silent flight of an owl. From the BBC’s Natural World: Super Powered Owls


via Pueo Eyes.

nrdc:

scienceisbeauty:

Stunning.

Published on 24 Feb 2015

Programme website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054fn09 A cutting edge experiment reveals how owls can sneak up on their prey.

 

Is California’s Drought Part of a Global Water Crisis? – YouTube


via Is California’s Drought Part of a Global Water Crisis? – YouTube.

The Nation

Published on 16 Apr 2015

The unfolding catastrophe of California’s now four year-old drought and the depletion of its aquifers is not just a crisis for the state and the region surrounding it; it’s part of a global pattern of groundwater loss that NASA has been tracking for years. Jay Famiglietti, Senior Water Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and author of a now-famous Los Angeles Times op-ed on the drought, has seen this global groundwater deficit firsthand. Through a pair of satellites called GRACE, Famiglietti has measured the draining of the world’s aquifers in places like India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and California. As climate change persists and the planet’s arid and semi-arid regions become even drier, we can expect this global phenomenon to become even more acute, with a whole host of perilous consequences: violent conflict, seismic activity, stream depletion, sinking land surfaces, and the monopolization of water by those with financial means.

SHOW LESS

 

Watch: Vacationing Swedish cops show NYPD officers how to subdue suspects without hurting them


via Watch: Vacationing Swedish cops show NYPD officers how to subdue suspects without hurting them.

TRAVIS GETTYS

24 APR 2015

swedish 001

Four vacationing Swedish police officers helped out after two homeless men began fighting on a New York City subway – and showed it’s possible to subdue violent suspects without hurting them.

The officers — Samuel Kvarzell, Markus Asberg, Eric Jansberger and Erik Naslund — were riding an uptown No. 6 train Wednesday on their way to see “Les Miserables” when they responded to the subway driver’s call for help, reported the New York Post.

A bystander began recording cell phone video after the officers pulled the pair apart.

The video shows one of the brawlers sitting calmly on the floor, flanked by two of the Swedish police officers, while two others kneel on the other man – who is more unruly – to hold him face-down on the floor.

“How do you feel?” one of the officers asks the seated man, who says he feels fine.

The other man struggles, but the pair of officers calmly keep him pinned to the floor.

“I can’t breathe,” he screams, as he rises occasionally from the floor but is unable to escape.

“Take it easy,” one officer repeatedly tells him. “Sir, calm down, OK? Everything is going to be OK.”

The man eventually calms down, and he admits to the officers that he’s not injured after they ask.

The Swedish officers held the men until New York City police could board the train and take them into custody.

“We came just to make sure no one got hurt,” Asberg said. “We were trying to stop the fight.”

Of course, not every police interaction ends with a suspect’s death or injury — but social media users pointed out the difference between the way the Swedish officers behaved and recent tragic cases involving American police.

swedish 002

swedish 003

Watch video of the incident posted online by AJ+:

 

The Sound That An Orchid Makes as it blooms- SIZ


via The Sound That An Orchid Makes as it blooms- SIZ.