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News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@xeniaadonts via art_etoile

The Most Political Animal

The day was cold, gray, and rainy, and the wolf smelled exactly like a wet dog. I sat on my heels, my shoulders just a few inches higher than hers, and hesitantly scratched her belly, her thick, black-tipped gray fur soft and greasy between my fingers. She nosed at my face, bumping my chin and lapping my cheeks. She tried to slide her long, flexible tongue into my mouth, and when that failed, an unguarded nostril.

This wolf lives with four of her siblings on five acres of remote spruce forest in northern Norway, well above the Arctic Circle. Though she hunts the small animals that find their way through the high steel fence that encloses her world, she mainly eats carcasses supplied by her human keepers. Through the long winter twilights and summer days, she fights with her pack mates; she stretches, yawns, and rolls on her belly; she sits on her haunches and stares across the valley. But unlike free-roaming wolves, she has no reflexive fear of humans. When she was born in captivity five years ago, her keepers named her Frigg, after the Norse goddess, and in their care she has learned that most humans are simply objects of curiosity, sporadically available for inspection.

Read the rest of this article at: Eater

News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.

News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This winter, members of the National Rifle Association—elk hunters in Montana, skeet shooters in upstate New York, concealed-carry enthusiasts in Jacksonville—might have noticed a desperate tone in the organization’s fund-raising efforts. In a letter from early March, Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A.’s top executive, warned that liberal regulators were threatening to destroy the organization. “We’re facing an attack that’s unprecedented not just in the history of the N.R.A. but in the entire history of our country,” he wrote. “The Second Amendment cannot survive without the N.R.A., and the N.R.A. cannot survive without your help right now.”

LaPierre is right that the N.R.A. is troubled; in recent years, it has run annual deficits of as much as forty million dollars. It is not unusual for nonprofits to ask prospective donors to help forestall disaster. What is unusual is the extent to which such warnings have become the central activity of the N.R.A. Even as the association has reduced spending on its avowed core mission—gun education, safety, and training—to less than ten per cent of its total budget, it has substantially increased its spending on messaging. The N.R.A. is now mainly a media company, promoting a life style built around loving guns and hating anyone who might take them away.

On NRATV, the organization’s programming network, the popular host Grant Stinchfield might appear in a “Socialist Tears” T-shirt, taking a sledgehammer to a television set cycling through liberal news shows. The platform’s Twitter account circulates videos of the spokesperson Dana Loesch, a former Breitbart News editor who has said that mainstream journalists are “the rat bastards of the earth” and deserve to be “curb-stomped.” Over menacing images of masked rioters, she asserts that the only way to stop the left is to “fight its violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.” A lawyer and activist called Colion Noir, whose real name is Collins Idehen, Jr., also has a large following. After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, Noir appeared in a video chiding “all the kids from Parkland getting ready to use your First Amendment to attack everyone else’s Second Amendment.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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How Scotland Erased
Guyana From its Past

The mangrove-fringed coast of Guyana, at the north-eastern tip of South America, does not immediately bring to mind the Highlands of Scotland, in the northernmost part of Great Britain. Guyana’s mudflats and silty brown coastal water have little in common with the lush green mountains and glens of the Highlands. If these landscapes share anything, it is their remoteness – one on the edge of a former empire burnished by the relentless equatorial sun and one on the edge of Europe whipped mercilessly by the Atlantic winds.

But look closer and the links are there: Alness, Ankerville, Belladrum, Borlum, Cromarty, Culcairn, Dingwall, Dunrobin, Fyrish, Glastullich, Inverness, Kintail, Kintyre, Rosehall, Tain, Tarlogie, a join-the-dots list of placenames (30 in all) south of Guyana’s capital Georgetown that hint of a hidden association with the Scottish Highlands some 5,000 miles away.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Church of Living Dangerously: How One of America’s Biggest Pastors Became a Drug Runner for a Mexican Cartel

News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A little after five A.M. on December 11, 2017, a gray Volkswagen Passat inched through the darkness of Tijuana toward the brightly lit Customs and Border Protection port of entry at San Ysidro, California. It was in the SENTRI lane, the special passageway for pre-approved, low-risk travelers who have passed a stringent background check.

The driver, a stocky 54-year-old man with shaggy blond hair and a goatee, seemed as low-risk as they come. John Lee Bishop had established himself as one of the most successful pastors in America. His mega-church, Living Hope, was one of the country’s fastest-growing congregations. With over 8,000 members, it occupied an 85,000-square-foot former Kmart superstore in Vancouver, Washington, a working-class suburb just up the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Locals called it “the Kmart Church.”

Bishop’s mega-church was a kind of blue-light special for those who other churches left behind: gay teens, junkies, the homeless, anyone who felt excluded. Bishop understood “the unchurched,” as he called them, because he started out as one himself, a social misfit damaged by an abusive childhood and turned off by organized religion. With his long hair, ripped jeans, and laid-back demeanor, he looked like Sammy Hagar, whom he was sometimes mistaken for, and preached like a Vegas showman, nearly getting mauled by a 350-pound tiger he brought onstage for a Noah’s Ark service.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook

News 04.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ACROSS TOWN, A group of senior Facebook executives, including COO Sheryl Sandberg and vice president of global communications Elliot Schrage, had set up a temporary headquarters near the base of the mountain where Thomas Mann put his fictional sanatorium. The world’s biggest companies often establish receiving rooms at the world’s biggest elite confab, but this year Facebook’s pavilion wasn’t the usual scene of airy bonhomie. It was more like a bunker—one that saw a succession of tense meetings with the same tycoons, ministers, and journalists who had nodded along to Soros’ broadside.

Over the previous year Facebook’s stock had gone up as usual, but its reputation was rapidly sinking toward junk bond status. The world had learned how Russian intelligence operatives used the platform to manipulate US voters. Genocidal monks in Myanmar and a despot in the Philippines had taken a liking to the platform. Mid-level employees at the company were getting both crankier and more empowered, and critics everywhere were arguing that Facebook’s tools fostered tribalism and outrage. That argument gained credence with every utterance of Donald Trump, who had arrived in Davos that morning, the outrageous tribalist skunk at the globalists’ garden party.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had recently pledged to spend 2018 trying to fix Facebook. But even the company’s nascent attempts to reform itself were being scrutinized as a possible declaration of war on the institutions of democracy. Earlier that month Facebook had unveiled a major change to its News Feed rankings to favor what the company called “meaningful social interactions.” News Feed is the core of Facebook—the central stream through which flow baby pictures, press reports, New Age koans, and Russian-­made memes showing Satan endorsing Hillary Clinton. The changes would favor interactions between friends, which meant, among other things, that they would disfavor stories published by media companies. The company promised, though, that the blow would be softened somewhat for local news and publications that scored high on a user-driven metric of “trustworthiness.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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