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In the News 25.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets


In the News 25.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 25.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 25.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

The Lost Hope of Self-Help


With metronomic regularity, new books about both the strange and the mundane things human beings do with metronomic regularity become bestsellers. The American ‘habit’ industry produces a huge popular literature examining how habits are formed and how they are broken, how they enable and how they hinder, and how they are a function of heroic self-discipline or a confession of its absence.

They maintain that people can cultivate not just a ‘learning habit’ but even an ‘achievement habit’. They suggest that ‘Jesus habits’ and ‘joy habits’ are liberating, but that the ‘worry habit’ is shackling. ‘Habits not diets’ are the best way to free the self from the siren call of the refrigerator.

Read the rest of this article at aeon

How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable


The first thing you notice at Donald Trump’s rallies is the confidence. Amateur psychologists have wishfully diagnosed him from afar as insecure, but in person the notion seems absurd.

Donald Trump, insecure? We should all have such problems.

At the Verizon Giganto-Center in Manchester the night before the New Hampshire primary, Trump bounds onstage to raucous applause and the booming riffs of the Lennon-McCartney anthem “Revolution.” The song is, hilariously, a cautionary tale about the perils of false prophets peddling mindless revolts, but Trump floats in on its grooves like it means the opposite. When you win as much as he does, who the hell cares what anything means?

He steps to the lectern and does his Mussolini routine, which he’s perfected over the past months. It’s a nodding wave, a grin, a half-sneer, and a little U.S. Open-style applause back in the direction of the audience, his face the whole time a mask of pure self-satisfaction.

“This is unbelievable, unbelievable!” he says, staring out at a crowd of about 4,000 whooping New Englanders with snow hats, fleece and beer guts. There’s a snowstorm outside and cars are flying off the road, but it’s a packed house.

He flashes a thumbs-up. “So everybody’s talking about the cover of Time magazine last week. They have a picture of me from behind, I was extremely careful with my hair … “

He strokes his famous flying fuzz-mane. It looks gorgeous, like it’s been recently fed. The crowd goes wild. Whoooo! Trump!

It’s pure camp, a variety show. He singles out a Trump impersonator in the crowd, tells him he hopes the guy is making a lot of money. “Melania, would you marry that guy?” he says. The future first lady is a Slovenian model who, apart from Trump, was most famous for a TV ad in which she engaged in a Frankenstein-style body transfer with the Aflac duck, voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.

Read the rest of this article at RollingStone






Chuck Blazer looked out the window of his $18,000-a-month Trump Tower apartment, with its view of New York’s Central Park. Most tourists on Fifth Avenue below could only dream of his kind of high-rise life. But after years of lavish excess, he was no longer fixated on the trappings of his success. On this day, standing only in an adult diaper as a small team of FBI agents prepared to wire him with a recording device, Blazer just wanted to stay out of prison.

The native New Yorker hardly resembled his image as a statesman of soccer — an infamous bon vivant who made so much money for the game’s international governing body, FIFA, that he was hailed as its virtuoso deal maker. He dined often with sheikhs and heirs at the trendiest restaurants and attended society events with a rotating cast of striking companions. His personal travel blog pictured him with the likes of Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin and Miss Universe. At 400 pounds, with an unruly white beard and mane, he looked like Santa Claus, talked like a bricklayer and lived like a 1-percenter.

Read the rest of this article at ESPN

Vienna Might Not Be the Best City in the World After All


On Tuesday, human resources giant Mercer published its 18th annual Quality of Living survey, naming Vienna the most livable city in the world. As expected, this caused the Austrian media to exclaim a collective “Oh-Em-Gee,” and lose any ability to think critically and rationally. Basically, since Tuesday morning, everyone in Austria has been reporting on how great we, Austrians, are.

Even though the survey isn’t necessarily faulty, the victory it hands out isn’t so straightforward. Sure, it’s great for public morale—especially since international media seems to rejoice in portraying Austria as a nation of anti-refugee hardliners, hostage-holding families like the Fritzl’s, or even Hitlers. But with the sugarcoating come the questions: Who is Mercer looking to address here? How does it define quality of life? And how does one measure happiness?

Read the rest of this article at Vive

Britain’s Unsolvable Problem With Europe

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Should Britain stay in the European Union or go? Between now and the referendum on June 23, the two campaigns will press their respective arguments with total conviction. These displays of certitude are phony. The choice is a closer call than either side will admit.

For one thing, the eventual outcome won’t be ordained by what Britain decides on the day. Whether it’s stay or go, everything depends on how events subsequently unfold. The U.K.’s decision is enormously consequential not because it will settle things, but because it offers two completely different sets of challenges — a finely balanced choice between two extremely demanding futures.

Read the rest of this article at Bloomberg

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