Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
SPACE CADETS / LATEST EARTH SELFIE
Museum-worthy photographic image of Earth 2022. NOAA shared the first images of the Western Hemisphere from its Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite. Note the green of the Amazon region and the pueblo brownness of Western USA and all of Mexico. NOAA/NASA.
Monday, May 30, 2022
MEDIA MONDAY / OUR COUNTRY IS IN THE MIDST OF LEARNED HELPLESSNESS. WHEN IT COMES TO GUNS OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT IS BROKEN
GUEST BLOG / By Alia Dastagir, Reporter, USA Today--Call it a cycle, call it a script, call it madness. Nineteen children and two adults gunned down in an elementary school in Texas. Collages of their beautiful faces, photos of families who will carry a grief so heavy we buckle at the thought of carrying it ourselves. The lucky parents wrap their bodies around their living children, as if it were enough. We read the same headlines, see the same hand-wringing, criticize or call for the same prayers and find ourselves desperately having the same debate. Until we move on, and a moral imperative evaporates.
This is a political story, but it is a psychological one, too. A story about what some people say they value but refuse to protect, what some people claim they want but never demand. It's a failure of American democracy, a failure of humanity, a "learned helplessness" whose only antidote is a demonstration that change is possible.
"Learned helplessness is a mental state that occurs when people find out that nothing they do matters," said Dr. Martin Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "Its main consequence is that people give up and stop trying. It applies quite apparently to the majority of Americans who, for years, have shown they want more checks and balances about gun control. ... And in spite of that, the American voter and the Democrats, in particular, have found out that nothing they do works. That predicts that people would give up."
In the U.S., gunfire on school grounds is at a historic level. On Monday, one day before the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, the FBI released data showing an alarming escalation of public shootings. In what is arguably the Supreme Court's second highest-profile case this term, the justices are expected to rule any day on a possible expansion of gun rights under the Second Amendment.
On social media, one might think there is no common ground on the issue, but 2018 polling from Gallup shows that to prevent mass shootings at schools, 92% of Americans support required background checks for all gun sales, 87% support more security, and 68% support raising the legal age at which people can purchase certain firearms. Banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons is more divisive: 56% were in favor and 42% opposed.
Experts in gun violence and social psychology say the impasse on gun control is about our political system's fundamental functioning, its responsiveness to the public it purports to represent. They blame a number of factors for societal paralysis, including the gun lobby's influence over the Republican Party, the reflexive tendency after each new chapter of death to dig in our heels on issues that divide us, and a devastatingly high tolerance for individual and collective trauma.
"We talk a lot about how we are exhausted and overwhelmed and overburdened, but we don't talk about how we can imagine our own everyday political culture to be a healthier one," said Jennifer Carlson, a sociology professor at the University of Arizona who studies guns, trauma and the law. "There has never been a reckoning regarding the layers and layers and layers of trauma that are built into this country. ... The rest of the world is looking at us, feeling sorry for us, because we are unable to face ourselves."
Experts say more dialogue needed with liberal gun owners
Though experts underscore there is broad agreement on certain gun reforms, there are still deep partisan divides in how people perceive guns – the right to bear them as well as their symbolism and utility.
"For one side, guns represent aggression, violence, and a somewhat paranoid and anachronistic perspective that you have to protect yourself from external threats," University of Alabama criminology professor Adam Lankford said after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2017. "For the other side, guns represent safety, security, and self-sufficiency."
This leads people to very different conclusions about solutions to gun violence.
"If someone is embracive of further gun restrictions, they're going to see gun violence and say, 'Obviously this means we need more restrictions.' Someone who embraces gun rights is going to see more guns as a solution to these kinds of events," Carlson said. "It doesn't matter how bad it gets, because people on opposing sides of this issue are thinking about the issue so fundamentally differently."
Carlson said energy must be spent on pulling people out of rigid political positions. In pursuit of that, Carlson said there is an important, untapped group that may provide some answers on how to move forward: liberal gun owners.
Guns in America: Sales in the U.S. rose 40% in 2020
"We have a lot more guns in circulation, and we have a lot of people who own guns who did not own guns before 2020. Those people are less likely to fit the profile of the stereotypical gun owner. They are less likely to be men, they're more likely to be racial minorities," she said. "The liberals who own guns, those are the people we need to start listening to so that we can look to bridge these divides."
'It's not saddening in a way that seems to mobilize most people' Jay Van Bavel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University and director of the Social Identity & Morality Lab, said given that polling shows there is consensus on some gun reforms, the question becomes one of mobilization.
"Sandy Hook was a moment where many people felt like there was an obvious case politically and morally where people should have done something and nothing happened," he said. "It's deeply saddening, but it's not saddening in a way that seems to mobilize most people."
Van Bavel said it's easier to mobilize anger and hope. But anger dissipates and hope wanes. Grief is paralyzing.
Van Bavel said it's important for voters who care about gun reform to ensure they understand how deeply the Republican Party is intertwined with the gun lobby. Despite disagreeing with their stance, there's an absence of Republican voters willing to abandon candidates over their failure to vote for gun control measures.
You elected them to write new laws: They’re letting corporations do it instead
"What you'd need probably is a countervailing, 10 or 20% of voters who make gun control their top priority," he said. "There are so many issues, there are so many potential priorities, that I think it would be beneficial if there was a mobilization of people who just decided, no matter what a politician stood for, if they didn't stand for popular gun regulations that they would vote no for them, no matter what."
This group could exert what psychologists call "minority influence," when a committed subset of people has an influence on a broader group.
'Our system is broken'
Carlson said that while she still believes it's worth advocating for bipartisan measures like universal background checks, she is skeptical of what today's political system can achieve. The sources and consequences of gun violence are multifaceted. While there is a legitimate compulsion to say "We need to do something," it's just as legitimate to point out that many of the solutions on the table are not going to address the depth of the problem of gun violence in American society.
"We, as a country, have been breaking the political process in the government," she said. "Both sides with very, very different arguments and very, very different evidence believe that democracy is in jeopardy in this country. And yet the main way we are looking to fix this is with the political process. It gets at this mismatch between knowing that something is fundamentally wrong and lacking any feasible tools to actually do something that would rise to the scale of that problem."
Carlson said we need to fundamentally rethink our political institutions and rework how we engage in politics in our everyday life. "Our system is broken, partly because we’ve been proactively breaking it," she said. "It’s a top-down and bottom-up reimagining." Carlson said a better political culture would foster civic grace, which she defines as an acknowledgment of the dignity of our fellow citizens and a recognition that our own political views are limited, contingent, and therefore open to change. A healthier political culture would embrace social vulnerability, which she defines as a recognition of our inherent capacity to experience loss, pain and suffering.
'It requires breakthroughs to get people to believe'
The Uvalde shooting comes a little more than a week after a white gunman opened fire at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and killed 10 people. During the pandemic, gun violence has risen across the U.S. More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This problem is definitely getting worse, and it's going to continue to get worse until something is done to address it," said John Donahue, a Stanford University law professor and gun policy expert. To address it, experts say, people need to sit in the pain, connect with it and mobilize their way out of it. "The parents whose kids were murdered, the people who are so directly impacted, it's not up to them to further bear the burden of pushing, even though that's what's happened because everybody else just runs away," Carlson said. "The change happens when those of us who haven't experienced this violence directly figure out what we are willing to do."
Seligman said encouraging people to act means showing them their efforts matter.
"That requires demonstrations of actions that work, that show that people who believe in more gun control can become agenetic and overcome these barriers," he said. "It requires breakthroughs. That's what gets people to believe."
Sunday, May 29, 2022
SUNDAY REVIEW / DATED MURDER MYSTERY STILL HAS PACE
Review by Holden DeMayo, Editor, PillartoPost.org online daily magazine--One Internet reviewer posted that “The Promise of a Lie” was slow to start but it picked up as the reader tries to figure out why character was framed and how his defense will try to prove his innocence, and if/how they'll capture the real murderer. True. Some twists and turns with more than one after the apparent “happy” ending. Also true. Written in 2004, the whodunnit holds together until the end (seemingly all dozen of them).
Good writing by Howard Roughan (Rowan). Clever dialogue that will make it easy to read cover to cover while flying across the Pond. Yes, it has that Agatha Christie sensibility (non-gory and definitely non-gynecologic love scenes i.e. one and only love scene lasts two paragraphs).
And never did figure out what the “lie” was? But maybe I am that dense. Not knowing didn't impact the story, which means it was more of a gimmick. But what I really wanted was more warmth between the main couple. Writer told us they were an item with benefits but didn't slow down the machine gun pace of the writing to show us why? For example, what was it that made them click as a couple beyond lawyer client relationship? Proximity didn’t cut it for me. Maybe, author needed the space to work in another ending? Hell, readers learned the hero's bride was pregnant before learning they were married.
Multiple endings aside, the main novel works nicely. Perhaps, "The Promise of an Ending" would work as a title. Enough. It is well worth the read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saturday, May 28, 2022
COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / STARBUCKS PLANS ELECTRIC HIGHWAY
Beginning this summer, Volvo electric vehicle chargers, powered by ChargePoint, will be available at up to 15 Starbucks stores along a 1,350-mile route from the Colorado Rockies to the Starbucks Support Center (headquarters) in Seattle. Pictured is an existing charging station outside of a Starbucks in Palm Springs, CA.
Friday, May 27, 2022
FEISTY FRIDAY / OYEZ! OYEZ! OYEZ! TOUGH, SMART, EX-WEST POINTER CHARGED WITH FINDING SUPREME COURT LEAKER
CLASSIC ASSOCIATED PRESS BIO BACKGROUNDER.
IN A NUTSHELL--When Col. Gail Curley began her job as Marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she would have expected to work mostly behind the scenes: overseeing the court’s police force and the operations of the marble-columned building where the justices work. Earlier this month, however, Curley was handed a bombshell of an assignment, overseeing an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion and apparent votes in a major abortion case. People who know Curley described the former Army colonel, a military lawyer by training, as the right kind of person to be tasked with investigating a highly-charged leak: smart and unlikely to be intimidated but also apolitical and private.
GUEST BLOG / By Associated Press Reporter Jessica Gresko—When Gail Curley began her job as Marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she would have expected to work mostly behind the scenes: overseeing the court’s police force and the operations of the marble-columned building where the justices work. Her most public role was supposed to be in the courtroom, where the Marshal bangs a gavel and announces the entrance of the court’s nine justices.
Her brief script includes “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” — meaning “hear ye” — and concludes, “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
Leaks to Politico suggest that the court seems ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that women have a constitutional right to abortion. That has sparked protests and round-the-clock security at justices’ homes,demonstrations at the court and concerns about violence following the court’s ultimate decision.
People who know Curley, 53, described the former Army colonel and military lawyer as possessing the right temperament for a highly charged leak investigation: smart, private, apolitical and unlikely to be intimidated. “I’m confident that if the truth can be found out here, she’ll find it out and present it in an unbiased manner,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Huston, her direct supervisor at the Pentagon in her last military job before the Supreme Court.
Huston said he was incredibly impressed by Curley and that she had a tremendous reputation as a leader, but even as her boss of two years he didn’t know if she had a spouse or children. Through a court spokeswoman, Curley declined an interview request.
She is the court’s 11th Marshal and the second woman to hold the post. She is also in some ways constrained in her investigation by her position, which was created just after the Civil War, in 1867. Experts say leaking the draft opinion likely wasn’t a crime, and Curley’s investigative tools are limited. She could theoretically hire an outside law firm to assist, and in other judicial records cases the FBI has been called in. But it isn’t clear if she or others have the power to issue subpoenas to get material from journalists or the fewer than 100 people in the court — including justices — with access to a draft opinion.
The investigation doesn’t appear to have any real precedent. In 1973 the outcome in the Roe case leaked several hours ahead of its announcement. The chief justice at the time was furious and threatened lie detector tests, but the leaker quickly came forward and explained it had been an accident. Even if the circumstances are different, overseeing an investigation isn’t new to Curley.
In her military career she routinely oversaw a dozen or more criminal and administrative investigations and supervised large numbers of attorneys and paralegals, Huston said. She was an authority on international law and laws surrounding armed conflict, but the investigations she oversaw throughout her career could range broadly, from criminal matters involving service members to contract issues. Huston described her as “not the sort of person who would ever be intimidated by anything.”
Curley began her military career at West Point, where just under 10% of her 1991 graduating class was women. Lisa Freidel, a member of the same 25-member company as Curley, remembered her as kind and studious but also a “pretty serious person.” “She didn’t like the tomfoolery of some of the boys, some of the guys, in our company. They were young men. They do stupid stuff. She did not like that,” Freidel remembered, adding Curley “wanted to be surrounded with intellectuals, people that were smart to challenge her.”
Curley was dubbed “Swirlin’ Curl” in West Point’s yearbook, which listed her hometown as Baltimore. She was something of an introvert, Freidel said, adding that she never met Curley’s parents, just an aunt and uncle, and couldn’t remember her talking about siblings. In school, Curley was interested in American politics and government, an interest that coincided with one West Point requirement: being knowledgeable about current affairs. The New York Times was delivered every morning and cadets were supposed to be able to talk about four articles in the paper every day, Freidel remembered. “You had to make sure your shoes were shined, your belt buckles were all shined and everything before formation and try to memorize the paper,” she said. Still, Curley found time for extracurricular activities.
A domestic affairs club she was a member of took a trip her senior year to Washington that included a meeting with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “See you in the White House someday!” her yearbook entry reads. After graduating, she joined the Army’s Signal Corps, which is responsible for setting up communication systems in the field. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” Curley said of that time according to a 2017 news article. “As a young Army signal officer I was able to lead a large platoon in Europe during my first assignment ... that was at a time when women were not allowed to serve as platoon leaders in certain jobs.”
She eventually went on to earn a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and become an Army lawyer. Her career took her around the United States but also to Afghanistan for a year. Later, she spent three years in Germany as the chief legal adviser to the commander of U.S. Army Europe, first Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who is now retired, and then Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli. Cavoli, now a four-star general, was nominated earlier this month to serve as the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO.
In Germany, Curley was the senior Army attorney overseeing some 300 legal officials throughout Europe. She also provided “legal review and advice on the millions of things we were doing,” Hodges said in an interview. “I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody more with more integrity,” Hodges said, adding that Curley also had a sense of humor and “a real dose of humility.”
The three-star general said because he liked and respected her so much, he would sometimes tease her. She had no problem holding her own, he said. “She had the confidence of knowing that her IQ was about 40 points higher than mine,” he said. “And so she could afford to be self-confident.”
Thursday, May 26, 2022
THE FOODIST / TEX-MEX CAFE SIGN LANGUAGE
|And for $24 you get a 1000 piece jig saw puzzle|
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
DESIGN OF OUR TIMES / CZECH FOOTBRIDGE SETS RECORD, OPENS
Sky Bridge 721, the world's longest suspension pedestrian bridge, is officially open for thrill-seekers. Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
GUEST BLOG / By Francesca Street, CNN Travel Writer--Walking from one mountain to another, suspended high above the ground with only a vast valley below, isn't for the fainthearted. But thrill-seekers -- and lovers of infrastructure -- will no doubt be flocking to the Dolní Morava vacation resort in the northeast of the Czech Republic to scale the new world's longest suspension footbridge.
Under construction for the past two years, the 721-meter-long-span (2,365 feet), appropriately named Sky Bridge 721, officially opened on May 13. The walkway promises spectacular views of the cloud-shrouded Jeseníky mountains, and an overall electrifying, albeit slightly terrifying, experience.
|New world's longest suspended footbridge. Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images|
Austrian blogger Victoria Fellner told CNN Travel that taking her first step on the bridge gave her a "queasy feeling." But this initial fear subsided as she admired the surrounding landscape. "I was afraid that the suspension bridge would shake a lot, but it wasn't that bad," said Fellner. "The view is really impressive and you can even see the forest below through the trellis! Luckily I'm not afraid of heights."
Sky Bridge 721, suspended by cables, hangs 95 meters above the valley floor and spans between 1,110 and 1,116 meters above sea level. The bridge can be accessed by cable car and walking across is a one-way deal. Upon exiting the walkway at the other side, visitors can make their way along a paved forest path lined with signs detailing Czech history.
TIDBITS… The 1.2-meter-wide Sky Bridge is open to children of all ages and heights, but is not suitable for people with pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Travelers must currently book Sky Bridge 721 tickets ahead of time on the Dolní Morava website, with prices for adults starting at 350 Czech Koruna (around $14.60).
Dolní Morava, situated on the Czech border with Poland, is a vacation spot that's also home to ski slopes, an alpine roller coaster purporting to be the second longest in Europe, a mountaintop restaurant and an attraction called the Sky Walk -- a curved structure with a wooden walkway and slide located 1,116 meters above sea level.
The Czech Republic Sky Bridge is 154 meters longer than the current Guinness World Record holder suspension footbridge, the Baglung Parbat Footbridge in Gandaki Province, Nepal.
Sky Bridge 721 is around 2.5 hours drive from Czech capital city Prague.
PREVIOUS RECORD: Baglung Parbat Footbridge in Gandaki Province, Nepal (below).
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
AMERICANA / IS THE STOCK MARKET AT EDGE OF A DURABLE REBOUND OR BEAR MARKET?
Inflation and Fed-policy uncertainty keep markets under pressure
GUEST BLOG / By the Edward Jones Company--The S&P 500 dropped to a 14-month low on Thursday (5/19/22) and is now down 18.7% from the record high it set early in the year1.
With stocks just shy of the 20% threshold that defines a bear market, concerns are mounting over potential economic and earnings-growth disappointments. At the core of this year's pullback are the heightened inflation pressures that are forcing the Federal Reserve (Fed) to hike rates at the fastest pace in two decades.
Against a backdrop of ongoing price shocks, slowing growth and tightening monetary policy, valuations have adjusted lower, with the speculative areas of the market and high-valuation investments getting hit the worst. Amplifying the challenges to balanced portfolios, bonds have also been under pressure amid higher yields this year.
However, since the beginning of May, yields have followed equity markets lower, and as a result bonds have helped stabilize portfolios.
Four conditions for a durable rebound
We don't think that a recession is inevitable, but because credible threats to the expansion exist, volatility is unlikely to end soon. Here is a list of fundamental and market conditions that are likely required to gain confidence that equity markets can find their footing and mount a more durable rebound.
1. Evidence that inflation is past its peak and on a path of moderation: Even with the annual pace of inflation ticking down in April from March, the price increases are too hot, forcing the Fed to hike at a fast pace. Policymakers aim to raise borrowing costs enough to slow growth and tame inflation, but not so much as to push the economy into recession. The market will likely want to see several months of moderating inflation before it is convinced that there is no need for monetary policy to become overly restrictive. If the market sees such a stretch of moderating inflation, it can be a key catalyst for bond yields to stabilize and equities to rally.
2. Economic and earnings resiliency: With the S&P 500 on the edge of a bear market, the current decline implies a high probability of a recession. If economic data holds up in the coming months, consistent with a slowing but still growing economy, attention will likely shift back to focusing on opportunities instead of risks.
3. Valuation stability as excesses unwind: As the Fed has signaled an aggressive tightening cycle ahead, and as the 10-year yield topped 3%, valuations have now returned to their 30-year average1. Many high-growth tech companies have given back all of their pandemic outperformance, and the price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 has declined about 30% from last year's peak. While valuations could decline further if the economy slips into recession, that is not our base-case scenario, and at this point we believe that a lot of speculation has already come out of the market.
4. Widespread pessimism that resets expectations: Investor sentiment tends to be a good contrarian indicator, and as such, complacency tends to signal market peaks, while panic and pessimism are consistent with market bottoms. Currently, investors appear overly pessimistic, as the AAII survey shows that bearish sentiment has surged to its highest since the Global Financial Crisis. The underpinnings of the economy are reasonably sound
– We believe that there is enough underlying strength that the economy can withstand the upcoming Fed tightening that is currently priced in by the markets. Incomes are supported by a tight labor market, household savings remain elevated, and debt is low, all pointing to resilient consumer demand despite the surging inflation.
On the business side, inventories will need to be rebuilt as supply chains normalize, and the recent strong growth in industrial production supports a positive outlook for capital investment. Also, credit markets are not signaling the stress that would be consistent with a more sustained economic downturn.
Therefore, in the absence of any major economic imbalances, there is a solid foundation for an eventual rebound, in our view. But it might not be as swift as in recent years because of the lingering uncertainties.
How to navigate pullbacks successfully
• Consider rebalancing strategies and dollar-cost averaging (systematic investing) to take advantage of the wide price swings and the likely gradual process of finding a durable bottom.
• A focus on balance and diversification can potentially better help weather short-term dips, which over the long term are nearly impossible to avoid.
• Elevated volatility has not historically lasted for a very long time and has been followed by strong returns, especially when a high degree of pessimism is already in the market. Periods of indiscriminate selling in the market can help to create long-term opportunities to add quality equity and fixed-income investments at potentially attractive prices.
Disclaimer: PillartoPost.org daily online magazine is a client of Edward Jones Company. Edward Jones did not pay to list this article. PillartoPost.org has been granted permission to share this content with its readership.
Monday, May 23, 2022
MEDIA MONDAY / KEEPING MASS KILLER SUSPECTS OFF OF PAGE ONE
LONG OVERDUE—Banning serial killer suspects from newspaper and magazine covers is something long overdue. Case in point the cover of September 21, 1889 issue of PUCK magazine by cartoonist Tom Merry.
GUEST OPINION / By Nicole Carroll, Editor-in-Chief, USA TODAY--You won't see a photo of the Buffalo shooting suspect on our front page. And after the initial coverage, you'll see limited use of his name. Instead you'll see "the 18-year-old man" or "the suspect." We know that many shooters are motivated by attention, and we certainly don't want to give it to them.
We have a public-safety responsibility to let readers know who they are, but will not amplify their hate. So our standards say that if we need to run the photo, don't run it on the front page, or at the top of the story online, or as the main art on social media. Place it inside the paper or further down in a digital story.
Past the initial coverage, we encourage editors to ask whether they need to run it all.
And any reporting on the shooter should be meaningful and explanatory. We should report on a verified motive, contributing factors, red flags and how the incident could have been avoided or the damage reduced. What about the materials they leave behind? First of all, we're not calling the Buffalo shooter's document a "manifesto," even if that's how law enforcement refer to it. (We will use the word in a direct quote if absolutely necessary but will try to paraphrase.)
One definition calls a manifesto "a public declaration of policy and aims." That is much too weighty a title to give the written ramblings of a suspected mass murderer. "We should also have conversations about how much information needs to be shared with the public," USA TODAY Network Standards Editor Michael McCarter wrote to the staff Monday. "Certain aspects of the document MAY contain the rationale behind the motive for the shooter’s actions. We should not, however, become a publishing and distribution platform that amplifies the shooter's beliefs and conspiracy theories."
We do not want to publish material that individuals wishing to replicate the crime can follow. 'This is the heart of the Black community':Buffalo shooting rattles close-knit neighborhood These are the conversations our team has been having since news broke Saturday about the mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10 people and injuring three others in another high-profile hate crime. Eleven of the 13 people who were shot were Black, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference. How can we stop hate crimes? Schools must teach our nation's racist past.
"We discuss everything from our word choices in describing the suspected shooter(s), to when we should name the victims, to the images we share; all to ensure that we are as precise in the reporting as possible without glorifying the shooter or amplifying hate and rhetoric," McCarter said.
Are we perfect in our choices? No. But we're trying to be as vigilant as we can across the USA TODAY Network's 200-plus news organizations.
So let's talk about the words we use.
What constitutes a mass shooting? Our definitions:
• A mass killing is an incident in which at least four people are killed.
• A mass shooting is an incident where at least four people are hit with gunfire, even if there are no fatalities.
• “Mass casualties” may be used by hospitals and first responders – it can include injuries and/or deaths.
What about terrorism? When is something a hate crime? There often is a debate about what definition is appropriate. McCarter sent out these guidelines as well.
• The FBI defines domestic terrorism as "perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial or environmental nature."
• The Department of Justice says hate crimes "include acts of physical harm and specific criminal threats motivated by animus based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."
• And when to use "racist attack?" Our reporting should unequivocally establish racist motives.
• What about cause/motive/mental illness? Avoid oversimplifying a motive, especially early on. Causes are likely complex, not singular. Always verify and attribute.
If we report that mental illness was a factor, we must attribute it. Also, be mindful of stigma and prove context, such as the fact that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators.
When is someone a teenager? When is he a man? An intern brought up Sunday that she'd seen some stories on the internet describing the 18-year-old suspect as a "white teenager," when stories about Black 18-year-old suspects often described them as "men."
"We should aim to be as consistent as possible," McCarter said. "He is an 18-year-old man. In this case, his race is relevant in the context that the shootings were racially motivated."
On the teen versus man discussion, context matters said Opinion Editor Kristen DelGuzzi. "If we're talking about an 18-year-old accused of slaughtering 10 people, he's a man. If we're talking about an 18-year-old who was just crowned prom king, teenager feels perfectly appropriate; in fact, ‘man' would feel weird and creepy."
As of last week, our staff is on the scene in the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood. About 15 journalists from the USA TODAY Network are covering the story, including reporters and photographers from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press & Sun-Bulletin and The Bergen (N.J.) Record.
They're gathering information about the victims and about the survivors of the violence and are looking more closely at underlying issues of radicalization of young men and how the perpetrator planned this attack, said New York State editor Michael Kilian.
When first hearing the news Saturday afternoon, Rochester's Adria R. Walker, packed an overnight bag and headed the 70-plus miles to Buffalo, becoming our first reporter on the scene. Photographer Tina MacIntyre-Yee soon followed. By evening, Kilian said, both were speaking to residents of the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood. MacIntyre-Yee's photos and video helped illustrate the sense of shock and loss and solidarity among people in a neighborhood whose population is 78% Black residents.
Walker composed by midday Sunday a striking and sensitive story elevating the voices of persons whose lives historically have been overlooked, their experiences and views marginalized. Amid the sadness, some hope emerged. Walker interviewed Glen Marshall, who hopes the scene of all this horrific death will also be the birth of some sort of change. "They ought to build some type of memorial," Marshall said. "Some movement needs to come out of this here. They ought to dedicate the rejuvenation of this whole area here and put up some kind of shrine to them. This is horrific."
These are the stories we need to tell, Kilian said, "doing our best to provide people-centered, community-based coverage that serves the needs of the persons most affected by this act of violence. "And as the press corps moves on to the next outrage, we are committed to staying with the story of the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood, examining not simply the systemic forces that have isolated it, but the joy of life there and the pride that residents feel in everything from delicious Sunday dinners to art and culture to religious faith."
Nicole Carroll is Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY.
Sunday, May 22, 2022
SUNDAY REVIEW / THREE VIEWS OF FRANCISCO VAZQUEZ de CORONADO EXPEDITION.
|Francisco Vazquez de Coronado|
Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado led an expedition of exploration through colonial southwest en route to the Great Plains, circa 1540 to 1542.
Notable oil painters from two different centuries have captured Coronado’s expedition of 1540-1542: Frederic Remington, American, October 4, 1861 - December 26, 1909 and Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau Nieto, Spanish, January 20, 1964.
|“La conquista del Colorado,” by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, circa 2017, depicts Francisco Vázquez de Coronado's 1540 expedition in the Grand Canyon.|
|“Coronado Sets Out to the North,” by Frederic Remington, circa. 1905. It depicts the explorer passing through what would be New Mexico someday toward the Great Plains.|
Saturday, May 21, 2022
COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / AD CELEBRATES MUST SEE MODERN COFFEE HOUSE DESIGN FROM AROUND THE WORLD
GUEST BLOG / By Alyssa Bird, Elizabeth Stamp, and Jessica Cherner, Architectural Digest.--For more than a few of us, a visit to a local coffee shop is an essential part of daily life. Whether we’re picking up a to-go cup on our way to the office or setting up shop with a laptop and a cappuccino, coffee shops have become like a home away from home. That said, frequenting the same one for too long can make you appreciate its nuances less with each visit.
So no matter where you are—a big city like Singapore or a seasonal locale such as Aspen—be sure to check out the locally-owned coffee shops that offer more than just a caffeinated beverage. And a select few of the world’s coffee shops feature interiors as delicious as the freshly baked pastries behind the counter. From a hyper minimalist spot in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to a colorful outpost with a retro edge in Atlanta, these coffee shops are giving the cup of joe we know and love a proper home.
Discover these 23 must-visit coffee shops across the globe and take your daily cup up a notch.
Friday, May 20, 2022
FELINES AT THE FRONT / COMFORT ZONES
|Photo: Associated Press|
All were in need of an embrace, the 12-year-old girl standing in the debris that was once her home. And the teen boy’s matted cat that wandered into the rubble. Others picked up or petted cats clutching one another amid the death and destruction of Ukrainian cities besieged by Russian forces.
|Photo: Leo Correa / Associated Press|
Thursday, May 19, 2022
THE FOODIST / SUPPORT ST. LUKE’S AFRICAN ADVENTURE WITH TOP CHEF DINNER
Join Chef Matt Gordon.
Each ticket is $60, so please make your payment based on how many tickets you'd like to purchase. The church appreciates any additional donations to underwrite this expedition as well.
Learn more about our trip to East Africa by contacting St. Luke’s (below).
*Appetizer: Grilled summer asparagus and romaine caesar
* Entreé: Crispy skin King salmon and sweet corn purée (Meat Option)
*Vegan Surprise in the works
* Dessert: Butterscotch pot de crème
For ticket info:
St. Luke's Episcopal Church,
3725 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104,
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
DESIGN OF OUR TIMES / FRANK(LY) SUBDUED GEHRY OPENS IN LONDON
You're looking at Frank Gehry’s first housing project in the UK. Called Prospect Place, the recently completed instant landmark is located adjacent to London’s Battersea Power Station along the Thames River.
Prospect Place is somewhat more subdued than so many of Ghery’s distinctive portfolio of deconstructive controversies.
Shall we say it's perfect for London, a throwback to melting wedding cakes from Mrs. Havisham's Dickensian sadness.
The two Gehry-esque buildings contain 308 housing units that range in size from studios to one-bed flats to four bedroom townhouses and penthouses.
|Frank Gehry's new melting Mrs. Havisham's wedding cakes in London|
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
RETRO FILES / STUNNING MACKINTOSH EXHIBIT LEAVES U.S. SOON
Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style includes 166 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which are on public display for the first time in North America.
Characterized by taut lines, stylized natural forms, sleek curves, and emphatic geometries, the Glasgow Style was unique – the only British response to the international Art Nouveau movement of the late 1890s – 1900s. This groundbreaking showcase unpacks themes such as the international influences upon Mackintosh’s work, the Glasgow School of Art’s crucial support and encouragement of women designers at a time of great social change, and the physical processes involved in making the visionary interiors, furnishings, and decorative works of art and design that together present and define the imaginative breadth of the Glasgow Style.
Don’t miss your chance to see this stunning ticketed exhibition before it leaves the US in less than a month!
Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style March 11- June 5, 2022
TICKET INFO: Click Here
355 Fourth Street North St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Monday, May 16, 2022
MEDIA MONDAY / EUREKA! CALIFORNIA’S NEW LITHIUM MOTHERLODE
The Salton Sea
This California desert could hold the key to powering all of America’s electric cars
GUEST BLOG / By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Businesss Reporter--The Salton Sea Basin feels almost alien. It lies where two enormous chunks of the Earth’s crust, the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate, are very slowly pushing past one another creating an enormous low spot in the land.
It’s a big, flat gray desert ringed with high mountains that look pale in the distance. It’s hot and, deep underground, it is literally boiling.
The Salton Sea, (pictured, above) which lies roughly in the middle of the massive geologic low point, isn’t really a sea, at all. The largest inland lake in California, it’s 51 miles long from north to south and 17 miles wide, but gradually shrinking as less and less water flows into it.
At one time, it was a thriving entertainment and recreation spot, business that has also largely dried up. It’s left behind abandoned buildings and shallow, gray beaches.
The highways that ring the lake are traversed now mostly by passing trucks. Over the past few years, companies have been coming here to extract a valuable metal, lithium, that the car industry needs as it shifts to making electric cars.
Lithium is the lightest naturally occurring metal element on Earth, and, for that reason among others, it’s important for electric car batteries, which must store a lot of electricity in a package that weighs as little as possible.
What’s more, with the Salton Sea Basin’s unique geography, engineers and technicians can get the lithium with minimal environmental destruction, according to companies that are working there.
In other places, lithium is taken from the earth using hard rock mining that leaves huge, ugly scars in the land.
Here, it exists naturally in a liquid form, so extraction doesn’t require mining or blasting.
Over thousands of years, floodwaters from the Colorado River, carrying minerals pulled away from the Rocky Mountains, the Ruby Canyon, Glen Canyon, the Grand Canyon and more, have washed into these lowlands.
Time and again the water has come and evaporated, leaving behind metals that have ended up deep in the ground. Lithium is abundant in the Salton Sea Basin. In fact, people working to extract it say there could be enough to make batteries for all the electric cars expected to be built in this country for many years, freeing the United States from reliance on foreign lithium suppliers.
That’s been a priority for the Biden administration.
The Earth’s crust is thin here, and there’s water deep underground close to the seething hot liquid rock inside the Earth, called magma. Trapped in that naturally occurring oven, that water has become a super-heated mineral stew.
Geothermal energy companies have been here for decades drilling down into the nearly 700 degree water, allowing it to instantly boil up out of the ground. Steam from the hot brine — so-called because of its high mineral content — spins turbines, generating electricity.
It’s then pumped back down into the Earth where it gets heated back up to start over again. This sort of energy is considered clean and renewable since it relies on heat occurring naturally in the Earth. “It’s one of the largest geothermal energy fields in the world,” said Derek Benson, chief operating officer of EnergySource Minerals.
EnergySource Minerals was spun off in 2018 from EnergySource, a geothermal power company that’s been generating electricity from hot Salton Sea brine for a decade. EnergySource Minerals is now working to get lithium from the brine it’s been using for energy.
How much lithium is here, exactly, and how much might be extracted, are questions that a research team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories are working to figure out.
Roughly a quarter of the water taken from deep underground here is dissolved rocks, a vastly higher mineral concentration than you you’d find in ordinary seawater, according to Patrick Dobson, a Berkeley Labs geologist leading the research.
Lithium makes up roughly 200 parts per million, he said, which compares to about 10 parts per million in some other hot geothermal fields. “That’s why this is of interest,” he said. “It’s not just any geothermal brine. There’s certain places where there’s an enrichment in lithium in the brine and the Salton Sea is the place in the US where we’re really focusing our attention on.”
People who’ve worked with this brine have long known about its contents, but there’s no use for loads of undifferentiated minerals and selectively extracting them wasn’t economical.
But that was before electric cars became a big deal, and the price of lithium started to rocket.
So companies have invested in new technologies to pull lithium from the brine. “We use what we call lithium selective adsorption,” said Benson. “And so we pass the lithium-bearing brine across one of our proprietary adsorbers. It has a chemistry that has an affinity for lithium and really only the lithium.”
One of the challenges is how efficiently these technologies can draw lithium out of the brine, said Berkeley Labs’ Dobson. While there’s a lot of lithium in the brine, these extraction techniques probably won’t be able to take out 100% from every drop.
Also, as the lithium is taken out of the brine and the brine is then pumped back deep underground, will lithium levels be notably depleted or will the levels be replenished as more lithium is leeched out of the rocks?
“We know from measurements of rocks that are still in the reservoir that not all the lithium is present in the brine,” he said. “There’s still lithium present in the rocks.” Collecting lithium now looks like a bigger moneymaker for companies like EnergySource than their original business of just generating electricity from the steamy soup.
In fact, other companies are getting into the geothermal energy business largely so they can get lithium. In their case, electricity is just a bonus. Not far from EnergySource’s tan-colored geothermal power stations, a company called Controlled Thermal Resources has its own small power station.
|This aerial view shows the Controlled Thermal Resources (CRT) drilling rig in Calipatria, California, on December 15, 2021. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images|
This one is currently in the testing phase, but CTR has already formed a partnership with General Motors, which will purchase lithium produced here for its electric vehicles.
More recently, the Italian EV battery company Italvolt announced plans for a spin-off company to work with CTR. Plans call for Statevolt, as the spin-off is called, to build a battery manufacturing facility nearby, using both energy produced by CTR’s generators and lithium taken from brine there.
The plant could someday produce enough batteries for 650,000 electric vehicles annually, according to Italvolt. Putting battery manufacturing on-site will eliminate material shipping costs as well as the carbon dioxide emissions from all the ships, trains and trucks needed to carry the lithium to battery factories that are, today, mostly located in Asia, said Rod Colwell, CEO of CTR.
This new rush of interest could mean good things for a community that needs some help. Decades ago, the Salton Sea was a tourist destination, with people flocking to the California desert oasis to enjoy boating and water skiing.
That was before evaporation dried up the lake, concentrating pollutants in the shrinking body of water. “You would find people from Hollywood, the luminaries from Southern California coming to boat and enjoy the fine restaurants, playing golf,” said Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director for the National Audobon Society. “That was the life of the Salton Sea in the 50s and 60s and only 50 years later, this is what we have,” he said, looking around a largely abandoned lakeside beach. “You went from being the Western Riviera to being one of the worst nightmares environmentally and public health-wise,” he said.
The lake has been shrinking due to a lack of natural in-flows, combined with years of drought and rising temperatures from climate change. As the lake continues to recede it leaves behind sand and gooey mud high in pollutants.
That, combined with the fact that area is a natural basin that tends to trap and hold smoke and smog from surrounding areas, contributes to high asthma rates, he said. Today, the area feels almost abandoned besides some evidently thriving date farms with rows of thick-trunked palm trees.
Artists have been attracted to the area’s blank canvas of empty structures and open spaces, creating a colony of wildly painted and decorated houses. Large wire-and-concrete sculptures inhabit the beach. What has flooded into the area several times over the eons.
The lake that exists today was created around 1905 when man-made canals overflowed into the desert lowlands. For a long time, the large lake that resulted was a boon for traveling birds, as well as for watersport enthusiasts. “We used to get over 400 different species of birds and pretty much all the species that we have in California, in the Salton Sea,” said Ruiz. “From an environmental perspective, it is one of the last standing jewels along the Pacific Flyway, especially here in California.”
The lake and its water are not linked to the lithium-rich undergound brine but, Ruiz hopes, lithium extraction can provide jobs and revenue to help rebuild the Salton Sea region’s economy and maybe even its damaged environment, in addition to putting more electric cars on the road. “This can be really good for the region altogether. Not just for Imperial County, for the Coachella Valley, for all Californians,” Ruiz said. “I mean, nationwide, it can be a catalyst.”
Source: CNN Business
Sunday, May 15, 2022
SUNDAY REVIEW / "BLONDE:" NEW MARILYN FLICK TIP TOES THROUGH ME#TOO ERA
|Actor de Armas as Monroe|
“Blonde” is to be released by Netflix later this year. Ana de Armas has been cast as Marilyn Monroe and succeeds in looking a lot like MM. Directed by Andrew Dominik based on a novel “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates. The hype has been high praise from Oates, who claims after seeing a first cut was “very disturbing” and at the same time “Startling, brilliant.” Actor Adrien Brody is Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio by Bobby Cannavale.
Blonde will be a test of how much Hollywood raunch will fly in this Me Too era.
Expect loud moans of dismay, huge red lip stick sales and a solid box office.