Showing posts from April 18, 2016

Are Humans Definitely Smarter Than Apes?

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["At certain things, perhaps. But at some specific tasks, perhaps not." I've enjoyed reading most of Frans de Waal's books. *RON*]
By Frans de Waal, Slate, 18 April 2016

Excerpted from Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal, to be published on April 25 by Norton.

One morning, at the Dutch Zoo where I used to work, we showed chimpanzees a crate full of grapefruits. The colony was still in its night building that adjoins a grassy island, where it would spend the day. The apes were interested enough watching us carry the crate through a door onto the island. When we returned to the building with the empty crate, however, pandemonium broke out. As soon as they saw that the fruits were gone, 25 apes burst out hooting and hollering in a most festive mood, slapping one another’s backs. I have never seen animals so excited about absent food. They must have inferred that grapefruits cannot vanish, hence must h…

Two Despised Frontrunners, Two Dying Parties and a Deeply Broken System: How Did We Get Here?

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[Trump and Clinton may be the two most hated frontrunners in history, dueling symbols of a duopoly in decay. And, on the mysterious influence of 'independent' voters. *RON*]

By Andrew O'HehirSalon, 18 April 2016

To paraphrase a great American poet of the 1980s, this is not our beautiful house. We get a tiny breather in the political calendar this week, and it’s a useful moment to take half a step back from the most chaotic and disordered presidential campaign in living memory and ask ourselves the big question: What in the name of Jiminy Cricket is going on here? I spent the week digging into the past for clues to the strange dynamics of the present: To be clear, I did not conclude that Donald Trump is a new Hitler or that Bernie Sanders is a new Lenin, only that the parallels and the discontinuities were instructive.

So here’s what’s happening: Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that…

Precarious work, technological advances drive basic income interest

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[An excellent idea and long overdue. And which would never, ever come to be in BC under Christy Clark's Liberals. *RON*]

By Aleksandra Sagan, Canadian Press, The Province, 17 April 2016

TORONTO - In the mid- to late 1970s, every single person in one rural Manitoba city received $1,255 a year — roughly $7,500 in today's dollars.

The amount increased depending on the number of people living in each household, maxing out at $3,969, or nearly $23,500 in 2016 currency, for a family of five or more.

The people in the Dauphin, Man., experiment didn't have to work to receive this stipend. If they did, their benefit dropped 50 cents for every dollar they received.

The residents of Dauphin just had to exist to receive their full guaranteed annual income.

About four decades later, policy-makers and the public in Canada and around the world are eyeing the basic guaranteed income scheme again, buoyed by an evolving labour landscape and technologi…

Closing the Gender Pay Gap

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["...the average American woman still earns $10,000 less than the average male each year" *RON*]

Tammy DuckworthU.S. Representative from Illinois’ 8th Congressional District
Rep. Jan SchakowskyU.S. Representative for Illinois’s 9th congressional district
Mike QuigleyU.S. Representative for Illinois’ 5th District
Rep. Luis GutierrezCongressman Representing Illinois’ 4th District in Chicago
Huffington Post, 18 April 2016

Today we recognize Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolically represents when a woman’s wage finally catches up to what a man was paid in the previous year. Despite often being equally qualified, a man’s pay outpaces a woman’s by 79 cents for every dollar.

More than 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy took a bold step to address this problem by signing the Equal Pay Act, which established the principle of equal pay for equal work for women in the workforce. At that time, women on average made 59 cents for every dollar earned b…

A Black Man Brought 3 Forms of ID to the Polls in Wisconsin. He Still Couldn’t Vote.

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[Heartland of democracy. Now Eddie Lee Holloway is suing—and a federal court just agreed with him. *RON*]

By Ari Berman, The Nation, 13 April 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said his state’s strict new voter-ID requirement worked “just fine” in the April 5 primary, but thousands of Wisconsinites were unable to cast a ballot because of the new law. One of them was Eddie Lee Holloway Jr.

Holloway, a 58-year-old African-American man, moved from Illinois to Wisconsin in 2008 and voted without problems, until Wisconsin passed its voter-ID law in 2011. “I never miss voting,” he said. He brought his expired Illinois photo ID, birth certificate, and Social Security card to get a photo ID for voting, but the DMV in Milwaukee rejected his application because the name on his birth certificate read “Eddie Junior Holloway,” the result of a clerical error when it was issued.

Holloway, who worked as a cook in Illinois but is now unemployed and disabled, livi…

Facebook denies that it would ever try to influence the election

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[Oh well, that's okay then! *RON*]

By David McCabe, The Hill, 15 April 2016

Facebook is pushing back on the idea that it could tilt the scales in the presidential election against Donald Trump.

Gizmodo published a screenshot Friday of an internal poll that Facebook employees were purportedly using to decide what questions to ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a meeting in March.

Several of the questions concerned either the company’s business position or internal matters, but one was about politics: “What responsibility does Facebook have to prevent President Trump in 2017?” Some employees apparently voted for the question to be posed to the CEO.