I’m Too Old for This

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Isenberg.  DLH]

I’m Too Old for This
By DOMINIQUE BROWNING
Aug 8 2015
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/fashion/im-too-old-for-this.html>

There is a lot that is annoying, and even terrible, about aging. The creakiness of the body; the drifting of the memory; the reprising of personal history ad nauseam, with only yourself to listen.

But there is also something profoundly liberating about aging: an attitude, one that comes hard won. Only when you hit 60 can you begin to say, with great aplomb: “I’m too old for this.”

This line is about to become my personal mantra. I have been rehearsing it vigorously, amazed at how amply I now shrug off annoyances that once would have knocked me off my perch.

A younger woman advised me that “old” may be the wrong word, that I should consider I’m too wise for this, or too smart. But old is the word I want. I’ve earned it.

And let’s just start with being an older woman, shall we? Let others feel bad about their chicken wings — and their bottoms, their necks and their multitude of creases and wrinkles. I’m too old for this. I spent years, starting before I was a teenager, feeling insecure about my looks.

No feature was spared. My hairline: Why did I have to have a widow’s peak, at 10? My toes: too short. My entire body: too fat, and once, even, in the depths of heartbreak, much too thin. Nothing felt right. Well, O.K., I appreciated my ankles. But that’s about it.

What torture we inflict upon ourselves. If we don’t whip ourselves into loathing, then mean girls, hidden like trolls under every one of life’s bridges, will do it for us.

Even the vogue for strange-looking models is little comfort; those women look perfectly, beautifully strange, in a way that no one else does. Otherwise we would all be modeling.

One day recently I emptied out an old trunk. It had been locked for years; I had lost the key and forgotten what was in there. But, curiosity getting the best of me on a rainy afternoon, I managed to pry it open with a screwdriver.

It was full of photographs. There I was, ages 4 to 40. And I saw for the first time that even when I was in the depths of despair about my looks, I had been beautiful.

And there were all my friends; girls and women with whom I had commiserated countless times about hair, weight, all of it, doling out sympathy and praise, just as I expected it heaped upon me: beautiful, too. We were, we are, all beautiful. Just like our mothers told us, or should have. (Ahem.)

Those smiles, radiant with youth, twinkled out of the past, reminding me of the smiles I know today, radiant with strength.

Young(er) women, take this to heart: Why waste time and energy on insecurity? I have no doubt that when I’m 80 I’ll look at pictures of myself when I was 60 and think how young I was then, how filled with joy and beauty.

I’m happy to have a body that is healthy, that gets me where I want to go, that maybe sags and complains, but hangs in there. So maybe I’m too old for skintight jeans, too old for six-inch stilettos, too old for tattoos and too old for green hair.

Weight gain? Simply move to the looser end of the wardrobe, and stop hanging with Ben and Jerry. No big deal. Nothing to lose sleep over. Anyway, I’m too old for sleep, or so it seems most nights.

Which leaves me a bit cranky in the daytime, so it is a good thing I can now work from home. Office politics? Sexism? I’ve seen it all. Watching men make more money, doing less work. Reading the tea leaves as positions shuffle, listening to the kowtow and mumble of stifled resentment.

I want to tell my younger colleagues that it doesn’t matter. Except the sexism, which, like poison ivy, is deep-rooted: You weed the rampant stuff, but it pops up again.

What matters most is the work. Does it give you pleasure, or hope? Does it sustain your soul? My work as a climate activist is the hardest and most fascinating I’ve ever done. I’m too old for the dark forces, for hopelessness and despair. If everyone just kept their eyes on the ball, and followed through each swing, we’d all be more productive, and not just on the golf course.

The key to life is resilience, and I’m old enough to make such a bald statement. We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts. By the time you reach upper middle age, you have started over, and over again.

And, I might add, resilience is the key to feeling 15 again. Which is actually how I feel most of the time.

[snip]

Hedrick Smith: Can we heal our great divide?

[Note:  This item comes from friend John McMullen.  DLH]

Hedrick Smith: Can we heal our great divide?
Apr 1 2015
<https://youtu.be/nRbCRuPkddg>

An investigative journalist explores the cause of economic disparity in the United States, its effects, and what we can do to correct our course as a country. In the earlier half of the 20th century, workforce productivity and median hourly wages increased equally. In the 1970’s everything began to change as economic growth was channeled toward the 1%

One of America’s premier journalists, Hedrick Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor, and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent. For PBS and Frontline Smith has created 26 prime-time specials and mini-series on such varied topics as “Inside the Terror Network,” “Is Wal-Mart Good for America?” “The Wall Street Fix,” “Inside Gorbachev’s USSR,” “Can You Afford to Retire?” and “Rediscovering Dave Brubeck.” He has won most of television’s top awards including two Emmys and two Dupont-Columbia Gold batons for the best public affairs programs on U.S. television in 1991 and in 2002. His current best-seller, “Who Stole the American Dream” is a startling and revealing portrait of how we became Two Americas over the past 30 years and how the middle class got left behind.

Video: 23:21 min

Two Separate Americas: David Simon’s New Mini-Series Looks at “Hypersegregation” in Public Housing

Two Separate Americas: David Simon’s New Mini-Series Looks at “Hypersegregation” in Public Housing
Aug 26 2015
<http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/26/two_separate_americas_david_simons_new>

Today we spend the hour with David Simon, the man behind “The Wire,” what some have described as the best television series ever broadcast. His latest project is titled “Show Me a Hero,” a six-part mini-series now airing on HBO. It looks at what happened in Yonkers, New York, in the 1980s when the city was faced with a federal court order to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town.

GUESTS
David Simon, journalist and television writer best known for creating the HBO series The Wire and Treme. He is a former journalist at The Baltimore Sun. His newest project is the mini-series Show Me a Hero, now airing on HBO.

Video+Transcript

See also the other segments in the hour:

David Simon on Katrina Anniversary: New Orleans “May Be the Greatest Gift We Have to Offer”: <http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/26/david_simon_on_katrina_anniversary_new>

The Drug War Has to End: David Simon on “The Wire” & Over-Policing of the Poor: <http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/26/the_drug_war_has_to_end>

Signs, Long Unheeded, Now Point to Risks in U.S. Economy

Signs, Long Unheeded, Now Point to Risks in U.S. Economy
By LANDON THOMAS Jr.
Aug 25 2015
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/26/business/dealbook/signs-long-unheeded-now-point-to-risks-in-us-economy.html>

As investors scramble to make sense of the wild market swings in recent days, a number of financial experts argue that, for more than a year now, signs pointing to an equity crisis were there for all to see.

The data points range from the obvious to the obscure, encompassing stock market and credit bubbles in China, the strength of the dollar relative to emerging market currencies, a commodity rout and a sudden halt to global earnings growth.

While it would have been impossible to predict the precise timing of the last week’s downturn, this array of economic and financial indicators led to an inescapable conclusion, these analysts say: The United States economy would only be able to avoid for so long the deflationary forces that have taken root in China.

And if the bull market had made it to April, it would have become the second-longest equity rally in United States history.

The one common theme binding all these measures together is the risk that they pose to the economic recovery in the United States. The Federal Reserve has said that it expects to raise interest rates sometime soon, given evidence over the last year that economic growth is picking up.

But more and more analysts are now pointing to problems in China and other markets as posing a real threat to the American economy.

“The global G.D.P. pie is shrinking,” said Raoul Pal, a former Goldman Sachs executive, now based in the Cayman Islands, who produces the Global Macro Investor, a monthly financial report that caters to hedge funds and other sophisticated investors.

Of the hundreds of indicators that Mr. Pal follows, the most crucial over the last year, in his view, has been the relentless upward move of the dollar against just about all emerging-market currencies. The dollar rally began in January 2014, when the Fed signaled that it would raise interest rates.

But the greenback’s strength against currencies like the Russian ruble, the Turkish lira and the Brazilian real began to gather steam a year ago. Veterans of past emerging-market booms and busts will tell you that the party always ends — as it did in Latin America in the 1980s and Southeast Asia in the 1990s — when the dollar takes off against these monetary units.

Suddenly, loans in relatively cheap dollars that financed real estate and consumption booms were no longer available and the ultimate result was always a growth slowdown.

Any discerning investor could have taken note of this trend.

For example, through the year ending on Aug. 19, the worst-performing investments in dollar terms were the following, according to Merrill Lynch: Brazilian equities, down 45 percent; Russian bonds, down 43 percent; Indonesian equities, down 26 percent; Turkish and Korean equities, down 25 percent; and Mexican equities, down 22 percent.

[snip]

DoD manual allows journalists to be held as ‘belligerents’

[Note:  This item comes from friend Ed DeWath.  DLH]

DoD manual allows journalists to be held as ‘belligerents’ 
By WENDY BENJAMINSON
Aug 26 2015
<http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bd7f3c09d8bf4820b7f352ff968def5e/dod-manual-allows-journalists-be-held-belligerents>

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Defense Department guidelines allow commanders to punish journalists and treat them as “unprivileged belligerents” if they believe journalists are sympathizing or cooperating with the enemy.

The Law of War manual, updated to apply for the first time to all branches of the military, contains a vaguely worded provision that military commanders could interpret broadly, experts in military law and journalism say. Commanders could ask journalists to leave military bases or detain journalists for any number of perceived offenses.

“In general, journalists are civilians,” the 1,180 page manual says, but it adds that “journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents.”

A person deemed “unprivileged belligerent” is not entitled to the rights afforded by the Geneva Convention so a commander could restrict from certain coverage areas or even hold indefinitely without charges any reporter considered an “unprivileged belligerent.”

The manual adds, “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying. A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured.” It is not specific as to the punishment or under what circumstances a commander can decide to “punish” a journalist.

Defense Department officials said the reference to “unprivileged belligerents” was intended to point out that terrorists or spies could be masquerading as reporters, or warn against someone who works for jihadist websites or other publications, such as al-Qaida’s “Inspire” magazine, that can be used to encourage or recruit militants.

Another provision says that “relaying of information” could be construed as “taking a direct part in hostilities.” Officials said that is intended to refer to passing information about ongoing operations, locations of troops or other classified data to an enemy.

Army Lt. Col. Joe Sowers, a Pentagon spokesman, said it was not the Defense Department’s intent to allow an overzealous commander to block journalists or take action against those who write critical stories.

“The Department of Defense supports and respects the vital work that journalists perform,” Sowers said. “Their work in gathering and reporting news is essential to a free society and the rule of law.” His statement added that the manual is not policy and not “directive in nature.”

But Ken Lee, an ex-Marine and military lawyer who specializes in “law of war” issues and is now in private practice, said it was worrisome that the detention of a journalist could come down to a commander’s interpretation of the law.

If a reporter writes an unflattering story, “does this give a commander the impetus to say, now you’re an unprivileged belligerent? I would hope not,” Lee said.

“I’m troubled by the label ‘unprivileged belligerents,’ which seems particularly hostile,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor. “It sounds much too easy to slap that label on a journalist if you don’t like their work, a convenient tool for those who want to fight wars without any outside scrutiny.”

[snip]

Gogo gets FAA clearance for 70 Mbps in-flight Internet

Gogo gets FAA clearance for 70 Mbps in-flight Internet
By Ben Munson
Aug 24 2015
<http://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2015/08/gogo-gets-faa-clearance-70-mbps-flight-internet>

Gogo today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided final clearance for the company’s next-generation in-flight connectivity technology dubbed 2Ku.

“We believe this will be the best performing technology for the global commercial aviation market bar none.  Clearing this regulatory hurdle brings us one step closer to enabling our airline partners and their passengers to enjoy the future of in-flight Internet,” Gogo CTO Anand Chari said in a statement.

The FAA’s OK gives Gogo the go-ahead to begin in-flight testing for 2Ku on its 737-500 plane. The company anticipates the technology will be able to deliver peak speeds around 70 Mbps, which it says is 20 times the bandwidth of its first-generation air-to-ground connectivity solution.

Gogo says seven commercial airlines have signed up for either a trial or fleet deployment of the technology, putting 2Ku on board more than 500 commercial aircraft. The company is expecting to commercially deploy 2Ku later this year.