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The USA is the most corrupt country in the world and I have 10,000 posts that point heavily to that fact…

Time magazine’s Protester cover reminds us of the value of Big Media | Dan Gillmor December 15, 2011

As a PR stunt, Time magazine‘s annual “Person of the Year” exercise works to near-perfection. Each December, for an hour or two, the ever-shrinking publication gets to relive its gloried past, when it was a prime creator of America’s public agenda.

As a journalistic exercise, it’s long in the tooth. Yet it still resonates, and no more so than this year, when the magazine anointed “The Protester” as its #poy2011, to use one of the Twitter hashtag shorteners that is helping to spread the word. It resonates, in part, because it meets Time’s professed standard for its choice. The editors always insist their pick is based on the impact, for good or evil, the person or people have had on the world, but many prior picks have been, at best, debatable.

None raised more eyebrows than the 2006 pick: “You” – when Time literally put a mirror on its cover and told its readers they were oh-so-special. The point that year was to celebrate the way the public was becoming its own media in the Information Age. This year’s pick resonated with the one from half a decade ago, but unlike that one, it was entirely justified.

Time’s choice of Kurt Andersen to write this year’s cover article was smart, even inspired. He is a brilliant writer and observer. Using his own reporting and reams of material from at least 10 other journalists (they get credited at the end of the article), he pulled together the disparate yet connected threads of this still-emerging story. His writing, more than Time’s corporate and editorial pronouncements, gave the piece the gravitas it deserved.

Was the coverage perfect? Of course not. Had I been working on this piece I’d have made even greater use of the edge-in communications from the people on the ground in the places where protesters forced the most significant change.

Even so, the coverage was a reminder of what we in the new media world should keep in mind: what a news organization with deep pockets can do, even now in this age of diminishment for Big Media. Top editors, once they’ve persuaded the financial people, can order a broad, strategic deployment of journalistic resources – especially human beings who are trained to ask good questions and listen to the answers, and then ask some more questions – to bring perspective to a decentralized global movement.

In this case, of course, the perspective emanated from high floors of a corporate office building in New York. Which makes me wonder whether The Protester would have achieved such prominence had the Occupy Wall Street movement not captured national attention this fall.

The people who took over Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan were ignored early on by traditional media organizations. But something else was happening, as Andersen learned: “It was through my Twitter feed that I started noticing that something was going on in my city. The following weekend, I watched the YouTube video of a New York police deputy inspector casually pepper-spraying some random female protesters.”

The New York protesters, and their counterparts in many other cities, tapped into an abiding sense of outrage among Americans who’d realized that Wall Street’s sleaze-ridden institutions, especially investment banks had stolen the nation blind and then been rewarded for it. And then, when Congress considered preventing this from happening again, Wall Street and its corporate and political allies had blocked even that minor repair of a corrupt and broken system. Meanwhile, as the economy tanked and stayed in the tank, the robber barons had continued to rake in their billions in new, still-unearned wealth. And media institutions like Time, which were among the chief cheerleaders for the rise of the corrupt class, took their own sweet time to listen to the protesters who said: “Enough is enough.”

The point at which they could no longer be ignored, I believe, was when police abuse of protesters went viral – because citizen media creators, armed mostly with mobile phone cameras, captured the abuse on video and showed the rest of us, including traditional journalists, what was happening. (The New York Police Department, controlled by a mayor who owns one of the world’s biggest media companies, then assured that journalists would pay attention, by arresting journalists from big media companies whose offense was to attempt to do their jobs.)

The story of the world’s protesters, and the modern media they’ve used and inspired, is not remotely over. But their story is growing in part because old-fashioned media companies like Time are paying serious attention – and discovering that, like it or not, they are participants themselves in the global issues they choose to cover.

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Air crash at US base ‘kills four’ December 13, 2011

Four soldiers were killed when two helicopters crashed on a training exercise, reports quoting a military spokesman said.

Lt Col Gary Dangerfield of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, told the Seattle Times the circumstances of Monday night’s crash remained unclear.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased,” he said, promising a “thorough investigation”.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a joint US army and air force facility.

It supports more than 100,000 military and civilian personnel, contract employees and retirees, the Seattle Times reports.

Lt Col Dangerfield said two OH-58 Kiowa choppers had crashed in the aviation training area south-west of the base at around 20:00 local time (04:00 Tues GMT) in clear skies.

“We will conduct a thorough investigation,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to support the families of the brave soldiers who died this evening.”

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NORAD concluding exercise in Washington region on Sunday November 8, 2011




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NORAD conducts exercise flights over upstate NY October 29, 2011

October 28, 2011

by legitgov


NORAD conducts exercise flights over upstate NY 28 Oct 2011 The North American Aerospace Defense Command says it is conducting military exercise flights over northern New York. Officials say people between Plattsburgh and Watertown may hear or see fighter jets Friday morning as part of the training. The military command, known as NORAD, is a joint Canadian and American operation. [Lets hope they don't 'go live,' as they did on 9/11!]

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NORAD plans exercise in Washington region early Wednesday October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

by legitgov


Heads up! NORAD plans exercise in Washington region early Wednesday –Flights will take place between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. 25 Oct 2011 NORAD is planning an exercise this week in the Washington region to enhance its skills and test a warning system. The North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-01 Wednesday morning. The exercise is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations and test the region’s visual warning system. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

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Reebok EasyTone: the shoe that undermines all fitness advertising September 30, 2011

It is a testament to mankind’s determination that one can exercise without doing any, you know, actual exercise, that news that a lumpy flip-flop will not, in fact, tone one’s muscles has been deemed so momentous that its maker, Reebok, is having to shell out $25m as a settlement. $25m. Because of a lumpy flip-flop. If this announcement hadn’t come with the stamp of the Federal Trade Commission at the top of the press release, one might have thought that it was an Onion sketch.

That the adverts for these Reebok EasyTone flip-flops ($60), as well as the shoe versions, EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes ($80 – $100), claim to exercise what the Federal Trade Commission insists, delightfully, on referring to as “the buttock” via a special, and quite possibly magical concept called “micro-instability”, might have hinted that these extraordinarily popular shoes possibly wouldn’t do very much at all for one’s buttock. But as anyone who has ever seen an infomercial for a piece of exercise equipment knows, cod-science claims are as de rigueur in this genre as references to the Greek philosopher gluteus maximus.

On Wednesday the FTC announced that Reebok has agreed to stump up the money, after its adverts – which promised that the shoes were “proven to strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11% and tone the buttocks up to 28% more than regular sneakers, just by walking” – were deemed to be possibly not that true. In fact, they were downright “deceptive,” according to the FTC, and Reebok is now banned from – to put it crudely – talking codswallop in their adverts.

For the first time in my life, I can say that I’m quite looking forward to the next Reebok advert, as I can’t even imagine how a sports shoe advert would work without “misrepresenting tests, studies or research results” or “making claims that … using the footwear will result in a specific percentage or amount of muscle toning or strengthening, unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence.” Imagine it: “Um, here’s a shoe. It’s a lot like a lot of other shoes out there. But maybe you should buy this one because it’s got a Reebok logo on it? And Reebok used to be quite cool. Um, somewhere?”

But NonTone lumpyshoes, as Reebok’s footwear perhaps ought to be known in this brave new world of honesty in which the sports shoe must now reside, are hardly the only indicators of a desire for fitness without doing what is conventionally considered exercise. Fantasy coupled with greed, rather than necessity, are, in the world of exercise equipment and infomercials in particular, the parents of invention.

So here, using the same rigorous scientific testing as an inventor of a lumpy flip-flop, are the official top five daftest examples of the beauty of capitalism. Remember: 60% of the time, it works every time.

5. There is a fine line – maybe even no line – when it comes to this genre of advertising between promoting exercise and making lycra-clad porn, and the CircleGlide treads that thin line like a drunk trying to walk straight in front of a cop. Ah, there’s something about watching near-naked women twist and writhe around a pole that really make me feel like turning off my TV doing some exercise. That the inventor of this amazing machine (“that wittles away your middle,” or at least your bank account), a chap by the name of Tony Little, resembles every ugly porn actor in the world, ever, is the glacé cherry on top.

4.You know, if I didn’t have to pay for it, I’d quite like a Body Blade. Look at it wiggle! It’s like didgeridoo, but without the noise factor. Now That’s What I Call a Conversation Piece. Invented by a gentleman who describes himself as “a functional physical therapist”, this claims to “work your body from the inside out – and it does it automatically!” So automatically, in fact that none of the people around him appear to be breaking a sweat, even the woman next to him who is, I think, wearing a blouse. Fellow Americans, I know you want your exercise to be effortless, but but there’s effortless and there’s literally standing still holding a wiggle stick.

Thighmaster has to be the classic, right? The porn element, the dubious science, the suggestion you can do it while watching TV, and the celebrity plug. The good ol’ Thighmaster claimed to give you “great legs!” just by squeezing a bit of plastic between your ankles. And look! It apparently gives Suzanne Somers an orgasm, too. “Squeeze, squeeze right between your thighs!” she cries with a commendable lack of a smirk. It’s amazing America still has an obesity problem.

2. Ooh, more ladies having sex! I mean, using another piece of exercise equipment. Women, do you want to ride what is basically a mechanical bull in the comfort of your own home? Then the Osim Gallop is for you! This is perhaps the most perfect exercise infomercial ever conceived as it combines the whole ladies-acting-a-bit-porny trope with the basic American desire to exercise without getting off one’s ass.

1. The top slot was always going to have be the good ol’ Shake Weight, which is so brilliant it achieved the highest accolade something stupid can: it was satirised on South Park. But even without the support of Stan’s mom, Shake Weight was already a viral success thanks to its ingenius suggestion that male masturbation and giving hand jobs will “force your muscles to contract 240 times a minute” (apparently, a good thing) and works by “harnessing the power of dynamic inertia” which sounds a little like being “smart/dumb” or “fat/thin.”

“This is not a workout,” intones the voiceover. Ya don’t say.

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D.C. agencies assemble and operate temporary morgue in city-wide disaster drill September 29, 2011

September 29, 2011

by legitgov


Heads up! D.C. agencies assemble and operate temporary morgue in city-wide disaster drill –District will continue to run exercises similar to Wednesday’s event, including two planned drills in March and September 2012 28 Sep 2011 A fabricated hurricane scenario was the setting for a full-scale exercise performed by D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Wednesday, allowing a wide swath of District agencies to practice their response to a massive city-wide emergency. On the grounds of RFK Stadium, members of the Metropolitan Police Department, D.C. Fire and EMS and the D.C. Department of Human Services were on hand to perform various drills in order to coordinate and execute emergency operations, gathering data to refine the city’s procedures in the event of a real emergency.

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Show Up at College Primed for Success September 16, 2011

A student walking across campus at Whitman College.

The American college experience has often been likened to drinking from a fire hydrant: There’s so much going on and so many new people to meet that it’s more than a little overwhelming. Ambitious freshmen tend to sign up for a full slate of extracurricular activities and the toughest classes on campus. Sleep becomes a distant dream, exercise all but forgotten. By their second semester, some students are zombies—showing up to class in pajamas, clutching cups of coffee, hoping only that the professor doesn’t take offense at nonstop yawning.

But college doesn’t have to be this way, of course. A little preparation in the summer before school and soon after your arrival on campus can set you on the path to success.

Before you start college:

1. Establish routines: It’s a truism that your brain works best when your body is well rested. However, getting adequate sleep can be a challenge, particularly freshman year. College is such a novel experience—there’s so much freedom, but also more responsibility—that you can find yourself awake at night and asleep during the day. At times, you may skip multiple meals only to binge at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Exercise, too, may become sporadic.

To avoid these pitfalls, try to establish a routine for sleeping, eating, and exercising in the weeks before you get to college. Then once you arrive, stick to it. By doing so, you may avoid getting run down or sick midway through the semester—the snare of many a freshman.

2. Read, read, read: College success is contingent on the ability to read and write well. The best writers tend to be voracious readers who soak up ideas, vocabulary, and different ways of structuring an argument or narrative. So try to get your hands on the classics you missed in high school English, as well as leading newspapers and magazines to bring you up to speed on global politics, current events, and culture.

As you’re reading, it helps to highlight important passages, make notes in the margins, and look up things you don’t know or understand. By interacting with the material, you will retain it better. Your notes will also help you later to review it more quickly. These are vital skills in college, where you may be expected to go over hundreds, or even thousands, of pages of text before an exam.

3. Learn how to cite sources: Plagiarists beware. Once you get to college, the standard for research papers goes up dramatically. Students are expected to carefully reference sources in footnotes and bibliographies, and to follow standard style guides like those of the MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago, as required by each professor. If you Google these manuals online, you can start to familiarize yourself with them. You might also want to explore software programs like EndNote—which some colleges provide to students for free—that effortlessly store and format bibliographic information for you.

[See other sites that help students with classwork.]

But more important than getting every colon or comma right is making sure you carefully credit all source material. Plagiarism, of course, is a serious offense. Not only is it cheating, but you can be expelled if caught. Colleges have gotten quite savvy at catching plagiarists and often use special software to help detect copied material. Some schools even have databases now where they store past student work so future generations can’t recycle it.

4. Research which courses to take: If you know any upperclassmen or recent graduates of the college you’ll be attending, ask them for advice. Many schools have publicly available course evaluations posted online by students. You can also E-mail professors before the start of the semester to ask about their class and request a copy of the syllabus. Though some faculty members may decline to provide one in advance, it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you get the syllabus early, you can get a sense of the course workload—and maybe even get a head start on the reading.

[Learn how to make a smooth transition to college.]

In your first semester:

1. Take a variety of courses: College is more manageable if you sign up for a variety of classes that demand different levels of work. For example, if you enroll in four reading-intensive classes in one semester, you may soon find yourself swamped by the nightly assignments. But there’s another very good reason to take a variety of courses: You might discover you’re passionate about a field you didn’t even know existed. What you decide to major in, and even what career you pursue, could be shaped by a single course or professor.

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