August 31, 2014

Costs and Benefits of on Line Dating


                                                                         


I have tried most dating sites at one time or another since I have been single. Lately I have stayed a couple of days or a couple of weeks at the sites I test. Sometimes I get confused of how people see themselves to the way they really are. No mirrors in the house? Never took constructive criticism to fix an obvious fault?  
 On constructive criticism most people have it wrong. They think because somebody is bringing up something that they see wrong means they are knocking them down. Sometimes is true but most times is not. One needs to know the difference and if not sure just let it go over your head. It seems sometimes this is the class of people you encounter on the net but like any serious endeavor one needs to be persistent and smart the way we go about it.

I never pay in dating sites because I never intend to stay a long time, I ask for single, out gay, HIV+ or Not knowing (scientifically there is no “negative”). Ages of 30-59 and fit. 
I am ready to write a book already about this issue but I would have to stop blogging if I did. My experiences are of (95%) of respondents have wife or partner. The few times I have met someone is turned not to be the person described to me. If the picture is recent, which is only1out of 4 then the information given to me over the net  or phone is incorrect. I had someone tell me no religion, but he was very religious just not catholic, protestant or jew but of another religion people don’t talk much about, a take off of Santeria, not from the spanish Islands but from the French and British Isles. Do I have a problem with a religious person? It is more like the person is going to have a problem with me because Im not religious.

I will write about it eventually but since the subject is current and hot and cannot wait for me to be ready I will give you someone else.  A professor of economics in Stanford who studied the phenomenon. He looks at it in a scientific detached way and I happen to agree with what he says. I based that on the numbers. About one 1/5 of new relationships start on line. That is a big number, app. 20 out of 100.

I think we are being offered a totally new way to look at ‘on line' dating.. You see with all my failures on the net, my last LTR started on the net and we were about 6-7 hours away and no other transportation available but driving a car.  Still we overcame everything and moved in together. 
Yes I was responsible for ending the relationship because I became to stressed out with his religious very anti gay family that surrounded us like bank robbers cowboys surrounding a wagon in the old west.   I made lots of mistakes the way I did it and eded up hurting everyone involved and everyone hurting me, particularly my partner.

 I had one of those “I can’t take it anymore” episodes except when you break up the way we did there is no reconciliation. His family forbid this grown man not to see me and my sense of survival told me to get away as far as possible. ( I did by a 1000 miles or so). The point is the relationship started on the net between too extremely good guys. Outside interference made us become apart, but that had nothing to do with the net. I did not leave him for someone else, it was purely family interference  and issues that brought this from a romance to a nightmare. 
 Let’s see if there is a better way to date on line:
 If you want to express your opinion and want it to help others is better to post it on this site at the end of this page because then it will be circulated among thousands in the US and at least 9 more countries.
                                                                          -*-
Caryn Blomquist retired early from online dating. Only 24 years old, she has already tried (and subsequently broken up with) JDate, Match.com, OkCupid and Christian Mingle.
Looking back on conversations with potential suitors and a few awkward first dates, Blomquist is uncertain about what went wrong. She said she was frustrated by missed connections and the men who weren’t all that their profile claimed they would be.

"I really value transparency," Blomquist said. "I feel like the yes/no/maybe options (dating sites) give you for your profile aren't really fair."
Now, she is trying to enjoy the time she has to be single to get to know herself and what she wants out of life. It's an approach that could have spared Blomquist and likely thousands of others like her who feel they wasted time and money trying to find love and companionship online. Researchers of the online dating phenomenon have found a disciplined consumer strategy, rather than casual browsing, can result in success and satisfaction.

Paul Oyer, a labor economist and experienced online dater, believes the key to feeling better may be feeling less. By stripping away emotion and focusing on facts like time invested and ultimate goals, online daters can get the most out of their online dating experience and make smarter decisions about the money they spend.

"I don't think you have to pay for a site these days to do well," he said. "But if you are really focused on committed, long-term relationships, paying money makes a little more sense."
Dating in a digital age

Match.com's 2014 update to its annual "Singles in America" study highlighted the transformation taking place within American dating culture.
Today, one-in-four relationships begin online, and one-in-five new marriages are between couples who met on an online dating site. The survey, which compiled the responses of more than 5,300 singles ages 18 to 70 plus, also noted that singles now spend, on average, $5.69 each month on matchmaking services like subscriptions to online dating sites.

Oyer touched on the differences between paid and free online dating services in his book, "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating." Combining his expertise in studying the behavioral science of economics with his online dating experiences, he offers advice on how to make the most of online dating, including how to be smart about subscription costs.

Oyer, a professor of economics at Stanford University, explained that it's important for people to reflect carefully on their online dating choices, asking themselves what they're hoping to get for the money and time they invest.
Following Oyer's logic, Blomquist's dissatisfaction can be linked to more than just a few dud dates. She was also failing to question what each website uniquely offered, spending money for only a fraction of the benefits she sought.
“(Online daters) should spend wisely, asking themselves, 'How do I use this resource to efficiently cull through this very large market?,’ ” Oyer said.

What a subscription signals
Since no site, paid or unpaid, can guarantee a love connection, singles have to change the way they understand the fees. It's not just about what the cost says about the site, but also about what the down payment conveys about the dater, Oyer explained.
In economics jargon, that phenomenon is called signaling. By charging, a site signals that there is high demand for its services. By spending money to join, a user signals that he or she is serious about the pursuit of love.

"Money is useful for separating the posers from the people who really want a relationship," Oyer said.
Justin Garcia, one of the "Singles in America" study's lead investigators, agreed that paying for a subscription indicates a commitment to finding a partner.
"As consumer psychology has long known, when consumers put down a credit card, they are more likely to be invested and committed to the service they are paying for," he wrote in an email.
A shared interest in finding relationships rather than casual flings can also improve the pool of potential daters, Garcia noted. “I think paid services attract a self-selecting community of members who are committed to keeping the quality of the experience high," he said.

Further considerations
Although paid dating sites generally cost only $20 to $30 per month (comparable to dinner for two at a restaurant), Oyer said that singles shouldn't hesitate to be picky about where they spend their money.
After all, dating is already expensive without the added costs of site subscriptions. "Singles in America" reported that singles spend an average of $55.84 per month on dates, for items like sports or movie tickets.
In a manner befitting an economist, Oyer monitored his budget carefully. He'd save money by suggesting something inexpensive for a first date, like meeting for coffee or drinks. And although he met his long-term girlfriend on JDate, a paid site, he said he was happy with his experience on OkCupid, which is free.

Individuals will have to decide for themselves how to allocate their dating budget, Oyer said, who offered some basic guidelines:
Focus on finding a thick market. In other words, online dating is most beneficial when it provides a high number of potential matches. Daters should consider increasing their geographic limits or desired age range.
Allow your friends to read through your profile. “What are people assuming about you that you didn't say?," Oyer asked, noting that a few casual references to alcohol can quickly add up to assumptions about problem drinking.

Time is your most precious resource, even more valuable than money.
"When you go on dating sites, the scarce resources are other partners and your own time," he said. "The problem is I think you never know if you're putting in too much or too little time. You don’t really know the alternative."

The potential to be overwhelmed by online dating sites is why Oyer suggests investing plenty of time in comparing sites, creating a profile and envisioning an ideal partner. Being intentional early helps people get the most out of online dating.

Time is exactly what Blomquist needed. After ending her subscriptions and signing off other free dating sites, she said she’s enjoyed taking the time to get to know herself and reflect on her experiences.

Blomquist said she'd consider returning to online dating sites when she feels more settled in her career and more confident about her relationship goals.
"Before, I just wanted to go on dates," she said. "Now I think I'm more marriage-minded. I’m thinking more about what I want in a partner.”

 posted on twitter where I picked it up
  Twitter: @kelsey_dallas

Which way are the Supremes going to Go on Same Sex Marriage


http://adamfoxie.blogspot.com


 It's getting so you can't tell the potential Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage without a scorecard.
When the justices sit down for their first fall conference Sept. 29, they will consider the initial requests from states to review decisions striking down gay-marriage bans. Unless they quickly agree to hear one or more cases, those petitions won't be the last.
Lawyers on both sides predict the justices will act soon to decide the issue by next June. That makes it likely they will choose from among the three cases pending. Some of the nation's premier Supreme Court advocates, sensing history in the making, have signed on to represent gay couples or state officials.
"The issue is moving so fast," says John Bursch, a former Michigan solicitor general defending Utah's gay-marriage ban. "People want an answer soon, and I think the court is going to want to give it to them."
Here's the betting line:
UTAH: As the first case decided by a federal district judge and an appeals court panel after the Supreme Court's rulings in June 2013 in favor of gay marriage, Herbert v. Kitchen is the front-runner.
Arguments for: State officials back the ban, guaranteeing a vigorous defense. Former acting U.S. solicitor general Neal Katyal, who has argued 21 cases before the court, has joined the gay couples' legal team, along with Mary Bonauto, who won the nation's first same-sex marriage lawsuit in Massachusetts in 2003.
More than 1,000 couples got married before the district court decision was stayed by the Supreme Court in January, leaving them in a marital limbo that the justices might feel compelled to resolve, having created it themselves.
Among the plaintiffs are couples who want to marry; who were married before the district court ruling was blocked; and who want their Iowa marriage recognized in Utah. That covers all the bases. "This court's resolution of the question presented can mark the end of marriage litigation in all respects," the state's brief says.
Arguments against: There are few, leading most prognosticators to predict Utah's will be one of the cases chosen, if not the only one. "We're not trying to bump out anyone else," Katyal says.
OKLAHOMA: The state has played second fiddle to Utah since January. District and appeals court rulings against the state's gay-marriage ban came a month later; the Supreme Court petition was filed a day later.
Arguments for: The state's gay-marriage ban is particularly stringent; it's a crime to issue a marriage license, and no one has tied the knot. The case, Smith v. Bishop, is being pursued by the court clerk for Tulsa County — someone who actually issues marriage licenses. Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher, a veteran of 23 high court cases, is arguing for same-sex marriage rights.
Arguments against: The case has had procedural problems on its way to the Supreme Court and is left with only one couple as plaintiffs; the issue of recognizing marriages performed in other states isn't included. It dates back to 2004, a 10-year history the high court might want to avoid. And it comes from the same 10th Circuit as Utah, which could work against Oklahoma if the justices choose more than one case.
VIRGINIA: Same-sex marriage cases in the Old Dominion are unique, giving the justices clear reasons to prefer or reject them.
Arguments for: This is the state of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that struck down state bans on interracial marriage. Its gay-marriage ban is one of the toughest, prohibiting civil unions and blocking the state from recognizing marriages performed elsewhere.
Former U.S. solicitor general Theodore Olson and David Boies, the conservative-liberal tag team that represented California's same-sex couples at the Supreme Court last year, are back for another try. Olson has argued 60 cases at the high court.
The case decided by district and appeals courts, Rainey v. Bostic, includes the lesbian parents of a teenager, which presents the issue of how gay couples' children are treated. The case has been joined with a separate class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of all Virginia's gay couples.
"It would be the kind of case that would resolve a number of outstanding legal issues," state Attorney General Mark Herring says.
Arguments against: Herring, a Democrat elected last November, refused to defend the ban and has argued against it. That's what California officials did in last year's Supreme Court case on Proposition 8; the justices ultimately ruled that those defending the gay-marriage ban lacked standing. In Virginia, it leaves the task to two court clerks represented by private lawyers, including the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom.
"I don't think you want constitutional law being made by default," says John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University and chairman of the National Organization for Marriage.
OTHER STATES: Six cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee were consolidated at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this month, and a ruling could come before the Supreme Court convenes this fall. Cases from Indiana and Wisconsin were heard at the 7th Circuit on Tuesday. Appeals from Idaho and Nevada are scheduled before the 9th Circuit early next month. Still more cases are in the pipeline, including from Texas; the 5th Circuit would be most likely to rule against gay marriage and create a split among appeals courts.
Arguments for: The justices might want to hear and benefit from additional appeals courts. That could include important opinions by Judges Jeffrey Sutton in the 6th Circuit and Richard Posner in the 7th, where a three-judge panel appears headed toward the first unanimous judgment against state bans.
Arguments against: Even if the justices don't wait for more rulings before scheduling a case, they are certain to get the benefit of them before they rule. Waiting to choose a case for Supreme Court review would leave states and same-sex couples in limbo — possibly until the 2015 term.
MULTIPLE CASES: When an issue is of paramount importance, the court frequently grants more than one case. The leading example: Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which combined cases from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. This year, the court heard two cases on the new health care law's "contraception mandate" and two on cellphone privacy.
Arguments for: More cases offer more plaintiffs to consider, more arguments to present and more advocates at the lectern. "Given all of these permutations, this may be a situation in which a belt-and-suspenders approach – that is, granting multiple cases – is the most prudent course," says the Oklahoma couple's brief seeking Supreme Court review.
Arguments against: Simplicity. The court doesn't always believe more is better. Faced with multiple choices challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it chose Edie Windsor's case in New York and no other — then issued a landmark decision that forced the government to recognize same-sex marriages.
NONE OF THE ABOVE: If the federal circuit courts continue to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, the justices could just sit on their hands and let groups of states go that way gradually.
Arguments for: Why impose a verdict from on high? All states in the 1st and 2nd Circuits already allow gay marriage. Lifting the stays in the 4th and 10th Circuits would continue the trend.
Arguments against: It could take years before all 11 circuits have acted, and they might not go the same way. The country would be divided, leaving some gay couples without the rights and benefits enjoyed by others. And the issue of same-sex marriage would lack the imprimatur of the Supreme Court — whichever way it rules.
Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

Labor Day 1935 Hurricane



There was little advanced warning 79 years ago when a monster storm with winds approaching 200 mph and a storm surge of up to 18 feet pummeled a 40-mile swath of the Florida Keys, leaving in its wake devastating destruction and death.
Today, only a few survivors of the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 are still alive. But their stories and those of the approximately 500 people who were killed by the Category 5 storm will live on in black and white photographs collected over the years by Jerry Wilkinson, the longtime president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys.
For the first time, a large portion of the collection is being displayed for public view in an exhibit that will run through Nov. 9 at the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada, not far from where the storm blew a “relief” train off tracks that were built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler.
“It seems like people like disasters,” Wilkinson said about why people are interested in a hurricane that occurred before most were born. “I guess because it’s spectacular, like the Great Chicago fire [of 1871] and the earthquake now in California.”
The exhibit features 85 photographs, a few of them graphic. Wilkinson provided all but five pictures that came from the History Miami museum.
It also includes storyboards that provide a brief history of weather forecasting and details about the weather advisories given during the deadly weekend. There’s also a mid-1990s documentary Hurricane ’35: The Deadly Deluge, being shown continuously at the exhibit. It includes vintage footage and interviews with Wilkinson and several survivors.
And along one wall is a fascinating map created by the coroner’s office that documents several makeshift cremation sites and the scattered locations of the 423 bodies (each named) that were found in the direct aftermath. Some people’s remains were never found and others were exposed later, including a few skeletons found in a Ford that was uncovered during a dredging project.
Together, the exhibit provides a comprehensive display of a hurricane that remains the strongest ever to directly hit the United States. And it shows the destruction and horror it brought to a sleepy part of the Keys.
It’s a horror that Charlie Roberts described four years ago during a program for the 75th anniversary. He was one of seven survivors who told riveting first-hand accounts.
Roberts was just 7, living on Windley Key near the rock quarry where veterans from World War I were working on public works projects including building bridges for vehicles. At that point, there were only railroad bridges between some of the islands.
Roberts recalled the roof blowing off their row house and his father dragging him by the straps of his overalls into their family Ford. “Eleven of us got into the car,” he said. “That’s the only thing that saved us.”


 The water flooded inside, but they had enough room to breathe. Roberts said, though, that he will never forget the plight of the veterans, who had taken cover in a rock pit dug six to eight feet deep.
“When the water came, they drowned like rats,” he said. “You could hear them screaming all night long. I mean just screaming and hollering for help, and we couldn’t get out and help them.”
Bertelli said he pored over hundreds of Wilkinson’s pictures about the hurricane, the Veteran Work camps and the aftermath to come up with a selection that told the complete story.
“There was some concern how graphic to go,” Bertelli said. “We were told we have to tell the story, and to do that we had to show some dead bodies because 500 people died.”
There likely would have been many more casualties, but since it was a holiday, many people had left the area to celebrate in either Miami or Key West.
Most who stayed put did not know until Labor Day morning and afternoon, on Sept. 2, that what had first been forecast as a relatively nondescript tropical disturbance was turning into a scary storm that was headed right for them. Some stayed, thinking they could weather the storm. Others did not have the means to leave. And the relief train sent to evacuate veterans and others was sent too late and then was struck directly by the storm. The railroad would never again operate along the island chain.
Relief workers arrived after the storm to face the huge job of figuring out how to handle all the dead.
One photograph shows wooden coffins about to be loaded on ships and taken to Miami, where they were sealed in copper caskets and buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. Those coffins carried the remains of about 109 veterans.
Another photograph shows American flags placed upon the caskets as they were being put into the ground. The government paid $100 each to have those veterans from World War I properly buried.
But with so many bodies baking in the heat and humidity days after the storm hit, the governor ordered that the bodies be burned to prevent disease. One photograph shows a gun salute honoring the dead, which were placed in wooden boxes stacked on top of each other in four or five layers. After the ceremony, the bodies were cremated at several makeshift sites along the path of destruction.
One photo depicts the building of a monument to memorialize the dead, with a crypt that contains the cremated remains of hundreds. The monument is located near mile marker 82, a short drive from the exhibit.
Some pictures showed hope. As curator Brad Bertelli hung the exhibit, he pulled out one of his favorite newspaper photos that showed a young man, Alonzo Cothran, in a floppy hat holding his pet pig.
“His family went up to Miami to ride out the storm,” Bertelli said. “But before he left, he put the pig in a crate in the garage and let some ducks go free, figuring they could go under the house to weather the storm.”                  
When Cothran returned, his home was gone. “But he hears some squealing,” Bertelli said. “The pig had broken free from the crate and dug a hole. When Alonzo came back, the pig came running at him like a dog.”
Some of the ducks were found, too, albeit very thirsty with all the fresh water now contaminated with saltwater.
The exhibit hits home with Richard Russell, president of the Keys History & Discovery Center. His father, Warren “Bones” Russell, was just a boy when the storm hit.
Bones’ father told him to hold onto a coconut tree as tightly as he could. After the storm passed, Red Cross workers arrived and found the kid unconscious, covered in sea weed and palm fronds and thought he was dead. As they were pulling out a body bag, Bones moved.
But so many others were not so lucky, including 38 other members of the extended Russell family. Only 15 members of the family survived, Bertelli said.
Wilkinson said he did not spend endless hours and unknown amounts of his own money collecting the photographs for monetary reasons. Most are not originals but copies of pictures he took with his Nikon camera and a macro lens, steadying the shot with a “camera stand.” Wilkinson said he collected them for their historical value.
His house in Tavernier is filled with thousands of copied photographs put into binders that feature all aspects of Upper Keys history. His house also is filled with boxes of copied documents, original documents, diaries and newspaper clippings.
Some photographs were copies of Miami Herald originals that an executive in the newsroom had glued together in a collage to hang on his wall as art.
“He was ready to get rid of the collage because the pictures were getting old and he had a nice new Venetian Shores house,” Wilkinson said. “So he agreed to let me take them apart, and not worry if I messed them up.”
Wilkinson had a darkroom and knew which chemicals to use on the emulsion of the prints. He soaked them in a big flat tray for about two weeks, ending up with about 25 to 30 separate photographs.
“I had to give the photographs back because they came out so good, he wanted them back,” Wilkinson said.
It was not until 1996 that Wilkinson got a scanner, which made copying the photographs much easier and less expensive.
Many of them he collected during summer RV trips around the Southeast with his wife. They would stop at museums, universities, libraries and state archives scouring for any history related to the Upper Keys.
“History has no ownership,” said Wilkinson, who turns 86 on Monday. “I want to die knowing that these pictures hopefully will be saved in perpetuity.”

CCLARK@MIAMIHERALD.COM

pics obtain by adamfoxie

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/30/4318378/photo-exhibit-shows-devastation.html#storylink=cpy

August 30, 2014

A Study Shows There is ‘No Metabolically Healthy Obese people’


 

The absence of additional metabolic risk factors does not protect overweight or obese young men from developing type 2 diabetes, a new study finds.
Gilad Twig, MD, PhD, of the department of medicine at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, and colleagues published the results from the Metabolic, Lifestyle and Nutrition Assessment in Young Adults (MELANY) study online August 19 in Diabetes Care.
"Our findings primarily suggest that obesity, even when accompanied by an intact metabolic profile, is not a benign condition. Physicians should be aware of this, especially among young adults," Dr. Twig told Medscape Medical News.
The researchers enrolled 33,939 men aged 25 and older who were in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They followed the participants from 1995 through 2011. At baseline, 49% were of normal weight (body mass index [BMI] < 25 kg/m2), 38% were overweight (BMI 25 to 30 kg/m2), and 13% were obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2).
Over a median 6-year follow-up, 734 (2.2%) were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Twig and colleagues also divided the subjects according to how many baseline metabolic abnormalities they had, including:
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater or use of lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Glucose level of 100 mg/dL or greater.
  • Systolic blood pressure 130 mm Hg or greater or diastolic blood pressure 85 mm Hg or above or use of antihypertensive drugs.
  • HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL.
Only 14.7% of the obese group were "metabolically healthy," defined as having none of the additional risk factors, compared with 55% of the normal-weight group and 32% of the overweight group.
The investigators found that each 1-unit increase in BMI was associated with a 10.6% increased risk of developing diabetes (P < .001), after adjusting for age, family history of diabetes, country of origin, physical activity, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, and white blood cell count.
Among the "metabolically healthy," the hazard ratios for development of diabetes compared with normal-weight subjects were 1.89 for overweight individuals and 3.88 for obese ones ( P < .001). The rates for development of diabetes among the metabolically healthy were 4.34 cases per 1000 per person-years for the obese group vs 1.15/1000 person-years for the normal-weight group (P < .001).
The increase in risk for each additional risk factor was far greater among those who were obese than those of normal weight. Among those with at least 3 risk factors, the difference in diabetes incidence was 19.17 per 1000 person-years for the obese group vs 3.17 for the normal-weight group.
When the risk factors were analyzed as continuous variables, diabetes risk increased by more than 3-fold in the obese group both among the “metabolically healthy" and among those with 3 metabolic abnormalities. 
This study differs from others that identified a "metabolically healthy obese" group in that "metabolically healthy" was defined as having no additional risk factors. By contrast, other studies have included those with 1 or 2 risk factors in the metabolically healthy group, Dr. Twig and colleagues note.
In addition, the subjects in this study were younger at baseline and were thus likely to develop more risk factors in the future. Moreover, previous studies have not carefully adjusted for the various risk factors as continuous variables, which is particularly important in young adults, the authors note.
While they acknowledge one limitation of this study is that it was only done in men, Dr. Twig toldMedscape Medical News that the findings should be extrapolatable to other populations. "The MELANY cohort of the IDF has been shown to be similar to many European and US cohorts of young adults....We analyzed these results by country of origin and show that our findings are independent of this variable."
Dr. Twig was partially supported by a grant from the Pinchas Borenstein Talpiot Medical Leadership Program, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel. Disclosures for the coauthors are listed in the article.
Diabetes Care. Published online August 19, 2014. Abstract

Putin Reinvigorates NATO


                                                                             

For decades, as the world perched on the brink of nuclear Armageddon, NATO had more than a million troops pressed against the Iron Curtain, ready and capable of waging war against the Soviet Union.
                              

Until the 1970s, pairs of Canadian Starfighter warplanes, armed with nuclear bombs, were on 15-minute readiness, part of the North Atlantic Treat Organization’s “quick reaction” strike force that was ready to obliterate Russian tank columns in the Fulda Gap before they could reach the Rhine. More than 6,000 Canadian troops were permanently stationed in Germany. It was an era when the stark reality of NATO’s mutual defense pact meant Canadians and Americans were poised – not just pledged – to fight and die to keep Communist legions out of Western Europe. Now, as NATO leaders gather for what was originally billed as an “Out of Afghanistan” summit, they face the worst military crisis in decades in Europe. Finding a response to Moscow’s incursions in Ukraine – and finding the money to make it credible – poses a grave test for the alliance.
“We take our Article 5 commitments to defend each other very seriously, and that includes the smallest NATO member,” U.S. President Barack Obama vowed as he headed for Estonia and then on to the summit. But whether Russian President Vladimir Putin believes NATO has the political will to back its tough talk with action remains uncertain.
The identity crisis
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO spent most of the next quarter-century seeking new roles in far-off conflicts and nearly doubling in membership – from 16 to 28 nations – while dwindling in combat capability and overall defence spending. The alliance, still the world’s most powerful, fought its first “hot” war over Balkan skies in 1999 as warplanes from a dozen nations, including Canada, pounded Serb targets for months, setting the stage for an independent Kosovo.
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, NATO nations collectively waged a long-running counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban while attempting to prop up the Afghan government in Kabul. Almost all NATO nations, and a dozen non-members, were involved – with the number of foreign troops peaking at more than 150,000. But after more than a decade in Afghanistan, the outcome of NATO’s biggest war remains murky and most nations, including Canada, have packed up and left.
In 2011, NATO warplanes were back in action for eight months of air strikes that eventually toppled Libya’s ruthless dictator Moammar Gadhafi. But the successful air war, commanded by Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, soured in the aftermath as Libya slid into a continuing civil war.
With its expeditionary wars at best a mixed success, NATO was still struggling to find a 21st-century reason to exist. “In some ways, NATO should thank Vladimir Putin because it was really searching for its purpose,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “[It] was having a fairly significant identity crisis and now has now not only been repurposed, it’s been reinvigorated.”
The wake-up call
Even before next week’s summit and even as Russian tank columns penetrate deeper into eastern Ukraine, Mr. Obama has made it clear what NATO is not going to do. There will be no war to defend Ukraine, a non-NATO nation.
“It is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States,” Mr. Obama said this week as he prepared for a presummit stop in Estonia.
But NATO will add serious military presence, especially to its rapid reaction force. The Polish base at Szczecin, already a NATO headquarters, will likely host thousands of troops from other nations rotating every few months. The alliance is also expected to step up its multi-national combat air patrols close to the Russian frontier in the three Baltic member states – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – and push forward with more warships in the North Atlantic.
Leaders at the summit in Cardiff will be “trying to skate a fine line,” said Colonel George Petrolekas, a former strategic adviser to Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
“There’s a need to demonstrate a commitment to NATO’s eastern allies, but not go so far as to provoke a second round of the Cold War.”
The new front line
Ukraine will dominate the summit but it’s hardly NATO’s only unravelling crisis. In Syria and Iraq, on NATO’s southern flank, major conflicts threaten to spread and destabilize the region. And the end game, at least for the alliance, is playing out in Afghanistan.
Enlargement is supposedly off the agenda, especially for small Balkan aspirants such as Bosnia. Both Finland and Sweden may want in – and together they would redraw the northern flank. Ukraine, in a plea for military help, called Friday for full NATO membership.
With very different wars in Ukraine and in Iraq and Syria where Islamic State extremists are attempting carve out a caliphate, “leaders of NATO member states don’t have the luxury of ignoring one or the other; they are going to have to look at both,” said Janine Davidson at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Perhaps NATO’s biggest challenge, says Ms. Davidson, is how to cope with the “rising threat of unconventional warfare: namely, Russia’s ‘covert, implausibly deniable invasion’ of Ukraine and the rampaging ISIS forces in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, the Arctic – where climate change is turning a Cold War confrontation zone limited to nuclear-powered submarines into a potential Klondike at the top of the world – will also be on the summit agenda.
On that front, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to deliver the message that “we cannot be complacent about Russia and its military activities in the Arctic,” said Rob Huebert, associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, who was on the Prime Minister’s most recent northern tour.
Follow  on Twitter: @PaulKoring 

Family of Georgia Gay teen Turns on him and Kicks him Out



                                                                          



When Daniel Ashley Pierce told his family last October that he was gay, his stepmother seemed to be supportive, and his father had no response.
All that changed Wednesday, when Pierce’s family attempted to stage a delayed intervention, berating the 20-year-old for “choosing” to be gay and demanding that he move out of the family’s home.
But Pierce, who, according to his public Facebook page, is studying business administration at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, might have the last word, as a video he recorded of the confrontation has gone viral.
The five-minute, profanity-laced video, originally posted by a friend of Pierce’s, has logged more than 2 million views, and a GoFundMe site set up to raise money for Pierce’s living expenses has raised over $56,000 in one day. On the video, which doesn’t show faces, a conversation among Pierce and family members escalates into a physical altercation with screaming and profanity. In a Facebook posting about the incident, Pierce said, “What a day. I thought that waking up at 9:48 and being 15 mins late to work was going to be the biggest problem today. But I didn’t know that my biggest problem was going to be getting disowned and kicked out of my home of almost twenty years. To add insult to injury, my stepmother punched me in the face repeatedly with my grandmother cheering her along. I am still in complete shock and disbelief.”
More than 21,000 comments have been left on the YouTube video of the confrontation.
Thursday night, Pierce posted another note on Facebook: “Thank you for all of your support. I need some down time for myself and I am in a safe place.”

(video is been darkened because of brutality but you still  have a clear conversation)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UN Releases Scathing report on US Police Brutality and Racism




Demonstrators march against police brutality in San Francisco in 2013. Photo by Flickr user Steve Rhodes
Demonstrators march against police brutality in San Francisco in 2013.
 Photo by Flickr user Steve Rhodes
The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has published a scathing report analyzing the current state of racial justice in the United States. Citing the August 9th shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the rise of stand-your-ground laws, the committee expressed deep concerns about the ways in which the American justice system handles racially-charged events.
African Americans across the country, the CERD explained in a press conference, bear a disproportionate amount of the burden associated with economic and social disparity.
“This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials.” said CERD vice chairman Noureddine Amir. “Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life from de facto school segregation, access to health care and housing.”
Despite denials from its mayor, Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb in which Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, has been noted for the stark racial divide that exists between its residents and its public servants. As a whole 67% of Ferguson’s population is black and 29% is white, a stark contrast to Ferguson’s police department, which is 94% white. In 2013 blacks accounted for 86% of all traffic stops in Ferguson and were two times as likely to be searched compared to whites.
“[We remain] concerned at the practice of racial profiling of racial or ethnic minorities by law enforcement officials,” the committee wrote, “including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Transportation Security Administration, border enforcement officials and local police.”
In addition to explicitly excessive police brutality, the report elaborated, pervasive forms of infrastructural discrimination posed significant threats to minority enfranchisement. Gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and racial profiling were called out specifically as examples of the American legal system being used to harm minority communities.


Jamaican Gay Activist Backs down on law suit out of fear for life



                                                                     
Javed Jaghai in homophobic Jamaica
 KINGSTON, JAMAICA—A young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought an unprecedented legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy law has withdrawn the claim after growing fearful about violent backlashes, advocacy groups and colleagues said Friday.
Last year, Javed Jaghai made headlines after initiating a constitutional court challenge to Jamaica’s 1864 law that bans sex between men. He argued that the anti-sodomy law fuels homophobia and violates a charter of human rights adopted in 2011 that guarantees people the right to privacy.
But in an affidavit, Jaghai said he has been “threatened enough times to know that I am vulnerable.” The 25-year-old man believes his “loved ones are under threat” by intolerant people and the drawn-out court challenge is causing too much stress and anxiety.
“Though the cause and the case are noble, I am no longer willing to gamble with my life or the lives of my parents and siblings,” Jaghai wrote in a statement withdrawing his Supreme Court claim.
 Jamaica’s rarely used anti-sodomy law bans anal sex and sets a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and hard labour. Anything interpreted as “gross indecency” between men can be punished by two years in prison.
Janet Burak of New York-based advocacy group AIDS-Free World said the fear that pushed Jaghai to end his court challenge is an all-too familiar fear among the LGBT community in Jamaica. It’s “the same fear that keeps gay men in Jamaica underground, away from effective HIV testing, prevention treatment, care and support interventions,” she said in a statement.
When Jaghai initiated the legal challenge last year, several church pastors led crowded revival meetings in Jamaica’s two biggest cities to oppose overturning the anti-sodomy law.
Many Jamaicans consider homosexuality to be wrong, but insist violence against gays is blown out of proportion by activists. But anti-gay epithets are heard frequently and attacks on LGBT Jamaicans or people perceived to be gay do occur from time to time. Last year, a transgender teen named Dwayne Jones was murdered by a mob at a crowded street dance and his slaying remains unsolved.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller vowed to put the anti-sodomy law to a “conscience vote” in Parliament during the lead-up to 2011 elections but nothing has been accomplished.
J-FLAG, Jamaica’s biggest gay rights group, says Jaghai’s courage has inspired other young homosexuals in Jamaica who are not willing to live in the shadows.
“Javed has made history and will forever remain a hero to the Jamaican LGBT community,” said activist Brian-Paul Welsh.
By: David McFadden 
The Associated Press,  

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