Author Archive | majestic

Negativland Takes On Religion

Negativland, a longtime favorite band of many a disinfonaut, is back. Their new album (out in October, advance orders through negativland.com), IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD, finds the group tackling their biggest subject ever: why humans believe in God. Millennia-in-development, this ambitious and densely-crafted double CD is packaged inside an actual Holy Bible which has been appropriately repurposed into a “found” art object.

IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD intends to entertain, inform, and provoke. On the CDs, Negativland mixes found music, found sound, found dialogue, guest personalities and original electronic noises into a compelling and thoughtful musical essay that looks at monotheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, neuroscience, suicide bombers, 9/11, colas, war, shaved chimps, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs. Reading the attached Bible is optional. Here’s the album trailer

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British Jihadis to Undergo Forced De-Radicalization

Although the British government’s motives may be honorable, deprogramming anyone sounds scarily close to brainwashing. Breitbart has the story:

Britain’s governing coalition has agreed that potential Jihadis who return to Britain from abroad should be forced to undergo a de-radicalisation programme when they arrive back in the UK.

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Photo: Menendj (CC)

The proposal is one of a series of measures agreed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats who form Britain’s coalition government. Also proposed is a new law to force airlines to share full passenger lists with police and security agencies, and plans to temporarily suspend to passports of UK citizens fighting for ISIS, preventing them from coming home.

According to the Sun, talks over the measures were “tense” and going on well into the night last night, ahead of the Prime Minister’s emergency statement in the House of Commons this afternoon.

The proposals come after the UK’s offical terror threat level was raised last week to severe, meaning that an attack is “highly likely”.

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Neanderthals Created Cave Art

A new discovery at Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar suggests that Neanderthals were, contrary to their poor reputation, cave artists (and created the hashtag). Report via Chicago Tribune:

Belying their reputation as the dumb cousins of early modern humans, Neanderthals created cave art, an activity regarded as a major cognitive step in the evolution of humankind, scientists reported Monday in a paper describing the first discovery of artwork by this extinct species.

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Gorham’s Cave. Photo by Gibmetal77 (CC)

The discovery is “a major contribution to the redefinition of our perception of Neanderthal culture,” said prehistorian William Rendu of the French National Center for Scientific Research, who was not involved in the work. “It is a new and even stronger evidence of the Neanderthal capacity for developing complex symbolic thought” and “abstract expression,” abilities long believed exclusive to early modern humans.

In recent years researchers have discovered that Neanderthals buried their dead, adorned themselves with black and red pigments, wore shell and feather jewelry and cared for the elderly and infirm, all evidence of complex thought.

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When Whites Just Don’t Get It

Kids and piesSome shocking facts support Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed at the New York Times, such as “the net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household”:

Many white Americans say they are fed up with the coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A plurality of whites in a recent Pew survey said that the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News reflected that weariness, saying: “All you hear is grievance, grievance, grievance, money, money, money.”

Indeed, a 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

Yes, you read that right!

So let me push back at what I see as smug white delusion. Here are a few reasons race relations deserve more attention, not less:

• The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data.

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Inequality and the USA: A Nation in Denial?

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Photo: Alex Proimos (CC)

Sam Pizzigati of Inequality.org writes at PressTV that “the United States… doesn’t just have the world’s most unequal major developed economy… [it] has the most people in denial about the inequality they live amid”:

Every August, for most of the last four decades, top central bankers from around the world have been making their way to the Wyoming mountain resort of Jackson Hole for an invitation-only blue-ribbon economic symposium.

This year’s Jackson Hole hobnob, once again hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, last week attracted the usual assortment of central bankers, finance ministers, and influential business journalists. But this year’s gathering also attracted something else: protesters.

For the first time ever, activists converged on Jackson Hole — to let the Fed’s central bankers know, as protest organizers put it, that “it’s not just the rich who are watching them.”

Over 70 groups and unions backed the protest and signed onto an open letter that calls on America’s central bankers to start nurturing an economy that works for workers.

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Threats to a Free Press, from Ferguson to the White House

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A strong appeal for the importance of the beleaguered Fourth Estate from a key member, Katrina vanden Heuvel, in the Washington Post:

This is a terrible time for journalists.

Just last week, the world watched in horror as James Foley, a freelance photojournalist for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, was beheaded by a jihadist from the Islamic State. The disturbing video suggests that the perpetrators intend to target more journalists if their demands are not met.

There is something particularly chilling about murdering those seeking only to inform, about reporters around the world having to fear for their lives. But right here at home, we’re seeing a less lethal, yet still deeply troubling threat to journalism.

In recent days, all eyes have been on Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9 touched off citywide protests and a national debate over racism, equal justice and police brutality.

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Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

NWO“Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order” is the actual headline of this op-ed by Kissinger himself in the Wall Street Journal. You can’t say he isn’t out front and center!

Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S.

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Police Officer Will Not Be Charged For Killing Napster Exec While Texting While Driving — Because It’s Apparently OK For Police To Do That

napster cooThe title of this post at Business Insider pretty much says it all!

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Wood will not be charged for fatally running over former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in his patrol car while the officer was typing a message into his computer.

We first saw the news on Valleywag, but there is good coverage in the Daily News and LAist.

The instance exposes the different way that law enforcement officials are treated versus civilians in cases where a person is killed because of texting while driving.

It’s illegal to text and drive in California; the state has a specific law against it. Civilians caught doing it can expect to face charges. But a report from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office shows that the rules may be applied differently to cops…

[continues at at Business Insider]

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UFO Over Pennsylvania?

Is this really a UFO spotted this week by a woman in Pennsylvania? (Probably not per Accuweather.) From ABC News:

A Pennsylvania woman who captured what she insists was an unidentified flying object on her cell phone camera says she is “scared to death now.”

A couple police officers also say they saw the UFO that night.


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

Stephanie Wilkerson says she was relaxing on her porch in Lower Paxton Township, Pa., Monday night when she spotted an object in the night sky.

“I thought it was a plane until I realized it wasn’t moving,” Wilkerson told ABC News. “I watched it for about 20 minutes and I started noticing it changing colors.”

Wilkerson grabbed her cell phone to record the mysterious object and also called her neighbor over to verify what she was seeing.

“He went and got his binoculars because he first thought it was a planet,” Wilkerson said.

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What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?

OK Second Amendment defenders, what do you say to this question (posed by Cliff Schecter at Daily Beast) in the wake of the now notorious gun range death of a 9-year-old girl’s instructor: “What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?”

Yesterday afternoon, the “NRA Women” Twitter account sent out a simple and yet ghoulish message to its followers. With an embedded link to an article on their website, it reminded its adherents of “7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range.”

No matter that merely two days earlier, at the Bullets & Burgers Gun Range in the Las Vegas area, a 9-year old girl had been handed an Uzi, lost control while firing it in fully automatic mode, and accidentally shot the instructor standing next to her in the head (he later died after being airlifted to hospital).

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Photo by Uziel Galishto (CC)

Hell, the gun range didn’t even shut down.

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