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Post-Draft Super Bowl Odds: Vegas Has Cowboys With Third-Best Odds Behind Patriots And Raiders – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Post-Draft Super Bowl Odds: Vegas Has Cowboys With Third-Best Odds Behind Patriots And Raiders
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Longtime readers know that we regularly chronicle the Super Bowl odds for all teams here on Blogging The Boys. We do this because because Vegas is always an interesting indicator of where public opinion – and money – is concentrating. Free agency and …

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‘Middle class’ used to denote comfort and security. Not anymore | Alissa Quart

The apps and robots celebrated by Silicon Valley wunderkinds are helping make previously white-collar lives ever more precarious

Precariousness is not just a working-class thing. In recent interviews, dozens of academics and schoolteachers, administrators, librarians, journalists and even coders have told me they too are falling prey to an unstable new America. Ive started to think of this just-scraping-by group as the Middle Precariat.

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The word Precariat was popularized five or so year ago to describe a rapidly expanding working class with unstable, low-paid jobs. What I call the Middle Precariat, in contrast, are supposed to be properly, comfortably middle class, but its not quite working out this way.

There are people like the Floridian couple who both have law degrees and should be in the prime of their working lives but cant afford a car or an apartment and have moved back in with the womans elderly mother. There are schoolteachers around the country that work second jobs after their teaching duties are done: one woman in North Dakota I spoke to was heading off to clean houses after the final bell in order to pay her rent.

Many of the Middle Precariat work jobs that used to be solidly middle class. Yet some earn roughly what they did a decade ago. At the same time, middle-class life is now 30% more expensive than it was 20 years ago. The Middle Precariats jobs are also increasingly contingent meaning they are composed of short-term contract or shift work, as well as unpaid overtime. Buffeted by Silicon Valley-like calls to maximize disruption, the Middle Precariat may have positions reimagined. That cruel euphemism means they are to be replaced by younger, cheaper workers, or even machines.

This was brought home to me at a legal fair with thousands of attendees this winter. Between the small plastic gavel swag and the former corporate lawyer building a large-scale Lego block version of Van Goghs Starry Night, there were booths advertising software that reviews legal documents. That software helps firms get rid of employees, including attorneys, and might soon make some of the lawyers on that trade-show floor extinct.

Other professionals describe how they must endure harsh non-traditional work schedules, much like their retail worker brethren. They work on weekends and late into the day and barely see their children. At the end of the year, they just break even, all the while retaining debt from college and even graduate school that they will never be able to repay.

While households that make anywhere from $48,000 to $250,000 can call themselves middle class, to group such a wide range of incomes under one label, as politicians love to do, is to confuse the term entirely.

A worker at a tech company in California I interviewed has two jobs and commutes at least an hour each way to one of them, much like the working class Precariat does. He cant afford to live anywhere near his offices San Francisco is the most expensive housing market in the country, with an average rent at $4,780 for a two-bedroom apartment as of April.

They and other members of the Middle Precariat I have spoken with over the last three years are ostensibly bourgeois, but with few of the advantages we used to associate with that standing. They may not be able to afford their mortgage payments or daycare, health and retirement savings or college educations for their kids. They also usually cant afford a car for each adult, summer vacations or gym memberships, those status markers of the past. Indeed, some have resorted to Snap and other federal benefits from time to time.

The Middle Precariat also may be threatened by the rise of the robots, like their working-class peers. Like the lawyers at that trade show. The numbers confirm this: in 2014, only 64% of law school graduates had jobs that required bar passage. In 2013, unemployment was at 11.2% with underemployment numbers even higher. (By contrast, in 1985, more than 81% had full-time legal jobs and only 7% were not working at all.)

Journalists also have the machines nipping at their heels. Last month, tronc, formerly known as the illustrious Tribune newspaper company, demonstrated the rise of the Middle Precariat: troncs inadvertently hilarious branding videos celebrated artificial intelligence over photo editors, reporters and the like, replacing them with optimization and something called content funnels.

Even nurses may soon join the Middle Precariat. The National Science Foundation is spending nearly a million dollars to research a future of robotic nurses who will lift patients and bring them medicine while keeping living nurses in the decision loop, even though nursing is one of the few growth industries that allows for upward mobility.

The Middle Precariat, as the 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report on disruptive technologies explained, will only grow, as highly skilled workers are put on the chopping block and the automation of knowledge work expands. Soon to come are robot surgeons, robot financial workers, robot teachers and perhaps, robots that can take their mimicry of recent college graduates to the next level and argue that Beyonces Lemonade is feminism while drinking a micro brew.

Its reached a point where this threatened class has begotten a layer of consultants to fix the problem. In San Francisco, Casey Berman counsels economically and professionally desperate people who happen to be lawyers. There is an easier, less painful, less stressful and lucrative way to make money, Bermans site Leave Law Behind reads. When I spoke to him a few months ago, he told me that he sees his mission as motivating former lawyers that are now broke and frustrated to do something else with their lives.

But retraining and specialized psychotherapy arent the only answers. We need broad-based fixes. Universal subsidized daycare. Changing the tax code so it actually helps the middle class. Real collective bargaining rights for Middle Precariat workers. Paid leave to keep mothers from exiting the workforce against their will. Fair hours, not just for McDonalds workers, but also for adjunct professors.

We also need to question the pundits and companies that incant artificial intelligence as a mantra, even as they are celebrating a future where so many middle-class humans jobs may be jettisoned. And we can start to rebuke terms like machine learning or disruption, unmasking them along with the billionaires as some of the culprits.

Reporting for this piece was supported by Economic Hardship Reporting Project and Capital & Main.

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Trump, Cruz aides advised Guatemalan candidate vowing televised executions

Exclusive: Tim Clark and Ron Nehring, running California campaigns for Trump and Cruz respectively, advised rightwing tycoon Manuel Baldzons campaign

The two men hired by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to spearhead their presidential campaigns in California are, for the moment, rivals in what could be the most important primary race of 2016.

But four years ago, Tim Clark and Ron Nehring, who are running the California campaigns for Trump and Cruz respectively, worked as paid advisers to a campaign to elect a Guatemalan presidential candidate whose platform included a call for public executions.

Clark and Nehring, the Guardian can reveal, spent six weeks in Guatemala in 2011 working as advisers to Manuel Baldzon, a rightwing populist and business tycoon who campaigned on the promise of broadcasting the executions of criminals on TV.

The pair of Republican political consultants, now at the helm of competing presidential campaigns in California, were paid to advise Baldzon by what Clark elliptically refers to as business interests.

Clark confirmed the pairs involvement in the Guatemalan campaign during a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian.

Ron called and asked me to come down. He had the contact, Clark said. Hey Clark, I could use a little help down here. What do you think?

We had bodyguards. We had translators. We drove around in a black SUV full of semi-automatic machine guns in the back.

It was interesting, Clark said of the experience. Glad I came out alive.

Baldzons political career in Guatemala has long been linked to unsavory patronage a concern that InsightCrime, a group that investigates organized crime in the Americas, reports is fueled by his refusal to disclose the identity of the private donors who bankroll his campaigns.

Dr Michael Allison, a Latin America expert and associate professor of political science at the University of Scranton, said Baldzon had faced questions over campaign finance improprieties.

As a candidate in 2011, Baldzon ran on a platform where he promised to make use of televised executions, he said, describing him as a populist who promised everything to everybody. He promised to get the countrys national soccer team to qualify for the World Cup.

Baldzon has never been charged with a crime and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Clark said he and Nehring met with Baldzon and advised his campaign, traveling the country with him and attending rallies. But Clark said they were a step removed because their work was paid for by corporate interests and they were not formally part of the campaign.

In many ways it felt like you were the shiny object in the room: Oh, the American strategists are here. But Ron did a really good job of helping set him [Baldzon] on message, I felt, he said.

While Nehring took care of political messaging around free-market issues, Clark said, his role was to assist Ron, to run the metrics, to look at it, to see where and what and how.

Following the interview, Clark emailed the Guardian a statement playing down their work for Baldzon. He stressed that he and Nehring were not in any way privy to all of the campaigns media and messaging strategies.

Working under Rons umbrella, our role was specifically advising, where possible, on free market, economic growth policies, he wrote. If our time there was made to look more than this, it would be a completely inaccurate portrayal of our activities.

Clark also said in the email that he did not know about Baldzons campaign promise of televising executions even though it was widely reported in the international media as well as the Guatemalan press.

I am unaware of his platform regarding public safety, he said.

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Tim Clark, Donald Trumps California campaign manager. Photograph: Max Whittaker for the Guardian

Guatemala is not known as a clean place to make money from politics.

Last year, an investigation by a UN-backed anti-impunity organization exposed the widespread infiltration in Guatemalan politics by criminal groups and business interests seeking political favors and public contracts.

Guatemalan political parties receive half their financing through corruption, according to the report published in July 2015 by CICIG. Guatemala is the perfect country to commit electoral crimes without consequences, said director of CICIG Ivan Velasquez Gomez at the time.

During the 2011 general election campaign, political parties spent at least $56m more than they declared, according to an inquiry by Citizen Action, the Guatemalan chapter of Transparency International.

Baldzons Lider party spent almost three times the amount legally allowed in the 2011 campaign that Clark and Nehring worked on, Citizen Action concluded.

Clark declined to identify the Guatemalan business interests that paid for their trips, saying only that they were corporate industry guys who could afford it.

In another followup email, Clark added: Any indication whatsoever that either Ron or I had any knowledge or connection in any way with anyone other than legitimate and legal business interests in Guatemala would be grossly inaccurate.

Neither Clark nor Nehring mention their work for Baldzon on their company websites although both make references to having worked in Guatemala.

Nehring, a regular guest on CNN, states on his website that he has been a volunteer expert lecturer and trainer for government officials and politicians in Guatemala, Bosnia, Serbia, Morocco, Egypt and Iraq. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment about his paid work with Clark in Guatemala.

Although Clark and Nehring are now on opposite sides of a presidential race, they have been close associates for several years.

I dont think he wants to talk to me and I dont want to talk to him right now, Clark said during the interview. Its not out of animosity, its just out of respect.

Clark said that he was shocked by the economic inequality he saw in Guatemala and in a departure from Trumps foreign policy said the US should play a more proactive role in the region. I think America should invest in our neighbors to the south, but thats just me, not my candidate, he said.

You drive through dirt floor, no bathroom neighborhoods, you look and you see kids playing, and you think, how? he said, recounting his experience of inequality in Guatemala. Then half a mile down the road you drive in past the gate and theres this palatial thing, and you think, what is this, how can someone have all this, just next to all that?.

Baldzons net worth is not known. However, the tycoon is known to have business interests in gas stations, hotel chains, buses, mining, media companies and health clinics, giving him enormous power in Guatemala.

An investigation published just last week by the investigative news magazine Contrapoder accused Baldzon of profiting from $10m (79m Quetzales) of public funds by manipulating government works contracts. He denied the allegations.

Despite the hired help of Clark and Nehring, the businessman ultimately lost the 2011 election to retired military officer Otto Fernando Molina.

Baldzon ran again for the presidency last year and was considered the outright frontrunner until his popularity nose-dived amid anger over corruption in the political establishment.

He resigned from his political party in September. The following month, Jimmy Morales, a TV comedian with no political experience, was elected president of Guatemala. Morales has been described as Guatemalas version of Donald Trump.

As it happens, Clark said he was also offered a role in the Morales campaign too.

I had my friends call, he said. Tim, you want to come and work for the comedian? Nah, Im OK. Ive been there once.

Clark added: But it was funny. Guatemala elected a comedian as their president.

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Six ways to make money from natural hair revival – TheCable


TheCable

Six ways to make money from natural hair revival
TheCable
So, if you are a hair enthusiast and are interested in making some money, here are six business opportunities you can invest in. … One of the great aspects of vlogging or blogging is the immense potential to rake in huge profits from adverts. Beauty

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Too straight, white and corporate: why some queer people are skipping SF Pride

Disaffected by the annual parade, members of San Franciscos LGBT community are choosing alternative events to celebrate identity and solidarity with Orlando

San Francisco resident Katy Birnbaum is eager to gather with other queer people on Pride weekend, especially after such a violent attack against LGBT people in Orlando. But when roughly a million people pack into downtown on Sunday for one of the largest, most high-profile Pride festivals in the world, Birnbaum wont be standing in the crowd.

It just feels like a big Miller Lite tent, said Birnbaum, 31. With the corporate floats its co-opting queer identity as a way to make money.

Instead of attending the formal SF Pride events at civic center on Sunday, Birnbaum will be going to an intimate LGBT film festival in a community space six milesin an area known as the Bayview one of the only remaining black neighborhoods in the city.

Birnbaum, who helped organize the all-day film event, is one of many LGBT people in the Bay Area who plans to skip the mainstream Pride festival in the northern California city known internationally as a mecca for gay people.

While queer people said its important to come out on Pride as a way to stand up to the violence in Orlando and discriminatory laws across the country, some said the San Francisco parade has become too corporate, straight and white to feel like an appropriate setting to show LGBT solidarity.

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A banner advertising the Toyota Scion as the official car of San Francisco Pride in 2013. Photograph: Arun Nevader/FilmMagic

On Friday, Black Lives Matter announced that it was pulling out as a grand marshal, due to concerns about the polices plan to have an increased presence at the parade and heightened security measures.

Some local LGBT people are finding alternative ways to celebrate. Whether the Trans March on Friday, the Dyke March on Saturday, or other queer art shows on Sunday, the city has a number of events that organizers hope will attract much more diverse crowds than the Pride parade.

Pride really should be for queer folks, said Amy Sueyoshi, a lifelong San Francisco resident, who identifies as genderqueer. Its not for straight people to demonstrate their queer-friendliness. Id like that they do that in their daily lives.

SF Pride officials said that corporate sponsors are critical to offsetting the costs of the massive event that attracts people from all over the world.

Although the festival adopted a racial and economic justice theme this year, the dominating presence of corporations, including the major Silicon Valley technology companies, is still a source of tension in a city struggling with rapidly rising rents and displacement.

LGBT activists said it can be frustrating to see Facebook, Google, Uber, Lyft, Salesforce and other tech firms sponsoring and marching in the parade, knowing that they are part of an industry that is greatly exacerbating income inequality in the region.

Last year, Apple had a comically large contingent of 8,000 marchers, who contributed to the parade dragging on for a record seven hours and 33 minutes.

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Apple employees carry rainbow flags as they march in the San Francisco Gay Pride parade in 2014. Photograph: Noah Berger/Reuters

For progressive queer people, its also disheartening to see corporations like McDonalds and big banks marching in front of community groups.

Its ironic to walk alongside tech companies that have displaced us, said Isa Noyola, a transgender Latina activist and director of programs at the Transgender Law Center, which relocated from San Francisco to Oakland in 2013.

In addition to low-income queer people who can no longer afford to live in San Francisco, queer social justice groups and beloved gay bars have also struggled to stay in the city.

Its a shame, because you think about LGBT organizing in San Francisco … and its kind of disappearing little by little, said Noyola.

Andrew Jolivette, a 41-year-old gay man who was born in San Francisco and now lives in Oakland, said the citys Pride events and parade were a critical part of his upbringing and queer identity.

It really was a symbol. By the time I came out, it had all this new significance, said Jolivette, a professor at San Francisco State University. It felt like home.

But in recent years, hes stopped going to the Sunday parade.

Its basically commercial advertising everywhere, he said. It just seems like what Id call Gay Inc. Were just one more thing for people to purchase.

Each year, Jolivette said, the parade looks more and more like a carnival for straight people coming from outside of San Francisco. When it starts to feel like the straight people are outnumbering the queers, thats not a Pride parade to me, he said.

Anietie Ekanem, who runs a social media consulting firm, said it can be inspiring to see so many different groups celebrating LGBT people on Pride.

Marching together, youre feeling that real support, said Ekanem, 43.

But, Ekanem added, its important that wealthy corporations participating in the celebrations donate funds in a substantial way to marginalized groups and causes that most need the financial support.

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A float sponsored by Salesforce, a San Francisco-based firm, goes by. Photograph: Alamy

Last year, SF Pride said it distributed more than $166,000 to over 60 community groups.

Sam Singer, spokesman for SF Pride, said he expected attendance would swell this year due to the tragedy in Florida.

Many people have contacted SF Pride to say they are coming this year in solidarity with those who lost their lives in the Orlando terrorist attack, he said, adding that corporate sponsors have become an essential part of the parade.

It wouldnt be Pride without the individuals, without the community groups, and without the corporate sponsors.

  • This article was amended on 26 June to reflect that Katy Birnbaum skipped the Pride festival but attended the morning parade.

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Facebook Lite hits 200M users as low-bandwidth world revenue skyrockets

Facebooks stripped-down but speedy Lite app is growing fast and adding countries so it can keep connecting people and building the companys business in the low-bandwidth world where revenue increased 52% this year.

facebook-liteFacebook Lite launched in June 2015, it rocketed to 100 million monthly users by March 2016, and now its doubled in size to 200 million users, Mark Zuckerberg says. And thats just in a limited set of countries which today expands to include Israel, Italy, United Arab Emirates, and South Korea.

MeanwhileCOO Sheryl Sandberg points outthe app now lets businesses manage their Pages.

Facebook Lite is partly why the social giant has managed to boost its business in the Rest Of World region. Average revenue per user is up 28% this year from $1.10 to $1.41. And that pushed its Rest Of World revenue up 52% this year to $839 million per quarter. By making it enjoyable for users to sign up and spend more time on Facebook even with a weak network connection, Facebook is starting to make money in places other apps dont.

For example, Snapchats bandwidith-heavy video-first app earned just $7.8 million off 39 million daily users in the Rest Of World region all year and unlike Facebook, Snap includes Asia Pacific in Rest Of World. The startup cited how it grows much better it countries with high-bandwidth.

But rather than wait for the developing worlds network infrastructure to increase bandwidth, Facebook shrunk its app into a Lite version.

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The right to read anonymously is in danger

Reading used to mean translating symbols on the page to ideas in your brain. But now? Even as you extract semantic value from these words on your screen, you are being read. You are now an open book.

“The future of anonymous reading… very much in jeopardy,” Alison Macrina of the Library Freedom Project told me recently.

We all know (or should know) by now that the government is watching and recording everything we read online. The Edward Snowden docs made that clear. What many fail to realize, however, is that this spying extends to the books we read as welleven into one of the last bastions of democracy, public libraries.

Libraries have long since abandoned paper-based record keeping in favor of digital borrowing records, which are vulnerable to hacking or government demands for data. But librarians are fighting back.

Libraries have long since abandoned paper-based record keeping in favor of digital borrowing records.

“Thanks to the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act , libraries decided en masse to start purging those records,” Macrina said. “If the information is not kept, it cannot be subpoenaed by something like a National Security Letter.”

“The harder thing of course is to keep records of digital resources safe, she added, which is not just an issue of their data trails within the library, but the fact that many of those digital resources are negotiated through third parties,” like Amazon, Adobe, and OverDrive.

Remember PRISM? The government need only issue Amazon a 702 FISA order to force the company to provide a real-time data feed, accompanied by a gag order.

Amazon of course denies this. When they became the last tech company in the Fortune 500 to issue a transparency report in 2015, their blog post insisted that “Amazon never participated in the NSAs PRISM program.” Waggish minds might wonder, if that’s the case then what NSA program did Amazon participate in? Indeed, the transparency report listed “0-249” national security requests received, which prompted ACLU technologist Chris Soghoian to tweet:

Know enough about what a person reads and you can sell them the next hot bodice-ripper or drone them to death for thought crime.

Seeds of hope sprout even as you, reading this, are read. Not a lot of hope, mind you. But some. Better than nothing. And that hope begins with a word that scares some people, a word associated more often with darkness or deepness (depending on how obscure or profound you prefer your metaphors), that provoke many to think of online drug markets, child pornographers, and, horror of horrors, Bitcoin: Tor.

Yes, Tor, and the other anonymity networks proposed and in development, offer a slim chance of blinding the panopticon and freeing us all from that open-air prison so fewstill!perceive hemming us in on all sides.

Tor, you think. Oh, right. What on earth would I want with that? What good does that do me?

Tor, you think. Oh, right. What on earth would I want with that? What good does that do me? Like I really want to wallow in the muck with a bunch of scummy child porno freaks and drug dealers. And Bitcoin! Ick.

The darky-deep deepy-darkness of Tor hides not just creepy criminals but also, and rather more importantly, it hides your lawful activity from the prying eyes of the creepy criminals in the national surveillance state. Cause quite frankly what books I read is none of the government’s fucking business. Especially not if we want to continue calling ourselves a free society.

Three recent experiments offer a path of resistance. The aptly-named Library Freedom Project is installing Tor servers in libraries to contribute bandwidth to the Tor network, and encouraging libraries to install Tor Browser on library computers, so patrons can read anonymously.

The Torist in January launched the deepy-dark web’s first literary magazine, hosted on a Tor hidden service, and accessible only over Tor at this onion address. (Full disclosure: The Torist’s first issue includes an excerpt of my anti-surveillance novel, The United States of Air.)

And Sci-Hub, “the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers,” now offers their growing stash of 47 million scientific research papers on their Tor hidden service (link requires Tor Browser to view). Because as one scientist argued, “Publishing science behind paywalls is immoral.”

Not just science. How can art, creativity, learning of any kind flourish under the withering gaze of cover-their-ass espiocrats and corporatist flacks intent on shilling the latest gizmo or gewgaw?

The pseudonymous editor of The Torist, GMH, said it best: “Acts of reading and learning are perhaps the most sacred that people perform on the Internet.”

These initiatives point the way toward recovery from our fallen state, but are no cure-all. Glittering content such as mine is nothing more than a lure to attract you: The prey. This is not a technical problem, but a business and political problem. Anonymity technology could eventually be deployed at global scale, but then how would websites make money?

Targeted advertising is the predominant business model of the Internet. Only by surveilling readersby reading readers in turncan advertisers achieve a satisfactory ROI. Absent such advertising revenue, many online publishers would go bankrupt.

No clear solution to this thorny problem has yet to emerge. That’s why libraries, funded by taxpayers and not subject to the whims of the market, may offer our best hope.

Indeed, Macrina remains optimistic that libraries are the future of anonymous reading.

“On the bright side, the push for privacy in libraries is growing exponentially,” she told me. “So many libraries are prioritizing privacy…that, to me, is the really exciting frontier of the future of anonymous reading…libraries providing information and training on anonymity tools so that they can help the public use and adopt them.”

J.M. Porup is a freelance cybersecurity reporter who lives in Toronto. When he dies his epitaph will simply read “assume breach.” Follow him on Twitter at@toholdaquill.

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Meet the man who made £1.5MILLION by blogging his way around every country on the planet (and he reveals how … – Daily Mail


Daily Mail

Meet the man who made £1.5MILLION by blogging his way around every country on the planet (and he reveals how …
Daily Mail
'As soon as I started making money online from blogging I decided to visit every country in the world, and it's been the most amazing journey imaginable. 'Other than being a footballer, which at about age 13 I knew was clearly not going to happen, I

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