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The Other Side of the News


Computer Beats Chinese Champion in Go

Tue, 23 May 2017 20:29:48 -0400

A computer defeated China's top player of the ancient board game Go on Tuesday, earning praise that it might have finally surpassed human abilities in one of the last games machines have yet to dominate. Google's AlphaGo won the first of three planned games this week against Ke Jie, a 19-year-old prodigy, in this town west of Shanghai. ... "For the first time, AlphaGo was quite human-like," Ke said. "In the past it had some weaknesses. But now I feel its understanding of Go and the judgment of the game is beyond our ability." ... Go is hugely popular in Asia, with tens of millions of players in China, Japan, and the Koreas. Google said a broadcast of Lee's 2016 match with AlphaGo was watched by an estimated 280 million people.(image)

Broken Promise: Trump Budget Cuts Social Security

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:31:59 -0400

President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal includes sweeping cuts to social spending for low-income Americans, including entitlement programs that the president promised to protect as a candidate, while boosting defense spending. ... The president also strongly opposed cuts to Social Security during the campaign, but the new budget would make cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance, which covered over 10 million recipients as of December 2015. It would save about $72 billion through changes to disability programs over the next 10 years. Asked about the discrepancy, [White House budget director Mick] Mulvaney suggested that the president intended his promises to apply only to retirement benefits. "If you ask 999 people out of a thousand, they'd tell you Social Security disability is not part of Social Security," Mulvaney said.(image)

Fox News is Morally Bankrupt

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:13:38 -0400

Max Boot, Foreign Policy: Although [Roger] Ailes had been pushed out of Fox News by the time of his death due to a raft of sexual harassment scandals and had no hand in the latest Seth Rich hoax, this is nevertheless the unfortunate culmination of his efforts to create an alternative news source. It was an ambition that I and many other conservatives sympathized with when Fox News went on the air in 1996. ... While not exactly "fair and balanced" -- Ailes always meant the channel's slogan to be taken with a wink and a nod -- Fox was supposed to provide some ideological balance within the larger media universe. That was a laudable ambition, but what Fox has become is far from laudable. Not only is it a toxic workplace where the harassment of women is rampant; it is also a no-fact zone.(image)

Trump Asked Intel Chiefs Deny Russia Collusion

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:33:35 -0400

Donald Trump asked two of the government's top intelligence chiefs to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, multiple current and former US officials confirmed to CNN Monday. Trump spoke to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers after then-FBI Director James Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion. Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President's request and refused to comply, the sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.(image)

Flynn to Plead Fifth, Not Cooperate with Senate

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:30:24 -0400

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he notifies a Senate panel that he won't hand over documents in the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The notification will come in a letter to the Senate Intelligence committee expected later Monday. The person providing details spoke on condition anonymity in order to discuss private interactions between Flynn and the committee. Flynn's decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn's personal documents. Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so. Flynn has previously sought immunity from "unfair prosecution" to cooperate with the committee.(image)

Roger Waters to Release New Album at 72.

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:32:45 -0400

Before he agreed to produce Roger Waters' first album in 25 years, Nigel Godrich had some hard words to say to the ex-Pink Floyd frontman. "I told him what I thought of some of his earlier (solo) stuff," said the studio wizard behind Radiohead, who has been dubbed the "sixth member" of the British band. Godrich didn't mince his words with his boyhood hero. "He made some records that were impenetrable. I can't listen to them -- I turned them off," he told AFP. ... But rather than punch him in the mouth, the famously combative Waters, now 72, hired him. "He got it," said Godrich, who claimed that Waters' powerful new album, "Is This The Life We Really Want?" is a "reaffirmation of him as a truly great songwriter".(image)

Infamous LSD Chemist Nicholas Sand Dies

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:30:58 -0400

"I was floating in this immense black space," [Nicholas Sand] recalled in the documentary The Sunshine Makers released in 2015. "I said, 'What am I doing here?' And suddenly a voice came through my body, and it said, 'Your job on this planet is to make psychedelics and turn on the world.'" Like Moses receiving the tablets, Sand took this commandment to heart. After being trained by the lab partner of Owsley Stanley, America's premier LSD chemist, he set about producing vast quantities of the purest LSD on the market. His most celebrated product, known as Orange Sunshine for the color of the tablets it came in, became a signature drug of the late 1960s. ... Sand died on April 24 at his home in Lagunitas, California. He was 75. The cause was a heart attack, said Gina Raetze, his longtime companion, who uses the name Usha, which she adopted as a follower of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.(image)

Democrats Don't Need Trump Voters to Retake House

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:33:45 -0400

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight: Stop me if you've seen a headline (or five) that proclaims something along the lines of: "Most Trump voters still support Trump." Typically, the article includes quotes from Trump voters in Pennsylvania or Michigan. Sometimes it revolves around polling showing people don't "regret" voting for Trump. The takeaway is usually: Trump still has the support of his base, which means Democrats haven't cracked the Trump nut yet. But here's the thing: Democrats don't need to crack that nut by 2018; Trump can hang on to most -- if not all -- of his base, and Democrats could still clean up in the midterm elections.(image)

Trump: I Never Said 'Israel' (No One Said You Did)

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:33:02 -0400

Steve Benen, MSNBC: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, standing alongside the American president earlier, was asked at a brief press conference if he has any concerns about intelligence cooperation with the United States. He said he did not. At that point, the leaders were poised to be whisked off to their next event, but [President] Trump stopped everyone because he had something to declare: "Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel.' Never mentioned that during that conversation. They were all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word 'Israel.'" To put it mildly, that's not what Trump was supposed to say. The controversy was about the American president giving Russians highly sensitive intelligence that he was supposed to keep secret. Whether he also gave Russians the source of the intelligence isn't important. Many of us heard rumors that Israel provided us with the information, but it's a tangential issue.(image)

Fox News Staffers: Hannity is Embarrassing Us

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:00:48 -0400

Fox News staffers are growing increasingly dismayed as network star Sean Hannity and others continue to promote the unfounded conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered last year for talking to WikiLeaks. The Daily Beast spoke to nearly a dozen reporters, pundits and hosts inside Fox News who all conveyed the same sentiment: Hannity is "embarrassing" the network, and the promotion of the Rich conspiracy theory is senselessly cruel to a grieving family.(image)

Bond Actor Roger Moore Dies

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:48:21 -0400

Roger Moore, who starred in the iconic James Bond franchise in the 1970s and '80s, has died after a "short but brave battle with cancer," his family announced. He was 89. In 1973, Moore began his seven-film run as Bond, starring in Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun and Moonraker through his final film in the role, A View to a Kill. But he credited his predecessor Sean Connery as the definitive version. Moore wrote in a 2012 book, "Sean was Bond. He created Bond. I always said Sean played Bond as a killer, and I played Bond as a lover."(image)

Wider Laptop Ban on Flights 'Off the Table'

Tue, 23 May 2017 09:32:05 -0400

Discussions over keeping laptops and large electronics out of more U.S.-bound flight cabins ended yesterday without an agreement to widen the ban. In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security barred U.S.-bound passengers from 10 airports from taking any electronics larger than a cell phone onto planes. The U.K. instituted a similar ban, but it covered whole countries rather than specific airports. Earlier this month, CBS News reported talks were underway about expanding the laptop ban to cover flights between the U.S. from Europe. That would have affected a massive number of travelers, since about 65 million passengers per year travel between Europe and North America on some 400 daily flights.(image)

Ivanka Praises Saudis; Saudis Make $100 Million Donation

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:36:35 -0400

Ivanka Trump has praised the progress of women's rights in Saudi Arabia after the country and the United Arab Emirates pledged to donate $100 million to the first World Bank's global project for women entrepreneurs. ... "The need to empower and engage women transcends borders and cultures. Whether in the United States or in Saudi Arabia, women play a critical role in a movement that unites us all," she said. "The need to empower and engage women transcends borders and cultures. Whether in the United States or in Saudi Arabia, women play a critical role in a movement that unites us all," she said.(image)

White House Keeps Ex-Lobbyist Waivers Secret

Mon, 22 May 2017 23:32:50 -0400

The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government's top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose any ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists who have work in the White House or federal agencies. The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.(image)