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Arizona woman's murder conviction, death sentence overturned

Arizona woman's murder conviction, death sentence overturned | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A federal judge overturns an Arizona woman's murder verdict and death sentence after noting a police detective's history of "misconduct" and lying under oath.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I wonder if the DA in this case shouldn't be in jail. Certainly sounds like the cop should be. One can only imagine one scene in that interrogation room: a horny and inappropriate cop demanding sex and then punishing the woman who said no. Even if he was just being an SOB, there is no excuse, but I can't stop imagining that scene.

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The N.J. Theme Park Where Backhoe Dreams Come True

The N.J. Theme Park Where Backhoe Dreams Come True | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Can kids in bulldozers cure the construction worker shortage?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If I still lived in New York, I would be taking kids to this great sounding amusement park. There are way too few kids learning how to operate heavy equipment. Partly, that's because it's hard and dirty work, but the shortage of equipment handlers is due to schools that encourage books over doing and college over apprenticeships. Meanwhile, the infrastructure needs trained hands as does the construction industry to say nothing of the military. As a grandparent, I played digger and trains with my grandson. Who knows, maybe that should be his future not just his past. 
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Trump administration drops human rights in Bahrain F-16 deal

Trump administration drops human rights in Bahrain F-16 deal | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Trump administration drops human rights in Bahrain F-16 deal
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So we can keep up with the times: The Republicans are now the party that is ignoring human rights issues when it comes to weapons sales and the US continues to sell weapons to Muslim countries in which civil war is likely. Yep, lots of great news here because Lockheed-Martin is going to make a shitload of money. Mind if I don't celebrate? Mind if I point out that once again we are supporting autocracy over liberty? Don't get me wrong, Bahrain isn't the worst country we could be doing weapons deals with, but it sure isn't the best either. 
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Iran says Russia can use its military bases 'on case by case basis'

Iran says Russia can use its military bases 'on case by case basis' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia could use Iranian military bases to launch air strikes against militants in Syria on a "case by case basis."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Iran has developed a very intelligent way to deal with Russia. Pragmatic with clear goals to be won for both. While the US blusters and over-commits, this is how coalitions actually work. Of course, Tehran is dealing with the Russian Bear, and that's always a bit dangerous, bit at least they have the right idea how to do it. I think we're going to see Russia doing a lot of this kind of dealing with other Middle Eastern countries. Besides shoring up Moscow's connection with the Muslim world and helping to cut off ISIS with its connections to Russia's own vast Islamic population, this will give Russia opportunities to develop business ties with those countries. On the other side, besides beating ISIS, which many Muslim countries both Sunni and Shia want to do, this gives them clout to bring to bear against their own dissidents and those on their borders. Russia is now seen as a reliable ally even to those who don't like Assad. The US on the other hand is seen as very unreliable. Sorry, America, but Washington is losing the diplomatic war. Just one more way we have stopped being number one. 
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Goodbye, Islamic State. Hello, Anarchy.

Goodbye, Islamic State. Hello, Anarchy. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Goodbye, Islamic State. Hello, Anarchy. « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As Mosul demonstrates so clearly, the American invasion of Iraq left exactly the kind of power struggle that Joe Biden had warned against and the George H W Bush had been so aware of. Worse, we look at Libya and Afghanistan and see the same kind of fractioning of a country. While much of the blame goes for this chaos goes back before the American era to the colonists who created artificial national governments and borders, quite simply the US and its allies under George W. Bush and in Libya under Obama simply ignored the realities of division. Now in all three countries the question is how to put Humpty Dumpty back together. In Afghanistan the answer is probably to allow the Pashtun to rule, which means the Taliban. In Iraq it may mean division into three or more countries. In Libya it may mean allowing the emergence of a new strongman. 

So has America learned anything from all this? I fear not as we attack in Yemen and put boots on the ground in Syria. Instead, we try to convince ourselves that the chaos is nor of our making and that somehow it reflects societies and beliefs less worthy than our own. What fools we have become. 
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China air quality got markedly worse in Jan-Feb: ministry

China air quality got markedly worse in Jan-Feb: ministry | Upsetment | Scoop.it
China's air quality was markedly worse in the first two months of the year than the same period of 2016 following a series of smog outbreaks in northern China, official data published on Friday showed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
China, still very dependent on coal, is trying desperately to solve its pollution problems but there are still way too many days when the skies look like this. One answer is to cut back on the use of coal, just as it has been and continues to be an answer in the US and other countries. There is no such thing as clean coal. 
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In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video)

In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video) | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The ruling could bring major benefits to students with disabilities – especially those with 'individualized education programs,' or IEPs.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Often during my professional career as a psychologist I found myself dealing with school systems. Sometimes they wanted what was best for kids and worked diligently towards those goals. Sometimes they wanted to avoid costs and go with a one-size-fits-all special ed placement. A few wanted what was best for the child but had rather bizarre notions of what that meant, i.e. endless hours of reading instruction for the severely dyslexic depriving them of other studies and activities. Now, in a time of decreased funding for almost everything, the court says schools should in effect look to optimize the child's potential in a meaningful way. I love that but wonder how out of step the reality will be with the anti-tax sentiment of Americans and particularly the GOP and the current POTUS. What do you think, will this actually mean better education for kids with special needs?
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No Charges In Death Of Inmate After Forced Prison Shower

No Charges In Death Of Inmate After Forced Prison Shower | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Witnesses said Darren Rainey was cooked alive by water "hot enough to brew a cup of tea."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The Constitution is very clear that there should not be cruel and inhuman punishment. Of course, when that document was written, it wasn't considered to apply to a black schizophrenic. So, did these guards knowingly harm Mr. Rainey or were they just trying to punish him in a reasonable way? Which version of the events do you believe? My guess: were Mr. Rainey's skin a different hue, he would not have died in that shower. But, then, if his skin were a different hue, he probably would have had a better chance in life. Instead of self-medicating on meth, he might have received treatment. Instead of being locked in a soulless prison, he might have been in a treatment center or group home. We cannot necessarily know, but cases like this remind us that there is still much that must be done to provide better care for all Americans. 
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Russia underplayed losses in recapture of Syria's Palmyra

Russia underplayed losses in recapture of Syria's Palmyra | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Russia's force in Syria has suffered losses since late January more than three times higher than the official toll, according to evidence gathered by Reuters, a tally that shows the fight in Syria is tougher and more costly than the Kremlin has disclosed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While the numbers of Russians dying in Syria in no way equals the number of Syrians, this story reminds us that great power interventions in the affairs of other nations always have a cost. That is why it would be best there must be such international engagement that it should be done by coalitions and with broad consensus so we all avoid the waste of life and share what costs we must face. When George H.W. Bush took us into Iraq, he understood that coalition and mutual agreement were crucial. Since then, both the US and Russia have forgotten that lesson. In the end, be it America or the Great Bear, neither country should be trying to run the Middle East. Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya: the list of fool's errands goes on. I think John Kerry understood the limits of power, perhaps because he served in the debacle of Vietnam. Hopefully, the Trump administration is going to figure this out soon as they are already ramping up America's boots on some bloody ground. 
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The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard Of

The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard Of | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard Of « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, is watching. Using thermal imagery, satellites, and drones, it can watch us all, not just the world abroad but Americans as well. Forget about cctv on crime shows, this is the biggest brother of them all. Nobody is talking about it, but the future of freedom is welded to the control of technology. A War on Terror can easily be morphed into a war of crime and drugs and then into a war on dissidents. Perhaps it is my paranoia, but I fear for the freedoms I love. I'm not so worried for myself; that's an advantage of older age to not have to fret so much about the future. However, I worry a great deal about what will happen to our children and grandchildren. Do you worry with me?
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Trump Refuses to Shake Hands With Angela Merkel, and It’s Very Awkward

Trump Refuses to Shake Hands With Angela Merkel, and It’s Very Awkward | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The extremely mature president never forgets a slight.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again Mr. Trump insults an ally. Can America afford somebody with so little social skill as POTUS? Can the rest of the world afford to deal with us when we have such a president? Have we become the naughty ADHD boy in the classroom of the earth? For my part, I'm embarrassed by such boorish behavior but I'm willing to listen to anyone who wants to defend this. 
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US Army gets world record-setting 60-kW laser

US Army gets world record-setting 60-kW laser | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The U.S. Army is taking delivery of a 60 kilowatt-class laser from Lockheed Martin as the company wraps up demonstrations of the capability.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While Russia is cutting her defense budget, the US military gets stronger and stronger. Of course, to hear the GOP talk about it we need new weapons because Mr. Obama allowed our military to go unfunded. So here's a nice laser to cut through that crap. Do we need more and better weapons? Possibly, but mostly what we and the rest of the world needs is more peace. How soon will it be that the Military-Espionage-Industrial complex will insist that we have to deploy these "death-ray" trucks which means we'll need a war to use them in. Someplace with good terrain for vehicles and not too much cover. I can see deployment in much of the Middle East or perhaps Iran. Yep, got to use our toys. Let's see how that goes.
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Obamacare repeal could hurt rural areas — a key Trump constituency - The Boston Globe

Obamacare repeal could hurt rural areas — a key Trump constituency - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In Nebraska, Kentucky, and even some parts of rural New England, the issues surrounding health care are unique: a lack of competition for marketplace insurance, a population that trends older and poorer, employers who are less likely to provide insurance options, and a ravaging opioid addiction epidemic.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While the GOP sold the farmers on the idea that the free market was better for them than the "socialist" policies of the Obama administration and the Democrats, they didn't point out that that free market was not going to necessarily help them keep their health insurance, their postal deliveries, their community arts centers, their local colleges, for many their food stamps and their kids' school lunches, their country agricultural agents—a list of the things I see now at risk—or so many other things that have been funded from Washington. In the end, how many of the people who voted for the GOP are going to find out that they shot themselves in the foot? What do you think? Anybody think the average guy in the rural areas will be better off? I want to hear from you, too. 
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Trump to Lay Wreath on Andrew Jackson's Grave - Indian Country Media Network

Trump to Lay Wreath on Andrew Jackson's Grave - Indian Country Media Network | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Donald J. Trump is slated to lay a wreath on the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in honor of the late president's birthday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wonder if he'll next visit the Little Big Horn and declare it a US Army victory. Clearly, between this and Trump's position on the Dakota pipeline our Native American brothers and sisters do not have a friend in this White House. 
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China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump’s Move to Undo Policies

China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump’s Move to Undo Policies | Upsetment | Scoop.it
For years, the United States pushed China to commit to limiting its use of fossil fuels. The countries now look likely to switch roles.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know that many Trump supporters riled against what they saw as America's growing internationalism, by which they seemed to mean a growing commitment to following the rules and conventions created at an international level particularly through the United Nations. Ignoring the fact that most of those efforts represented not initiative from abroad but ideas started in the US, they saw such international agreements as attacks on American sovereignty. The current administration certainly seems to be in tune with those American-first-and-only values. This will, of course, leave our competitors, especially Russia and China, free to take the lead. As the world gets smaller and more interdependent, only Trump hotels and weapons sales any longer seem to brag made in America. 
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Russia’s General Staff blasts US-led coalition for destroying Syrian infrastructure

Russia’s General Staff blasts US-led coalition for destroying Syrian infrastructure | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Russian General Staff says the coalition delivers strikes on the quarters of Iraq’s Mosul where thousands of civilians stay besides the Islamic State’s militants
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Not surprisingly, Tass has a very different view of what is going on on the battlefield than our American sources. They speak of both the success of their efforts in Syria and the failure of the coalition in Iraq and in Syria, but more importantly, they speak to the destructiveness of the American approach of bombing infrastructure like that near Raqqa, Syria. Since we never hear from the US military about such attacks on bridges, dams, and the like, I wonder whether we have taken to creating such damage and if so what the consequences will be for the people of Syria and Iraq and particularly cities like Raqqa and Mosul in Iraq once ISIS is driven back. Saddam had predicted the chaos that would follow his overthrow, and so far he has certainly been right. What he didn't perhaps realize was that it would bring out the worst thinking in America and perhaps the most strategic in Russia.
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Italy sex case dropped because woman 'did not scream' - BBC News

Italy sex case dropped because woman 'did not scream' - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Italy's justice minister is investigating the Turin judge's decision, which has caused outrage.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What is sufficient resistance from a woman to call it rape? She didn't say "no," and she didn't scream for help, but she did say, "enough." Is that enough? How much should the previous abuse experienced by a victim be taken into consideration when evaluating her testimony? Does a history of childhood abuse make it more difficult for the victim to protest vigorously or to shout. "NO!"? We may never know the full truth, but sexual violence is not acceptable in the modern world. 
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White artist’s Emmett Till painting sparks protest at Whitney Museum

White artist’s Emmett Till painting sparks protest at Whitney Museum | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An abstract painting of lynching victim Emmett Till on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was the subject of a weeklong protest by a black artist who decried the canvas as "an injustice to the black community" because it was painted by a white woman.

Parker Bright spent several days this week standing in front of the painting by Dana Schutz, who used historic photographs as inspiration for her depiction of Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy killed by white men in Mississippi in 1955.





Till's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral to show the world the mutilated body of her son, and Jet magazine published photos of his corpse. The brutality sparked outrage that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

In an interview published Thursday in Artnet News, Schutz said that when she made the painting last year, it was a response to "a summer that felt like a state of emergency."

"There were constant mass shootings, racist rallies filled with hate speech, and an escalating number of camera-phone videos of innocent black men being shot by police," she said. "The photograph of Emmett Till felt analogous to the time: what was hidden was now revealed."

Bright, who engaged onlookers in conversations about "Open Casket," argued in a Facebook Live video that "Schutz doesn't have the privilege to speak for the black people as a whole or for Emmett Till's family."

"No one should be making money off a black dead body," he said, demanding that the curators remove the painting from the biennial exhibition.

Bright's protest found supporters online. A Berlin-based British artist, Hannah Black, sent the biennial curators a letter lambasting Schutz for using "black pain as raw material." She called on the museum to destroy the painting.

Whitney curators Mia Locks and Christopher Y. Lew, both Asian American, defended their inclusion of Schutz's "unsettling image" in the show.

"By exhibiting the painting we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this extremely consequential and solemn image in American and African American history."

Locks said any attempt to shut down a conversation about art "is a dangerous and slippery slope and feels to me like an affront to the belief in art and the capacity of art to hold all those complexities."

Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney museum's chief curator, said the museum took pains to publicly acknowledge the controversy.

Schutz, who didn't respond to interview requests from The Associated Press, said in a statement provided by the museum that "Open Casket" was an effort to "engage with the loss."



"I don't know what it is like to be black in America. But I do know what it is like to be a mother. Emmett was Mamie Till's only son. I thought about the possibility of painting it only after listening to interviews with her," she wrote.

She dismissed accusations of trying to profit from Till's killing, pledging that the painting "was never for sale and never will be."

The controversy was the subject of false news reports. Several websites circulated a bogus letter purporting to be from Schutz calling for the painting to be removed.

Whitney patron Robyn Autry, an African-American professor of sociology who came to see the painting from Connecticut, said viewing it was painful because of the subject material, but "artists can do what they want. That has to be the case. But then people will respond to it however they will respond to it."

Elias Schultz, a 20-year-old student from New York, said it's important to let everyone be heard.

"I don't think that Schutz is doing any harm by bringing more attention to the story of Emmett Till," she said.

The 2017 Whitney biennial exhibition is on view until June 11. It features the work of 63 individuals and collectives, about half of whom are female artists and about half are non-white.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, I think this a strong painting and one that reminds us of a very serious issue, not just in American history but also in our current social climate. Second, I think it racist for a Black person to say that Whites cannot speak to the Black experience. Such an attitude would only deepen the racial chasm in America. I certainly include people of all races and ethnicities in my writing and believe that "we are all more nearly human than otherwise". What do you think? 
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What role will Crimean Tatars play in Russian-Turkish relations?

What role will Crimean Tatars play in Russian-Turkish relations? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Observers wonder just how far Turkey is willing to stick out its neck to support Crimean Tatars during its quest to further reconcile with Russia.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One reason I think the US should be more open to Russ playing her hand in Syria and other pars of the Middle East is that inevitably that will bring Moscow into conflict with the bigger players in that region. Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia: all have a stake in the game and the capacity to make mischief for the Bear. Turkey is certainly prepared to push the cause of Ukraine far more clearly than the EU or the US are. Instead of trying to build our controlled coalition, perhaps it's time to let a coalition develop in opposition to Russia just as one is developing against ISIS. Maybe America doesn't have to manage the world. 
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Do You Live Near Toxic Waste? See 1,317 of the Most Polluted Spots in the U.S.

Do You Live Near Toxic Waste? See 1,317 of the Most Polluted Spots in the U.S. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Hazardous waste sites are scattered all across the country. See a map showing where these "Superfund sites" are near you
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While Mr. Trump proposes cutting the EPA, there are so many places in America still in need of clean-up. Many of them are directly connected to the military and many others to mining. Check out the interactive map in the original article of find out what poison is near you.

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Here’s Why the U.S. Is Banning Larger Electronics on Some Overseas Flights

Here’s Why the U.S. Is Banning Larger Electronics on Some Overseas Flights | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The new U.S. ban on carry-on electronic devices on some international flights has raised many questions. Here's what you need to know
Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, detonating a bomb in the baggage hold of a plane is not that difficult. Second, the screening in airports requires competent and motivated screeners; is the US government telling us that in these "dangerous" places there will be great difficulty in finding somebody to slip contraband onboard a plane? PLEASE! Let me offer a different reason for this strange new travel restriction. 

     It has to do with the travelers and with getting them to fly on American carriers. Most of those who will be affected by this rule are business people, many of whom flying First or Business Class. Most of whom using their computers to make money and certainly unhappy at the thought of all that down-time. Also unhappy at the thought that their personal and especially business data might be out of sight and vulnerable. 

     What are they to do? They want to get to the US and England for business, but how to get there with computers in hand? Of course, they can fly to say Amsterdam or Frankfurt and change planes to the US. Then they can carry those precious computers on both flights. And, it just happens that the major American and British carriers offer just such connecting services while the national carriers of the countries that were named—many of them long-standing allies—do not. 

     Would the US government do something so blatant to assist American airlines? You bet it would. 
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How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline

How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline | Upsetment | Scoop.it
INC Christianity aims for nothing less than transforming all sectors of society
Kenneth Weene's insight:
For some time I have been talking about Reconstructionist Theology and its threat to America. Here we go again. Same shit, different name. Religious freedom doesn't mean the same thing as religious values at the heart of government. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu: I don't care what faith it is, I have no wish to live in a theocracy. Do you? 
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Tillerson rejects talks with North Korea on nuclear program - The Boston Globe

Tillerson rejects talks with North Korea on nuclear program - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The secretary of state ruled out opening negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Should we try to negotiate with Pyongyang? Can we insist that N. Korea give up its nuclear weapons, especially given our history of overthrowing regimes we don't like? How much of Kim Jong-un's weapons development is bluster and how much is his major international business? Selling guns, missiles, and the like aren't just an American industry. And, of course, in the end, we have the question that has dogged us since Truman first dealt with the North's invasion of the South and MacArthur overstepped the clear boundaries that Beijing had set in a message sent via the Indian government: What will China accept without getting militarily involved? 

What would I do? Certainly not rule out discussion and diplomacy. I would, however, tie economic deals with China to North Korean behavior. Quite simply by upping the cost of Chinese goods in the states and lowering the prices for goods from India, we can bring pressure on Beijing. The economy of China has been slowing and that of India booming. Vietnam is another competitor for the Chinese with whom we can possibly work. How to raise those prices? Well, for one by pressuring American businesses like Walmart to do so by offering them other options. Another method would be to utilize banking fees. Perhaps even raise the cost of docking ships that come from China bearing goods but are not going back with equal amounts to sell there. Once China decides that N. Korea is too expensive, we may see a real change. At least that's where I would start. How about you, any ideas? 
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The Harmless-Sounding Phrase That Is Terrible for All Women

The Harmless-Sounding Phrase That Is Terrible for All Women | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Find out why Karen Rinaldi thinks calling men "good guys" reveals sexism and is damaging to women.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I found this piece very thought provoking. Do we too often excuse the bad behavior of men because we think that underneath they are good guys while holding women to a higher standard? Do I too often excuse my own moments of nasty behind that same kind of rationalization? Does testosterone give men an excuse that women are denied? What do you think? 
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The Increasing Significance of the Decline of Men

The Increasing Significance of the Decline of Men | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Lower-income men in America are in a bad way. Would better child-care policies make a difference? The Trump family thinks so.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What do you think will help American men to find their way? Does the capacity to grow, adjust, and thrive start in the family? If so, what do we need to do to help our young men find themselves?
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More Than Half of People Who Got Obamacare Tax Credits Are Represented by GOP

More Than Half of People Who Got Obamacare Tax Credits Are Represented by GOP | Upsetment | Scoop.it
As House Republicans debate how to replace the Affordable Care Act, IRS data shows that many of their constituents benefit from tax credits.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the great mysteries of American politics is why do people so often vote against their own interests. Nowhere has that question been written more glaringly than in the last election, when working class whites and especially those approaching retirement voted strongly for the GOP, not just in the POTUS election but for the congress and local legislatures. This included many who were benefiting from Obamacare and other Democratic supported programs. Why? I think people were so afraid of what might come and who might get the advantage over them that they voted to protect themselves from those mythical strangers be they black, Hispanic, or Muslim. Sorry guys, you have met the enemy and he is standing in your mirror. 
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