Why You Need the Flu Shot Every Year – The New York Times

“This is because the virus changes, usually rendering the previous year’s vaccine partly or totally useless. And it’s no secret that the flu vaccine’s effectiveness falls well short of what scientists and public health officials would like to see. Yes, it reduces the severity of influenza infections and prevents thousands of deaths and hospitalizations every year, but nowhere near other recommended vaccines.

But why does the virus change so much every year? Why does the vaccine’s effectiveness vary so much? Here’s the explainer you’ve been waiting for.”

via Why You Need the Flu Shot Every Year – The New York Times

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‘Fake News’- Trump’s Obsession- Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen – The New York Times

“BRUSSELS — President Trump routinely invokes the phrase “fake news” as a rhetorical tool to undermine opponents, rally his political base and try to discredit a mainstream American media that is aggressively investigating his presidency.

But he isn’t the only leader enamored with the phrase. Following Mr. Trump’s example, many of the world’s autocrats and dictators are taking a shine to it, too.

When Amnesty International released a report about prison deaths in Syria, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, retorted that “we are living in a fake-news era.” President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, who is steadily rolling back democracy in his country, blamed the global media for “lots of false versions, lots of lies,” saying “this is what we call ‘fake news’ today.”

In Myanmar, where international observers accuse the military of conducting a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya Muslims, a security official told The New York Times that “there is no such thing as Rohingya,” adding: “It is fake news.” In Russia, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, told a CNN reporter to “stop spreading lies and fake news.” Her ministry now uses a big red stamp, “FAKE,” on its website to label news stories it dislikes.

Around the world, authoritarians, populists and other political leaders have seized on the phrase “fake news” — and the legitimacy conferred upon it by an American president — as a tool for attacking their critics and, in some cases, deliberately undermining the institutions of democracy. In countries where press freedom is restricted or under considerable threat — including Russia, China, Turkey, Libya, Poland, Hungary, Thailand, Somalia and others — political leaders have invoked “fake news” as justification for beating back media scrutiny.”

via ‘Fake News,’ Trump’s Obsession, Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen – The New York Times

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Trump- Israel and the Art of the Giveaway – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

 

I’m contemplating writing a book on the first year of President Trump’s foreign policy, and I already know the name: “The Art of the Giveaway.”

In nearly 30 years of covering United States foreign policy, I’ve never seen a president give up so much to so many for so little, starting with China and Israel. In both the Middle Kingdom and in the Land of Israel, Christmas came early this year. The Chinese and the Jews are both whispering to their kids: “There really is a Santa Claus.”

And his name is Donald Trump.

Who can blame them? Let’s start with Israel, every Israeli government since its founding has craved United States recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. And every United States government has refrained from doing that, arguing that such a recognition should come only in the wake of an agreed final status peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians — until now.

Today, Trump just gave it away — for free. Such a deal! Why in the world would you just give this away for free and not even use it as a lever to advance the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian deal?

Trump could have said two things to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. First, he could have said: “Bibi, you keep asking me to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. O.K., I will do that. But I want a deal. Here’s what I want from you in return: You will declare an end to all Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, outside of the existing settlement bloc that everyone expects to be part of Israel in any two-state solution.”

David Linday Jr:  Thank you Tom Friedman. What terrible losses this oaf is causing for the United States.  Here is comment that I endorse:

MGP

Frankfurt, Germany 15 hours ago

Your point that Trump does not see himself as president of the United States but only of those who elected him is so true. It is why, as you rightly point out, that he pursues policies that are not in the national interest, but which only serve to whip up sentiment among the shrinking group of folks who support him– increasingly the far right or alt-right. He will or should soon lose the support of those working class people who bet on him– destroying NAFTA, TPP and now passing this windfall tax bill for the rich, should disabuse them of the idea he ever was interesting in anyones welfare other than his own. The news from the US gets worse every day.

via Trump, Israel and the Art of the Giveaway – The New York Times

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Hunt Elephants to Save Them? Some Countries See No Other Choice – The New York Times

“Even where this conservation strategy seems to work, however, some critics question the contradiction inherent in hunting threatened and endangered species.

“Any trophy hunting of an endangered species is by definition unsustainable, as it cannot sufficiently contribute to the survival of the species to justify removing individuals from the population,” said Elly Pepper, a deputy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.”

via Hunt Elephants to Save Them? Some Countries See No Other Choice – The New York Times

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New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families – The New York Times

 

“SAN FRANCISCO — Few big technology companies have dared to create online products for boys and girls ages 13 and under.

But on Monday, Facebook introduced an app, called Messenger Kids, that is targeted at that age group and asks parents to give their approval so children can message, add filters and doodle on photos they send to one another. It is a bet that the app can introduce a new generation of users to the Silicon Valley giant’s ever-expanding social media universe.

In doing so, Facebook immediately reignited a furious debate about how young is too young for children to use mobile apps and how parents should deal with the steady creep of technology into family life, especially as some fight to reduce the amount of time their sons and daughters spend in front of screens. On one side are parents like Matt Quirion of Washington, who said Facebook’s snaking its way into his children’s lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

This is sick, and I couldn’t even read it all. Scanned, it doesn’t cover lots of new studies showing that social media is hurting our young people, causing alientation and depression. Frank Bruni wrote a brilliant piece on loneliness being an epidemic for college freshman. Facebook Friends won’t bring you dinner when your sick. A commentor to Bruni, a professor, wrote he felt sorry for his college students, all standing outside his class room every day, staring at their phones, unable or uninterested in interacting with each other. We remember when young people had more skills to interact with others. David blogs at TheTaysonRebllion.com, and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

via New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families – The New York Times

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Madeleine Albright: How to Protect the World From North Korea – The New York Times

“Turning Point: North Korea tests advanced ballistic missile technology.

When the two met in the Oval Office soon after the 2016 election, Barack Obama reportedly told Donald Trump that the Democratic Republic of North Korea, or D.P.R.K., would be the most serious national security challenge he would face as president. After a year of provocative missile tests, fiery rhetoric and dangerous brinkmanship, Mr. Obama’s warning has proved prescient.”

via Madeleine Albright: How to Protect the World From North Korea – The New York Times

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We’re All Part of Trump’s Show – by Brett Stephens – NYT

“If you want to understand the ways in which Donald Trump’s presidency is systematically corrupting the American mind, I have a book recommendation for you. It’s about Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The book is Peter Pomerantsev’s “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible.” It was published in 2014, and it brilliantly tells the story of the (Soviet-born) British author’s sojourn as a producer for Russian TV. As the title suggests, at its heart it’s the tale of the substitution of reality with “reality,” of factual truth with interpretive possibility.

That’s also the central task of Donald Trump’s presidency.”

Inconvenient News .Wordpress.com

“This is why there’s a Colosseum in Rome, and why public spectacle, theater, cinema, TV and now the internet have always been handmaids of dictators. In Russia, it’s all about casting the president as a bare-chested action hero, pumping out anti-Western conspiracy theories and serving up remakes of Western sitcoms and reality shows.

“The new Kremlin,” Pomerantsev notes, “won’t make the same mistake the old Soviet Union did: It will never let TV become dull.” Authoritarian dominion requires effective methods of mass distraction.

Trump isn’t a dictator, and his influence over media that isn’t Fox or Breitbart is negligible. But Trump does control his Twitter feed, with its 43.6 million followers. And he exerts a deeper level of control simply through his ability to bait hostile media at will with his every seemingly nutty utterance.The benefits, for Trump, are threefold: a political opposition that is exhausting itself — and much…

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Posted in Brett Stephens, Bullies and Scoundrels, Fake News, Russian Federation | Leave a comment

7 Best WordPress Backup Plugins Compared (Pros and Cons)

Creating regular WordPress backups is the best thing you can do for your website. Backups give you peace of mind and can save you in catastrophic situations when your site gets hacked or you accidentally lock yourself out. There are several free and paid backup plugins for WordPress, and most of them are fairly easy to use. In this article, we will show you the 7 best backup plugins for WordPress.

via 7 Best WordPress Backup Plugins Compared (Pros and Cons)

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Annie Baker’s Thanksgiving Retreat John Gives Ghosts Second Billing in Dallas – dmagazine.com

“A charming but spooky bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania hosts two young people struggling to hold their relationship together in a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Genius Annie Baker. On at Undermain Theatre through Dec. 10, John is set during the Thanksgiving holiday and positions its characters to contend with the mystical on top of everything else.

Audiences are welcomed into a run-of-the-mill tragic bed and breakfast, as the character Elias would say. Thousands of knick-knacks watch you from the walls and tables, but opera music and floral wallpaper from your grandma’s guest room warm it up just enough to stay in the physical present. And the characters never leave this one location, the intersection of private and public, the permanent and the temporary; that space between a home and a hotel that makes B&Bs so intriguing.”

“. . .  The quieter, more subtle eccentricities of Elly Lindsay’s inn mother Mertis are never overshadowed by Rhonda Boutté’s half-kooky, half-enlightened blind friend Genevieve. As for the couple, an off-kilter chemistry is key. Elias (Scott Zenreich) shuts down Jenny’s (Olivia de Guzman) playfulness as she tries to make their relationship work. He comes off as a lousy boyfriend but not a monster. The result is a believably unbalanced relationship; Elias’ rudeness and anger are overt. The very good reasons why Elias is so horribly unpleasant do nothing to make us like him more. Although, he makes us laugh.”

via Annie Baker’s Thanksgiving Retreat John Gives Ghosts Second Billing – D Magazine

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Review: John by Annie Baker | Undermain Theatre Open In Dallas now through Sun-Dec 10-2017

Review: John | Undermain TheatreOpen now through Sun, Dec 10
Next performance today at 7:30pm
John Who?
A rocky relationship crashes into a B&B stuffed with curios built over a bloody battlefield in Annie Baker’s ambitious, ambiguous John at Undermain Theatre.

by Martha Heimberg
published Wednesday, November 15, 2017

via Review: John | Undermain Theatre

My sister, Elly Lindsay, plays Mertis in this production, which has received rave reviews.

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