Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2016

4 days, 3 armies, 3 battles

Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell.

Waterloo? It could easily had been Ligny, Quatre-Bras. Or eventually called Mont Saint-Jean and Belle Alliance

It was Willington who spread the name of Waterloo, a quaint little village.

Army, corps (up to 30,000 members), divisions (5,000), brigades, battalions (500) and compamies

Wars are but open roads where chariots, canons and supplies can be moved and transported.

That’s why Quatre-Bras was strategic to hold

Quatre-Bras was the Carrefour of the transverse secondary road that cut the main route north to Bruxells. And Nap (the short name given by the British to napoleon) strategy was to split the two armies and prevent them from linking, giving him the time to eliminate one army at a time.

As Nap fled the tiny island of Elbe on February 26, 1814 on The Inconstant with a one thousand troop, he landed 2 days later on Golfe -Juan (between Cannes and Nice).

Most of his former 20 major officers had sworn allegiance to Louis 18 and were Not happy of this turn of events.

Soult was minister of war and Michel Ney vowed to bring Nap hand-cuffed to Paris. Marechal Berthier fled to Bavaria as Nap approached Paris: He was the main administrator and organizer of his armies and Nap relied on him.

Nap was Not only the most eminent military leader, but also the greatest administrator for raising and organizing armies. Within less than 100 days, Nap had a well trained and well equipped army, larger than any single army in Europe.

What Nap lacked was a highly qualified and loyal high command.

And it happened that during the campaign, Nap was sick, suffering and in pain.  While Wellington and von Blucher were seen among their soldiers and on the battlefield, Nap was unable to be present to guide and provide the necessary morale.

Soult and Ney had suffered major defeats by Wellington in Spain and Portugal (Battle of Bucaco) and were Not the proper army leaders for this campaign. And yet, sick and suffering Nap had to rely on Ney and Soult’. Nap considered Ney the most courageous among his officers but stupide enough to win a war.

The two most brilliant generals, Davout and Suchet, were Not part of the Army of the North.

Emmanual Grouchy was nominated marechal against the consent of Davout because he was a staunch aristocratic loyalist of the Ancient Regime.

Napoleon took the initiative to attack and split the Prussian and English armies before they join forces.

On June 15, the French troops advanced and occupied Charleroi, getting ready to defeat the Prussian army in Ligny, which was commended by Marshal Von Blucher. Blucher fell from his horse and was unconscious in the battle field. A Prussian officer covered the medal filled chest with a jacket in order to prevent the French from recognising the chief.

Later  this night, the Prussian retrieved the unconscious Blucher and whisked him away.

It was Blucher who decided that his retreating army regroup up north in Wavre to be closer to the British army (20 km away). Other wise, his second in command General Von Gneisenau was for retreating to the east, away from the British army.

In the mean time, Bonaparte had ordered Marshal Ney (10,000 infantry, 4,600 cavalry, and 35 canons) to take hold of Quatre-Bras immediately in order to prevent any British move toward Ligny.

Ney arrived on June 16, a day late from joining the army.

In the meantime, Gen Constant-Rebecque of the British army disobeyed the order to stay put at the town of Nivelles and advanced with 4,000 troops to take hold of Quatre-Bras.

Ney failed to obey the order and lingered a full day and night before deciding to capture this strategic position. Ney was fearful that Wellington will re-enact his tactic of Ruse Eculee of sheltering his hidden troops out of sight of the attacking cavalry as in Bucaco.

Nap dispatched the Corps I of Gen. Erlon (22,000 infantry, 1,700 cavalry and 46 canons) to strengthen the position of Quatre-Bras in the eventuality that Wellington might force his way to come to the rescue of von Blucher.

As Nap watched the Prussian army disbanding in Ligny, he wanted to believe that Quatre-Bras was in the bag. He ordered Gen. Erlon to swiftly move his troops and attack the right flank of the Prussian army and secure total destruction.

Gen. Erlon was very close to Quatre-Bras, but had to take the route to Ligny by order of Nap. Half way, Erlon was ordered by Ney to return to Quatre-Bras because he had difficulties there: Wellington had decided to send more troops to that location that prevented Ney of any quick victory.

General Erlon spent this critical Friday moving his corps between two battlefields, unsure which order to satisfy first. If he satisfied one of the orders, there would have been No Waterloo.

On Saturday, as Wellington was retreating from Quatre-Bras toward Mont Saint Jean, Ney refrained from pursuing the retreating army the entire morning. And Wellington managed to have all his troops safely implanted on Mont Saint Jean.

When Nap gave the order to go after Wellington’s retreating army, a monsoon kind of shower prevented the French troops to advance quickly in the mud.

On the morning of this crucial Saturday  of June 17, marechal Grouchy informed Nap that the Prussian army chose to move north to Wavre. Nap lingered most of the morning to reply to Grouchy (33,000 or the quarter of Nap’s army) . Thus, Grouchy knew where was the Prussian army but he avoided to nail it down.

Actually, Soult had ordered Grouchy to take Waver instead of cutting off the route for the 2 armies to join forces. Grouchy entered Wavre after the Prussian army had vacated it and was moving to join Wellington army. Before advancing to Wavre, Grouchy and his staff heard the firing of canons but, against the wishes of his officers to backtrack, he insisted on advancing to this futile city of Wavre.

On this Sunday, and 2 hours before sun down, Nap observed that the Prussians were already occupying a crest opposite Mont saint Jean and knew that before long their numbers will increase steadily. Nap spread the lie that what they are seeing are Grouchy troops and ordered an all out attack by the Imperial Guards.

Nap engaged his canons and the land was filled with fumes. The Guards reached the summit and engaged the British infantry and a slaughter-hood took place before the Guards retreated in total disarray within an hour of the attack.

And what happened to the injured soldiers?

The French surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey of the Imperial Guard had invented the flying ambulance. Special chariots with brancards were dispatched to the battle field and surgery were done here and there on the critically injured soldiers. The less critical cases were sent to a particular center in the battlefield to be treated.

Jean Larrey had discovered that the less the injured suffered from their wounds, the quicker they survived.

And what happened to the British injured soldiers? they were left for over 24 hours in the battlefield. Those who were transported to Bruxells were dropped on the streets for the inhabitants to care for them.

If you had to be a soldier, which army would you serve under?

In each of these main battles, over 20,000 soldiers were left dying on less than a square-mile of battlefield. Most of the injured would die from loss of blood or remain handicapped for the rest of their life: Nobody cared for them for 2 long days.

I contend that it was von Blucher who won the battle: Within 24 hours, he crossed all the obstacles in order to join the forces of Wellington. Otherwise, Nap would not hurry and take the gamble in the last hour to launch an all offensive attack with just 8 battalions of his Imperial Guards. 

Notes 1: After the Waterloo bloody “victory” where the British and the Prussians suffered more casualties than the French army, Wellington wrote to his brother William: “Never have I been so close to be beaten. It is the most despairing situation I found myself in.

“Wellington knew the value of Nap and had said: “The only presence of Nap in the battlefield added 40,000 soldiers to his army”. Once Nap passed away in 1821, Wellington said: “Thus, I am “now the living most recognized military man”. He was wrong: The Prussians had raised many more worthy generals in the meantime.

Note 2: If Nap had send just a corps to the city of Mons, Wellington would have never assembled his army to join the Prussian army: Wellington main concern was to leave the western front without any defences because the British army relied on its navy for all its supplies in men, cannon and livelihood.

Note 3: It was revealed later that Soult and Grouchy were working in tandem to committing conscious errors so that Nap would Not be able to claim total and crushing victory: They didn’t want an all powerful Nap in Paris.

Note 4: All the French officers went into exile and returned a year later totally absolved and even rewarded for their failures. Grouchy was whisked to the United States. Only Ney refused to go into exile and was executed by a firing squad.


Proofs of love (2002)

How do you want me to prove to you

That I’m in love with you?


You are not going to tell me, are you?


Admit that you don’t know.

Admit that you have no clue.

Say you need to be surprised

Of the many ways love is shown.


You say that you have no comments?


Say that you need to be in love.

I’ll make a deal with you.

I’ll stop all the trivial activities of living.

I’ll concentrate on thinking of you.

I’ll share with you my feelings.

I’ll share with you what I learned from being in love with you.

We’ll discover together the many ways love can be expressed.


Is it a deal?

Say you need to be in love and you need to start this adventure with me

Better Late than Never (1999)

You tell me that you injured me,

A long, long time ago,

And you are asking for my forgiveness.


Until now, I had forgotten your injury

Or I did not take your injury

Very harshly on myself.


I hope that, at one point in my life,

I will recall this past event and feel

Very bitter and angry.


I also hope then, to remember that

You have already asked to be forgiven,

And it will be granted.

Mateen had a troubled past. Why isn’t that the story?

Extremist angle dominates Orlando coverage despite CIA’s finding no links to Islamic State

Dribs and drabs of info on Mateen – alleged wife beater, in trouble since middle school – overwhelmed by terror talk

Last year’s Chattanooga shooting rare instance where shooter’s troubled past became story


Why gun violence can’t be our new normal

It doesn’t matter whether you love or hate guns; it’s obvious that the US would be a safer place if there weren’t thousands of them sold every day without background checks. (Why background check? Cannot you become violent just after you own a gun?)

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, makes a passionate, personal appeal for something that more than 90 percent of Americans want: background checks for all gun sales. “For every great movement around the world, there’s a moment where you can look back and say, ‘That’s when things really started to change,'” Gross says. “For the movement to end gun violence in America, that moment is here.”

Dan Gross. Gun-control activist

As president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Dan Gross seeks to cut US gun deaths in half by 2025. Full bio

OK, so, confession: I’ve always been weirdly obsessed with advertising. I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, paying more attention to the commercials than to the shows, trying to figure out how they were trying to get inside my head. Ultimately, that led me to my dream job. I became a partner at a big New York ad agency.

0:34 But then, all of that suddenly changed on February 23, 1997, when my little brother Matt was shot in the head in a shooting that happened on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

my family was thrown into the middle of a nightmare, being told that my brother was going to die, actually being given the opportunity to say goodbye to him, then several emergency brain surgeries and now what’s amounted, for Matt, to a lifetime spent courageously recovering from a traumatic brain injury. He is definitely my hero.

But as much as this tragedy was a nightmare for my family, I often think about how much worse it could have been; in fact, how much worse it is for the 90 families every day who aren’t as fortunate, who lose loved ones — brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents.

They don’t all make national headlines. In fact, most of them don’t. They go largely unnoticed, in a nation that’s kind of come to accept a disgraceful national epidemic as some kind of new normal.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.

So I quit my job in advertising to try and do something about this disgraceful national epidemic, because I came to realize that the challenges to preventing gun violence are actually the same ones that made me love advertising, which is to try to figure out how to engage people.

Only instead of doing it to sell products, doing it to save lives. And that comes down to finding common ground, where what I want overlaps with what you want. And you might be surprised to learn, when it comes to gun violence, just how much common ground there is.

Let’s look at people who love to hunt, a sport enjoyed by millions across the US. It’s a proud tradition. Families.

In some places, the first day of hunting season is actually a school holiday. What do hunters want? Well, they want to hunt. They love their guns. They believe deeply in the Second Amendment right to own those guns. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t common ground.

In fact, there’s a lot of it, starting with the basic idea of keeping guns out of dangerous hands. This isn’t about taking certain guns away from all people. It’s about keeping all guns away from certain people, and it’s the people that, it turns out, we all agree shouldn’t have guns: convicted violent criminals, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally ill. (By how much this check could reduce this disgraceful addiction?)

We can all appreciate how Brady background checks have been incredibly effective in keeping guns out of those dangerous hands.

In 20 years, Brady background checks at federally licensed firearm dealers have blocked 2.4 million gun sales to those people that we all agree shouldn’t have guns.

And whether you love guns or hate guns, you probably also appreciate that there shouldn’t be thousands of gun sales every day at guns shows or online without those Brady background checks, just like there shouldn’t be two lines to get on an airplane — one with security and one with no security.

And the numbers show the overwhelming agreement among the American public: 90 percent of Americans support expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales — including 90 percent of Republicans, more than 80 percent of gun owners, more than 70 percent of NRA members.

This is not a controversial idea. In fact, only six percent of the American public disagrees. That’s about the percentage of the American public that believes the moon landing was a fake.

 it’s also about the percentage that believes the government is putting mind-controlling technology in our TV broadcast signals. That’s the extent to which we agree about background checks. (But the facts are…?)

But what about the 300 million guns already out there in homes across America?

first, it’s important to realize that those guns are mostly in the hands and homes of decent, law-abiding people like you and me, who want what we all want — including keeping our families safe.

In fact, that’s why more and more people are choosing to own guns. Ten years ago, 42 percent of the American public believed — incorrectly — that a gun makes your home safer. Today, that number is 63 percent. (And that exactly the main problem: it is the society living in fear in an unstable system of equity and fairness)

Why? I kind of hate to say it, because it gets to the dark underbelly of advertising, which is if you tell a big enough lie enough times, eventually that lie becomes the truth. And that’s exactly what’s happened here.

The corporate gun lobby has spent billions of dollars blocking the CDC from doing research into the public health epidemic of gun violence; blocking pediatricians from talking to parents about the dangers of guns in the home; blocking smart-gun technology and other technology that would prevent kids from firing parents’ guns and would save lives. They’re desperate to hide the truth, because they view the truth as a threat to their bottom line.

And every day, people are dying as a result. And a lot of those people are children.

Every day in the US, 9 kids are just shot unintentionally. 900 children and teens take their own lives every year.

And here’s the thing: they’re almost all with a parent’s gun.

Even two-thirds of school shootings happen with a gun taken from the home, including the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook.

I meet so many of these parents; it’s the most heartbreaking part of my job. These are not bad people. They’re just living with the unimaginable consequences of a very bad decision, made based on very bad information that was put into their minds by very bad people, who know good and well the misery that they’re causing, but just don’t care. And the result is a nightmare — not only for families like mine, but for, really, at the end of the day, all of us.

 I’m not here to talk about the nightmare of gun violence. I’m here to talk about our dream, and it’s a dream we all share, which is the dream of a better, safer, future.

For my organization, for the Brady Campaign, that dream is reflected in the bold goal to cut the number of gun deaths in the US in half by 2025.

And I hope to leave all of you here tonight with a strong sense of exactly why that dream is so absolutely within reach. Because folks, for every great movement around the world, there’s a moment where you can look back and say, “That’s when things really started to change.” And I’m here to say that for the movement to end gun violence in America, that moment is here.

We are so clearly at a tipping point, because the American public has come together by the millions like never before, based on that common ground, to say, “Enough.”

Enough of the mass shootings in malls and movie theaters and churches and schools. Enough of the daily terror of gun violence in homes and streets that’s claimed the lives of women and young black men in staggering proportions. Enough of easy access to guns by the people that we all agree shouldn’t have them. And enough of a small group of craven politicians putting the interests of the corporate gun lobby ahead of the people they have been elected to represent. Enough.

And the really exciting thing is, it’s not just the usual suspects like me that are saying it anymore. It’s so much bigger than that. And if you want proof, let’s start where most conversations in the US seem to start — with Kim Kardashian.

8:53 (Laughter)

here’s the thing: it’s not really a joke. I mean, think about when issues change. It’s when they go from being political and advocacy issues to being part of pop culture, voices coming from everywhere, celebrities using their platforms, musicians, athletes.

The NBA has come forward. Conservative pundits that you never would have imagined have come forward. There’s real cultural change — I even hear there’s a TED Talk about it this year. That’s the extent to which this cultural change is happening. And yes, Kim Kardashian has made an unsolicited passionate appeal to her 35 million Twitter followers for expanded background checks.

Let’s look at the political elections that are heating up. This used to be the classic third-rail issue for Democrats. Couldn’t run from it fast enough. Now candidates are running on it. Some are being forced to reverse very bad positions they defended very comfortably, until very recently.

For somebody like me, watching people wave around their negative NRA ratings — it’s almost surreal to watch. We’re still outfunded, yes, by the corporate gun lobby, and ultimately that needs to change. But you know what? We’re smarter and we’re scrappier, and we have the truth on our side. And we’re on offense.

they say that the Internet democratizes information.

Social media and some of the organizing tools that plug into it have democratized activism. It’s allowed us to show what 90 percent support really looks like.

Sometimes I think of it — you know, we’re converging and attacking instantly by the millions, kind of like white blood cells. It’s enabled us to start to really close — and this is the bottom line — close that disgraceful disconnect between what the American public wants and what our elected leaders are doing about it.

Until recently, the narrative in Congress was that calls from the other side, from that six percent, outnumbered calls from our side 10 to one. We’re flipping that narrative on its head.

After that recent terrible tragedy in San Bernardino, we jammed Congressional switchboards. We put 15,000 calls into Congress in 24 hours. And you know what? We got a vote on a bill that nobody thought was going to see the light of day anytime soon.

We’re seeing real movement to repeal some of the most evil, ugly gun lobby legislation passed over the last dark decade. The stranglehold of the gun lobby is clearly being broken.

We’ve seen President Obama’s historic executive actions. They don’t go all the way, but they are going to save lives, because they expand Brady background checks to thousands of gun sales that didn’t have them previously. And we’re marching across the country — we’re not just waiting for Congress to act; that would almost be the definition of insanity. We’re marching across the country, state by state, marriage-equality style.

And you know what? We’re winning. Congress is almost always the last to wake up and realize that it’s on the wrong side of history. And when they do, it’s always because the American public shakes them. And that’s exactly what we’re doing right now, as we’re in this tipping point.

recently I was flying cross-country to give a speech to a large group like this, although far less intimidating, and the woman sitting next to me happened to be binge-watching one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Mad Men,” a period TV show about advertising in the 1960s.

And as I was trying to think about how to end my remarks, I’d glance up at her screen every now and then, and it seemed that every time I did, I’d see somebody smoking in an office or around children or while pregnant or drinking and driving or driving without seat belts or sexually harassing a coworker.

ultimately it dawned on me: what tremendous inspiration to those of us who have this dream to end gun violence. I mean, think about how much the world has changed in a relatively short period of time, how all those behaviors that were once considered commonplace or normal — some even glamorous or sexy — have become stigmatized in just a generation or two, once they became conversations about our common ground.

That is the magnitude of the change we have the potential to create around gun violence.

And that’s my dream, that maybe someday, some period TV show will depict the terrible nightmare of gun violence, and a future generation of children might only be able to imagine how terrible it must have been.

Brexit: what happens when Britain leaves the EU

Funny. Only after the vote do the British Google EU

Actually, very few European understand much about the procedures and processes of how the EU function.

Voters were in favor of Brexit: British exit from the European Union. That means that in the coming months, British and European leaders will begin negotiating the terms of Britain’s departure.

Britain’s exit will affect the British economy, immigration policy, and lots more.

It will take years for the full consequences to become clear. But here are some of the most important changes we can expect in the coming months.

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily shared this link

These seem to me like fairly accurate predictions – none of which look promising at all.

The process of leaving the EU will take years

A Brexit vote is Not legally binding, and there are a few ways it could theoretically be blocked or overturned. However, as the BBC notes, “it would be seen as political suicide to go against the will of the people as expressed in a referendum.”

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union establishes the procedures for a member state to withdraw from the EU.

It requires the member state to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to then try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with that state.

A Brexit vote, however, does not represent that formal notification. That notification could take place within days — for example, when EU member countries meet for a summit that is scheduled for June 28 to 29. Or British officials might wait a few months to pull the trigger.

Once Britain invokes Article 50, it will have a two-year window in which to negotiate a new treaty to replace the terms of EU membership. Britain and EU leaders would have to hash out issues like trade tariffs, migration, and the regulation of everything from cars to agriculture.

In the best-case scenario, Britain may be able to negotiate access to the European market that isn’t that different from what it has now. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it has agreed to abide by a number of EU rules in exchange for favorable access to the European Common Market.

British Prime Minister David Cameron didn’t want to hold a vote on Brexit at all.

But in 2014, he faced growing pressure from the populist right over immigration and Britain’s EU membership. To mollify dissenters in his own party and stop the rise of the far-right UK Independence Party, Cameron promised to hold a referendum on leaving the EU if his Conservative Party won the 2015 election.

The Conservatives surprised pollsters by winning an outright majority in Parliament, and Cameron kept his promise. But he wasn’t personally in favor of exiting the EU, and he campaigned vigorously for a “Remain” vote.

At the same time, he allowed other members of his government to campaign on the other side.

This created the spectacle of senior members of the UK government, from the same party, campaigning on opposite sides of one of the biggest issues in British politics in decades.

Not long after Thursday’s results became clear, Cameron announced that he would resign by October.

It’s unclear what will happen next, but one likely outcome will be for Cameron to be replaced by Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron’s Conservative Party and former London Mayor who campaigned for a Leave vote. It’s also possible that the Conservative Party will splinter so badly that no one is able to claim a parliamentary majority, forcing early elections.

Brexit will cause problems for Britain’s economy

In the short run, uncertainty about Britain’s future relationship with the EU, its largest trading partner, could push the UK into a recession. Friday saw huge market volatility.

The British pound lost 10 percent of its value in the hours after the polls closed on Thursday, and Britain’s FTSE 100 index lost 9 percent of its value in early Friday trading, before regaining much of the lost ground.

And that volatility reflects market worries about more severe consequences in the months ahead. With Cameron out of power, Britain’s prospects of negotiating a favorable deal with the EU could be weakened.

The EU may decide to strike a hard bargain to discourage other countries from leaving the EU. Or the UK’s new leader might not be willing to accept the kind of restrictions that come with a Norway-style deal.

And that could create serious problems for businesses based in the UK.

“If you are Nissan or some other car producer with major production in the UK, today, the same safety standards and environmental standards allow you to sell everywhere in the European market,” Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told me.

But if the UK leaves the EU, “you would no longer be able to sell into other European markets, not because you face a small tariff but because you’d have to go through another set of safety certifications. This kind of thing would be repeated in every industry you can think of.”

Critics say the economic effects could be large.

The UK government has estimated that exiting the EU could cause the British economy to be between 3.8 and 7.5 percent smaller by 2030 — depending on how well negotiations for access to the European market ultimately go. Other reports have found smaller but still significant impacts.

One of the most important and controversial achievements of the EU was the establishment of the principle of free movement among EU countries. A citizen of one EU country has an unfettered right to live and work anywhere in the EU. Both Britons and foreigners have taken advantage of this opportunity.

There currently are about 1.2 million Brits living in other EU countries, while about 3 million non-British EU nationals live in Britain. Thanks to EU rules, they were able to move across the English Channel with a minimum of paperwork. Britain’s exit from the EU could change that profoundly.

It’s possible, of course, that Britain could negotiate a new treaty with the EU that continues to allow free movement between the UK and the EU. But resentment of EU immigrants — especially from poorer, economically struggling countries like Poland and Lithuania — was a key force driving support for Brexit. So the British government will be under immense pressure to refuse to continue the current arrangement.

At a minimum, that would mean that people moving to or from Britain would need to worry about passports and residency rules. And it could mean that some British immigrants may lose their right to continue living and working in the UK and be deported.

“The withdrawal process is unprecedented,” a British government spokesperson said a few weeks ago. “There is a great deal of uncertainty about how it would work.”

Critics say Brexit could trigger a breakup of the UK

Kirkegaard told me last week that Brexit could also change the United Kingdom in a more fundamental way. It’s called the “United” Kingdom because it’s made up of four “countries” — England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. But if the United Kingdom votes to leave the EU, it may not stay united for very long.

Polls have shown that people in Scotland broadly support remaining in the EU. And the Scots in particular have never been entirely satisfied with English domination, as shown by the 44 percent of Scottish people who voted to make Scotland an independent country in 2014. They like having the UK be part of the EU in part because it provides a counterweight to English power within the UK.

Kirkegaard predicts that if the UK leaves the EU over the objections of voters in Scotland, it will strengthen the hand of separatists there. That could lead to an independent Scotland, which would most likely petition for admission to the EU in its own right.

But Brexit supporters dispute this analysis. They note that Scottish support for independence has waned in the two years since the Scottish vote — in part because falling oil prices have reduced the value of Scotland’s offshore oil fields. And British economist and economist Andrew Lilico, a Brexit supporter, told me last week that Brexit could actually strengthen Scottish loyalty to the UK.

“Scottishness as a political identity grows as Britishness withers,” he argues. “If Westminster is a middleman between Edinburgh and Brussels, they can cut out the middleman. But if Britain reestablishes itself, the Scots will increasingly see themselves as defined by a British identity again.”

White privilege?  What it mean to you? How about other colored privileges?

Under Our Skin grew out of conversations about how we at The Seattle Times cover race at a time when national and local events — the furor over police shootings, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, protests on college campuses and charged campaign rhetoric — dominate headlines.

In our newsroom, we’ve found ourselves talking more candidly about race and racism, subjects that simmer beneath the surface even when they’re not on the front page.

As a news organization, we’ve covered the local events as they’ve occurred, but we have a desire to probe the issues more deeply.

And there have been instances when our stories have caused offense or led to misunderstandings. This project is just one effort under way in the newsroom to do things differently.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Racism and white privilege are institutionalized in society

What do we mean when we talk about race – and what do others hear?

Discussions about race, inclusiveness and sensitivity clearly aren’t new. They can leave us feeling depleted and wondering whether anything has really changed.

But we believe the personal reflections and stories from the people who participated in this project will inspire all of us to think and talk about these issues in a deeper way.

For those who freeze up at the prospect of talking about race, we hope this project will help break the ice.

For those who tend to take sides right away when the issue of race comes up, we hope Under Our Skin will challenge assumptions and build common ground

We decided to examine words and phrases that we noticed people using — and interpreting — very differently.

Then we invited 18 people who represent a mix of backgrounds and perspectives to our video studio to talk about what those expressions mean to them. In a few cases, our subjects suggested terms we hadn’t included and we added them in subsequent interviews.

Our conversations went well beyond the words into the experiences in each of the interviewees’ lives. They often lasted several hours, and were insightful, thought-provoking, honest, at times funny — and sometimes uncomfortable.

We invite you to share the videos with friends, family, colleagues, students — and let us know what results from that. We’d also like to hear your ideas for future coverage because this is the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation with you, our viewers.

You can reach us at


A Grain of Hope (1999)

1.   I am tired and I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow is different.


I find the most beautiful girlfriend,

The sweetest honey on Earth.


I come clean and clear.

I quit smoking,

I stop boozing.

Tomorrow, I am free and rich:

Just wait.


2.   Hate me, hurt me, and humiliate me;

I still won’t kill your grain of hope.

Some Gods like to give hope,

Some Gods deny it completely.

Who is the more compassionate?

Who is the wiser?

I know this grain of hope is oiling my wheels.

I know I can still move mountains, divert rivers.

I can still fall in love, be rude, and forgive.

I won’t kill your grain of hope;

Your grain of faith!

Turning off C-SPAN feed troubling for transparency

by . policy. June 22, 2016, 5:24 p.m

When word spread that Democrats were staging a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives over a vote on gun legislation, like many Americans, Sunlight staff turned C-SPAN, one of the most reliable sources of nonpartisan information about government, to see what was happening.

When we tuned in, however, we found the national public affairs network was running a crawl that the cameras in the House had been turned off by the majority party of the House.

We have a mission, a mandate, and a moral obligation to speak up and speak out until the House votes to address gun violence. We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concern of our nation. We will use nonviolence to fight gun violence and inaction.

John Lewis's photo.

Here’s how it works:

C-SPAN does not own or operate any of the cameras, it simply broadcasts the “feed” of events.

The House recording studio owns and operates the cameras, meaning it controls the video, the audio and the camera angles.

C-SPAN simply takes that video feed and broadcasts it.

“Independent, non-government TV cameras (are) not allowed to broadcast regular floor proceedings (neither House nor Senate),” C-SPAN Communications Director Howard Mortman told us in an email.

Mortman also wrote that C-SPAN has a lengthy history of asking for greater access. You can read the organization’s letters on its website, which show they have been asking to install cameras since 1994.

This conflict of interest in who controls the cameras seems to be an ongoing problem.

Today, that decision was made by Republicans, but in 2008, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took the same action during a debate on an energy bill. Both of these instances are cause for concern.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“Shutting off the cameras sends a terrible message to other countries with new, struggling democracies that you cannot trust your people to evaluate the actions of their government.

Instead, it shows that even in the Land of the Free, censorship is utilized to minimize the voice of the opposition.”

Crawl on the bottom of C-SPAN notifying viewers cameras in House were turned off during the June 22 Democratic sit-in. (Image credit: C-SPAN/Twitter)

Selective transparency in broadcasting action on the floor contradicts the constitutional principles that House Speaker Paul Ryan recently published and embraced.

Americans on both sides of these issues have a vested interest in seeing which House members were taking part, what was playing out on the House floor, and being informed about the content of the debate over how the Second Amendment should be interpreted.

Representative democracy only works when people can see how their government is conducting business and, in turn, hold politicians accountable for those actions. C-SPAN’s camera coverage is a valuable tool in that process.

In an age of limited resources, there are many organizations and news outlets that depend on that livestream of events. At any time, you can tune in and see what is going on in American government as it is happening.

The live broadcast allows you to watch events as they unfold, consider the information and make your own opinions about what is happening, free from cable news pundits talking over speeches on the floor and cutting away from the debate.

You can go back in C-SPAN’s archives and see exactly what people said and in what context they said it. You can see how your representatives act and vote in real time.

C-SPAN is offered as a public service, and is perhaps one of our finest areas of transparency.

While some lawmakers are using social media and live-streaming apps on their smartphones to route around the shutdown, demonstrating how technology has leapfrogged the single point of control of the “official feed,” the structural issue of political control of the cameras remains.

In an unprecedented move, C-SPAN switched to the Periscope feed of a congressman this afternoon, and then to a Facebook Live feed of another.

The fact that advances in technology enable members of Congress to route around censorship of the House floor, however, does not mitigate the decision to shut down the C-SPAN cameras.

Some lawmakers ignored the “independent camera” rule — which bans using devices for still photography, audio or video recording — and started broadcasting via Periscope. C-SPAN switched to a Periscope feed this afternoon:

It is troubling that the cameras were not turned back on when it was clear this was something the American public would have an interest in observing. If you agree, we encourage you to use our tool Email Congress to let your lawmakers know.

(Would anyone dare turn-off the cameras of a football game?)

A Dream Real (1999)

1.   My fellow Realtors make fun of me, of my choice of name.

Advertising Dr. Adonis is intimidating, it scares people off.

A few, maybe.  Many call on me.

They keep me busy, friendly, alert and happy.

2.   Dr. Adonis has no business selling homes.

Dr. Adonis was meant to teach, to be employed.

Dr. Adonis joined the rank of the selfish, the greedy.

Dr. Adonis is banished from the elite gangs.

3.   I got to know the mind of the Realtor.

You see one, you see all.

Like you, I don’t like him.

He sells your houses for fees.

4.   Long hours, long days and nights.

I sell a friend what he will call “My Home”.

I make his cherished dream come true.

I am associated with a few dreams, long lasting dreams.


Kids have their own rooms; I never had mine.

Kids play in the basement; I sleep in part of one.

5.   I call, I mail, I follow up and I serve.

I serve and call no more:  I just drop by.

Big hearts, big smiles open the door for me.

I have no home of mine:  Home is where that heart is.


I am a Realtor.  I don’t like him.

I sell dreams, Real ones, at last.




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