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Commentary: A Camel’s Back And A World’s Worth Of Straw

first_imgFebruary 13, 2018  By Michael Leppertwww.contrariana.comThe idiom “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” is often defined as the final terrible thing that makes a situation unbearable. Other sources describe the “last straw” as an otherwise minor or routine event that taken in the collection with all the others, makes the cumulative effect unacceptable.America’s patience and the strength of its proverbial camel’s back are clearly being tested by Rob Porter and John Kelly.Porter is the soon to be former staff secretary in the White House. He resigned on Wednesday in the face of abuse allegations raised against him by three women, two of whom are his ex-wives. Both of his ex-wives were interviewed by the FBI in January of 2017 as part of a routine background check for Porter’s necessary security clearance.He has never received that clearance.Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, shared a photo with investigators last year and now the media of herself with a black eye she got after a punch from him. The photo was taken in the summer of 2005. Jennifer Willoughby, his second ex-wife, disclosed to the bureau the protective order she obtained against Porter in June of 2010. She also shared news of another police intervention at their home following a domestic violence incident. These are public records.Both women were contacted by a third woman in 2016 claiming to be Porter’s girlfriend. She sought them out for advice and support while she was dealing with abuse from him as well.All of the details of these accounts were provided to the FBI more than a year ago.White House Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, had been informed of at least portions of the information last fall after taking over the reins from Trump’s first chief, Reince Priebus.When the women’s stories began to publicly surface this week, dignitaries in D.C. rushed to the defense of Porter’s character. Kelly’s initial statement included this description of Porter: “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him.”His former boss, Sen. Orrin Hatch, sung Porter’s praises on Wednesday before a retraction on Thursday. Kelly is not veering so much because doing so would amount to an admission of wrongdoing on his part. That moment will come on this one eventually.It is important to know what the White House staff secretary does. Job titles like that can mean just about anything. But this job is in charge of the flow of paperwork, the record, often times classified documents in the office of the president. There is a flood of pictures online of Porter with Trump. He travels with him. He shook the hand of China President Xi Jinping. Some refer to him as a deputy chief of staff.To add to the drama, Porter is now in a romantic relationship with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. Her place in Trump’s inner circle precedes everyone else in the administration.Yet still, he has not received his permanent security clearance. Now we know he won’t ever receive it.So, why was his presence allowed to continue after the White House was informed of this?Was it that Porter’s dad worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? Was it that he graduated from Harvard and Oxford? Was it that he served as a Mormon missionary?He has a resume that would make his profile as a domestic abuser simply hard to believe. Right?Wrong. His violent past is documented. Believe it. The FBI believes it. Furthermore, abusers come in all shapes and sizes.Hopefully, someday soon, presidential administrations will be so intolerant of domestic abuse and abusers, that the mere mention of it will cause appropriate alarm. I think that day might be upon most other Americans already. The rest of the country is experiencing a different #metoo moment.All of this makes Porter, and possibly Kelly susceptible to blackmail. The lengths some have already taken to hide this is scandalous.The Trump administration has spent the entire first year of its term obliterating protocols. Some were destroyed on purpose. Others were destroyed because the character of this team is incapable of complying. This particular straw seems like a combination of both of those things.But is this the last straw?It should be for Gen. Kelly. He was supposed to be the adult in the room. His gaffes are piling up, and the word is that Trump did not know about Porter’s checkered past.Or was it the FBI who had finally had enough of Trump that led to the reports of this humiliating vulnerability? Could be.No matter how heavy it seems, there will be a straw that breaks the camel’s back of America. It may not happen until the next election, but our knees are clearly wobbling and a broken back feels all but inevitable.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Bayonne Little League Major League Softball games of May 23

first_imgStandings: Control Services (7-4), FMBA (7-4), CWV (5-5-1), Stop and Shop (2-8-1) Control Services beat FMBA, 14-5. Emma Flores pitched and batted her team to victory. Emma gave up six hits, struck out 10, walked two and went four for four at the plate, including two doubles, Samantha Boehm had three base hits, Maddie Ashe and Emily Matos both had two hits apiece and Erica Payamps had a single; Sydney Fogu led FMBA with a triple and a single, Maddie Diaz had two hits, while Payton Maguire and Isabella Mercado both had base hits. CWV defeated Stop and Shop, 11-2. Caitlin Gaetani pitched a two-hitter, struck out 15, walked ten and managed to pitch herself out of several jams; Caitlin also had two hits. Arianna Castaldo went three for three, which included a double and drove in three runs, Isabel McIntosh also had two hits and Bella Coppola had a base hit; Jayden Bailey and Kelly Hester had both hits for Stop and Shop. last_img read more

Art during wartime

first_imgDuring the Nazi occupation in Paris from 1940 to 1944, the show went on.Even under the brutal reign of the Third Reich, the glow from the City of Lights never dimmed. Its cabarets and nightspots stayed open, filled with singers and entertainers. Artists, writers, and filmmakers continued to work along the banks of the Seine and beyond.Yet the decision of many to pursue life as normal and to continue embracing the city’s cultural life was not exactly sleeping with the enemy. It was full of complicated nuance and meaning — a subtlety that is at the heart of Alan Riding’s new book, “And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris.”Riding, the former European cultural correspondent for The New York Times, was at Harvard Monday (Oct. 25) for a panel discussion about his new work.Homi Bhabha, the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities and director of the Humanities Center at Harvard, moderated the event — and started with a quote from the author: “The French public has learned that collaboration and self-preservation were stronger instincts than resistance.”There were fascist sympathizers who collaborated openly with the Nazis and there were Communist factions that took the lead in the resistance, but many members of the cultural elite were caught somewhere in the middle, said Riding.Some were simply opportunists, “drawn to who was powerful and who could promote their work,” he said — while others were blinded by their own vanity.Maurice Chevalier, who sang for French prisoners of war in Germany at the very same camp where he had been a prisoner during World War I, “came to personify the collaborationists” to the United States and Britain, said Riding. “He was used to being adored and failed to pay heed to who was applauding him.”Some entertainers later claimed they had been duped — told by German officials that French prisoners of war would be released in exchange for their visits to Germany.But other French artists and intellectuals defied their German oppressors. Some Paris theater companies refused to allow German acting troupes to monopolize their stages, and certain writers contributed to clandestine newspapers. Some artists even used their German contacts to help others in trouble.Still, authors such as Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus accepted the restrictions and censorship imposed under the Nazi occupation and continued to publish.Was that wrong, wondered Riding? “In general,” he offered,  “the lines were blurred” — and that you have to consider that there was an ultimately shifting political dynamic.“The occupation was not like a still photograph,” said Riding. “It was a constantly moving image in which people and artists and writers among them changed positions as the war advanced.”For a firsthand perspective, one slightly removed from Paris, the panel turned to Stanley Hoffmann.Outside the city, in remote villages, simply living daily life under Nazi occupation was “complicated,” said Harvard’s Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser University Professor.Hoffmann knows of what he speaks. He was a young schoolboy forced to flee from Nice to a small town in southern France in the early 1940s. He recalled losing his best friend, who was rounded up in a police raid and never seen again.“It was infinitely complicated,” said Hoffmann, in part because there was a great deal of “evolution” from 1940 to 1944. That is: The mood and attitude of the French shifted dramatically from one year to another as people tried to “survive the best they knew how.”“They could not predict what their attitudes would be,” he said. “We did not know what was happening in the next village … five miles away.”The most important lesson he learned during that time, said Hoffmann, can be summed up in words from “The Plague,” by Camus: “There is in human beings more to be admired than to be despised.”While there were “swines and traitors,” he said, there was also “a fundamental decency in many people, in many places, which was very easy to overlook because it was not spectacular.”Susan Suleiman, C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and professor of comparative literature, and Patrice Higonnet, Robert Walton Goelet Professor of French History, also took part in the discussion.last_img read more

HLS students successfully advocate for safe schools law

first_img Read Full Story For the past year, Harvard Law students in the Education Law Clinic have travelled back and forth to the Massachusetts State House to lobby state legislators to pass an Act Relative to Safe and Supportive Schools.On August 13, all that work paid off, when Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Safe and Supportive Schools provisions into law. In recognition of the link between safe and supportive school environments and the reduction of school violence, the legislature incorporated these provisions into its omnibus Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence.“Gun violence can be prevented if schools address the needs of all students appropriately and at an early age,” said Susan Cole, director of the Education Law Clinic. “Including the Safe and Supportive provisions in the gun violence law will position Massachusetts to become a national leader in creating innovative and effective approaches to reducing gun violence while simultaneously improving academic success. The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework is the missing piece that schools have been needing.”“We are so proud of the work our students did this past spring,” said Michael Gregory, assistant clinical professor of law.  “By the time the bill was signed we had 96 confirmed legislative supporters of Safe and Supportive Schools; that’s almost half the members.  Our students played a huge role in generating this level of support.”  The clinic students who advocated for the bill were Spencer Churchill ’15, Christina Gilligan ’14, Priyanka Gupta ’15, David Li ’15 and Harrison Polans ’15.last_img read more

Labs donate protective equipment to health care workers

first_imgA call went out just hours before the labs shut down across campus as part of the University-wide social-distancing push to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and faculty and staff responded immediately.“We had a lot of PPE [personal protective equipment] that was no longer being used on site that could be put to good use,” said Sarah Elwell, director of research operations for science and engineering. Last Wednesday, Christopher Stubbs and Frank Doyle, the deans of the Division of Science and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, respectively, sent emails to their faculties with a message that was quickly shared with colleagues: As you shut off the lights and lock the door, please put out your PPEs. Similar support came in from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Harvard Medical School labs.“Members of our community are on the front lines taking care of patients,” said Jennifer Ryan, chief of staff at Harvard Medical School, where thousands of essential supplies have come in from labs across campus. “We heard about the shortages and our researchers quickly mobilized to donate needed supplies.  It is so rewarding to see the community act individually and collectively to assist each other and work to keep us all safe.”The request was a response to a national outcry from health care professionals, clinics, and hospitals about a dire shortage of masks, gowns, gloves, and protective eye gear. Principal investigators and lab staff left boxes outside their locked labs, collecting thousands of essential supplies like nitrile gloves, N95 masks, protective eye guards, surgical and procedure face masks, and disposable Tyvek lab coats.“I saw all these boxes and my heart sang,” said Elwell.,The donations came from across FAS, from the Science Core facilities and Ancient DNA lab to the Center for Nanoscale Systems to the SEAS departments of Bioengineering, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Chemistry and Chemical Biology.Teamwork has been key. Elwell praised the deans for “leaning in” during the crisis, helping the effort’s wide support.“The building staff, the custodial staff, the shipping and receiving staff who helped us collect all these things played a really essential role,” she said. Other faculty, she noted, are leading initiatives to marshal other resources. “I see my role as operationalizing the efforts that are happening across the science community and the FAS to help with this,” she said.Douglas Finkbeiner, professor of astronomy and physics, has also helped in collecting supplies. At this point, he said, supplies will be going to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). “MEMA has been identified as in a position to absorb the supplies and distribute them in an equitable manner,” he said.“We know from press reports and contacts at local hospitals that supplies are stretched thin. Production of masks is ramping up, but there may be a critical shortage before those are manufactured and distributed,” added Finkbeiner. “We want to make available any resources we have at Harvard that can help.” Harvard coronavirus survey: How’re we doing? Not bad so far Bringing (virtual) normalcy to the community Medical School and Partners in Health aim to empower vulnerable communities globally and locally to respond to coronavirus Harvard scientists put research on hold for safety, saw chance to help hospitals with precious gear Scaled-down labs felt ‘this special responsibility’center_img Efforts across the University aim to reassure, entertain, connect Despite distrust in coronavirus leadership, public confident they can keep themselves safe Getting ready for the inevitable Relatedlast_img read more

Navajo Power CEO sees potential for 10GW renewable buildout on tribal lands as coal plants close

first_imgNavajo Power CEO sees potential for 10GW renewable buildout on tribal lands as coal plants close FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:“We believe you can go to 10 gigawatts of renewable resources” across the Navajo Nation, as coal plant retirements in the area open up transmission capacity, said Navajo Power CEO Brett Isaac, in a pv magazine interview. The Navajo Nation extends across parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.Navajo Power is preparing a bid to build 200 MW of solar power, after the Arizona utility Salt River Project issued a bid request specifying solar on Navajo Nation lands. The solar project selected by the utility will help make up for generation capacity lost last November when the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station closed; the utility will pay the Navajo Nation for the use of its transmission lines.The 10 GW renewables potential, Isaac said, will emerge as three other coal plants in the area retire, largely due to the “price competitiveness” of solar, wind and storage projects. The three plants are the San Juan Generating Station, which is scheduled to close in 2022, the Cholla Power Plant, “just off the Navajo Nation along I-40,” where one of the three units will retire this year, and the Four Corners power plant on Navajo Nation lands. The Four Corners plant is scheduled to close in 2031, but Isaac said “the economics will probably force” an earlier closure.Navajo Power’s proposed 200 MW project would be sited on lands currently used for grazing in the Coalmine Canyon Chapter—chapters are the community level of government within the Navajo Nation—and would need transmission access across the Cameron Chapter to interconnect to the grid, according to reporting by Rima Krisst for the Navajo Times. The company’s project has obtained “overwhelming” approval from both chapters to proceed to the next stage of development, Isaac said. The company is also pursuing the protocols to obtain Navajo Nation approval, he said.Looking to the future, the Navajo Nation “can play a very strong part in the Southwest” if it becomes “a friendly environment for the development of these resources, because we have the land base and the transmission,” said Isaac, a member of the Navajo Nation. “But all those elements need to be carefully thought about and prioritized by the government’s own regulatory side, in order to see this through.” Projects must be efficient in order to sell power to markets such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, he said, as those markets are “heavily competitive.”[William Driscoll]More: Navajo Power CEO sees 10 GW renewable potential across the Navajo Nationlast_img read more

Roche pushes national data security standard

first_imgThe best way to protect the financial system against payments fraud is through a national data security standard, NAFCU witness Jan Roche, president and CEO of State Department Federal Credit Union, told lawmakers Wednesday during a House Small Business Committee hearing on the EMV transition.A national data security standard, Roche said, “gets us all focused and makes sure we stay ahead of the fraud.” Roche was responding to a question from Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., on whether the U.S. will see an uptick in online fraud as EMV cards become more prevalent.She continued, reiterating that EMV and chip technology only helps with one kind of fraud being committed and would not have prevented data breaches like Target’s breach in 2013. She said legislation such as H.R. 2205, the “Data Security Act of 2015,” would better prepare all those involved in the payments industry to fight against all kinds of fraud.The NAFCU-backed H.R. 2205, introduced by Reps. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and John Carney, D-Del., would create a national data security standard that is flexible and scalable, does not mandate static technology solutions and recognizes those who already have a working standard under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Nesconset Man Gets 8 Years for Bank Fraud

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 65-year-old former investment manager from Nesconset was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in federal prison for defrauding lenders out of $93 million by hiding the poor fiscal health of his company.John Murphy, the former chief executive officer of Suffolk County-based Oak Rock Financial, had pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2013 at Central Islip federal court.“By making fraudulent representations with respect to Oak Rock’s financial position, Murphy caused financial institutions and private investors to suffer millions of dollars in losses,” said Kelly Currie, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.Prosecutors said Murphy, who was compensated $600,000 a year, misled banks by providing them with false documentation to make it appear that the company was making up to date payments on loans that were actually in default in 2009.last_img read more

Call for stronger alcohol warnings

first_imgNZ Herald 19 November 2013Strong warning labels should be placed on all beer, wine and spirits as part of a plan to stop pregnant mothers from drinking, MPs say.The parliamentary health committee, in a special report on improving children’s health outcomes published yesterday, urged the liquor industry to place “unequivocal” warnings on its products.It is one of a series of recommendations which are designed to reduce the rate of fetal Alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).The inquiry said data on alcohol-related disorders in pregnancy was limited but as many as 3000 babies a year could be born with one.While major alcohol-related defects in children were easily detected, more subtle behavioural impairments such as difficulty with reading or writing were harder to pick up.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11159175last_img read more

Barbados denies mistreating Jamaican woman

first_img Sharing is caring! Tweet Share NewsRegional Barbados denies mistreating Jamaican woman by: – March 28, 2011 13 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Barbados Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxine McClean, has dismissed allegations by a Jamaican woman who says she was mistreated by Barbadian Immigration officials on a visit to the country two weeks ago.The woman, Shanique Myrie, says she was subjected to two demeaning cavity searches by a female immigration officer at the Grantley Adams airport when she arrived in Barbados on March 14.She alleges that the immigration officer also made several derogatory remarks about Jamaicans.The Jamaica Gleaner reported that the allegations have sparked a diplomatic row between Jamaica and Barbados, leading Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ken Baugh, to write Barbadian authorities demanding an immediate investigation into Myrie’s claims.Minister of National Security, Dwight Nelson, has also asked Public Defender Earl Witter to intervene.However, in a story published by CANA News on Sunday, McClean says a thorough investigation conducted by the Barbados Immigration and Customs Department into the allegations by Myrie shows that the accusations are false.According to the Barbados minister, Myrie was denied entry into Barbados because she failed to establish where she would be staying in the country.The minister said that Myrie’s body was never searched, only her luggage.Caribbean News Nowlast_img read more