T’AINT FUNNY MC GEE by Jim Redwine

first_img Gavel GamutBy Jim Redwine(Week of 20 June 2016)T’AINT FUNNY MC GEEThe aptly named Fibber Mc Gee had a wife named Molly. As with many couples Fibber often saw his remarks as witty whereas Molly saw them for what they were. In most of their more than 1600 radio episodes from 1935 to 1959, Fibber would spout out some lame attempt at humor and Molly would set the record straight with, “T’aint funny Mc Gee”. I dredged up this sage advice to obtuse comedians when I walked into one of my favorite shops and saw that my friends who run it had posted a sign derisive of lawyers, banker and others.I know the owners well and find them caring and witty. That made this lapse of awareness even harder to understand. They are certainly not old but, perhaps, old enough to remember the days of “Whites Only” or “No Irish Need Apply”. We all are aware of our current pariahs, Muslims, Arabs and Mexicans. Should we not be among these groups we might not mind the plethora of movies and television shows depicting Arabs, Muslims and Mexicans as murderers and drug runners. We might even nod knowingly at caricatures of Muslims berating women or Mexicans who look like gangsters.One of the ironies of the sign posted by my friends is it contains several pieces of advice about holding one’s tongue or not saying words we cannot take back. In other words, it recognizes my Mother’s sound advice: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.”Over the years I have from time to time lost sight of this wisdom. Each time I have regretted it. One of my worst memories, and one I cannot exorcise, is from 1966 just after I got out of the Air Force. I grew up in Oklahoma which at that time was segregated by law. The dominant white culture had a lexicon of numerous “witty” sayings. One of these was sometimes used to denigrate certain products such as Spam or Vienna Sausages, etc. Men, it was a male thing, would respond to a comment about a product they disliked, “Well, a thousand Niggers couldn’t be wrong.” In other words, only a “Colored” person would eat that. We white guys would laugh.Well, back to 1966. I was working on the night shift at RCA in Bloomington, Indiana with an African American friend of mine at a time when we both smoked cigarettes. I smoked Winston’s and he smoked a menthol type. When a mutual friend of ours commented over the lunch break about the odious smell of the menthols, unfortunately, it just popped out of my mouth, “Well, a thousand Niggers can’t be wrong.”My Black friend looked at me with sadness and said, “That hurt my feelings.” Things changed after that.My friends, perhaps your sign may be witty to some, but to others it hurts feelings. I know that was not what you were thinking. Perhaps you were like me in 1966 and just were not thinking at all. Perhaps, as Ronald Reagan might have said, “My friends, take down that sign!”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Citizenfour: An Unprecendented Look Into Snowden’s NSA Leaks

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Since National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked a cache of documents revealing mass electronic surveillance at home and abroad, more than one court has deemed the practice unconstitutional, tech firms have made it more difficult for the government to mine citizens’ electronic devices for data, and lawmakers have attempted to rein in the secretive bureau.This has all occurred, unbelievably, in 17 months.Yet, activists who promote an open and free Internet could argue that nothing substantial has happened in that time to effectively prevent further government intrusion into the lives of everyday citizens.Snowden, the man responsible for shedding light on top-secret NSA programs in June 2013 after meeting with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in China, is still in legal limbo and remains in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum after he was charged under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law meant to prosecute spies, and had his passport revoked. He has since been accused of being a spy (first for China, then Russia) and dubbed a traitor.Programs such as Prism, which the Guardian and Washington Post revealed allows the government to access tech firm systems and collect customers’ Internet activity, such as emails, search history and messages, is still in place.Officials who were found to have lied to Congress, such as James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, were never held accountable.And the USA Freedom Act, which would have put phone records in the hands of phone companies instead of the NSA, failed in the Senate this week.Snowden’s disclosures may seem like a thing of the past, but the leaks are still very much relevant.Bringing the disclosures back to the fore with her latest documentary is Poitras, who was already in the middle of producing a film about the post-9/11 surveillance state, the final episode in a three-part series, when Snowden contacted her under the handle “Citizenfour.”Poitras, who received an Academy Award nomination for her Iraq War documentary My Country, My Country, gives viewers a gripping, unprecedented look into the one of the largest leaks of classified data in American history. Through her lens, moviegoers sit in the same hotel room in China where she and Greenwald meet Snowden for the very first time. They see the man behind the disclosures up close and personal. They literally watch the entire saga–from the original, encrypted email correspondences between Poitras and Snowden, to their first infamous meeting, through the breaking of the story in the press, and its aftermath–unfold before their eyes.Those who read Greenwald’s latest book No Place to Hide know all about the cloak-and-dagger spy tactics the trio used to ensure the covert meeting wouldn’t attract government attention. Snowden instructed them to head to the third floor of a swanky hotel in Hong Kong, ask an employee about a restaurant there, wait on a couch near an alligator and look for a man holding a Rubiks Cube in his left hand.But it’s only until Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras are in a hotel room do we see the whistleblower for the first time.Poitras goes on to record Snowden inside the room over the course of eight days: Most of the footage is of interviews they conduct with the whistleblower. Other scenes, and arguably the most revealing, are the moments when Snowden is left to his own thoughts. Poitras, a veteran filmmaker, gives the audience a chance to digest the disclosures at the same time that Snowden is alone and at his most vulnerable. He had just leaked some of the government’s most top-secret documents, yet is unnerved and in total control. It’s during these intimately private moments that you can’t help but try to understand what’s going through this 29-year-old’s mind.During their first sit-down, Snowden admits he’s never been the subject of an interview before. Yet, he’s seated comfortably in a chair and appears astonishingly calm, seemingly at peace with soon becoming America’s most wanted fugitive.He comes off incredibly intelligent and honest. Snowden admits he’s more willing to risk imprisonment than he is willing to allow the government to infringe on Americans’ liberties.We then watch the leaks unfold. The first story to shake up Washington is about a top-secret government order requiring Verizon to hand over records from millions of its customers. A day later, the Guardian and Washington Post published separate stories about the once-secret Prism program.By now, the government is reeling. The NSA’s mass surveillance operation is exposed across the globe.Inside the hotel room, the drama is building. Snowden learns from his girlfriend, whom he says he intentionally left in the dark about his actions, that the NSA came to their apartment asking questions. The room is silent. Poitras, perhaps sensitive to this private moment between Snowden and his girlfriend, does not reveal the content of their communication.Snowden eventually professes his desire to go public, but not before a riveting back-and-forth with Greenwald about whether they’re doing the government’s job by revealing his identity, something Greenwald isn’t so sure the government will ever figure out. Snowden is convinced the NSA will discover he’s the leaker. He is adamant that the source of such an unprecedented disclosure of top-secret information should not hide among the shadows. Stepping out and putting a concrete name and face to such revelations would be much more powerful, he believes, sending a message to the powers that be that he will not hide, he will face this head-on.His mind is made up.There are other tense moments: a fire alarm repeatedly blaring in the hallway (Are they being forced outside in order to be scooped up by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA!?); Snowden preparing to embark on an uncertain future; phone calls to his hotel room from several media outlets; the sense that at any moment authorities will kick down the door and take him away.Snowden is eventually whisked away by lawyers before heading underground, and we don’t see him again until the film’s final scene, recorded months after the initial meeting in Hong Kong.Snowden is reunited with Greenwald, who traveled to Russia to tell him about another leaker in the intelligence community. The whistleblower apparently provided investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill with documents concerning the United States’ drone program and the terrorist watch list. This is all explained through feverishly written notes from Greenwald to Snowden. They don’t know if anyone is listening. The scope of the new disclosures has Snowden astonished, and a bit worried. He wonders if the leaker knows how to protect their identity. Greenwald assures him that the source understands what they’re doing.As the conversation comes to an end, Greenwald rips up the notes. Only one phrase remains visible: “POTUS.”While the documentary is very much about Snowden, Poitras brings in several other characters to weave together the narrative: William Binney, a former NSA employee who left the agency when he discovered it was spying on Americans; Ben Wizner, Snowden’s American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who, in a meeting with about a half-dozen other attorneys representing Snowden, reminds them about how difficult it is to defend a client charged under the overbroad Espionage Act; and Greenwald, who most Americans are very familiar with by now.But there is one glaring omission, and that’s the role Poitras played. She remains behind the camera and never steps into the spotlight.With all the government secrets being exposed, it’s easy to forget about the people who risked everything to make it happen.Poitras is perhaps this story’s most important character. She was the first to respond to Snowden’s emails and the first member of the public to read the NSA documents.Yet, she’s seemingly content with remaining in the shadows, while telling the stories that many others would be too fearful to tell.last_img read more

bettingexpert 2016 breakdown…’Italians the riskiest and Swedes the safest’

first_img CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach  August 27, 2020 Submit LeoVegas hits back at Swedish regulations despite Q2 successes August 13, 2020 Italy is responsible for the riskiest set of tipsters in Europe, according to 2016’s figures from the world’s biggest social network for sports betting, bettingexpert.com.The statisticians at bettingexpert.com have collated well over a million tips across thousands of markets over the past year and helped thousands of punters shape their betting actions across numerous sports, and it turns out that the Italians like to punt at big odds more than any other nation in the region.Sweden and Denmark are the two most conservative countries, advising bets at an average of 2.18 and 2.15 respectively, and that’s paid off for the Nordic nations who top the table for win rate.The average tipster from the UK community advises bets at average odds of 2.66.UK members dominated the number of tips over the past year, posting over 400k, almost double that of Serbia in second and a fall in rankings from the Nordic countries down to the bottom of our rankings.Football, Tennis and Basketball unsurprisingly dominated the most tipped-up sports at bettingexpert.com during 2016, but more interestingly is the average price won and lost by tippers on these sports.Those who came unstuck in football generally had a riskier approach with an average lost tip at 3.53, much higher than basketball, but the 11-a-side game was generally more rewarding for the risk taker with a higher average win rate of 2.11 above basketball’s 1.95.Basketball pipped handball to be the most profitable sport of the year, with rugby lagging a long way behind in third, with punters only just breaking even across the two codes.With these sports having the highest number of points in a match relative to the likes of football and ice hockey, maybe it pays for tippers to back the favourite when lady luck doesn’t allow for the underdog to sit back and sneak a result as is often the case in lower-scoring games.The UK community also seem to benefit from the cold weather at the start of the year with the most profitable months coming between January and April, before experiencing a significant lull as the Summer draws in. StumbleUpon Share TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 Related Articles Share bettingexpert.com carried on their generous cash give-aways throughout 2016 and in total, gave back €140,149 to the community, with £36,000 to the English community and a €10,000 bonus to our tipster of the year, Ninca90 from Serbia.Henrik Lykkesteen, Chief Commercial Officer for Better Collective, said: “We enjoy helping our members make the most informed betting decisions possible. With our platform offering tipsters invaluable information at their fingertips with unprecedented crowd-sourced opinion, we hope to boost the community margin and put money back in the pockets of our users.“By breaking down the past year’s figures, we hope we can inform our punters where profits are to be found, hopefully pushing margins in the right direction and taking cash back from the bookies.” For a full breakdown of our 2016 in numbers, please visit: https://www.bettingexpert.com/2016-in-numbers. The bettingexpert.com community have certainly picked their favourites when it comes to bookmakers, with Matchbook and Bet365 appearing in the top three for number of tips posted across football, tennis and basketball, driving valuable revenue to the betting sites.Matchbook edged bet365 to take the most football tips with 13.9% of the total English market whereas bet365 dominated tennis and basketball tips which may not be the best result for them having looked at the basketball win rate in the community.Over/under tips have become increasingly popular over the year, with the UK community posting almost twice the number of tips than the more traditional 1×2 market whilst also seeing a gain in Asian handicap interest.Geographically, the North of England was also strongly backed by our English community, seeing Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, first, second and third most tipped up teams in English market.London’s only representative in the top five most popular were Arsenal, coming-in just behind the Golden State Warriors from the NBA.last_img read more

Colts Neck Residents, Church Donate Funds to Help Union Beach Residents

first_imgCOLTS NECK – The Colts Neck Reformed Church Mission Committee presented a $5,000 check to the borough of Union Beach through its Operation Provide Comfort effort.The money will be used to help victims of Super Storm Sandy who reside in the borough, one of the towns hardest hit by the storm. One hundred percent of all donations will go to the residents of Union Beach. The fund at Colts Neck Community Church provides a rapid response to the requests from Union Beach residents.The purpose of the effort is to develop a long-term relationship between Union Beach and Colts Neck that will endure long after the storm. The approach is to leverage the resources of the township to help the residents of Union Beach who suffered the most devastation and to help collect and coordinate donations of money, physical goods and services to aid in the rebuilding effort.Additional information about Operation Provide Comfort is available by visiting the Colts Neck Township website or Operation Provide Comfort’s Facebook page.Pictured are Borough Administrator Jennifer Maier (left) and Clark Petrie, a member of the Colts Neck Reformed Church’s Mission Committee.last_img read more