The river Temarc, in winter.
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tinysupergiant: lovethythrall: broil2: skinyyismydream: ghostscries: dankmemesreasonforliving: ...

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well this was a fucking journey

This has basically been my Wednesday.

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270 days ago
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Saturn Behind the Moon

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Saturn Behind the Moon What's that next to the Moon? Saturn. In its monthly trip around the Earth -- and hence Earth's sky -- our Moon passed nearly in front of Sun-orbiting Saturn earlier this week. Actually the Moon passed directly in front of Saturn from the viewpoints of a wide swath of Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The featured image from Sydney, Australia captured the pair a few minutes before the eclipse. The image was a single shot lasting only 1/500th of a second, later processed to better highlight both the Moon and Saturn. Since Saturn is nearly opposite the Sun, it can be seen nearly the entire night, starting at sunset, toward the south and east. The gibbous Moon was also nearly opposite the Sun, and so also visible nearly the entire night -- it will be full tomorrow night. The Moon will occult Saturn again during every lap it makes around the Earth this year.
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327 days ago
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You Have a Moral Obligation to Claim Your $125 From Equifax

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Help make sure that companies pay the consequences for data breaches.

Go claim your $125 from Equifax. Right now. Even if $125 isn't a sum of money that matters to you, even if you don't feel you were really directly affected by the breach. Even if the prospect of filling out a relatively brief online form fills you with more dread than the theft of all your personal data.

Consider it a part of your civic duty: driving up the costs of data breaches for corporations so they have an incentive to invest more heavily in security. [...]

You may be thinking, But I don't want to give Equifax the last six digits of my Social Security number and my birthdate and mailing address after it's demonstrated just how much it can't be trusted! Believe me, the company already knows all that information -- and so much more. But it's so much work to fill out the entire form! It's really not, unless you want to claim additional lost time or expenses beyond the base $125 payout [...]

If, for instance, you went ahead and purchased LifeLock or some other credit monitoring service after the Equifax breach, go ahead and submit that receipt too. Each individual is eligible to receive up to $20,000 as part of the settlement; $125 is just the amount you can receive without having to do any extra work or claim any extra losses. The settlement also includes provisions to reimburse you for your lost time at a rate of $25 per hour. If you spent hours on the phone trying to clear up suspicious credit activity or figure out whether you had been affected, go ahead and submit that as well.

Previously, previously.

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345 days ago
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Israeli minister says US Jews marrying non-Jews is “like a second Holocaust”

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Park East Synagogue in New York City.

The incredibly insulting comment, and what it says about relations between American Jews and Israel, explained.

Typically, the education minister of Israel gets little attention outside of Israel. But the current occupant of that job, Rafi Peretz of the far-right United Right faction, set off a major international controversy on Wednesday. That’s when news broke that, during a briefing on American Jewry by a prominent American Jew, Peretz labeled intermarriage between American Jews and non-Jews as being “like a second Holocaust.”

To label this comment “offensive” is a severe understatement. Fifty-eight percent of American Jews have non-Jewish spouses, per a 2013 Pew survey. Telling the majority of American Jews that they are perpetrating genocide on their own people is about as inflammatory as it gets.

“It’s inconceivable to use the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a tweet. “It trivializes the Shoah. It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend.”

But Peretz’s comment, in addition to being profoundly insulting, is profoundly revealing. Barak Ravid, the Israeli reporter who broke the story in a piece for Axios, suggests that it highlights a “growing rift” between Israel’s Orthodox Jews and America’s “much more liberal” Jewish majority. But the rift is even bigger than that. Peretz’s comment and its reception indicate competing visions for what it means to be “Jewish,” which threaten to undermine the historically close ties between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.

The divides separating Israeli and American Jewry

On a political level, the divide between Israeli and American Jews is simple: Israeli Jews are, on the whole, more conservative than their American peers. Forty-nine percent of American Jews identify as liberal, per Pew data; only 8 percent of Israeli Jews say the same. Nearly twice as many Israeli Jews (37 percent) as American Jews (19 percent) described themselves as politically conservative in Pew’s survey.

This is the result of profoundly different historical experiences. American Jewish identity comes from “a sense of exclusion from American society,” Steven M. Cohen, a research professor at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, told me in 2015. Israel has a long and robust socialist political tradition but has tilted sharply rightward after the 1990s peace process collapsed into the violence of the second intifada and a 2005 military withdrawal from the Gaza Strip ended up with a takeover of the territory by the Islamist group Hamas.

In every presidential election in recent memory, a majority of American Jews have voted for the Democratic candidate. Israel’s center-left Labour Party has not won an election since 1999, while the far right has grown in strength over time. The result is that American Jews are growing slowly but steadily alienated from the Israeli political system: A growing number of liberal American Jews, especially young ones, see Israel through the lens of its right-wing politics and occupation of Palestinian land rather than through the lens of shared Jewishness.

Peretz, the head of a pro-settlement political party, is about as far from American Jews as mainstream Israeli politicians get. But his comments touch less on the political divides between the communities than the related but separate theological divides between them.

In the United States, there are, broadly speaking, three major denominations of Judaism. Reform Judaism, my own branch, does not require strict observance and gives individual Jews a tremendous amount of latitude in defining what it means to live a Jewish life. Orthodox Jews (and the even stricter ultra-Orthodox) are much more traditional, adhering to rules like keeping kosher and not working on Saturdays. The confusingly named Conservative branch is somewhere in the middle.

American Jews’ theological views tend to be as liberal as their political ones: 35 percent identify as Reform, 17 percent as Conservative, and 30 percent as “no denomination” (which typically means they’re even less traditionally observant than Reform Jews). Only 10 percent of American Jews are Orthodox.

In Israel, the situation is quite different — so different, in fact, that there are entirely different conceptual categories for describing Israeli Judaism.

More than a fifth of Israel’s Jewish population is some kind of Orthodox — 9 percent are Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and another 13 percent are Dati (modern Orthodox). Another 29 percent are Masorti, a group with no neat international parallel but who are relatively observant by American standards. The plurality, 49 percent, are Hiloni — a secular group more like American Jews of no denomination than Reform Jews.

Demonstration against forced military service from Ultra-Orthodox Jews Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel.

So in Israel, there are more than twice as many Orthodox Jews as there are in the US — and almost no Reform Jews. The Chief Rabbinate, the Israeli legal authority that controls areas like family law for Israeli Jews, is not merely Orthodox but outright hostile to the diaspora’s non-Orthodox denominations.

Israel’s legal system does not consider Jews who converted under Reform or Conservative rules as being legally Jewish; nor are individuals raised Jewish whose father is Jewish but mother is not (Judaism is passed down matrilineally). The result is that many American Jews would not be considered legally Jewish in Israel, and thus are excluded from core social rights. A Reform convert would not qualify under the Israeli laws that give all Jews a right to immigrate to Israel if they choose; an American with a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother could immigrate, but would not be permitted to be legally marry a Jew once there.

Israel’s Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox populations are growing as a percentage of the Israeli population, and the Chief Rabbinate shows no signs of moderation. In an official 2016 statement, the Chief Rabbinate blasted the Reform and Conservative movements as having “no connection to original Judaism,” blaming them for “the assimilation that has spread throughout the Jews of the world ... the uprooting of everything of holiness.”

Why Peretz’s comments matter so much

Peretz’s comments about intermarriage reflect this deeper, fundamental divide between two religious communities that share a Jewish identity but have radically different views of what that identity means.

Rafi Peretz. Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
Rafi Peretz.

The majority of American Jews, influenced by their experience as a victimized minority group, have a religio-political worldview that values openness and inclusion. Israel’s Orthodox religious establishment, by contrast, sits at the top of dominantly Jewish society — seeing its task as preserving Israel’s Jewish traditions against the lure of secularism.

When Peretz says intermarriage is producing something like a “second Holocaust,” he is not (as far as I can tell) merely being hyperbolic. Children of intermarriage are less likely to see themselves as Jewish, and those who do tend to be less religious — and thus, in Peretz’s eyes, not Jewish at all. By choosing to marry non-Jews, he thinks, American Jews are literally participating in the destruction of their own community.

Most American Jews — especially Reform Jews like me — cannot adequately express how insulting we find that. We see in our synagogues and communities a thriving Jewish life, one proud of the fact that it doesn’t adhere to the cruel and exclusive ideals of Jewishness that emanate from the Chief Rabbinate. Intermarriage can be fraught, to be sure, but a significant and growing percentage of children of intermarriage identify as Jewish. Diversity in Judaism is, in our view, to be celebrated rather than denigrated.

And when American Jews like me look at Israel, we identify far more with its secular Jews than the right-wing Orthodox Jews who control its religious institutions and have an increasingly dominant influence on its politics.

The longer this state of affairs continues, the more Israel doubles down on right-wing political and theological orthodoxy, the more likely its government is to cut itself off from those who have historically been its biggest supporters.

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352 days ago
Call a concentration camp a concentration camp and people rush to their fainting couches, but intermarriage is the second holocaust. Okay.

A lot of diaspora Jews need to realize that the Israeli right does not give a damn about us.
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3 public comments
353 days ago
> [excluded are] individuals raised Jewish whose father is Jewish but mother is not (Judaism is passed down matrilineally). The result is that many American Jews would not be considered legally Jewish in Israel, and thus are excluded from core social rights.

Fuuuuk, Israel has shit like “mulatto” and “octaroon” codified in law and they’re our closest ally?
Bend, Oregon
353 days ago
Never thought I would see the day when I would consider myself a _Second Holocaust Denier_.
New York, NY
359 days ago
Fuck you too, Peretz.
Washington, District of Columbia

Congressman Hunter Says He Probably Killed 'Hundreds' Of Civilians While In Combat

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Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., speaks during an interview at a call center on ...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., speaks during an interview at a call center on Santee, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, said he probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving as an artillery officer in Fallujah.

His comments were made public Monday on the latest episode of the podcast “Zero Blog Thirty.”

“I was an artillery officer, and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians,” he said. “Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So, do I get judged too?”

Hunter recalled this story in response to a question about the actions of Navy SEAL Edward R. Gallagher who is on trial in San Diego accused of war crimes including shooting at civilians. Gallagher has pleaded not guilty.

During the podcast, Hunter was asked specifically about one of the individuals Gallagher is accused of killing, a teenage ISIS fighter. According to prosecutors, the SEAL stabbed the teen who was brought in for medical treatment.

“I frankly don’t care if he was killed,” Hunter said. “I just don’t care.”

The Congressman added that he has seen photos and videos from the Gallagher case and has talked to other SEALS who served with him who say they don’t believe the charges. Hunter also said Gallagher should be given a break and that the ISIS fighter he is accused of killing was going to die anyway.

By Reporter Lynn Walsh

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, continues to defend the San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of war crimes by saying he also posed with dead bodies and probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Fallujah.

In a statement, Capt. Joseph Butterfield with the Marine Corps said the Marines are aware of Hunter’s comments, but it is too early to speculate on any future actions.

According to the statement, "Marines are required to comply with the law of war during all military operations, however characterized. If mistreatment of the dead were committed intentionally, it could be considered a violation of the law of war. U.S. service members have been charged and punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for posing for pictures with human casualties. Generally, the statute of limitations under the UCMJ is five years.”

This is not the first time Hunter has defended Gallagher’s actions publicly. At a town hall meeting in Ramona on Saturday, he said he and a lot of his military peers have posed in photos with people they’ve killed.

“He did one bad thing, that I am guilty of too, taking a picture with a body and saying something stupid and then texting that,” Hunter said.

KPBS requested an interview with Hunter but he has not made himself available.

Instead, his office sent a statement that read, “Congressman Hunter was simply trying to make a point in the Gallagher case is that almost everyone has a camera now on the battlefield. A lot of pictures are taken, some have pictures with the enemy involved, some do not. The larger context here is that the case against Gallagher is weak and the Navy prosecution has conducted itself shamefully throughout the process.”

Hunter is the first combat veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in Congress. During the podcast, he said his experience in the military is part of the reason why he decided to run for elected office.

He and his wife, Margaret, were indicted in 2017 on federal charges of illegally converting more than $250,000 in campaign contributions for personal living expenses. Both have pleaded not guilty and have their next court hearing scheduled for July 29. The trial is set for later this year.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

In today’s San Diego’s News Matters podcast: Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is now freed from custody, but the case isn’t over just yet.

Plus, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, continues to defend the San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of war crimes by saying he also posed with dead bodies and probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Fallujah; San Diego could be facing a bad fire season; and a City Heights football team is getting national recognition after learning from the best.

Aired: May 31, 2019 | Download | Transcript

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.

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399 days ago
Congressman confesses to mass murder, continues serving in Congress.
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400 days ago
He’s this close to an important realization…
Washington, DC

Impossible!By doing nothing productive all day, you push back...

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By doing nothing productive all day, you push back against the capitalist narrative that demands constant productivity as a measure of human worth. And pushing back against capitalism is inherently productive, comrade!

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482 days ago
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