Tag Archives: education

Neuroeconomia: A Tomada de Decisão

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O Novo Conflito de Gerações

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Escrito por Joseph E. Stiglitz:

“Algo interessante surgiu nos padrões de voto em ambos os lados do Atlântico: os jovens estão votando de maneira marcadamente diferente dos mais velhos. A grande divisão não se baseia tanto na renda, na educação formal ou no gênero dos eleitores. Há boas razões para esta divisão. A vida de ambos, velhos e jovens, são diferentes. Seus passados são diferentes e, por isso, são diferentes as suas perspectivas.

A Guerra Fria, por exemplo, tinha acabado antes mesmo de alguns nasceram e enquanto outros ainda eram crianças. Palavras como o socialismo não transmitem o significado que uma vez transmitiam. Se o socialismo significa a criação de uma sociedade onde as preocupações compartilhadas não recebem apenas pouca atenção – onde as pessoas se preocupam com outras pessoas e ao meio ambiente em que vivem – que assim seja. Sim, pode ter sido falho os experimentos sob essa rubrica meio século atrás; mas as experiências de hoje não têm qualquer semelhança com as do passado. Assim, o fracasso dessas experiências passadas não diz nada sobre os novos.

Os mais velhos da classe média alta americana e os europeus tiveram uma boa vida. Quando eles entraram para a força de trabalho, empregos bem remunerados estavam esperando por eles. A pergunta que fizeram foi o que eles queriam fazer, e não o tempo que precisariam viver com seus pais antes de conseguir um trabalho que lhes permitisse sair da casa de seus pais.

Essa geração tinha como certa a segurança no emprego, o casar jovem, o comprar uma casa – talvez uma casa de verão, também – e, finalmente, aposentar-se com uma razoável segurança. No geral, eles tinham a expectativa (e geralemnte conseguiam) ser melhores do que seus pais.

Enquanto a geração mais velha de hoje encontrou solavancos ao longo do caminho, na maior parte dos casos, suas expectativas foram atendidas. Eles podem ter feito mais sobre ganhos de capital em suas casas do que de trabalho. Eles quase certamente descobriram que era estranho, mas aceitaram de bom grado o presente de nossos mercados especulativos, e muitas vezes deu-se o crédito para a compra no lugar certo e no momento certo.

Hoje, a expectativa dos jovens, onde quer que estejam na distribuição de renda, é o oposto. Eles enfrentam a insegurança do emprego ao longo das suas vidas. Em média, muitos graduados universitários irão procurar por meses antes de encontrar um emprego – muitas vezes só depois de ter feito um ou dois estágios não-remunerados. E eles se consideram jovens com sorte, porque eles sabem que seus pares mais pobres, alguns dos quais também foram para as melhores escolas, não pode se dar ao luxo de passar um ou dois anos sem renda, e nem tem as conexões para conseguir um estágio em primeiro lugar.

Os jovens recém formados de hoje estão sobrecarregados com a dívida – quanto mais pobre se é, mais eles devem. Assim, eles não se perguntam o trabalho que gostariam de ter; eles simplesmente se perguntam qual o trabalho que vai permitir-lhes pagar suas dívidas da faculdade, que muitas vezes vai sobrecarregá-los por 20 anos ou mais. Da mesma forma, a compra de uma casa é um sonho distante.

Isso significa que os jovens não estão pensando muito sobre aposentadoria. Se o fizessem, eles estariam apenas horrorizados com o quanto eles deveriam estar poupando para viver uma vida decente (porque a previdência social não garante uma vida decente), dada a provável persistência das taxas de juro do fundo do poço.

Em suma, os jovens de hoje vêem o mundo através da lente da equidade intergeracional. Os filhos da classe média alta podem se dar bem no final porque eles herdarão a riqueza de seus pais. No entanto, eles geralmente não gostam deste tipo de dependência, e gostam menos ainda da alternativa de um “recomeço” em que as cartas na mesa jogam contra qualquer coisa que se aproxime o mínimo do estilo de vida básico da classe média.

Estas desigualdades não podem ser facilmente explicadas. Não é que esses jovens não trabalham duro: estas dificuldades afetam aqueles que passaram longas horas estudando, se destacaram na escola, e fizeram tudo “certo”. O senso de injustiça social – que o jogo econômico é manipulado – reforçando como eles vêem os banqueiros que trouxeram a crise financeira, a causa do mal-estar contínuo na economia, e saíram ilesos e ainda com mega-bônus, e com ninguém sendo responsabilizado por seus erros. Fraudes maciças foram cometidas, mas de alguma forma, ninguém realmente foi responsabilizado por elas. Elites políticas prometeram que “reformas” trariam prosperidade sem precedentes. E eles fizeram, mas apenas para o top 1%. Todos os outros, incluindo os jovens, ganharam uma insegurança sem precedentes.

Essas três realidades – a injustiça social numa escala sem precedentes, inequidades em massa, e uma perda de confiança nas elites – definem o nosso momento político, e com razão.

(…)

Mais importante, o jovem não vai encontrar um caminho suave para o mercado de trabalho a menos que a economia funcione de forma muito melhor. A taxa “oficial” de desemprego nos Estados Unidos gira em torno de 4,9%, mas máscara níveis muito mais elevados de desemprego disfarçado que, pelo menos, estão mantendo os salários baixos.

Mas não seremos capaz de corrigir o problema se não o reconhecermos. Nossos jovens reconhecem. Eles percebem a ausência de justiça entre gerações, e eles têm razão de ficarem com raiva.”

Esse artigo foi originalmente postado no Project Syndicate.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, ganhador do Prêmio Nobel de Ciências Econômicas em 2001 e a medalha Clark John Bates em 1979, é professor da Universidade de Columbia.

Pixação: What is Pixo?

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PIXO is a Brazilian documentary (2009) directed by João Wainer and Roberto T. Oliveira:

And here an article written by Marcio Siwi for The Guardian about Pixação and Graffiti:

If Brazil is “not for beginners”, as the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim once said, then its great urban centre, São Paulo, is certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s not just the noisy streets, the extreme socio-economic inequality, the abandoned buildings and the drug addicts roaming notorious “Cracolandia” that give my home city its rough edges. It’s what is written on the walls, too.

There is thick black paint on virtually every wall or facade here. When my photographer friend Pablo Lopez Luz came to visit, it was the first thing that caught his eye: “What’s with all the graffiti?” he asked. “It’s not graffiti,” I replied, “it’s pixação.”

At first sight, it is difficult to tell the two styles apart, but there are important differences. In the case of graffiti – be it tagging or bombing – the letters are rounder and more stylised thanks to the copious use of blending, shading and other techniques. Colour is another important element: the brighter the better in most cases, in images and figures too.

By contrast pixadores, as practitioners are called, (sometimes spelled pichadores) seldom create visuals, only letters. Their ubiquitous calligraphy is composed of straight lines and sharp edges, giving their creations – pixos – a jagged look. They are also primarily black (the verb “pichar” in Portuguese means to cover with tar). But just because pixos are monochromatic and less stylised does not mean they lack history or socio-cultural significance.

There are more than 5,000 active pixadores in São Paulo now.
There are more than 5,000 active pixadores in São Paulo. Photograph: Pablo Lopez Luz

The use of São Paulo’s city walls as a canvas is not new. In the 1930s, political candidates wrote campaign slogans all over them. By the late 1960s, when students took to the streets to voice their dissent against Brazil’s military government, spray painting phrases such as “abaixo a ditatura” (“down with the dictatorship”) on the walls of public buildings became an important act of protest.

 The style we now identify with pixação first emerged in São Paulo in the 1980s. Politically, the country was undergoing a gradual transition to democracy, but politics weren’t the only thing on the mind of São Paulo’s youth – so was heavy metal.

The musical genre that developed in the UK and US gained a strong following in São Paulo. In addition to the brute force of bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, AC/DC and Metallica, Paulistano youths were also attracted to their album covers – in particular, the runic-inspired typeface these bands used to brand themselves.

In true Brazilian fashion, youths in São Paulo cannibalised this foreign practice. Thus began the evolution of this city’s distinctive pixação: a style of urban writing that has inspired numerous pixadores to come up with their own variations on this type of calligraphy – according to one estimate, there are more than 5,000 active pixadores in São Paulo alone.

At its most basic level, pixação is about vanity, fame and self-promotion, which is why the vast majority of pixos are either personal monikers or the names of particular griffes (collectives). Fame in the world of pixação is primarily a numbers game – so much so that seasoned pixadores boast about having left their mark on nearly every wall of the city. Currently, one of São Paulo’s most famous and prolific pixadores goes by the moniker RAPDOS, a variation on the word rápido.

Pixação is also about visibility, particularly the kind that can only be achieved through daring acts of courage. In its most basic form, rolê de chão or “pavement cruising”, the targets are walls and the risk is relatively low – although it is still a criminal offence that carries a potential prison sentence.

The more extreme form is janela de prédio (“building window”), for which success is measured in terms of height. Pixadores – usually in teams of two – climb a building’s facade by grabbing on to its window ledges and pulling themselves up, floor by floor, leaving their pixos as they go up. Rooftop pixos require guts and the right equipment – black ink and a paint roller attached to a broomstick – but sometimes that’s not enough, and to extend their reach, pixadores have to dangle their bodies over the roof ledge.

These daring acts, however, do not come close to escalada, or “buildering”, whereby pixadores scale the outside of a building by holding on to its external surge arrester cable. This is a particularly perilous way to climb a building considering that the clamps used to fix this cable onto the facade are not built to withstand the weight of a person. To make matters worse, escaladas are executed at night by a lone pixador.

Not surprisingly, accidents are common – and sometimes fatal. But for the adrenaline-seeking pixador, the pay-off is worth the risk. By scaling the building in such a way, they can access large sections of a facade that have never been touched by another pixador. This kind of real estate is hard to come by in São Paulo, and nearly impossible for those who stick to rolê de chão and janela de prédio, where the competition for space is stiff.

In more extreme forms, success is measured by height.
Photograph: Pablo Lopez Luz

Aside from fame, visibility and adrenaline, the most important motivation for pixadores is anger – primarily directed against the city. Unlike graffiti (which many pixadores reject as being “too commercial” and a “beautification scheme”), pixação seeks to positively degrade the urban environment. As one pixador put it, pixação is “an assault on the city”.

This hostile relationship is ingrained in the very language of pixação. For instance, pixadores never use the term “paint” or “spray”. Instead, they prefer “arrebentar”, “detonar” or “escancarar” (“smash”, “blow-up” and “destroy”). Some typical pixador monikers translate as “shock”, “neurosis”, “death”, “scare”, “nightmare”, “danger” and “nocturnal attack”.

This anger towards the city is much more than teenage bravado or youthful rage. It is rooted in a sense of social injustice that is intrinsically connected with the pattern of uneven urbanisation that began in the 1940s and continues today. Seeking to remake São Paulo into a modern city, elite reformers and boosters of the 1940s and 50s embarked on ambitious urban renewal projects. In addition to infrastructural improvements, a street widening programme, the construction of a massive urban park (Parque Ibirapuera) and other beautification projects, the main feature of São Paulo’s urban renewal was its modernist skyscrapers.

Fuelled by easy credit, ambitious developers and aspirations for a New York-style skyline, São Paulo experienced an unprecedented building boom in the immediate postwar period. Some of the city’s best known modernist buildings date back to this period, including David Libeskind’s Conjunto Nacional, Franz Heep’s Edifício Itália, and Oscar’s Niemeyer’s iconic S-shaped Copan building.

But while such urban renewal projects may have benefited better-off Paulistanos who lived and worked in and around downtown São Paulo, they had an adverse effect on the lives of the city’s working-class residents. To transform São Paulo into the modern city envisioned, large portions were demolished, especially the “outmoded” buildings located in the downtown area inhabited by the working poor. Unable to find affordable housing in and around downtown, working-class Paulistanos were left with two bad options: join the urban poor in one of the city’s growing favelas, or relocate to the periphery. Most chose the periphery.

Life there was, and still is, challenging. Far from São Paulo’s downtown area where most jobs are concentrated, peripheral neighbourhoods also lacked the basic public services associated with modern urban living, including a proper sewage system, running water, paved roads, electricity, hospitals and schools. One early resident described living in the periphery as “like living in the wilderness”. As a result, São Paulo earned the reputation of being one of the world’s most unequal cities, divided between the haves of the centre and the have-nots of the periphery.

The anger that pixadores felt – and still feel – towards the city should be understood in the context of this uneven pattern of urban development. In the words of a well-known pixador, “Pixação is a reflection of the absence of the state in the life of that person who decided to become a pixador.” It is no coincidence that the vast majority of pixadores hail from São Paulo’s peripheral neighbourhoods and, just as important, that their preferred targets tend to be the centrally located modernist buildings – especially those designed by famous architects.

Pixadores have also targeted historic sites such as the Ramos de Azevedo fountain in downtown São Paulo.
Ramos de Azevedo fountain in downtown São Paulo. Photograph: Pablo Lopez Luz

In recent years, pixadores have targeted icons of São Paulo’s modernism, including the Wilton Paes de Almeida building and Niemeyer’s famous pavilion located inside Ibirapuera Park. Pixadores have also tarnished sites that are part of the city’s historic patrimony, including the Ramos de Azevedo fountain in downtown São Paulo. The more sacred the site, the more attractive it is as a target for their pixos.

Many pixadores approach their craft in terms of politics. As one pixador put it in a recent documentary by João Wainer, “We practise class warfare.” Others are more romantic, hoping that their pixos, by tarnishing the appearance of the more privileged areas of the city, will encourage better-off Paulistanos to reflect on the way working-class residents live – especially those in the periphery.

Unsurprisingly, however, the more common reaction to a wall full of pixos is resentment. To city officials and the “victims” of pixação, pixadores are vandals whose creations – which one observer referred to as “an urban plague” – must be eradicated at all cost.

Local authorities and residents have been engaged in a battle to stem the flow of pixação since the early 1980s, when the practice first emerged. Yet despite hi-tech security cameras, neighbourhood watch groups, police intimidation, draconian laws and a special sanitary unit within the city government dedicated to covering up pixos, pixação is more popular and widespread in São Paulo today than ever before.

The city’s authorities may be no match for pixação, but there are signs that the market forces that have co-opted graffiti and transformed it into an “acceptable” urban expression now hope to do the same with pixação. Pixação – and the image of the pixador as a subversive figure – has already been appropriated by such international brands as Puma to sell their apparel. A pixação-inspired font, Adrenalina, can be downloaded for US$25 and, in 2012, the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art invited a group of pixadores to make an “artistic intervention”.

While some pixadores have embraced the idea of marketing pixação as a “legitimate” art form, others are much more critical. In recent years, one group has invaded a number of art galleries in São Paulo’s hippest neighbourhoods that were exhibiting (and selling) works by pixadores and photographs of pixos. In an act of protest, they covered all the pieces with black ink and painted slogans such as “sell-out” and “the street does not need you”. For these pixadores, ensuring that pixação remains a marginal expression of the urban periphery – as opposed to a marketable commodity – is essential to its very survival.

Marcio Siwi is a PhD candidate in history at New York University whose work explores post-war urban development and cultural production in São Paulo and New York.

 

Equality is better than slavery; Freedom is better than a cage.

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War on Women

War on Women

“”I admit to myself long ago that there is no dignity in preserving and promoting our identity. From experience, I say that there is nothing good to encourage immigrants to live with their habits, traditions and religious dogmas of their countries of origin.

It seems to me that no tradition or culture itself deserves respect, only actions that promote human welfare deserve to be cultivated. Whether traditional or not. If adherence to tradition conflicts with the welfare of the individual and human rights, individual rights should always prevail. And the modern secular societies of Europe maintain those rights better than gated communities and oppression of immigrants who have made so much effort to put their families in these societies, and then try desperately to remain unaffected by their values​​.

The doctrine of multiculturalism traps girls in bondage and abuse, and holds the minds of many children under the guise of tradition and religious dogma. There are many ways to help an individual on poverty. Food, water, relief, remedies. But there is also the provision of a new and better way of life. A way of life that will launch them into modernity. And a new identity sometimes better.

It is best to choose and think for themselves than to be indoctrinated and brainwashed. Equality is better than slavery. Freedom is better than a cage. Multiculturalism preserves cages and slavery. “”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali – Somali writer, author of the bestselling autobiography “Infidel: the story of a woman who challenged Islam”, awarded the Freedom Prize of Denmark’s Liberal Party and the Liberal Party’s Democracy Prize of Sweden “for her courageous work – democracy, human rights and women’s rights. “

Early to Rise? Ordinary and Happy. Late-to-Bed-Late-to-Rise? Intelligent and Depressed.

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According to the University of Madrid and the London School of Economics, those who wake up early have more time just to mediocrity. Those who sleep later and wake up later are generally smarter.

Garfield

Those who sleep late and wake up late have better analytical thinking, conceptual and critical. Despite some exceptions, such as Thomas Edison and Ernest Hemingway, the morning people are generally good servants while night people are better at more intellectual, creative, scientific, and artistic work. Famous night owls: Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Keith Richards, Elvis Presley.

In the study of Madrid, 32% are night owls and 25% are morning larks, the rest do not fit into any category. Some scientists say that night people have superior intelligence due to the recent evolution of human behavior with activities after the sunset since the introduction of artificial lighting that attracts people with mind more curious, restless and inquisitive.

The University of Toronto, however, shows that morning types are happier – which is consistent with minds less curious and inquisitive. Another interesting fact is that the morning types feel healthier than night owls – plus more adjusted, since the expectations of the society are more organized around the time of a typically morning person. Another explanation for the greatest happiness of the morning type may be that the nocturnal type body clock comes with a kind of social jet-lag.

Another study, this one from the University of Rio Grande do Sul, shows that people with higher intelligence and nocturnal habits are three times more likely to develop depression.
Finally, these studies are in line with the popular quotes “what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over”, “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” among other quotes much more polemical and aggressive.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can work in freedom” – Albert Einstein

Liberty is obedience to the law which one has laid down for oneself” – Jean Jacques Rosseau

Ignorance is the necessary condition of human happiness, and it has to be admitted that on the whole mankind observes that condition well. We are almost entirely ignorant of ourselves; absolutely of others. In ignorance, we find our bliss; in illusions, our happiness” – Anatole France

 

The Boston bomb suspect’s Rolling Stone cover: Aren’t we forgetting people used to be innocent until proven guilty?

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Rolling Stone Non-Sense Cover

By Sophie McAdam.

“”The Rolling Stone story breaks not only “traditions of journalism”, but several media laws and ethical boundaries that are crucial in a fair, free, democratic society.  Cast your mind back, if you can, to that sunny and carefree pre-911 world, where intelligent people didn’t have panic attacks over dark-skinned men on buses carrying electronic cigarettes.  Back then, the Rolling Stone article would have caused outrage for a very different reason- it assumes the guilt of a man who is still awaiting trial.

Damn right we should be angry. And very concerned. We should be looking very closely at the emotive and dehumanizing “monster” label Rolling Stone have pinned to the alleged terrorist and we should be asking: What happens when the trial begins? How can we expect the jurors not to be influenced by mainstream media’s premature guilty verdict? And what if- just what if- Dzhokhar and his brother are innocent?

Habeus Corpus is the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Before 9/11, we took this simple concept for granted. It’s what made western societies so great, with liberty and justice for all. It’s a vital part of a civilized society- and wait a minute, isn’t that why those terrorist boogeymen are so envious of us in the first place? It’s an ancient human right dating back to a time where we were still burning witches, with its first recorded usage in Britain as far back as 1305 (later enshrined as a legal civil liberty in 1679). But in the UK this long -standing law- taken for granted for centuries – was nullified in the blink of an eye by Tony Blair’s 2005 Prevention of Terrorism Act. The situation in the US is no different: having adopted the British system, US law had prohibited the restriction of Habeus Corpus up until 2001, but 911 gave the government a convenient excuse to start chipping away at this most basic of liberties.

The media, of course, are complicit. “Terrorists are everywhere!” scream news bulletins and newspapers. On buses and the subway, on planes and trains, under your bed and inside your closet! You’re either with us or against us, folks- and don’t you dare complain, it’s unpatriotic. Go shopping,  go back to sleep, just shut up.

Mainstream media has consistently reflected the state’s official bullshit story that you can’t possibly have freedom and security. But it’s ok, because if you allow the state to “protect” you – through the collection of your emails and telephone calls, increased airport security, more CCTV cameras recording your every move and terrifying SWAT teams terrorizing innocent families, you will be safer from the ever-present threat of these evil men who “hate our freedoms”.  A good trade-off, right?

Wrong. We are now living in a time where we have neither freedom nor security. In 2011, Habeus Corpus was killed once and for all by an NDAA amendment authorizing the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely imprison (without charge or trial) any civilian, including its own citizens, anywhere in the world, simply for suspicion of any (intentionally vague) “belligerent acts” against the U.S government. Activist and veteran journalist Chris Hedges, along with Noam Chomsky and others, has tried to overturn this chilling piece of legislation, but the group lost their appeal this month. This alone should terrify every single one of us.

Hedges called it a “black day for liberty” and indeed it is. But not only for journalists and activists who dare to criticize the government, but also those (inevitable) cases where innocent people are accused of terrorism. Could Tsarnaev be one of them? It’s not my intention to speculate, because it is the justice system, and only the justice system, which has the job of deciding one way or another. What the Rolling Stone cover really exposes is the death of real journalism, which should be about truth, not conjecture; reporting hard facts, not fear-mongering.

Was it ethical, for example, that images of the Tsarnaev brothers be released immediately after the bombings? Don’t forget that at that point, the FBI purported to be as much in the dark as the rest of us. “We don’t know who caused this tragedy” was quickly replaced by “we got them, and here’s what they look like!” without so much as a “how?” from so – called journalists. What concrete evidence – I mean something more than the fact the brothers wore rucksacks and looked slightly foreign – did police have against them before quickly distributing CCTV images to the baying press?

The publication of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Amazon wishlist just hours after the event was another oddity: this was before the PRISM scandal broke, and I for one was baffled. How does the state have immediate access to this guy’s Amazon account? Is the publication of his literary preferences really in the public interest? Why are newsreaders telling us in sad and serious tomes that the elder Tsarnaev brother had ordered a book on the Chechnyan struggle, as though this somehow wraps up the case against him? My bookshelves reflect my own interest in history and politics, and I even have a couple of books about Al-Qaeda, so bite me. If curiosity equals crime then we’ve slipped further into dystopia than I realized.

Apparenly Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had written “Fuck America” on the inside of his stowaway boat as he lay bleeding from a gunshot wound surrounded by armed feds, along with comments bemoaning the death of fellow muslims at the hands of the US. But even if this doesn’t sound a least slightly doubtful, can being faithful to Islam and feeling resentful of American foreign policy really be taken as proof of terrorism?  Most educated non-muslims now agree that the US – led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were illegal, unethical and frankly barbaric. Critical thinkers should be wary: without a doubt, there are far more questions than answers in the Boston case.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that anything and everything you do, say and think can and will be used against you, with the mainstream media acting as government’s chief executioner. Trial by media seems to have replaced the courts, leaving heroes of our time like Manning, Assange and Snowden languishing in military prisons, embassies and airports respectively. On the other hand, it hardly matters whether the press perverts the cause of justice or not, when it’s likely you’ll be shipped to Guantanamo or swiftly murdered by the feds before you ever have your day in court.

Habeus corpus wasn’t the only thing to have died after 911. Along with it went common sense, good judgement, logical thinking, and empathy for our fellow human beings. We are paranoid, full of hate and fear of “the other”, and we have traded all our liberties for a security which was not, and can never be, delivered. Day after day, we mindlessly eat what the media feed us,  a spaghetti dish of lies and half-truths served with a cup of hysteria to keep us from thinking critically.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the US and British governments – along with their yapping poodles in the media – terrify me far more than Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube account.  All of us who care about freedom and justice have an obligation and a duty to call for the press to keep quiet until a jury- one not tainted by screeching, delirious media speculation – has decided whether there is enough real evidence to convict Tsarnaev in a court of law.””

Written by Sophie McAdam at True Activist blog.