Weekend Fun

FRI: Grizzlies / Cavaliers at the Forum, Creedence Clearwater revisited at Horseshoe, U of M Jazz Orchestra at Neil’s, Miles Flatt at Lafayette’s

SAT: Drivin’ n Cryin’ at Minglewood, 2pm book signing by Mark Greaney at Novel, Aquanet at Lafayette’s, Robert Cray at Goldstrike

SUN: Soup Sunday at FedEx Forum at 11 to benefit Youth Villages

SAT – SUN: Prepper Show: Survivor gun and Knife at The Agricenter


More here

A Famously Armed Teacher Responds to Trump’s Idea

Joel Myrick stopped a school shooter in 1997
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2018 7:31 AM CST

(NEWSER) – President Trump picked up where he left off Wednesday night, taking to Twitter on Thursday morning to expound upon his idea of arming teachers. “I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC,” he began. “What I said was to look at the possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience – only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to … ….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!” he added.

In a White House meeting Wednesday with students and families affected by shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other schools, Trump referred to Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who died protecting students, suggesting that if Feis had been armed, “he would’ve shot and that would’ve been the end of it.” Axios flags a quote in a New York Times piece from someone uniquely positioned to respond: Joel Myrick, who as a Mississippi assistant principal in 1997, retrieved his Colt. 45 pistol from his truck, loaded it, and chased and detained a school shooter who had killed two. “Teachers have to teach, and that’s what they should be doing. It doesn’t matter what a pistolero you are, or think you are. You don’t need to be in school in charge of protecting children.”



Inside Twitter’s Bot Purge

Former Twitter engineers talk about the company’s attempt to ‘quietly clean up their mess’ after an overnight purge of fake accounts left far-right trolls fuming.

The pulldown took place quite literally in the middle of the night, without warning or explanation from the company.

Leading right-wing trolls and conspiracy theorists, many of whom woke up this morning to discover that their follower numbers had plunged by the thousands, kicked off and outrage cycle, accusing Twitter of censorship, violating their free speech, and unfairly punishing conservatives.

Right-wing agitators and white supremacists including Michael Flynn Jr., Richard SpencerCassandra Fairbanks, and Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson all complained about losing thousands of followers. Other conservative users and their supporters have begun using the hashtag #TwitterLockOut to voice their anger on the issue.

“If you lost followers during the #TwitterLockOut, comment below. Follow each other & use this as an opportunity to grow stronger. The people, united, will never be divided,” one verified troll tweeted.

Conservative writer Mark Pantano and others complained on Wednesday that they were unfairly targeted in Twitter’s recent clean up and forced to verify their identity through two step authentication. Other users had their ability to run ads revoked.

“In January, we announced that as part of our Information Quality efforts we would be making changes… to limit the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts,” the post reads. “These changes are an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter—including elections in the United States and around the world.”

But while free speech advocates and former Twitter employees all agreed that the company should continue to be more open with the way it policies its platform, they had differing approaches to how they’d deal with the root of the issue.

One former senior engineer at Twitter said that while it’s crucial Twitter remain proactive and open about changes it’s making to its platform, revealing too much an attempt to appease angry conservatives could end up making it easier for hackers to build more sophisticated bots to skirt the rules.

“Twitter should not publish guidelines around what types of bots or accounts are being deleted,” he said. “They can’t be like, ‘Hey, here’s what we’re using to determine a bot,’ because then it becomes a cat and mouse game. If the cat publishes their plan, it’s over.”

Another former Twitter employee said that, while broad blog posts and announcements, such as the one issued today, are absolutely helpful, part of the reason Twitter may be remiss to publish that type of content preemptively may be because of how sloppy the company’s spam detection process truly is.

“The real problem for Twitter lies in its inability to properly detect and thwart these fake accounts. It’s likely the main reason why they won’t talk about what they’re doing. The team is just too understaffed and poorly built to handle such a large issue, and explaining their reasoning would lead to more outcry for accounts that haven’t been banned yet,” the employee said.

“I’m guessing they don’t want to shine too much light on their efforts. I’m sure they’d prefer to keep their heads down, avoid the press, and quietly try to clean up their mess.”

Getting too deeply into nitty, gritty details can also inflame political tensions.

Social media companies, including Facebook, have increasingly sparred with right-wing groups. In 2016 right-wing group accused Facebook of suppressing conservative views and promoting censorship. While Facebook admitted that Russian-backed accounts had purchased ads on its platform, it has yet to consistently alert the public to new findings.

This week, social blogging platform Medium suspended the accounts of three leading conservatives, Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, and Laura Loomer, in an effort to limit those who promote “harassment, hate speech, violence, or disinformation.”

“The biggest challenge all social platforms face is that abuse, fake news, and bot accounts skew right, and Silicon Valley doesn’t want to be accused of liberal bias,” another former Twitter employee said. “If this crap skewed left, the companies could take it down in one fell swoop without any political concerns. But you can’t do that now, because it will kick of a week long cycle about censoring conservatives on the internet.”

A former senior engineer at Twitter agreed that Twitter’s tip toeing around conservatives for fear of being labeled as biased probably ended up causing more drama than had they just addressed things clearly and directly to begin with.

“If the question is what is going to stop people bitching about Twitter, the answer is nothing. People are really ignorant when it comes to technology,” he said. “Twitter has a responsibility to communicate in a way that people understand what they’re doing. But I think this thing speaks more to our political climate than Twitter’s responsibility. This outrage reveals much more about the people who are outraged than Twitter.”

When Twitter doesn’t say why or how it’s taking certain actions, users are left in the dark to speculate, and many will buy into conspiracy theories, like the notion that Twitter targets conservatives.

Sarah McLaughlin, a free speech advocate with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that “as a general rule, social media platforms are bad at transparency. Any act Twitter takes to remove accounts will look questionable if the company isn’t completely upfront about its reasons for doing so,” she said.

“I think it would benefit Twitter most if major moderation moves were explained before they were enacted,” she added. “Otherwise, in the absence of clear guidelines announced beforehand explaining the reasons accounts are being removed and the policies which they are violating, people will speculate, often wildly.”

Charles Duan, a free speech advocate and associate director of Technology and Innovation Policy at R Street Institute said that above all else, Twitter needs more proactive transparency.

While Twitter is a private company, unbeholden to the First Amendment, Duan believes it’s hypocritical for the company to hold itself up as a beacon of uncensored online discussion then make arbitrary changes or remove accounts with no explanation.

“There are situations where Twitter has taken advantage of its status as something of a public forum and I think that does give them a level of responsibility to think about their actions and internal motivations,” he said. “But ultimately it’s a matter of transparency. Private companies can act in the dark, but when they do that they’re rightfully criticized for not explaining their actions.”

Duan said that Twitter should announce things like mass bot deletion, but make a technical case for the change rather than trying to enforce guidelines around content.

For instance, he suggested that perhaps a blog post outlining how Twitter bots stress the company’s servers and cause technical difficulties might assuage user concerns without making them think that only bots with certain viewpoints were being attacked.

But even a thorough explanation of the actions the company is taking is unlikely to appease many on the right, who still feel like the company’s policies are being applied unfairly. And if this drama sounds familiar, it’s because it’s played out many times before.

In 2016, Twitter shut down several popular right-wing accounts and bots for abusing its @-reply function. After previous “purges,” many right leaning Twitter users and members of the alt-right fled to Twitter clone Gab, which is largely used and touted by the far-right fringe.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said last fall that he believes the company has a “double standard” for conservatives.

Twitter also angered people on the right back in November, when it revoked verified check marks from known white supremacists and Nazis on the platform, after doling them out just a week prior. White supremacists Richard Spencer and Charlottesville “Unite The Right” protest creator Jason Kessler both lost their check marks, which are used to verify the identity of public figures, but later came to serve as a status symbol on the platform.

Twitter, does have a set of community guidelines outlining what will and will not be tolerated on the platform. But its problems seem to come when it’s time to enforce those guidelines.

Twitter, like Facebook and other social networks, has a long history of cracking down on certain groups or language while letting others slide.

The company found itself embroiled in weeks of criticism after it was forced to address Donald Trump’s tweets, many of which technically violate Twitter’s guidelines. Eventually, the company addressed the issue in a blog post about world leaders, claiming that deleting Trump’s account and holding him to the same standard of other users on the platform would “hide important information people should be able to see and debate.”

But half-hearted, posthumous explanations of why accounts were deleted, suspended, or stripped of certain privileges do nothing to instill confidence in users, particularly conservatives, who feel they’ve been unfairly targeted by the platform.

The latest cries of censorship are only valid if one believes strings of code simulating thousands of people have the same rights as a single person. But as long as Twitter continues to be so opaque about the way it policies its own platform, its relative silence will fuel the frenzy.



Study: Red Wine Prevents Tooth Decay, Gum Disease

By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer, US News

IT MAY STAIN YOUR teeth, but red wine contains chemicals that could also help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

A team of researchers in Spain discovered that red wine contains polyphenol, a micronutrient that reduces the ability of bad bacteria known to cause dental plaque, cavities and gum disease to adhere to teeth and gums.

The study further links drinking red wine in moderation to multiple health benefits, including helping the heart, boosting good bacteria in the gut, lowering the risk of diabetes and increasing a person’s longevity.

While the results could eventually lead to changes in oral health care, the researchers said future investigations would need to be conducted to determine more about what was causing the bacteria to be hampered. Some skeptical of the study’s findings told the BBC that it did not mean people should start consuming more wine for oral health.

“[T]he acidic nature of wine means that consuming a lot of these drinks will damage the enamel of the teeth,” said professor Damien Walmsley, the British Dental Association’s scientific adviser. “[U]ntil the benefits of this research are shown clinically, it is best to consume wine in moderation and with a meal to minimize the risk of tooth erosion.”

If you’re under the legal age limit or not the biggest wine fan, though, other drinks – such as coffee, green tea, black tea, cider, orange and lemon juice – as well as food – like blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, black grapes, cherries and beans – also contain polyphenols.


33% of Americans do not have more savings than credit card debt

USA Today – Setting aside emergency savings is a key piece of personal finance advice that many struggle to follow through on, but more Americans may be making progress on boosting savings, a survey released Thursday says. According to personal finance site Bankrate.com, 33% of Americans say they do not have more emergency savings than credit card debt. While one in three Americans is financially ill-equipped for an emergency, that’s down from 41% in 2017 and 43% in 2016, and it’s the lowest level in the eight years of the survey. Fifty-eight percent say their emergency savings fund exceeds their credit card debt, which is up from 52% from the year before.


U.S. women end Canada’s streak to win hockey gold in shootout at 2018 Winter Olympics


GANGNEUNG, South Korea — A gold-medal women’s Olympic hockey game for the ages was deserving of a winning goal that no one will soon forget.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, the sixth U.S. shooter in a shootout, skated slowly toward the net, faked a shot, shifted the puck left, then pulled it right before tucking the puck past the outstretched glove of diving Canada goalie Shannon Szabados.

 “I knew she was going to pull something,” forward Kendall Coyne said. “She is phenomenal in shootouts. She always had something up her sleeve.”

Lamoureux-Davidson said the move is called “Oops, I did it again” and she has practiced it “thousands of times.”

“I butchered it a thousand times,” she said. “Just glad it worked this time.”

That was the game-winner in a 3-2 victory that ends Canada’s streak of four consecutive Olympic women’s hockey gold medals and perhaps changes the course of U.S. women’s hockey for years to come.

“This is greater than a trophy and a medal,” said U.S. center Gigi Marvin, a three-time Olympian who also scored in a shootout.

More: Watch Jocelyne Lamoureux of the USA turn Canadian goalie inside-out on game-winner

More: At medal ceremony after loss to USA, Canadian player immediately yanks silver off her neck

More: Twitter reaction to U.S. women’s hockey team winning gold

Marvin said the win will have an impact on her young niece, just like USA’s 1998 gold medal triumph in Nagano, Japan, affected her generation.

“Hopefully this is a springboard for women’s hockey, not just in the short term, but in the long-term,” Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Jocelyn’s twin sister, said.

The fact that the Americans won the game in dramatic fashion merely adds to its historical significance. The game was played on Feb. 22, 38 years to the day after Herb Brooks’ team downed the Soviets on Mike Eruzione’s goal in the “Miracle on Ice.”

“They should make a movie on (this women’s final),” said U.S. forward Hilary Knight who scored the USA’s first goal. “We had all of the drama.”

After five shooters from each side, the shootout was tied 2-2. Marvin and Amanda Kessel, sister of Pittsburgh Penguins star Phil Kessel, scored for the Americans, and Meghan Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored for Canada. Daost’s goal also was spectacular, similar in style to the goal Peter Forsberg scored to give Sweden the 1994 Olympic men’s gold medal.

Once Lamoureux-Davidson scored as the first extra shooter, U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney still had to stop Agosta who had been picked by her coach to have a second shot. Rooney made the save, sweeping the puck away for added emphasis before being mobbed by teammates.

“Talk about poise,” Marvin said.  “We all knew (Rooney) had it. She’s been a rock all year.”

Rooney made 29 saves in Szabados 40 in the memorable game.

Since winning the gold medal in 1998, the Americans had come away with three silvers and a bronze. Ten members of the 2018 team were on the 2014 U.S. team that squandered a two-goal lead and lost the gold medal game in overtime.

“I think every single person dug deep and found it within themselves to never lose hope,” Marvin said.

Even in this gold-medal game the USA had to come from behind. They were down 2-1 before Lamoureux-Morando scored on a breakaway to tie the game with 6:21 left in regulation.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber, a former NHL goalie, called the game “a classic case of how hard it should be” to win a gold medal. He called it “an incredible game.”

Nobody wanted this game to be decided by a shootout, but everyone understood it was probably heading there.

“There are a not a lot of words to describe how you feel (to lose),” Canada coach Laura Schuler said. “But it was a great game of hockey. But this is what we expected, back-and-forth hockey.”

The Americans had lost five consecutive games to Canada, dating to the pre-Olympic tour. They also lost to them earlier in this Olympic tournament.

“But I never felt for one minute that it wasn’t going to work out,” Stauber said. “You could see in the locker room that the players were dialed in.”


‘I’m Not Going to Wait for Some Adult to Make Change’

Students around US take to streets to protest gun violence
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 2:01 PM CST

(NEWSER) – Students who survived the shooting that left 17 dead earlier this month in Florida marched on the state capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday to confront lawmakers and demand a ban on assault weapons, CNN reports. They were joined by thousands of students from around South Florida, some of whom marched up to 10 miles to Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the shooting, in solidarity. “We’re exhausted, but couldn’t be prouder to be here,” a senior from Palm Beach County says. About 100 students from Stoneman Douglas were scheduled to meet with lawmakers Wednesday. “People I know died. My friends died,” survivor Daniel Bishop says. “If our government was doing something correctly, then we wouldn’t be here today.” Here’s what else you need to know:

  • Florida students weren’t alone. The Hill reports walkouts were planned at schools around the country, including in Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Arizona.
  • In Maryland, students from three high schools marched to the US Capitol with signs reading “It’s Our Right To Feel Safe In School” and “Mr. Pres. How Many More Kids Will Die?” despite objections from at least one principal, Fox 5 reports.
  • Back in Tallahassee, Stoneman Douglas survivor Lorenzo Prado shared his story of being mistaken for the gunman when SWAT stormed the school. “I thought they were here to rescue me,” HuffPost quotes him as saying. “I find out that I was wrong. I found out that they thought it was me that killed the 17 people.” He says he’s demanding change to keep those 17 lives from having been “lost in vain.”
  • “We need to show lawmakers that if they keep being complacent about gun violence, they’re not going to be re-elected,” USA Today quotes Sarah Leitch as saying. The Jacksonville senior was one of hundreds of Florida students rallying in Tallahassee.
  • Students at Kentucky’s Simon Kenton High School walked out Wednesday for 17 minutes—one minute for every victim of the Parkland shooting, the Enquirer reports. They marched around the school chanting “never again” and “we want change.”
  • The Press Herald reports students from at least five high schools in Maine are planning to join a national 17-minute walkout planned for March 14. “I want change now,” one 14-year-old freshman says. “I’m not going to wait for it. I’m not going to wait for some adult to make change.”
  • But the superintendent of Wisconsin’s Waukesha School District says any student or staff member who participates in the March 14 protest could face punishment for being disruptive, according to the Journal Sentinel. “Participation in a walkout is disruptive and against school regulations and will subject students to disciplinary measures,” Todd Gray says.
  • He was joined by the superintendent of the Needville School District in Texas, who says any student walking out of school to protest gun violence will be hit with a three-day suspension, the Houston Chronicle reports. “Life is all about choices, and every choice has a consequence,” Curtis Rhodes says. “We will discipline no matter if it is one, 50, or 500 students involved.”


Trump Pitches Teachers With Guns, More Mental Institutions

President meets with friends, family of Stoneman Douglas shooting victims
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 6:03 PM CST

(NEWSER) – President Trump promised to “do something about this horrible situation that’s going on” while meeting with students and families affected by shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other schools Wednesday at the White House, NBC News reports. His solution: arming teachers and other staffers. “If he had a firearm he wouldn’t have had to run, he would’ve shot and that would’ve been the end of it,” Politico quotes Trump as saying of Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who died while protecting students. The Guardian reports Trump also talked about “special training” for teachers and eliminating gun-free zones around schools. “It only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many,” Trump said. “It would be teachers and coaches.”

Other potential solutions floated by Trump, who promised action and not more talk “like it has been in the past,” include raising the age required to buy an AR-15 and being “very strong” on background checks and mental health. Trump complained about there being fewer “mental institutions” now where people with a mental illness could be put before they do anything criminal, the AP reports. Trump didn’t bring up any specific policy proposals while the parents and friends of school shooting victims called for action. “It should’ve been one school shooting, and we should’ve fixed it,” said Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter was killed at Stoneman Douglas. “I’m pissed.” Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son at Sandy Hook added: “You have the ability to save lives today, please don’t waste this.”


‘Shelby County Crackdown’ looks to lower number of traffic deaths

By WMCActionNews5.com Staff

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – The pain for WMC Action News 5 Chief Meteorologist Emeritus Dave Brown never goes away.

“It will never be a day that goes by that I don’t think about it and think them,” Brown said.

In 1997, a drunk driver killed his daughter, granddaughter, and unborn grandson.

“Don’t drink and drive first thing. It’s not OK for you to do it,” Brown said.

It’s been a deadly start to the year on Tennessee roads and nearly a quarter of the 86 deaths so far this year have occurred in Shelby County.

Several Mid-South law enforcement agencies including the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol want to make sure nobody has to feel Brown’s pain.

For 24 hours, starting at 9 a.m. Friday, they will flood Shelby County streets and highways with law enforcement looking for all traffic violators. They’re calling it “Shelby County Crackdown.”

Officials said they will focus much of their efforts on three areas: Austin Peay Highway, Hacks Cross and Shelby Drive, and I-55.

“It’s going to be a zero tolerance operation,” Tennessee Highway Patrol Capt. Jimmie Johnson said. “We’re already up five (deaths). That’s five too many and we want to get a hold of it before it gets bigger than that.”

At this point last year, Shelby County had 17 traffic deaths. So far in 2018, there have been 22.

The main causes for the accidents that lead to fatalities are speeding and distracted driving.

“We’re hoping to have zero fatalities this weekend or any weekend,” Johnson said.

Some local law enforcement will get overtime to participate. Other officers will come from neighboring counties.

“Anything we can do to make it more certain when I get out on the highway so I’ve got a better chance of getting back home,” Brown said.


Bill allowing wine, liquor sales on Sundays given early approval


The effort to allow Tennesseans to buy wine and liquor on Sundays has passed its first committee.

The House State Government Subcommittee approved the measure Wednesday with a unanimous voice vote.

The legislation, HB 1540, would align hours of liquor and wine sales with beer sales.

Current law prohibits wine and liquor to be sold on major holidays and between 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Monday.

While presenting the legislation, sponsor Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the latest version of the measure arose through significant discussion with multiple interested parties.

The rewritten bill would allow liquor stores to begin opening up on Sundays as soon as July 1. Grocery stores would not begin to be able to sell wine on Sundays until Jan. 1.

The House subcommittee’s passage of the measure is an early indication that the legislation may face significantly less opposition than a previous effort to allow grocery stores to sell wine. That measure, which became law in 2016, was contentious as it made its way through the legislative process.

The latest measure, also sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, has yet to be taken up in a Senate committee.