Edward Snowden Releases Statement Following ‘Citizenfour’ Oscars Win

Whether you see him as a hero or a traitor, his story is compelling. I have a certain amount of admiration for someone willing to give up their lives for they believe in.
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The Huffington Post
February 22 2015

The Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” won Best Documentary at the Oscars on Sunday night. Director Laura Poitras accepted the award with Glenn Greenwald and Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend, by her side.

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

The film tells the story of Snowden’s 2013 National Security Agency leaks. Poitras traveled to Hong Kong to meet with Snowden. “Citizenfour” analyzed the impact of the surveillance documents he revealed, as well as his role as a public figure threatening to eclipse the story he unmasked.

“When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me,” Snowden said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union. “The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

“Citizenfour” beat out “The Salt of the Earth,” “Last Days in Vietnam,” “Virunga” and “Finding Vivian Maier” for the honor.

The roof of the Broad Museum of Modern Art in LA maybe one of it’s most interesting aspects

Writer’s note:
The museum is not open and you now have the opportunity to see the light that this amazing array of windows creates in this beautiful space with the most iconic pieces of art of the 20th century on display.
I urge you to visit.

When I visited the third floor on Sunday’s February 2nd, 2015 preview, SkyLit, I was struck by how even the light was. I thought it was some sort of skylight but until I saw the roof from above I understood how genius this design is.

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If you zoom in on this high definition picture you will see that there are individual light columns that then throw  the light onto the Museum’s ceiling.

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I have  seen the first exhibitions in that beautiful columnless  space.20150919_13575120150919_135252
And the plexiglass cylinder which serves as the elevator makes the room have a feeling of being completely seamless.
Add some beautiful art to this and I think LA will have a new tourist hotspot.

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Fire rips through the Torch skyscraper in Dubai

The irony of the name, it almost sounds like a seventies disaster movie.
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BBC News
February 20th 2015  8:15 EST
A fire has swept through the Torch skyscraper in Dubai, one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
Strong winds helped the blaze to spread across the 336.1m (1,105ft) high building in the marina district.
One eyewitness told the BBC “there was debris flying everywhere, falling into neighbouring buildings”. Later reports said the fire was under control.
It is not known what caused the blaze. Hundreds of people were evacuated and there are no reports of any casualties.
‘Like Titanic’
Footage posted on social media showed what looked like molten glass and pieces of masonry falling down.
Torch skyscraper on Fire.
See full article and video

White House to Rudy Giuliani: We feel sorry for you

Yes, the so called Mayor of America, spewing hate and bigotry.
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Mayor Giuliani looking his best

The Washington Post (excerpt)
February 20 2015
White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday had a concise response to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s remarks questioning President Obama’s patriotism.“I can tell you that it’s sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature, and even admiration, tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly,” Earnest told reporters during the White House news briefing Friday. “And the truth is, I don’t take any joy, or vindication, or satisfaction from that. I think, really, the only thing that I feel is sorry for Rudy Giuliani today.

Holder supports death penalty moratorium in US

Please make this barbaric sanction end.
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Yahoo News
February 17 2015
US Attorney General Eric Holder speaks on criminal justice and sentencing reform at the National Press Club on February 17, 2015 in Washington, DCUS Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he personally opposed the death penalty and would support delaying all executions until the Supreme Court takes up whether lethal injection is constitutional. He said it was appropriate for there to be a delay in place until the Supreme Court takes up the issue of lethal injection in April.

Google: We’re considering altering our search algorithm for health information

Big data is big data, but in the past, google has for the most part been a force for good. Their mission statement is do no harm. I hope that those words are on every screen and every office of Google so that they remember their mission is not to invade our privacy but rather to safeguard it.
AVB
February 10, 2015
MEDCITY News
Dan Verel

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Altorithm Art

Google’s ambitious plan to change how it displays healthcare information is a major shift in how health information is searched and used online. But Google’s product manager on the project hinted it’s only the beginning.

Product manager Prem Ramaswami said on Monday that Google will likely alter its search algorithm specifically around health information sometime in the future.

“As of this moment? No,” Ramaswami said, when asked directly about changes to the cryptic and powerful algorithm that determines what appears first in your search queries. “But it’s something we’re interested in.”

It’s not uncommon for Google to tweak the algoithm. But doing so sends shock waves through whatever industry is effected. Google also does massive upgrades. For example, Google’s “Penguin” update was meant to better filter out sites manipulating Google’s system for ranking search results.

Ramaswami didn’t elaborate on Google’s plans to tweak the algorithm for health – and MedCity had an excruciatingly short 30 minutes with the team overseeing the new project. But it was clear from the discussion the algorithm change was of interest.

If Google does tweak its algorithm for health searches, perhaps its should focus on local data.

Amanda Bury, director of enterprise sales for healthcare at SIM Partners, a SaaS and content management system provider based in Chicago, noted:  “Healthcare is seen as the messiest when it comes to local data.”

Bury, who is not connected with new Google health efforts, noted that more people are becoming insured and thus more are taking their queries online. Those consumers want information from local, or at least physical, places like the Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic or another academic medical center.

“Do I want to read about measles from my local hospital, or do I want to read it from a third party like Dr. Laura Smith?” Bury said. “It’s about that localized information.”

2016 Polls Show Clinton Leads in Key States, GOP Field Wide Open

All this talk of left wing media bias is not worth the air you say the words with. In this article from NBC News in theory part of the left wing although the article mentions Hillary Clinton by name and its title the picture they used was of Jeb Bush. I have one thing to say and that’s #ReadyForHilary
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February 15 2015
NBC News
BY MARK MURRAY
Less than a year before the first presidential contests begin, a trio of new NBC News/Marist polls show that the Republican race is wide open in the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In fact, seven different possible Republican candidates get double-digit support in at least one of the states. But only two candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — are in double digits in all three states.

The early betting line for these critical states “points to a rough-and-tumble Republican nomination battle,” says pollster Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

In Iowa, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the GOP pack getting support from 17 percent of potential Republican caucus-goers, followed by Bush at 16 percent, Walker at 15 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 9 percent and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at 7 percent.

In New Hampshire, Bush gets support from 18 percent of potential GOP primary voters, followed by Walker at 15 percent, Paul at 14 percent and Christie at 13 percent.

And in South Carolina, it’s native son Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at 17 percent, Bush at 15 percent, Walker at 12 percent, and Huckabee and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson tied at 10 percent.

Clinton holds a substantial lead in the early states

By comparison, the Democratic nomination contest is much less competitive in these three states. In Iowa, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Vice President Joe Biden by more than 50 points, 68 percent to 12 percent.

She’s ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by the same margin in New Hampshire, 69 percent to 13 percent.

And in South Carolina, Clinton has a 45-point advantage over Biden, 65 percent to 20 percent.

The NBC/Marist polls did not include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in these trial heats because she continues to insist — in both the present and future tenses — that she won’t be running for president in 2016.

All of the possible candidates that the polls measured either have formed committees to explore a run, have begun to hire staff, or at least have left open the possibility of a White House bid.

An early look at the general election

In hypothetical general-election matchups among registered voters, Clinton leads both Bush and Walker in the battlegrounds of Iowa and New Hampshire.

In Iowa, Clinton holds an eight-point advantage over Bush, 48 percent to 40 percent, and an 11-point edge over Walker, 49 percent to 38 percent.

In New Hampshire, Clinton is up by six points over Bush (48 percent to 42 percent) and seven points over Walker (49 percent to 42 percent).

And in the GOP-leaning state of South Carolina, Bush leads Clinton by three points, 48 percent to 45 percent. And Walker ties her at 46 percent each.

While Clinton is ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, President Barack Obama isn’t much of an asset for her in these two states, with his job-approval rating at 43 percent in both.

Obama’s job rating is one point higher in South Carolina, at 44 percent.

Testing the most acceptable and least acceptable issues

The NBC/Marist polls also tested seven key issues — supporting Common Core, supporting a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, wanting to repeal the federal health-care law, believing that climate change is man-made, opposing gay marriage, favoring raising taxes on the wealthy and wanting to send more U.S. troops to combat ISIS — to see which were the most acceptable and unacceptable to voters in these three states.

The most acceptable among all registered voters and Democrats: a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy.

The least acceptable among all registered voters and Democrats: a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage.

The most acceptable among Republican voters: a candidate who wants to repeal the health-care law.

The least acceptable among Republicans: believing climate change is man-made (in Iowa and South Carolina) and raising taxes on the wealthy (New Hampshire).

The NBC/Marist of Iowa was conducted Feb. 3-10 of 891 registered voters (margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points), 320 potential GOP caucus-goers (plus-minus 5.5 percentage points) and 321 potential Democratic caucus-goers (plus-minus 5.5 percentage points).

The NBC/Marist poll of New Hampshire was conducted Feb. 3-10 of 887 registered voters (margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points), 381 potential GOP primary voters (plus-minus 5.0 percentage points) and 309 potential Democratic primary voters (plus-minus 5.6 percentage points).

The NBC/Marist poll of South Carolina was conducted Feb. 3-10 of 877 registered voters (plus-minus 3.3 percentage points), 450 potential GOP primary voters (plus-minus4 4.6 percentage points) and 352 potential Democratic primary voters (plus-minus 5.2 percentage points).

First published February 15th 2015, 6:01 am

Skylit: A sneak peek – The Broad Museum of Modern Art

As the brochure that was given to us explains, The Broad is a new contemporary art museum being built by philanthropist Eli and Edythe broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofio + Renfro will open on September 20th 2015. The museum will be home to the nearly 2,000 work of art in the Broad Art Foundation and the Broad’s personal collections, which are among the most prominent holdings of postwar in contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “Veil and Vault” concept the the over 120, 000 square feet,  $148,000,000 building will feature two floors of galleries places to showcase the Broad’s comprehensive collection and will be the headquarters of the Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. #broadSkyLit

I was fortunate to be one of the very first members of the public to be allowed into the space. the entrance is under where the veil is lifted and you walk into a large concrete space with organic curves.

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Today's entrance and the Colburn School of Music in the background
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As you walk in, one has the impression of going into the insides of a massive structure

Once on the third floor one can see the magic of this naturally little space that casts no shadows. The architect’s design allows for natural light to come from everywhere and yet it is an even light that would be perfect for displaying works of art. It rules out the concept of being in a dimly lit room with pieces of art that light up the room and instead the room becomes part of the art exhibit.

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Its difficult for the eye to comprehend the scale of this building

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The natural light flows in, yet casts no shadows

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The veil that creates the ceiling is breathtaking

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A glass partition separates the exhibition hall from its outer veil

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The circular elevator in the middle of the space makes quite a statement

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This panoramic photo allows you to see how the space is laid out, please click on the photo to access the panoramic view

The location of the broad will make Grand Avenue a must see tourist destination as its shares its corner with the Disney Concert Hall, the Colburn School of Music, the Museum of Contemporary Art and of course a parking structure, this is Los Angeles for God’s sake .
I welcome The Broad to our neighborhood and look forward to its opening in September.
All photographs are the property of Alain V Berrebi and may be used with proper credit

AVB

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Click to go to the Museum’s website

Hillary to Bill, “It’s a date”

I may be clutching at straws here but it seems that she is planning to be at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July of 2016. May it be so that she is there to receive the nomination for President. I am so ready for Hillary,  but not tired of Barak either.
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This woman will soon become the first openly bisexual governor in American history

She will be a great representative for the LGBT community. This is incredible news something that I never talked I would live to see.
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The Washington Post
By Hunter Schwarz
February 13 at 3:09 PM 

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Oregon Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown celebrates at the podium after winning her race at Democratic headquarters in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Update 3:09 p.m.: Kitzhaber has now announced that he will indeed resign.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) will become the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history when Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) resigns Wednesday.

An open LGBT governor has never been elected, although New Jersey did have an openly gay governor briefly in 2004, after Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) came out as gay and admitted an affair with a man he had appointed to a key job. He resigned three months later.

Brown is married to husband Dan Little; she has publicly discussed her bisexuality in past campaigns. She is already arguably the highest-ranking bisexual elected official in America; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) became the first bisexual member of Congress in 2013. There are about 525 openly LGBT public officials in office at all levels of government, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Most of them are Democrats, said interim executive director Denis Dison, and only about 20 are Republicans.

This will also be the second time in Brown’s career she has taken office because of a resignation. Her start in politics came in 1991 when she was appointed to the state House following the resignation of Rep. Judy Bauman (D), who left office because she was appointed to an executive position. Brown served in the House until 1997, when she won a seat in the Oregon state Senate. In 2008, she was the first woman to serve as Oregon Senate majority leader, and later that year she was elected secretary of state.

Brown said in a statement she was “ready” to take office should Kitzhaber resign — as it appeared he would Wednesday, before he reportedly changed his mind. He announced his resignation Friday afternoon.

But what would Brown’s Oregon look like? Her six years of secretary of state were described by the Oregonian as “nondescript” — most secretaries of state toil in such relative obscurity — but she touts her push for increased transparency as a highlight of her time as a legislator. Brown cites the creation of the state’s online database of campaign contributions and expenditures and her efforts to reduce fraud in the initiative processes among her accomplishments.

Transparency could be highly valued in a post-Kitzhaber Oregon state government. Thursday, the Department of Administrative Services confirmed the governor’s office had requested Kitzhaber’s personal e-mails be deleted from archives, which it will not do.

But Brown isn’t without her own controversy. Even as Kitzhaber’s personal troubles were mounting late last month, she was facing questions about having written to the FCC endorsing Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable after having received campaign contributions from Comcast — a letter that was reportedly written in large part by a Comcast lobbyist. Comcast has given Brown $9,500 since 2009, according the National Institute of Money in State Politics.

Expect that to come up when she succeeds Kitzhaber.

Originally posted at 12:11 p.m.

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post