Last Minute Halloween Costume: Matt Taibbi

At the end of the day, even with the best of planning, you are just a drunk person in a costume, making small take while holding random props.

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Letitia James Says Police Chief Resignation Is ‘Deeply Troubling’

Posted by rbarkanobserver on: October 31st, 2014 | Bill Bratton, Bill de Blasio, General, Letitia James, News, NYPD, phillip banks

Public Advocate Letitia James said she was deeply troubled by the resignation of Philip Banks’, set to become the NYPD’s second highest-ranked official.

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Andrea Stewart-Cousins: The Would-Be Senate Majority Leader

Andrew Stewart-Cousins today stands on the brink of becoming the first woman to enter the famous “three (and sometimes four) men in a room” equation that runs New York State politics.

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Bill de Blasio ‘Disappointed’ NYPD Chief Philip Banks Stepping Down

Posted by jjorgensen2014 on: October 31st, 2014 | Al Sharpton, Bill de Blasio, General, News, philip banks, Scott Stringer

Mayor Bill de Blasio said today that he was disappointed to receive the resignation of NYPD Chief Philip Banks.

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Ryan McNamara Chats About Updating his Performa Commission for Art Basel Miami Beach

This morning, word came over the transom that Ryan McNamara would restage his performance Meem: A Story Ballet About the Internet—which won the Malcolm McLaren Award when it premiered at Performa 13 last year—at Art Basel Miami Beach. It will be a Performa commission presented by Art Basel, a collaboration that has occurred at the fair in Basel, Switzerland, but never in Miami. It’s a semi-interactive large-scale show that takes the audience on a theme park-esque ride though a strange vision of what the internet has made us, as seen through dance performances that switch styles so quickly it’s as if you’re quickly switching tabs on a browser.

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Stringer Announces $2.25 Million Rikers Island Wrongful Death Settlement

Posted by jjorgensen2014 on: October 31st, 2014 | department of correction, General, joseph ponte, News, Rikers Island, Scott Stringer

Comptroller Scott Stringer announced a $2.25 million settlement with the family of homeless vet Jerome Murdough, who died on Rikers Island.

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Cuomo Dismisses ‘Fringe’ Third Parties Like WFP

Posted by wbredderman on: October 31st, 2014 | Andrew Cuomo, General, News, women's equality party, Working Families Party

Andrew Cuomo mocked the Working Families Party on air, and compared it unfavorably with his new Women’s Equality Party.

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What Americans fear the most

Posted by Susan Perry on: October 31st, 2014 | General
What Americans fear the most
Walking alone at night tops the list of Americans’ personal fears.

A new survey on the “fears, worries and concerns of Americans” was released this week — just in time for Halloween.

Conducted by researchers at Chapman University in Orange, California, the survey involved a representative sample of more than 1,500 adults. The information gathered was divided into four basic categories: personal fears, crime, natural disasters and “fear factors” (the factors that are the strongest predictors of Americans’ fears).

Here are the top five personal fears of Americans, according to the survey:

  1. Walking alone at night
  2. Becoming the victim of identity theft
  3. Safety on the Internet
  4. Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  5. Public speaking

And here are the top five worries or concerns of Americans:

  1. Having identity stolen on the Internet
  2. Corporate surveillance of Internet activity
  3. Running out of money in the future
  4. Government surveillance of Internet activity
  5. Becoming ill or sick

A persistent fear of violent crime

Violent crime elicited high levels of fear among the survey’s participants, despite the fact that, as the Chapman researchers point out, the overall incidence of violent crime in the U.S. has been declining for two decades.

“What we found when we asked a series of questions pertaining to fears of various crimes is that a majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others, but they also believe these crimes [as well as human trafficking, mass riots, pedophilia, school shootings and serial killings] have increased over the past 20 years,” said Edward Day, a sociologist at Chapman University, in a press statement released with the survey.

The crime that Americans are most optimistic about, according to the survey, is “mass riots.” About 23 percent of the people polled said that the prevalence of mass rioting has decreased in recent years.

Regional variations

When it came to natural disasters, the ones most feared by Americans in the survey were the following:

  1. Tornados/hurricanes
  2. Earthquakes
  3. Floods
  4. Pandemics or major epidemics
  5. Power outages

The survey also found that the vast majority of Americans — even ones living in regions hardest hit by natural disasters — are unprepared for such emergencies. Only 25 percent of the people surveyed, for example, said they had emergency kits containing food, water, clothing and medical supplies to help them through a natural disaster. (I actually find that number to be surprisingly high.)

Not surprisingly, perhaps, is the finding that the levels of concern about natural disasters — and the types of disasters that elicit concern — vary from region to region. While 35 percent of the survey’s participants who lived in western states said they were “worried” or “very worried” about natural disasters, only 19 percent of those living in the Midwest expressed that level of concern.

And the survey’s Midwest participants listed their fears of natural disasters in a slightly different order:

  1. Tornados/hurricanes
  2. Floods
  3. Pandemics or major epidemics
  4. Earthquakes
  5. Power outages

Two key ‘fear factors’

The final part of the survey focused on what types of people tend to fear certain things and what factors might play a role in those fears.

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Two factors were found to be the most consistent predictors of fear: having a low level of education and watching a lot of television, particularly talk shows and shows that feature real-life crime.

Of course, as the Chapman researchers point out, that doesn’t meant that these factors cause people to be more fearful. For example, people who regularly watch talk and true-crime shows may already harbor a lot of fears about the world — fears that draw them to those types of shows on TV.

One final interesting tidbit from the survey: Republicans expressed higher levels of fear about “today’s youth, the government and immigrants,” while Democrats had higher levels of fear about “personal safety, pollution and man-made disasters.”

You’ll find an expansive explanation of the survey and its findings on Chapman University’s website. The researchers plan to conduct the survey every year. It will be interesting to see how our fears and concerns change over time.

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Cheating suspicions keep Chinese, South Korean students waiting for SAT scores

Posted by kcalvert on: October 31st, 2014 | China, College Board, Educational Testing Service, General, News, South Korea

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

SAT scores for college hopefuls that took the exam in October are out. That is, unless the test taker is a resident of China or South Korea.

Concerns over cheating have the College Board and the Educational Testing Service, the nonprofit organizations that design and administer the SAT, withholding scores for students from those countries.

“Based on specific, reliable information, we have placed the scores of all students who are current residents of Korea or China and sat for the Oct. 11 international administration of the SAT on hold while we conduct an administrative review,” the groups wrote in a joint statement published by the Washington Post.

It appears some test takers were found with scans of test pages and answers saved on their phones, which aren’t allowed in testing rooms, the Post reported.

The decision to withhold scores came just before the Nov. 1 early application deadline at many elite U.S. universities.

Nearly 94,000 Chinese undergrads were enrolled in U.S. universities last year, a 25 percent increase over the 2011-12 school year. Just over 38,000 undergrads at U.S. schools came from South Korea last year.

Taking the SAT can be an expensive undertaking for Chinese students especially. The mainland has no testing sites outside of international schools, so many students travel to Hong Kong and elsewhere to take the exam.

As college and university budgets and endowments weathered the stresses of the recession, attracting foreign students, who usually pay the full tuition price, became an important revenue source for schools.

The Educational Testing Service plans to complete its investigation and release students’ scores by mid-November, the New York Times reported.

The post Cheating suspicions keep Chinese, South Korean students waiting for SAT scores appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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