|Cache||Age slowly and silently creeps up on all of us until we start looking and feeling older, but by then, it may be too late...or is it?|
I found this fascinating story on NPR and thought a few of us might be willing to at least try reversing the aging process. It can be expensive, meaning it may help wealthy people live longer than the rest of us. But maybe for a few months, we can steal back a few years of our youth:
In short: Better understanding the mechanisms of aging has led to promising treatments to slow, stop and even reverse the symptoms of growing old. And turning back the clock this way isn't just about a longer life span; it's about extending healthy, vital years. Could pills that mimic the positive benefits of exercise, at least in mice, be effective for humans? And what does this portend for the future, if we will all live decades longer? This season of Future You is dedicated to the human body and what capabilities we will have in the coming decades. You can find the latest episodes on YouTube or at npr.org/futureyou.
QQQ closed at this downtrend line on Friday just shy of the key 189.40 top of August trading range resistance level, where a pullback to at least the 187 and/or 185.90 level is likely while SPY also closed around the top of the Aug trading range (resistance) where a pullback and/or more lasting reversal remains [...]
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|Cache||As many of you know, early on Friday, at least twelve people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dozens more are being treated for injuries at local hospitals. Some of the victims are being treated at a chil|
While it's hard to quarrel with anything on your to do list of 24 items, honestly as a totality it seems overdone .
As my friend Fr. Daniel used to say, K.I.S.S. Keep it super simple. So, following that advice, I would say
FIRST OF ALL, get rid of the TV. In other words get the bad stuff out, all secular media.
SECONDLY, to the extent possible, have family evenings together. For us, this meant half an hour of good secular reading ( e.g. Chronicles of Narnia, Swiss family Robinson, etc), half an hour of the life of saint ( book length lives, not the three page version filled with miracles), twenty minutes of catechism. We had a blast
THIRDLY, from the moment they are conceived, and before, soak them in prayer and make sacrifices, as if you were Monica and your child was the wayward Augustine, for it is easier to keep children in the right way by prayer now than recover them after they have fallen away.
FOURTHLY, end every day with a prayer, and it does not have to be the Rosary. The importance of this is that it is a kind of distant early warning system, for as the end of the day approaches, any hard feelings have to be dealt with, for otherwise prayer would be sacrilege. Even so perfunctory a prayer such as the Hail Holy Queen is enough, and off to bed you go, enough to bring blessings down on your family.
All that you suggest is optimal, but at the same time it can be self-defeating. The Rosary is the best, of course, but paradoxically, the best can be the enemy of the good. I have known children who deeply resented having their play ended of an evening and being called in to say the rosary.
At least this reflects our experience and we did have two vocations for our two children.|
Chronicle AM: NV Gets First Pot Lounge, British Police Force to Provide Free Heroin to Hardcore Addicts, More... (10/7/19)Cache
Nevada sees its first "cannabis tasting room," a New York poll finds continuing support for marijuana legalization amidst the vaping scare, British drug policy upheavals, and more.
[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy
Nevada's First Marijuana Lounge is Now Open. The state's first marijuana tasting room opened this weekend in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Pauite Tribe is operating the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on tribal land, which gives it a leg up on potential competitors. Under a state law signed in June, local governments are barred from licensing marijuana consumption lounges until 2021, but tribal lands are not subject to the law.
New York Sienna Poll Has Continuing Support for Legalization, Even as Vaping Fears Grow. A new Sienna poll has support for marijuana legalization in the Empire State at 56%, even as nearly as many respondents (52%) support banning all e-cigarettes and vaping devices from sale. An even higher number, 61%, support Gov. Andrew Cuomo's emergency executive order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Half, 52 percent, have used marijuana and 21 percent currently do.
Missouri Patients Won't Lose Welfare Over Medical Marijuana Use. After patients complained that their medical marijuana use put them at odds with a state law that requires welfare recipients to be screened for drug use, the state has revamped its policy. Department of Social Services spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel said that the agency now exempts recipients with medical marijuana cards.
British Drug Advisory Panel Member Quits, Cites Political Interference. Professor Alex Stevens, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has resigned over the alleged "political vetting" of panel members by the government. The move comes after then crime minister Victoria Atkins blocked the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of the drug policy nonprofit Release, after finding that she had previously criticized the Home Office and called for drug policy reform. Stevens said there was at least one other case of people being denied a place on the ACMD because of criticizing government drug policy. "I have resigned because of my concerns over the political vetting of potential members of the ACMD," Stevens said. "The political vetting fundamentally undermines the independence of the council," Stevens added. "It is supposed to be protected by the working protocol between the home secretary and the ACMD. This does not seem compatible if ministers exclude those who disagree with them."
British Government Replaces Minister Responsible for Drug Policy. Victoria Atkins, who had been responsible for drug policy for the Conservative Party, was quietly replaced in that position over the summer. She was replaced as minister of state for policing, crime, and fire services by Kit Malthouse, but it had been believed Atkins kept the drug portfolio. But on Monday, Malthouse's office confirmed he was now responsible for drug policy. He has recently been speaking for the government on drug policy issues and laying out a hard line against opening safe injection sites.
British Police Force to Begin Giving Free Heroin to Select Addicts. The police force in Cleveland, North Wales, will begin a program to provide free heroin to a small group of hardcore addicts. They will be provided with injectable pharmaceutical grade heroin at a National Health Service clinic three times a day. The idea is to reduce crimes committed by people seeking money to pay for their medications. Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said the program would be available for heroin users "for whom all other treatment has failed and who are known to be the most active criminals in the town as they look to finance their addiction."
|Cache||NEW YORK (AP) — Two major retailers say they will no longer sell e-cigarettes in the U.S. amid mounting health questions surrounding vaping. Supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreen announced Monday they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment. The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices. Walmart announced last month that it would stop selling […]|
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has made its way into the lexicon, thanks in part to the brave openness of comedian Pete Davidson, who revealed on SNL's Weekend Update a couple years ago that he had been diagnosed with the disorder. But while more and more people are becoming aware of BPD, it's still widely misunderstood. Unlike anxiety or depression, which are often talked about and recognized, BPD is a mental health disorder with a much more complicated diagnostic process and a wide range of symptoms.
We spoke with mental health professionals who explained what BPD is and its symptoms. If you think you may have borderline personality disorder, be sure to visit a psychiatrist or other health professional who can properly make the diagnosis. For more information on resources and treatment, visit the New York-Presbyterian Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
"Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health diagnosis that is broadly characterized by instability and inability (exaggerated changes in mood) in one's emotions, attachment to others, and sense of self," licensed clinical psychologist Giulia Suro, PhD, told POPSUGAR. "It's often difficult to pin down because there are usually at least one or two other diagnoses present," she explained, including PTSD or an anxiety disorder.
Unlike depression disorders, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorders, which are each their own classification of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), BPD is a personality disorder. Dr. Suro said people may not take personality disorders as seriously as other mental illnesses. "Often, [BPD] is stereotyped in a negative light and a picture is painted of a hysterical woman or vindictive girlfriend," she explained. "However, BPD is an incredibly severe mental illness."
Although people may be more familiar with depression and anxiety disorders, personality disorders - which are a separate classification in the DSM-5 - aren't as often discussed. Other personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
"Borderline personality disorder involves disruptions of mood and behavior that are generally triggered by external stresses, real or misperceived," explained David M. Reiss, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Boston, San Diego, and New York City. People with other mental illnesses, such as depression or bipolar disorder, have moods and symptoms that are more based on brain chemistry than external triggers, he explained.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
Pinpointing the symptoms specific to BPD is tough since BPD is usually present with other mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. In general, people with BPD may experience intense mood swings and view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Other signs and symptoms include effort to avoid physical or emotional abandonment, unstable self-image, pattern of unstable relationships with friends and family, impulsive and often dangerous behavior, chronic feelings of emptiness, difficulty trusting, and problems controlling anger.
According to the NIMH, people with BPD may become angry and stressed over seemingly ordinary events, such as minor separations from people (i.e. traveling on a business trip). "While it may take one person a long time and an extreme situation to get to a nine or 10 in terms of anger, someone with BPD may shoot up the intensity scale due to something objectively small," Dr. Suro said. Like other mental illnesses, BPD varies from person to person and no two people experience BPD the same way. Some people may only have a few symptoms while others have many.
How Borderline Personality Disorder Is Diagnosed
There is no one test to diagnose BPD and diagnosis must be done by a mental health professional after a comprehensive clinical interview. The DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing a personality disorder, and diagnosing BPD in particular, is complex. To diagnose BPD, several criteria must be met, including:
But while there are certain boxes to check for a proper diagnosis according to the DSM-5, Dr. Reiss said adhering strictly to the DSM-5 isn't always viable for treating an actual patient with BPD. "Basically, you can go by this number of symptoms or that number of symptoms or this combination, but what I'd like to say is that it's great for insurance companies, but it's lousy for diagnosing people," he explained. "When I'm really diagnosing someone, I'm looking at how they function in life." He added that the best way to diagnose a full-blown borderline personality disorder is not if the patient meets a certain number of the criteria but if the symptoms are chronically present and problematic.
"There's some people who can fall into it, but then have the ability to realize and pull themselves out and I would describe that as having borderline traits as opposed to a personality disorder," Dr. Reiss explained. "So it is a spectrum and there's no clear place where on that spectrum it becomes a disorder as opposed to traits." Overall, he evaluates each patient individually and determines a diagnosis based on how problematic his or her behavior is on the ability to function.
"The bottom line is when I'm working with someone clinically, I don't go by the diagnosis - I go by what they're presenting," he said. "So whether I make the diagnosis on paper is really dependent on what we're working with in the treatment."
Risk Factors For Borderline Personality Disorder
"The cause of BPD is multifactorial with research indicating that genetics and environmental factors both play a big role," Dr. Suro said. Although it's tough and inaccurate to pinpoint exact instances that could trigger BPD, there are some risk factors associated with the disorder. Some of these include having a family history of BPD, and brain factors; people with borderline personality disorder may have structural or functional changes in the brain that affect impulse control and emotions, according to the NIMH. There are other environmental, cultural, and social factors that impact someone's susceptibility to having BPD, such as trauma, and unstable childhood, or abandonment.
To develop BPD, Dr. Reiss explained, "you probably need some degree of biological vulnerability and some degree of external stress," he said. "But whether that's 90/10 or 50/50 in either direction really depends on the individual and the individual's underlying biochemistry and life stresses."
How Borderline Personality Disorder Is Treated
Borderline personality disorder is typically treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Dr. Reid said therapy is needed to tease out the symptoms of BPD and separate it from other coexisting disorders and is key in managing and treating BPD long-term, although which therapy and which medication to use are highly individualized from person to person.
"The best way I can put it is that you treat the person, not the diagnosis," Dr. Reiss said. To make matters more complicated, people with BPD tend to cycle through symptoms and can be more open to therapy and intervention at differing times. In fact, Dr. Reiss said he sees a lot of what he calls "polypharmacy," where patients are on a little bit of everything - antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics - as opposed to deliberately taking medication to target specific symptoms at the right times. Dr. Reiss prefers prescribing a low-level antidepressant as a "safety net" and antianxiety medication that's not a benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) since benzodiazepines can be addictive, especially for people with BPD, he said.
If the patient is experiencing mood swings or dysphoria (profound state of unease), they may be prescribed mood stabilizers, or antipsychotic medication, which may help with other symptoms of BPD. What medication you take and when you should take it should be determined by your doctor.
"The idea of using irreverence or confrontation - interventions that you wouldn't normally use in a typical therapy - is essential in dealing with borderline," he explained. "A lot of times I can engage a person on that level; a person who's pretty borderline will engage on respecting my irreverence and my willingness to just use whatever language I feel comfortable with and they feel comfortable with, which is very different from a more classical therapy."
Borderline personality disorder is still widely misunderstood, but it's nothing to be ashamed of or stigmatized. It is estimated that 1.6 percent of the US population has BPD, but that number could be as high as 5.9 percent, according to NAMI. And while it may take some trial and error to come to a proper diagnosis and seek proper treatment, help is available. People with BPD can go on to live happy, successful lives.
If you or a loved one need mental health help or treatment, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has several resources, including a helpline at 1-800-950-6264. You can also text "NAMI" to 741741 or email email@example.com
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that's widely misunderstood. In fact, bipolar disorder is more accurately an umbrella term that can refer to a number of specific disorders: bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders. Bipolar II, a common type of bipolar disorder that Mariah Carey was diagnosed with, has its own set of criteria separate from bipolar I disorder.
Bipolar I disorder, which is what many people think of when they think of bipolar disorder, is characterized by experiencing major depressive episodes and intermittent episodes of mania. The manic episodes last at least a week with severe mood elevation or irritability, said Pierre Azzam, MD, assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Mania also impacts behavior, sleep, and thinking and can impair your ability to work. Mania can also include: distractibility, grandiose ideas, racing thoughts, risky activities, decreased need to sleep, and talking rapidly. Mania lasts seven or more days or is severe enough to require hospitalization.
Bipolar II, on the other hand, is less severe than bipolar I. Although people with bipolar II still experience moods of major depression, they have intermittent moods of hypomania, which is less severe than the mania found in bipolar I. Hypomanic episodes last four or more days with less impairing symptoms that don't require hospitalization, Dr. Azzam explained.
"[Hypomania] is not severe enough to cause someone to frankly lose the ability to function at home and work," he told POPSUGAR. "People with hypomania might seem excessively productive, giddy, sleeping less, irritable, etc., but are still getting on with their jobs, or school, or in their relationships."
But even though bipolar I and II are different in their symptoms and diagnoses, they are treated essentially the same way. Instead of an antidepressant, bipolar disorder is treated with mood stabilizers. This is a large cluster of medication from different classes, including second-generation antipsychotics, some anticonvulsants, and lithium. However, since bipolar I is more impairing than bipolar II, the medication regimen may be different.
"The risk vs. benefit discussion associated with medication use can look very different from a person with one condition to a person with the other," Dr. Azzam explained. "For example, someone with bipolar II disorder who experiences infrequent episodes of hypomania may be less inclined to take medications with serious or persisting side effects than someone with bipolar I disorder who is severely impaired by the illness, experiences frequent manic episodes, or suffers from psychotic symptoms related to mania."
Treatment also often includes therapy, such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, getting more sleep, and eating a diet rich in whole foods.
If you are feeling anxious or depressed and need help finding help or resources, call the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (1-240-485-1001) or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264). You can also text "NAMI" to 741741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Urinary tract infections are common. In fact, over 50 percent of women and about 12 percent of men will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, the Urology Care Foundation reports. And about a third of women will seek treatment for one by the age of 24. (For the purpose of this article, the experts we spoke to and the statistics we cited referred to people with female sex organs as "women" and people with male sex organs as "men.") A recurrent UTI, also called "recurrent cystitis," is classified as two or more UTIs within six months, or three in a year. Read up on recurrent UTIs specifically here.
UTIs happen more frequently in women than in men because the female urethra is shorter and it's easier for bacteria to travel from the outside into the bladder, Ricardo Soares, MD, urologist at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, told POPSUGAR. (The CDC notes that infections can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but they most commonly affect the bladder). Dr. Soares said that if bacteria is found in your urine but you aren't experiencing symptoms, this is referred to as asymptomatic bacteriuria and isn't the same as a UTI. "It only requires treatment in certain situations, such as in pregnant women and in patients who are going to have a urological procedure," he said.
On the other hand, he stressed that if you're having symptoms but urine tests show there's no bacteria, this is also not an infection. "The symptoms might be caused by a different problem such as an overactive bladder, [which is] very common in post-menopausal women," he said. Vannita Simma-Chiang, MD, assistant professor of urology at Mount Sinai, told POPSUGAR that other conditions that might have similar symptoms as UTIs are interstitial cystitis (or painful bladder syndrome), yeast infections, and vaginitis. In terms of yeast infections, though, you'd most likely experience vaginal discharge that isn't typical with a UTI, she said (discharge is also common with vaginitis). Let's get into what UTI symptoms actually are.
Symptoms of a UTI
According to the CDC, you're more at risk of getting a UTI if, for instance, you are sexually active, you've had a UTI before, or are going through menopause (you lose the hormonal support of estrogen after menopause, Dr. Simma-Chiang noted). Here are the most common symptoms:
Dr. Simma-Chiang wanted to note that some people have come to her with completely different symptoms such as a stomachache or simply feeling ill. Some can also experience fever, but Dr. Soares said this could be an indication that the infection has spread to your kidneys.
How to Prevent a UTI
You've probably heard companies (or your friends!) touting the positive effects of cranberry. Both Dr. Simma-Chiang and Dr. Soares said that cranberry pills aren't guaranteed to help prevent UTIs because there's no significant evidence. There are small studies that suggest the active ingredient, PACs, may prevent UTIs, though "we're not quite sure whether or not that active ingredient is actually present in cranberry pills or if it gets digested," Dr. Simma-Chiang said. She added that she's perfectly fine with her patients taking these pills if they seem to be working. (Note: cranberry pills aren't regulated by the FDA.) Read more about cranberry juice specifically here.
Dr. Soares said good genital hygiene can help prevent UTIs because "most infections travel from the anal area up into the urethra." Drinking water is good as well since increased urination acts as a cleanser for the bladder, he said. In people who have recurrent UTIs, a regular low dose of antibiotics can prevent infection, he explained. For those with female sex organs who have recurrent UTIs most closely linked to sex, they can try to prevent those infections by using protection or taking one dose of antibiotics after sex. "In post-menopausal women, use of vaginal, not oral, estrogen provides good results," Dr. Soares said (since, like mentioned before, these people have a decline of estrogen, which can negatively impact the immune system).
Dr. Simma-Chiang recommended peeing after sex and also stressed the importance of a strong immune system overall. "I always remind patients that there's organisms everywhere," she said. "We catch colds all the time, and I hope people can think of urinary tract infections as something similar." So, she said, to make sure your immune system is as strong as it can be, get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, and stay properly hydrated. She said that constipation, too, can affect the way your bladder empties. "Urine is left behind and you can get a UTI," Dr. Simma-Chiang explained. Make sure you're passing regular bowel movements and focusing on your gut health.
How to Treat a UTI
Ultimately, even if you do end up getting a UTI, know that it's treatable. If you want to treat your UTI at home, Dr. Simma-Chiang suggests drinking a lot of water to flush out the infection. A doctor will typically treat a UTI with oral antibiotics (as little as one dose). But, if it's what Dr. Soares described as a "complicated UTI" - meaning it's harder to get rid of because it's occurring in someone with male sex organs or in someone who has diabetes or some sort of functional abnormality of their urinary tract - it may require intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. These, he said, can be changed to oral antibiotics once the person has had no fever for over 48 hours and lab results show there's an improvement; then they'll be able to finish treatment at home. "UTI in a man is, by definition, considered complicated and therefore requires a seven-day course of antibiotics," he explained. So, it's less likely to occur in those with male sex organs, but more difficult to treat.
We started bringing our own containers for takeaway at restaurants also. We even created a "car kit" that has containers, thermal coffee mugs, utensils, etc. so we are prepared at all times. Half the time we forget it's in the car, but we're at least moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, Chelsea is showing very early signs of kidney disease. Her values are borderline and she appears to be in good health, but I'm giving her (and the others) prescription food now to help her. Bill can't stand all the cans I use. It's tough. Pets are not environmentally friendly! Think of all the plastic bags being thrown away with dog poop! It's a conundrum I haven't been able to reconcile.
Love that we are on the journey together!
Delil Souleiman/GettyLate Sunday night in Washington, the White House announced it was pulling U.S. troops out of northeast Syria to clear the way for a Turkish invasion. The Kurds there who led the fight on the ground that defeated the so-called Islamic State had seen President Donald Trump’s betrayal coming. But still they hoped it could be avoided. “Don’t let the Turks disrupt my wedding,” our translator texted in September prior to our arrival in the region. For more than a year, we have been visiting almost monthly to interview captured ISIS cadres held by the Kurdish and Arab troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as part of a project for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism. Trump’s Crazy Syria Move Will Wipe Out America’s Allies and Set Up a Big ISIS ComebackIn September, we saw the Turkish threat to invade at any moment was held off by tense U.S. negotiations in which the SDF made considerable concessions, allowing Turkey to patrol jointly a large swath of territory while agreeing to remove checkpoints and military positions farther back from the Turkish border.“They should put their patrols inside Turkish territory, and not enter Syria,” SDF leaders told us at the time, as they reluctantly acquiesced to U.S. demands.* * *BITTER FRIENDS* * *Many current and former White House advisors counseled against the kind of announcement made Sunday night. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned last year over Trump’s threat to remove the few thousand U.S. troops in Syria, who not only served as advisors in the fight against ISIS, but as deterrence against Turkish operations east of the Euphrates River. In a particularly bitter post on Twitter, Bret McGurk, who served as the special U.S. presidential envoy for the fight against ISIS from 2015 to 2018, wrote, “Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.”The U.S. military learned about the withdrawal plan only after Trump decided on it following his Sunday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has pulled out of two small observation posts in the security-mechanism zone near the Syria-Turkey border so far. But no further withdrawals are imminent, according to a knowledgeable source. The military, remembering Trump’s December order out of Syria and subsequent reversal, is waiting to learn if Trump will follow through with withdrawal this time.A recently departed senior Pentagon official considered the pullout a “blatant betrayal” of the U.S.’ Kurdish partners that gives “carte blanche to Erdogan” for a widely forecast bloodletting. “It’s going to be a massacre, that’s clear,” the ex-official told The Daily Beast. “It’s fundamentally wrong. They destroyed the Caliphate.”But the Kurds are not entirely defenseless. Military leaders of the dominant group, known as the YPG or People’s Protection Units (and their female YPJ partners), already were in overdrive in September, preparing for what they had long anticipated—a possible betrayal by their closest ally, the United States.* * *DIGGING IN* * *Alongside every major highway and criss-crossing the entire Northern Syria area, in fields, cities and towns, we saw digging for an extensive system of tunnels. “We’re ready either way,” the Kurdish leaders told us when we asked if they trusted the Americans to keep the Turks at bay.Kurds don’t have much, but their spirit of freedom and their desire to protect their hard-won territory and what they see as their incipient democracy was evident everywhere in September as the YPG troops prepared for battle with a much better equipped foe—the Turkish armed forces, the second biggest military in NATO. But nobody who fought ISIS in Syria in one vicious battle after another has forgotten that the huge Turkish army stood by and did nothing against the Islamic State as its killers carried out genocidal campaigns against Yazidis and Shiites, while abducting, torturing, ransoming or beheading Americans, Europeans, and Japanese, among others. Through all that, NATO ally Turkey was not interested in intervention. Far from it.That was until the White House statement Sunday night, up to which the U.S. military denied Turkey the ability to operate in airspace over SDF controlled territory, effectively making it more difficult to enter Northern Syria to conduct the “terrorist cleansing operation” that Turks insist upon. They already carried out one such operation in Afrin, west of the Euphrates, in January 2018, displacing Kurds and effectively taking over the area, using what Kurds claim are former ISIS cadres to fight for them.Turks view the Northern Syria area of Rojava, and the YPG dominated SDF, as controlled by Kurdish PKK terrorists operating under another name—wolves in sheep’s clothing. Indeed, in times past—until 1998—PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, lived freely in Syria and the father of the current Assad allowed him to train and equip his highly disciplined terrorist group for attacks into Turkey. It’s also true that over time, the various governing parties of Syria, Iraq and Iran have made use of PKK assaults on Turks as a way to exert pressure on Turkish politics. Turkey has suffered greatly from PKK terrorist attacks both inside Turkey and globally, and the PKK is clearly designated on the U.S. and EU’s list of terrorist organizations. In recent concessions to Turkey’s alarm over the SDF, a group they view as being in the hands of the PKK, the U.S. recently added additional individuals involved in the PKK to the U.S. State Department’s specially designated terrorist list. Turkey has also developed drones that fly over the Qandil mountains, in northern Iraq, making it easier to spot PKK movements and routinely send fighter jets to bomb them. In the case of northern Syria however, until President Trump’s announcement late Sunday night Washington time, the U.S. policy was to deny the Turks military incursions into territory where U.S. troops patrol and the U.S. military controls the airspace and claims by Turkey that the SDF is PKK have also been hotly disputed.While Turkey sees the SDF as dominated and led by a terrorist organization, the U.S. has a completely different perspective, viewing the YPG and SDF as valued allies in the fight against ISIS. Indeed, YPG and YPJ (Women’s People’s Protection Units) fighters lost over 1,000 lives fighting ISIS and it is common to see Kurdish men and women in Rojava on crutches, in wheelchairs and otherwise suffering from serious and lifelong injuries sustained in the battle to retake ISIS dominated areas, including Raqqa. While the rest of the world was silent, the YPG and YPJ can also take credit for going to the rescue of the Yazidis on Sinjar mountain in 2014, fighting to stop ISIS from carrying out a massive genocidal campaign in which ISIS cadres captured and enslaved countless Yazidi women, boys, and girls. The men were killed by ISIS, the boys killed or indoctrinated. The women and girls subsequently were raped and treated as chattel. But thousands were able to escape with YPG help.* * *THE PRISONERS* * *At present the SDF houses thousands of captured ISIS prisoners, holding the men in repurposed schools and prisons overflowing with former fighters and in camps similarly run at overcapacity for ISIS women and children. According to a March 2019 UN report, a total of 8,000 Islamic State fighters currently are held in SDF custody. In our recent visits to north and east Syria from May through August, relying on our primary intelligence sources, we were told that approximately 2,000 of these Islamic State prisoners were considered “foreign terrorist fighters” from North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.The same data was also corroborated in an August 2019 press release by the Office of the Spokesperson, Special Envoy of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey. Just under a 1,000 of the prisoners are believed to be Europeans. ICSVE has interviewed approximately five percent of those detained. Most appear to have become totally disillusioned, are exhausted from battle and prison and say they want to lay down arms. While there is no specific deradicalization or rehabilitation program applied to them at present and we have been requested by the SDF and also agreed to build one, it’s safe to say the majority are spontaneously deradicalizing and simply want to return home to their former lives after facing a judicial process.The SDF prisons are overcrowded and the SDF leadership repeatedly has expressed a need to ICSVE researchers for technical assistance in dealing with terrorist prisoners and for financial assistance to build at least five prisons. Riots and attempted jail breaks have occurred in SDF prisons holding foreign fighters. Likewise, recent news reporting shows over-capacity has prisoners sleeping next to each other on their sides to be able to fit into small and overcrowded rooms. Three detention centers holding ISIS women and children also are administered by the SDF: Camps Hol, Ain Issa and Roj. According to a UN Report as of April 2019 an estimated 75,000 women and children were being held. Our data suggests that at least 60,000 are Syrians and Iraqis. At least 8,000 children and 4,000 wives of foreign fighters remain in the camp.Women and children live in tents in these camps which are hot in the summer, freezing cold during winter, and leak cold rainwater as well. Dust blows around the camps causing breathing difficulties for some. Women and children have died of typhus, tent fires, and other dangers in the camps. Recently vaccinations have been offered, but many mothers don’t trust the program and refrain from having their children vaccinated. The women cook for themselves and complain that the food provided them lacks nutritious fruits and vegetables. Schools are lacking as well.All of the camps housing women have suffered from ISIS enforcers still dedicated to the group who require the other women to continue to cover themselves and punish those who speak out against them. These women have attacked other women, set their tents on fire, stolen their possessions, attacked, bitten, beaten and stabbed guards and have murdered other women creating a sense of chaos, constant danger and oppression in the camps. Recently a gun fight broke out in Camp Hol, with one woman killed and seven wounded.Foreign fighters from about 60 countries remain in SDF custody. We have interviewed foreign fighters who are nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Dagestan, Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, Switzerland, Egypt, and Germany. * * *A TRIBUNAL?* * *While the SDF has struggled to contain the overflow of captured ISIS fighters, they have been frustrated by Turkish politics and threats to their very existence. In recent years with the Syrian uprising and rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Turks saw it to be to their advantage to fund, train and equip Islamist rebels that they believed could keep the Kurdish independence movements in Syria in a weakened state or altogether destroyed. The Kurds, meanwhile, fought back in 2015 when ISIS invaded the city of Kobani on the Turkish border and rose up as a valiant on-the-ground force to repel the terrorists. The U.S. led coalition began arming and supplying the YPG and YPJ, and providing air cover, infusing the Kurds with a powerful sense of valor and military might that ultimately led to the complete territorial defeat of an Islamic State “Caliphate” that had taken as its motto “remain and expand.”ISIS is hardly a defeated foe however, with weekly sleeper cell attacks occurring in both Syria and Iraq and the likes of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi still making video and audio appeals to supporters around the world to reinstate the Caliphate, starting with breaking the ISIS prisoners out of captivity.The subject of ISIS captives is one of great importance to President Trump who repeatedly has threatened to release the roughly 12,000 ISIS foreign men, women and children prisoners held by the SDF in prisons and camps. Trump’s view is that each country has to take its citizens back, even countries like Sweden that lack a terrorism law under which to prosecute returnees, and countries like France, which already has a serious militant jihadi prison problem and fears any more potential ISIS cadres inside its penitentiaries. These countries have continued to tell the SDF that an international tribunal can be established in its territory to try ISIS prisoners in place. But the UN Counter Terrorism Directorate and U.S. State Department strongly disagree with this proposal and President Trump continues to tweet that he is simply going to release the prisoners to European countries refusing to repatriate them—even though it is the SDF, not Washington, that has them in custody.In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump claimed erroneously that most of the ISIS prisoners are foreigner terrorist fighters and seemed to ignore that ISIS, even when based far away in Syria, is a very real threat to U.S. citizens and interests. It is “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to … figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!”While arguments of who should be responsible to prosecute and hold ISIS prisoners can be made on both sides, in many ways Europe, Jordan and many other countries effectively did “flush the toilet” of their militant jihadi problem by allowing them to freely exit their countries to go fight in Syria, most of them ultimately joining ISIS. The U.S. at present repatriates all of its ISIS fighters bringing them to swift and sound justice at home.* * *ISIS AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY* * *Turkey also has a responsibility in the rise of ISIS, having allowed over 40,000 foreign fighters to cross over its border into Syria, many unabashedly on their way to join the Islamic State. Many prisoners tell us of Turkish complicity with their journey into ISIS-land and being wished well by border guards who winked as they crossed into Syria.Abu Mansour, a 36-year-old Moroccan ISIS emir interviewed by ICSVE in February 2019 in Iraqi prison, told us that he basically functioned as the ISIS ambassador to Turkey, negotiating border issues, the transfer of ISIS wounded into Turkey for treatment, the flow of foreign fighters across the Turkish border into ISIS territory, and other logistics. “The subject of Turkey is a very big one,” he said, “and the mutual interests include the obvious and the hidden.”“Their benefit was that it was a border area and we have a border strip with them,” Abu Mansour continued. “Security is one of them, and they wanted to control north of Syria.” The Turks wanted to control the entire border region in Syria and even into Iraq as far as Mosul, according to Abu Mansour, but they wanted to do it through a proxy force. “So, they wanted to find organizations that would do this favor for them, including terminating the presence of the Kurdish Workers Party [the PKK], without a direct interference from Turkey. At the same time, especially since they were part of NATO, they don’t want to anger NATO, because they need NATO.”By the same token, Turkish President Erdogan’s background as a committed Islamist created a certain sympathy, as did his ambition to revive in modern form the old Ottoman empire, Abu Mansour claimed. “The pretext of [controlling the] Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] is a strong pretext for Turkey, but they have ambitions, as they have entered regions that don’t have PKK in them.” Abu Mansour explained the Turkish and ISIS relationship through his own experiences. In 2013, he said, he was assigned to receive the ISIS volunteers arriving in Turkey, but later, “I supervised the country entry operations, registration as a whole.” Then in 2015, he said, “I worked on external relations, relations with the Turkish intelligence. It started when I was at the borders.” First there was an agreement about passing the wounded from Syria into Turkey, about the border crossing and security arrangements. “Ambulances, especially in critical and serious situations, could go straight to the [border] gate,” said Abu Mansour. “Then a Turkish ambulance takes the case to the Turkish hospitals, and it is followed up inside Turkey. There was a hotline with intelligence who are located at the borders. Most places were available, [including] hospitals in Turkey [and] there was a technical staff of doctors who follow up the case in Turkey. The [Turkish] state was paying for certain operations performed in private hospitals, but most cases referred by the public hospitals were for free.”Abu Mansour said he had “face-to-face meetings with Turkish delegations. Sometimes they represented the intelligence services, sometimes the Turkish army, depending on the issue. “Most meetings were in Turkey on the border strip, but there were also meetings in Ankara and Gaziantep, depending on the issue,” said Abu Mansour. He would travel with a delegation of two or three ISIS people.”Referencing the easy relationship, as he saw it, between ISIS and the Turkish intelligence and military, Abu Mansour claimed, an ISIS emir could “go to Ankara without a problem. They always sent a car, or a bodyguard. At one point, we met weekly, depending on the issue and its importance to Turkey and to us, according to the demand.”The situation described by Abu Mansour raises a question: did the ultimate defeat of ISIS in fact deprive the Turks of the proxy buffer zone they wanted—which they are now invading Syria to establish?Abu Mansour recalled, “Turkey asked on many occasions for a safe zone.” This would be a demilitarized zone where it would provide ISIS with whatever it wanted, but only inside Syrian territories. According to Abu Mansour, , ISIS refused to grant it, and relations started to fall apart. Eventually, Turkey grew sick of the back and forth, and there was also a split in ISIS leadership, with one faction deciding it would take the terror war into Turkey with a 2016 bombing at Istanbul airport. At the time, Abu Mansour was in Gaziantep, Turkey, and the Turkish authorities told him they thought this was an orchestrated act to pressure Ankara. But he says that was not the case. The external security services of ISIS had started setting their own agenda, “carrying out operations everywhere,” Abu Mansour told us. “We reached a state in which they couldn’t care less about politics, and they worked like gangs, [and would] strike anywhere.”While Turkey continues to claim that the SDF, our strongest ally in fighting ISIS, is a terrorist dominated group, many questions remain about Turkey’s own complicity with ISIS. Given that during a bitterly fought war with ISIS, in which many Kurdish lives were lost, that the SDF managed to take control of the area, institute a functioning political system that included granting an impressive array of minority rights and rights to women, the SDF deserves our respect and protection.But U.S. President Donald Trump has put a price on all this. “The Kurds fought with us,” he tweeted, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” That they saved countless lives in the process, including American lives, does not seem to have been a factor.Spencer Ackerman also contributed reporting to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and abandon Kurdish allies has prompted a furious backlash among key members of his most important bulwark against an impeachment conviction: Senate Republicans.Hawkish GOP senators, whom Trump will need to keep him in office if the House moves ahead with impeachment, condemned the president’s decision as a win for terrorists and a defeat for American credibility. Some are already discussing legislation to push back.“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. He urged the president to “keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners.”Foreign policy has long been the issue where Republicans are most likely to disagree with Trump, and it’s not clear that strong words against the president’s Syria policy will cost him any political support. Trump would have to lose the support of at least 20 Republican senators to be removed from office if the House votes to impeach him.The harshest criticism Monday came from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump ally and frequent golf companion. Graham said this “impulsive decision” will benefit Iran and cost the U.S. leverage in the region.Graham also said he and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen will introduce sanctions against Turkey if the NATO ally invades Syria. He said he expects such sanctions to get a two-thirds majority -- enough to override a Trump veto.After criticism from Graham and others, Trump tweeted that he would “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it took “off limits” actions that he didn’t specify. He also said Turkey must “watch over” about 12,000 captured Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their family members living in jails and camps in Kurdish-held territory.The Senate earlier this year had a veto-proof margin to pass an amendment authored by McConnell opposing a withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. On Monday, Criticism in Congress was bipartisan, focused on the move to abandon Kurdish forces who helped U.S. forces fight ISIS, and who are holding thousands of ISIS fighters in custody.Other Senate Republicans pushing back on the president include Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, though none other than Graham have yet said they plan to act on their dismay.Romney, who heads a Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and counterterrorism, released a joint statement with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, the top Democrat on the panel, saying Trump’s decision “severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.” They demanded that the administration explain the decision to the full committee.Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who is up for re-election next year, warned against partnering with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.“If the president sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children,” Sasse said in a statement Monday. “I hope the president will listen to his generals and reconsider.”Some House Republicans also criticized the abrupt withdrawal. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, a member of GOP leadership, called the decision a “catastrophic mistake.” New York Republican Elise Stefanik recently returned from a bipartisan trip to the region and joined a statement with Democratic representatives condemning Trump’s “rash decision.”“Not only will this decision further destabilize the region, it will make it more difficult for the United States to recruit allies and partners to defeat terrorist groups like ISIS,” the statement said.One of Trump’s Senate allies approved of Trump’s decision: Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has long called for withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.(Updates with McConnell quote in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Erik Wasson.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The EU must have more troops and be prepared to use them across the globe, the bloc’s incoming foreign affairs chief has told the European Parliament. Josep Borrell, who is nominated to be the EU’s next chief diplomat, said that Europe could not allow itself to become “irrelevant” on a world stage dominated by superpowers such as the US and China. “We have the instruments to play power politics,” he said at a European Parliament hearing into his candidacy to head up the EU foreign affairs service, “The EU has to learn to use the language of power.” “We should reinforce the EU’s international role and further our military capacity to act,” the 72-year-old Spanish socialist added. “We should pool our national sovereignties together to multiply the power of individual member states,” Mr Borrell said, "I am convinced that if we don't act together Europe will become irrelevant." Mr Borrell called for the numbers of EU troops that could be deployed to be raised to at least 55-60,000. He said the 60,000 target was first set in 1999 by EU leaders after the Balkan war. The EU does have “battlegroups” of 3,000 soldiers from across the EU on standby every six months but these have never been used and would require the unanimous support of every member state before they could be. Mr Borrell said the EU had to speak with a unified "truly integrated" foreign policy voice on the world stage. He said the total defence spend in the EU was half the GDP of Belgium and more than in China and Russia. But that spending did not translate into military capacity because it was fragmented among the EU member countries, Mr Borrell said. He backed EU plans for pooling defence research projects. Some critics have accused those plans of being a stepping stone towards a future EU Army. FAQ | European joint defence force Although that idea has been publicly supported by Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, it is an extremely distant prospect at the moment. “We have to spend together,” he said, “We have to be more operational on the ground, we have to deploy forces, starting in our neighbourhood.” “We should envisage a Europe that can defend itself while working for a multilateral peaceful world order,” Mr Borrell said before insisting this would strengthen NATO rather than be a rival to it. He earlier warned, in a thinly veiled swipe at the US and Donald Trump, that some of the EU’s allies were “disengaging” from the international rules based system. He also told MEPs that the EU could not allow itself to be “squeezed” between the US and China in the trade war between the two superpowers. If his candidacy is backed by the European Parliament, Mr Borrell will become the EU’s chief diplomat on November 1, succeeding Federica Mogherini.
British retailers endured their worst September since at least the mid-1990s as people spent money on entertainment instead, according to surveys that painted a muted picture of household demand ahead of Brexit. In a potential warning sign for consumer spending, which has helped the economy in the run-up to Brexit, the British Retail Consortium said total retail sales values declined 1.3% in September compared with the same month last year. A separate survey published on Monday by payment card company Barclaycard showed broader consumer spending -- which includes retail sales -- rose by a "modest" 1.6% in annual terms in September.
|Cache||Just to add, after viewing Ron Johnson on MTP. Remember when it was said that "Johnson is a moderate Republican? As if that meant something. We were told that "Toomey is a moderate, Tillis is a moderate." What does that even mean in pragmatic/voting purposes? It never did, and Trump's regime has just accentuated that. They all follow in right behind Trump, parrot all of his wild conspiracies and attacks on the FBI and CIA, repeatedly demonize Democrats. I always have said, at least for the last 20 years, that voting for one Republican is like voting for them all, and this is being borne out. Yet enough credulous voters in certain states will continue to insist that their particular Republican legislator is different from the rest of them, so it's okay to vote for him or her. Maybe these are people who become engaged during campaign season, and then tune out during the actual terms of these people, so as not to realize how they vote in Congress, or what they say on TV programs.|
Sorry, we’re booked until 2050. Try the grocery aisle.
There are a few things that every New Yorker knows to be true: Getting in an empty subway car is a really bad idea, and you’ll never be able to get a reservation at Rao’s, the cultish Italian restaurant where every table has been booked for the last 42 years. Basically, you would have better luck walking up to a stranger and asking if you can come over to their house for dinner.
|Cache||Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, from beef production: The carbon that is present in the methane that cows release comes from the plants the cows eat, which in turn comes from the CO2 that plants pull from the air. Methane has a lifetime of ~10-12 years in the atmosphere, as it gets broken down into CO2 and water once released into the atmosphere. This is part of the natural carbon cycle, i.e. cattle releasing methane from plants they have eaten does not add additional CO2 to the atmosphere. If one includes the amount of carbon stored in the soils of well managed perennial pastures as opposed to cultivated soils, such as for soybeans, an argument could be made that the net difference is a decrease in carbon emissions in the perennial pastures - not to mention the additional habitat for wild animals and increased ability to reduce soil erosion. If reducing methane emissions is the goal, one should look at the other sources of methane emissions as well, such as rice cultivation, which is estimated to produce close to the same amount of methane as beef cattle. I find it interesting that so many people believe we should get rid of cattle to reduce methane, but don't say anything about stopping rice cultivation (at least as far as I can tell). As a final note, both cattle and rice produce less methane than natural wetlands, the largest single source of methane emissions in the world. I am not advocating that we start draining wetlands, but as long as there are natural wetlands, there will be substantial methane emissions from them, regardless of what happens in agriculture.|
|Cache||No link to the Nature article you refer to multiple times through out this piece? At least include the article title so we can look it up.|
An update from Professor Jenks (4:24 PM Eastern, 07 October 2019):
The Chemistry Department at Iowa State University has an opening for an analytical or experimental physical chemist at the assistant professor level. Applications were originally intended to close Sunday night, but software glitches caused problems from at least Friday onward. Those have been addressed and applications will again be accepted through Thursday night Oct 10. The software will close the window at 12:01 Friday morning. We apologize for the inconvenience and are glad to be able to re-open the position for those who were trying to apply. (Contrary to an earlier comment, I do not have access to the names of anyone who had a partial application submitted; such people should also log into the application system again.) https://isu.wd1.
Best wishes to those involved.
|Cache||A reminder I still have to plan something for Amsterdam. I'm there at least 4/25 through 4/28. My flight back to Boston isn't until May 4. |
Another point of view hit me hard listening to Bush bumble last night. Every day at least three or four young Americans are killed in Iraq, and an order of magnitude more Iraqis. What an incredible amount of misery. These people had futures. Maybe one of them would have gone on to be a senator or a doctor or a poet, dancer, thinker or peace-maker. Maybe they would just be people who would like to know that Barry Bonds hit 661. They were people with futures, but now that they're dead, no more.
For the families, where exactly do they put their grief? Why should they care about Iraq? For the Iraqis, why are the Americans there? He says he feels their pain, but I don't believe that. I think if he did, he'd resign immediately and let someone else, with no personal stake in this, manage the war. Having resigned, and feeling responsible for all that death and destruction, he would have no choice but to go to Iraq and fight and give up his own life to get us out. It would be understandable if he didn't want to send his children to fight with him, and it would also be understandable if other American parents felt the same. If one more life was spared it would be the right thing to do.
Also I have no doubt that at least one of the Americans who have died would be a better leader for this country. This is the best we can do? What an embarassment for such a great country to be so utterly without direction, wasting a potential prosperity, for nothing.
Olympia-born band Sleater-Kinney has a thing for Spokane. The band is opening its “The Center Won’t Hold” tour in the Lilac City on Wednesday at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox four years after opening its previous tour with a sold-out show at the Knitting Factory.
Sure, logistics-wise, it makes sense for the duo to kick off tours in Spokane, but, in a recent interview, singer/guitarist Corin Tucker said the decision to start the “Center Won’t Hold” tour here also stemmed from the experience they had when they played in 2015.
“I think Spokane might be our good luck charm,” she said. “We had such a good time last time. We were so nervous. It was our first show in almost a decade. We had come back after the hiatus to play the (first) show in at least eight years. We had a great experience.”
Last time Sleater-Kinney was on the road, the band was coming off a lengthy break and bringing new album “No Cities to Love” with them.
The time between shows isn’t as long this time around, but Tucker and singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein, who formed Sleater-Kinney together in 1994, had to overcome another obstacle: the sudden departure of longtime drummer Janet Weiss.
Weiss announced that she was leaving the band in July, a month and a half before the release of “The Center Won’t Hold.”
“It was definitely a difficult moment,” Tucker said. “ ‘How do we handle this? What should we do?’ There’s a lot of sadness in losing a longtime collaborator like that. I think though, that, Carrie and I felt like we were still really committed to the band and committed to this album.
“We were in the middle of the release, and so we felt like, ‘Well, this is a really hard challenge,’ but we felt like we were going to figure it out together.”
She and Brownstein also got lucky, Tucker said, after finding drummer Angie Boylan, who is joining the band on tour after a recommendation from Tucker’s husband, filmmaker Lance Bangs. Boylan, as it turns out, was playing in a Sleater-Kinney cover band and already knew half of the band’s songs.
“It’s bizarre. It’s awesome,” Tucker said about musicians choosing to dedicate their careers to Sleater-Kinney’s. “What an honor that somebody would care about our music that much that they want to re-create it.
“That’s every writer’s dream is that your music has that kind of impact on listeners so that they would actually care enough about the songs to re-create them live. That’s a really wonderful thing to hear about your music.”
Boylan’s Sleater-Kinney knowledge now includes tunes from “The Center Won’t Hold.” When writing the album, Tucker, Brownstein and Weiss worked independently of one another, a new technique for the band. Tucker said the distance inspired her to approach her songs with a “proof of concept.”
“There were songs that were like, ‘This is what I’m thinking. This is the world that I would want to get into with this song in terms of melody and the voicing of the character.’ … It was interesting for me as a writer to try approaching it that way.”
In January, Sleater-Kinney announced that they were working on the then-untitled album with Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. The band initially planned to work with numerous producers but found that Clark was the perfect fit.
“She came out of the gate with so many ideas and enthusiasm, but also her skillset was amazing,” Tucker said. “She had ideas for every part of the song.”
Take “Ruins,” for example. Tucker said she, Brownstein and Weiss were using “basic synth sounds” before Clark suggested making the synth sound “disgusting.” Ten synthesizers later, the band settled on one that made the song sound corrosive and dirty.
“That’s an important thing about working with a producer is having an outside ear that brings a whole other character to the album,” Tucker said. “It provides a leadership role that I think is really important, and Annie is a very natural born leader. That was something we enjoyed about working with her.”
As a whole, “The Center Won’t Hold” is loud, in your face and no holds barred – just as Sleater-Kinney has always been.
“We’ve always been a band that craved your attention and wants to take over your space and wants to be heard. I think this album is no exception,” Tucker said. “We feel like in this cultural moment, especially for women, it’s not a time to be quiet or complacent or step back.
“It’s time to be really loud and make ourselves heard and try to change as much as we can about what’s happening now in our country.”
|Cache||From Texas Standard : One question Amazon's Alexa won't be able to answer – at least not yet – is where Amazon will build its next headquarters. It's been a year since the tech company announced it has outgrown its Seattle home base and needs to expand elsewhere. But the $1 trillion company has been tight-lipped about where that might be. Since that announcement, 238 U.S. cities ingratiated themselves to the company, trying to win its favor. Amazon whittled that list of bids to 20 finalists, and among them are Austin and Dallas.|