Another deadly dust storm hits Uttar Pradesh, India, 17 killed

At least 17 persons have been reported dead in dust storm which hit western Uttar Pradesh on Friday evening. Muradabad has the highest number of casualties (7) while Muzaffarnagar and Meerutreported two deaths each. Three persons died in Sambhal and two deaths were reported from Badaun. Relief commissioner Sanjay Kumarsaid that all these deaths have been reported due to tree or house collapse incidents. A tin shed collapsed in Amroha killing one person. Kumar said that district magistrates have been asked to ensure that relief material are distributed within 24 hours and compensations are disbursed to affected families at the earliest. Close to 150 persons have died in the state due to thunder storms since May 1 this year. While some deaths were reported due to lightning strikes, most deaths have occurred due to wall or tree collapse incidents.

Read more from Signs of the Times…

Liberal democracy is in crisis. But … do we know what it is? | Helena Rosenblatt

To address the future of liberalism and democracy, we must think clearly about the terms. That means looking to the past

It was 25 years ago that Fareed Zakaria warned against a new and growing threat: the rise of “illiberal democracy” around the world. Democratically elected governments were routinely flouting liberal principles, openly violating the rule of law, and depriving their citizens of basic rights and liberties.

Today, many believe that we stand on the precipice of an existential crisis. Liberal democracy is “closer to collapse than we may wish to believe”, writes Ed Luce of the Financial Times. In a bracing new book, the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright even warns of a revival of fascism.

Continue reading…

Read more from The Guardian Politics…

Lucy And Desi Kept A Dark Secret In Their Marriage And It Is Just Now Coming To Light

Anyone who watched I Love Lucy would have thought that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz shared the perfect kind of marriage. But behind the veneer of happiness was a tragic love story that will break your heart. Even today, people watch reruns of the show and dream about how they could find a love as they shared. But it was a TV show after all and nothing like their real marriage.

When the pair first met it was love at first sight. Ball was a 28-year-old B-actress at the time starting her movie career. Arnaz was a 23-year-old Cuban-American bandleader. And he was, as Lucy admits, not her type one bit. But they began a whirlwind love like a fairy tale. But there was trouble in paradise.

As Lucy’s director said, it was “the kind of marriage that has failure written all over it.”

Arnaz was never happy. And with his hectic schedule, Lucy tried her best to give him joy.

“Lucy always wanted to please him,” a friend of Lucy’s told Closer. “If he wanted something, she would get it for him. If they were seated and he needed more room, she would slide over. I found it surprising because she was such a strong, independent lady, but when it came to Desi, she was very old-fashioned.”

In the mid-1940s, their marriage was teetering on the edge of collapse. Arnaz was an alcoholic and a cheat. And Ball filed for divorce.

But then their first child, Lucie, was born and Arnaz found purpose in life. And then they got their TV show. They’d have to fake it in front of America.

CBS producers fought against having Arnaz in the show. He was Cuban and had an accent. But she fought hard for him and won. The show went on to break boundaries, including their interracial relationship and her being pregnant on the show.

But Arnaz couldn’t stand being second to Ball on the show. And his lousy behavior reared its ugly head again.

Ball started to read about her husband’s terrible acts in gossip magazines. And Richard Keith, who played Little Ricky on the show, witnessed their famous fights.

“We heard a lot of loud arguing and cursing and glass shattering and screaming, and we were scared. [Their son] Desi Jr. turned to me and said, ‘There they go again.’”

Arnaz admitted to his biographer Bart Andrews that “by 1956 it wasn’t even a marriage anymore.”

And Andrews explained more.

“They were just going through a routine for the children,” Andrews said. “She told me that for the last five years of their marriage, it was ‘just booze and broads.’ That was in her divorce papers, as a matter of fact.”

They divorced in 1960. And both would remarry again.

Ball later talked to Barbara Walters about their divorce.

“I married a loser before,” she said. “(Arnaz) could work very hard, he was brilliant, but he had to lose. He had to fail at everything he built up.”

Before he died in 1986 from Cancer, Arnaz told Ball, “I love you too, honey. Good luck with your show.”

Read more from American Web Media…

One dead, several injured after TV station tower collapses in Missouri

At least one person was dead and three others were injured after a nearly 2,000-foot TV station tower collapsed in Missouri on Thursday. Fire and emergency crews raced to the scene of the morning collapse in Fordland. It was not immediately clear why the …

Read more from Several Reported Injured…

The real reason tech billionaires are prepping for doomsday

Getty/Salon

Getty/Salon

If you pay attention to what Silicon Valley’s best and brightest are up to, you know about tech survivalism. The digital elite are preparing for the Apocalypse, and have been for a while.

As Evan Osnos wrote in his New Yorker feature,  “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich,”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

The Guardian noted that the end-of-days obsession could be traced back to a single source, a sort of ur-text of rich-guy panic: a 1999 book called "The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State." It was written by James Dale Davidson, a private investment advisor, and Lord Rees-Moog, a British newspaper editor.

You can probably already guess at what the book says. More or less, it’s a pastiche of extolling the virtues of how the rich are superior, persecuted by the state, and how digital realms can and will liberate them and make them sovereign individuals. It’s a familiar trope: Ayn Rand had John Galt spew the same list of self-serving ideas sixty years ago in “Atlas Shrugged.”

That an elite caste of people would find inspiration in these kinds of ideas is unsurprising. But there’s a more obvious reason that rich people are doomsday preppers: because that ideology mirrors their politics and their sociological views of people.

Aristocracy is the faith that a few individuals are better than the herd. Aristocracy justifies great wealth. Aristocracy says that most humans are inherently evil and will turn on each other. The mob needs strong rulers to stay sane. If authority breaks down, the rabid animals will run wild.

And the tech industry is a special subset of rich people. Our society runs on technology. Very few of us understand it, or build it personally; we rely on a select priesthood to handle that necessity. These conditions guarantee an elitist mindset. Even if Silicon Valley wasn't wealthy, they'd still be stocking up on Krugerrands and beaver pelts. The money just gives them more space to indulge Ahab-like paranoia.

Additionally, the digerati tend to view human beings as automatons: easily exchangeable and swappable data points, resources to be exploited. If I wanted to design a system to deliberately turn out an alienated, distanced elite, I'd build Silicon Valley.

To use the language of philosophy, tech-bro survivalism is overdetermined. Imagine you're an obscenely wealthy app magnate. Even if you're skeptical about Armageddon, you probably already believe you're a separate species from the rest of mankind. Letting everyone else go to hell is second nature.

The irony of being a wealthy tech-prepper should be obvious. The rich are only rich because society is skewed to favor them. They are free to enjoy their gains because the majority of us pay for roads, fire trucks, and the electrical grid. Society can do without Elon Musk, but Elon Musk is dependent on society.

Tech-preppers think Doomsday will mean a war of all against all. But there's no evidence of this.

In 2009, Rebecca Solnit wrote "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster." In it, Solnit debunks the "thin veneer of civilization" theory — the notion that authority and a strict social order are all that are keeping us from descending into barbarism.

In that book, Solnit studied the unusual solidarity demonstrated in catastrophes as varied as the 1906 San Francisco and 2008 Tang Shan earthquakes, the 2003 European heat wave, and the 1917 Halifax munitions explosion. And she found the same result, every time. When chaos arrives, the human reaction is cooperation and innovation.

"Disaster," Solnit wrote, "is when the shackles of conventional belief and role fall away and the possibilities open up.” This “unshackling” arrives in unusual ways. On 9/11, half a million people were ferried from Lower Manhattan by a spontaneous rescue armada of individual boats.

Solnit argued disaster solidarity is what led many survivors of the 1940 London Blitz to regard the bombing as a high point in their lives. Catastrophe creates communal feeling where none existed before. Given our evolution as nomadic social animals, this makes sense. Homo sapiens spent 300,000 years as equal creatures facing danger together. The current order, with a few rich and many poor, is relatively new in the history of our species.

If human societies draw together in times of peril, what are the tech-preppers concerned about?

I think we can guess. Deconstruct the fantastical fables these people tell each another. They're not concerned about ecological catastrophe, I promise you.

What are their real fears? I quote from Osnos' article:

“I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

“Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. … Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”

[Marvin Liao] decided that his caches of water and food were not enough. “What if someone comes and takes this?” he asked me.

“I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

“When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,”

"I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

“The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”

The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley … “Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? Is it going to turn into civil disorder?”

"Anyone who’s in this community knows people who are worried that America is heading toward something like the Russian Revolution …”

What are the tech-preppers really worried about? Not death by fire, quake, or ice. Not the rising seas, or the zombie plague, not the return of Christ or rogue comets. Seen clearly, the calamity that the wealthy fear is democracy returning to the United States. Every tall tale they tell involves the specter of the mob.

The tech-preppers understand, at a deep level, that their ill-gotten gains are predicated on an unjust system. Deep in the brain, where reptile impulses live, tech-bros know hoarding is wrong. Human beings — even very wealthy human beings — have a bone-deep sense of injustice. We know a free-loader.

Why don't we give them the world they want? I invite the tech-preppers to fully indulge their fantasies: leave, and never return, never darken our doors again. Instead of frustrating their hobby, we should enable it. To your scattered bunkers go, await the end of days. The legends of the fall are the first hope of an eventual spring.

 

Read more from Salon.com…

Several reported injured in deck collapse at lakeside bar

Several people were reported injured after a deck collapsed tonight at The Old Boathouse Bar in Constantia, according to the Oswego County 911 Center. Early reports had as many as 20 people injured, but later reports from the scene reduced the number to …

Read more from Several Reported Injured News…