Ebola Is A Wake-Up Call For Sierra Leone’s Upper Class

Sierra Leone’s wealthiest citizens have been uninterested in what’s going on in the rest of the country for far too long. This piece originally appeared on Okayafrica.

The Country Lodge in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a hotel where the city’s elite congregate Flickr/mifl68/ / Via Flickr: mifl68

I recently returned to my hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone, after six weeks in Europe, and found myself surprisingly relieved by the state of the country. Belying some of the more hysterical voices in the Western media, as well as the more radical elements on Facebook, people are — by and large — getting on with their lives. The streets are filled with hawkers and petty traders; I awake to the calls of water vendors and the voices of neighbor greeting neighbor; joggers continue to ply the beach road, and the local youth are passionately engaged in a noisy five-a-side soccer competition. Absent from our day-to-day existence are the dead and the dying so graphically pictured in foreign news stories, absent is a sense of fear, and absent too is any breakdown in society or the rule of law. That is not to say that things are normal — we are a nation under siege; Ebola is still very real, people are dying, communities blighted, and radical steps have to be taken to halt its spread. The number of dead will rise, but there appears to be a growing faith that we’re moving in the right direction and a populace confident that this plague will be beaten.

I was taken aback to learn that a recent comment I’d posted on Facebook may have offended the government of Sierra Leone. I generally try to be objective, if a little cynical, in my observations. They may have been referring to my ridiculing a statement by Alpha Khan, our minister of information and communication, that Sierra Leone had sufficient ambulances for its populace prior to the Ebola outbreak. Mr. Khan claimed that each of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts had at least one ambulance, with some having “as many as three.” Allowing for the more generous figure, Sierra Leone therefore had “as many as” 42 ambulances serving a population of 6.1 million. Few other governments would hail this figure as satisfactory. So when a woman from my paternal village suffering complications in childbirth had to be transported to a hospital by “Okada” — the ubiquitous motorcycle taxis that provide the backbone of Sierra Leone’s public transport system — I hope my frustration can be understood.

This minor Facebook tiff got me thinking about Sierra Leone’s upper classes — the doctors, dentists, bankers, accountants, business men and women — and their general complacency. We who have the privilege of relative wealth and education, most often abroad, and who have returned to Sierra Leone to enjoy the benefits that such privilege brings. Servants, chauffeur-driven cars, beach houses, holidays abroad, and a seemingly endless succession of fashion shows, parties, dinners and cocktails — we have lived an entirely different life, far more privileged, far safer, and certainly more decadent, to that of the majority of Sierra Leoneans. Until now we in these upper classes have generally been unwilling — or uninterested — in engaging in civil matters and publicly voicing our opinions on those things essential to developing our country, which, by the way, still ranks fifth from the bottom on the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

We have turned a blind eye to the poverty and lack of development that surrounds us. From my balcony I look out over a tin shack, barely 100 square feet, occupied by three generations and 10 individuals from one family. Boiling hot in the dry season, dripping wet in the rains. At the end of my street a stand pipe delivers water intermittently to children, some as young as five, who queue daily bearing 5-gallon jerricans and any other container with which to supply the washing and cooking needs of entire families. The road outside my house is riddled with potholes and bordered by open gutters, choked with rubbish. Dusk pitches 70% of the city into darkness. As Sierra Leone’s infrastructure has crumbled, the upper classes have hidden behind ever higher walls, bigger SUVs, and more powerful generators, grumbling but unwilling to engage — to all intents and purposes acting as if the Sierra Leone outside our walls was another country from the “Sweet Salone” that we’ve inhabited.

I wasn’t here during the war years, but see echoes of the same complacency that saw my parents waking up to rebels on their doorstep. I recall speaking to my stepmother by telephone from London in 1995, concerned by a BBC report that had placed the biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), less than 10 miles from our house in Freetown. She cheerfully told me not to worry, that she had only that morning been for a stroll on the beach and that all was well. History has proven how wrong she was. On that occasion the rebels were rebuffed. But in 1997 they returned with a vengeance, overrunning Freetown before embarking a wave of looting and revenge killings. My stepmother was evacuated to a U.S. aircraft carrier with just one plastic bag of possessions. She was not to return to Freetown for three years.

A sign posted in an awareness campaign against the spread of Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 18 Handout / Reuters

The privileged in Sierra Leone have long chosen to abstain from tackling issues that impact on the lives of all Sierra Leoneans, preferring instead to seek remedies for our lot alone, leaving the rest of society to fare as best they can. How ironic that we now reflect on the inadequacies of our health care system when we, myself included, have not thought twice about having our babies born abroad? With one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, why would one choose to give birth in Sierra Leone if other options are available? Similarly, we bemoan falling standards in education while pondering the logistics of schooling our kids in the U.K. or the U.S. (guilty again!).

The truth is we need to engage and we need to do so on an ongoing basis, not just in the face of a crisis. I’m amazed at how few of my contemporaries participated in the last Presidential election. Too hot, too dirty, too smelly, too time consuming. I can understand why some chose not to, but I find it harder to understand our unwillingness to involve ourselves in other ways. Sierra Leone is not Eritrea or North Korea. We have a vibrant press, professional bodies, access to social media and a fairly benign ruling class. As the son of a casualty of our past political processes — my father was executed by a previous regime, but that is another story — I’m mortified that some now look back to that period as the “good old days.” Although political opponents are no longer imprisoned, let alone killed, I can understand that, for some, the memories of pipe-borne water, continuous power, decent roads, functioning hospitals, good schools, and the absence of squatters, beggars and litter holds a powerful pull. However, the rot, now obscured by rose-tinted spectacles, had set in — paving the way for the 11-year civil war that came, and our country’s present-day travails.

Be under no illusion, decisions are being made every day that impact our lives. We have the opportunity to be a part of that process. We can blame our government for much, but we cannot blame it for everything, and not at all if we opt out of the debate. Engagement need not be confrontational. It can be constructive, informed and offer solutions. There is a saying in Krio, the lingua franca of a country boasting 16 local dialects, Wan finger no dae pik stone. To pick up a pebble requires the use of several fingers, not just one. A country is only as good as its institutions. The ongoing crisis has demonstrated how wanting some of these institutions have been, among them we the upper class.

That seems to be changing. It is a pity that it took a crisis such as this (and, more probably, the very specific ways it has effected us such as the closing of schools and bars, and the suspension of international flights), but we seem to finally have started to find our voices. The radio, newspapers, and internet are full of the frustrations of a people who have been galvanized by the unfolding Ebola tragedies. Organizations are springing up to complement the government’s efforts in the war against Ebola, dissident views are being espoused in forums by people avowedly nonpolitical, professionals are beginning to question the failings of the institutions representing them. But more can be done: We can participate in community meetings and work with our local governance structures; we can use our professional bodies to proffer solutions to some of the problems we face; we can join the boards of our schools and hospitals; we can be candid with foreign dignitaries; we can petition; we can lead. We have the ability to create a better Sierra Leone. But to get there we must do all of this, and more. Ebola has been a wake-up call. I hope that the small steps that have been taken will continue and develop long after we’ve kicked Ebola out of Sierra Leone.

Republished with permission from Okayafrica, the U.S.’s biggest source for new African music, arts, and culture.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/shekaforna/ebola-is-a-wake-up-call-for-sierra-leones-upper-class


But Thats None Of My Business

But Thats None Of My Business

Read more: https://imgflip.com/i/ah6qi


This Guy’s Roommate Left Him With A Complete Mess. What He Did In Return Is Totally Awesome.

Having a roommate can be tricky business. You’re basically living in close quarters with a friend (or even a stranger) and mutually promising not to be a terrible person. Sometimes, rooming situations can be wonderful. At other times? Not so great. One guy’s roommate decided to flee this apartment and his rental agreement without giving warning. He stiffed his old roommates on his portion of the rent, but that’s not all.

He also left this mess behind, along with an atrocious paint job.

They decided to do something about it. They painted the walls with 2 cans of primer.

With all of the primer needed to cover the old paint job, the new one really popped with only one coat of paint.

Since the roommate would no longer be there, the friends he abandoned went ahead and destroyed his stuff and set it on the curb.

The old roommates decided to paint a mural on the wall. First, they printed out the design on a transparent sheet.

Then, after buying a projector online for $30, they had an outline ready on the wall.

“I’ve got birds on me!”

After painting it, it popped. The mural is the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment.

” I’m really big on internet culture and I liken the anonymity and community of the internet to a flock of birds. A body of motion moving in a general direction but at any moment they can change direction, many can peel away, it can split in half, it’s unpredictable.”

The cost of the disposal, priming and painting? $200.

Source: Reddit Although losing a roommate (and losing money because of it) can be bad news, painting this mural and re-vamping the apartment was worth the heartache. You might not be able to believe it, but this is the first attempt at a mural this Reddit user ever made. What a wonderful idea this is! Using a projector, a transparent sheet and an image is a great way to sketch out a mural on the wall. Share this awesome process by clicking below.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/roommate-left-mess/


The 11 Sexiest Things Warren Buffett Ever Said

Billionaire, oracle, lover. America’s most famous investor has also shared plenty of wisdom on matters of the heart, and groin.

1.
Jemal Countess / Getty Images for Time Inc.

2013 Berkshire Hathaway annual letter, borrowed from money manager Barton Biggs.

2.
Getty Images

An interview with CBS News.

3.
Donald Bowers / Getty Images for FORTUNE

Berkshire Hathaway 2013 annual letter, borrowed from Woody Allen. Buffett borrowed this quote to explain that Berkshire Hathaway’s willingness to buy entire companies or just buy lots of stock gives it an advantage over investment firms that only invest in companies they can then control.

4.
Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

From a 2011 speech to University of Georgia business students.

5.
Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport

Berkshire Hathaway 1991 annual letter.

6.
Gabe Palacio / Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway 1984 annual letter.

7.
Rick Wilking / Reuters

Buffett’s response to an investor calling him to ask about helping rescue Bear Stearns. While he ultimately didn’t buy a stake in the doomed investment bank (he instead invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs), he still heard out the offer.

8.
Eric Francis / Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway 1985 annual letter.

9.
Nati Harnik / AP

Buffett in a 2008 question and answer session with corporate executives in Toronto. One of the attendees asked why business owners sell their companies to Berkshire Hathaway instead of other investors, like private equity firms.

10.
Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Berkshire Hathaway 2001 annual letter.

11.
Jason Lee / Reuters

An interview with CNN about auctioning off his car.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/erotic-buffett


Paul Begala parrots pitiful ‘Ebola budget cuts’ spin; Gets schooled

Snicker. That last part should be an evergreen tweet. So, what happened? This:

Gee, thanks, Republicans! CDC head: We'd Have Ebola Vaccine if Not for Budget Cuts. http://t.co/xUKdznZJ6J

— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) October 13, 2014

The always absurd Paul Begala pushed the ridiculous claim, made by the NIH director, that there would be an Ebola vaccine already if not for icky old Republicans and their budget “cutting” ways. He was so anxious to politicize the dangerous and frightening disease that he first got the lie-info wrong.

CORRECTION: NIH (not CDC) chief says budget cuts have delayed Ebola vaccine. (Thanks, GOP) http://t.co/xUKdznZJ6J

— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) October 13, 2014

Then he took the waahm-bulance for a ride by retweeting “hate” tweets.

Love the hate RT "@rubycramer: have to say, @PaulBegala has a real knack for picking THE best angry tweets to retweet.”

— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) October 13, 2014

Pathetic.

One of the hate tweets?

@Settledownass @PaulBegala Hey dickhead, I'm a pharmaceutical research scientist. The NIH is just another sewer for tax dollars.

— Mike Merc (@mikemerc57) October 13, 2014

Sorry, Begala, but his point about a sewer is solid.

@PaulBegala This was a really bad strategy. Oppo researchers find every dumb program CDC/NIH ever funded and make them look silly.

— Rich Galen (@richgalen) October 13, 2014

@richgalen @NoahCRothman @PaulBegala You mean like this? http://t.co/UhwTuToQDA

— Just Karl (@justkarl) October 13, 2014

Ding, ding, ding! And it happened, natch.

cc @PaulBegala RT @TwitchyTeam Don't look now @NIH director, but here are things that #TookMoneyFromEbolaResearch http://t.co/mafs6LVQtb

— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 13, 2014

That’s right. Conservatives swiftly pushed back on the false narrative and torched the idiocy with things that #TookMoneyFromEbolaResearch.

They also rightly gave Begala the business.

@PaulBegala Reckless claim the Director made, and equally reckless for you to jump on it.

— Nancy (@Of_Angelis) October 13, 2014

@PaulBegala obviously u didn't read the article. It was the NIH director. CDC director isn't dumb enough to say something so blatantly false

— John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) October 13, 2014

@PaulBegala Haven't Ds controlled the Presidency and at least one chamber in Congress for the past six years? Gee thanks, Ds

— Rich Galen (@richgalen) October 13, 2014

@Tark31 It's also noteworthy @PaulBegala is discussing GOP spending cuts instead of NIH's horrendously wasteful spending. @CounterMoonbat

— Jason Whitman Photo (@JasonBWhitman) October 13, 2014

@GPollowitz Maybe @PaulBegala can explain this waste of $90M by NIH? http://t.co/QesL3LCjPx

— Jason Whitman Photo (@JasonBWhitman) October 13, 2014

@PaulBegala Are you really so stupid you don't remember the President is a Dem and the Dems ran the house and senate for how long??

— Faye Hamilton (@FayeHamilton1) October 13, 2014

FIFY. RT @PaulBegala Gee thanks @TheDemocrats, if y'all could competently build a website we'd have an Ebola vaccine.

— Ollie (@texasollie) October 13, 2014

.@PaulBegala Oh, hey again Paul.. pic.twitter.com/PzlzZo4BGJ

— S.M (@redsteeze) October 13, 2014

This tweet sums it up:

@PaulBegala: Gee, thanks, Republicans! CDC head: We'd Have Ebola Vaccine if Not for Budget Cuts." Gee, you're desperate!

— Instapundit.com (@instapundit) October 13, 2014

Yep. The desperation, it reeks.

And an exit question:

@PaulBegala @Of_Angelis How does it feel to use dead people to score cheap political points? Is "politics" really that important? Sad.

— Benjamin P. Glaser (@BenjaminPGlaser) October 13, 2014

Related:

Don’t look now NIH director, but here are things that #TookMoneyFromEbolaResearch

Sunday-night bombshell: NIH director claims budget cuts have prevented an Ebola vaccine; Conservatives spotlight budget waste

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/10/13/how-much-does-dem-desperation-reek-paul-begala-parrots-pitiful-ebola-budget-cuts-spin-gets-schooled/


Concern troll Matt Lewis throws trolling tantrum, tattles on critic Ben Howe

http://twitter.com/#!/adamsbaldwin/status/289094122055270400

Matt Lewis also doesn’t have a firm grasp on reality.

Finally taking the stand no one else cared about. RT @mattklewis: Confronting @benhowe: My own personal Twitter troll dailycaller.com/2013/01/09/con…

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) January 9, 2013

The delusions of grandeur, they scorch!

Oops! Did I interrupt your therapy session? RT @mattklewis: Confronting @benhowe: My own personal Twitter troll bit.ly/13iYRnP

— J Kane (@J_Kane) January 9, 2013

Once again, The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis is using his platform to get down to what is really important: Settling his deluded playground scores. People are icky and Matt Lewis will totally get you with his vast powers of whining and foot-stomping!

His jackassery knows no bounds and now he has decided to double-down on the douchenozzlery as well. Last week, he penned an “article” that was actually sanctimony of the highest order. He railed against Ron Meyer, Jr. for his Boehner predictions, and he did so in the most incredibly puerile and douche-tastic way. Twitter users quickly called him out for that one.

Just incredible: @mattklewis hits the trifecta of piling on, 20:20 hindsight, *and* implicit self-congratulation.ht @gopfirecracker

— Loren Heal(@lheal) January 6, 2013

.@mattklewis has written some awful articles (plenty of which attack conservative positions), but this is a new low. dailycaller.com/2013/01/06/let…

— John Ekdahl, Jr. (@JohnEkdahl) January 6, 2013

The embarrassing overreach of the anti-Boehner predictions is matched only by @mattklewis‘ juvenile taunting: dailycaller.com/2013/01/06/let…

— El SOOPer!! (@SooperMexican) January 6, 2013

.@mattklewis taunts @ronmeyerjr w all the class of a grade school bully despite Boehner coup being closer than reported shar.es/42ye0

— El SOOPer!! (@SooperMexican) January 7, 2013

@exjon @johnekdahl I love how @mattklewis says going on his podcast might have been thought too dangerous as opposed to just a waste of time

— DrewM (@DrewMTips) January 6, 2013

So @bradthor, people are surprised @mattklewis is an insecure jackass? @ronmeyerjr @dailycaller

— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) January 7, 2013

Hi @tuckercarlsen & @mattklewis, I’m sure Foster Friess is *really* impressed right now twitchy.com/2012/09/24/exe… and twitter.com/johnekdahl/sta…

— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) January 7, 2013

@exjon @johnekdahl Wow, @mattklewis is a bloviating douchebag. We can only hope he takes the path of others and he becomes a lefty

— D.M. Hawkins (@HawkinsUSA) January 7, 2013

And, Lewis, of course, brought it all back to “look at me, look at ME!”

@nedryun Hey, Ned. Why don’t you start a #FireLewis hashtag. I need the job security!

— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) January 7, 2013

Funny that he spoke of job security. Because now he is on a tattling spree. This time, it is aimed at RedState’s Ben Howe, whom the concern troll Lewis has hypocritically accused of … trolling.

@bethanyshondark agreed. :)

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) January 9, 2013

@benhowe Isn’t @mattklewis just a clumsy hypocrite #ConcernTroll calling fellow cons “execrable” (MM) & “crazy” (U)? -> twitter.com/adamsbaldwin/s…

— Adam Baldwin (@adamsbaldwin) January 9, 2013

Yep, Lewis took to Twitter also. To whine about … Twitter trolling.

@krempasky I think it’s a legit post. But the important thing is I DIDN’T use Twitter to accuse a fellow conservative of sex with animals!

— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) January 9, 2013

Yeah, she invented that. RT @gabrielmalor: Also, @mattklewis, stealing Jen Rubin’s line about your arms being tired from “punching down”?

— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) January 9, 2013

Bless his heart. He even has to recycle his pitiful whines.

Frum and Malkin are execrable for entirely different reasons. I can’t figure out who’s “punching down”.

— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) September 22, 2012

But, in an even larger act of jackassery, Lewis is tattling to Howe’s clients.

@jgreendc he didn’t indicate that he’d seen it or was offended or anything.He just started calling my clients. @politicalmath

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) January 9, 2013

In that post @mattklewis says “Heritage Foundation” 7x. But he was just trying to confirm something! Not endanger @benhowe ‘s livelihood!

— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) January 9, 2013

That’s right, and Lewis shamelessly admitted as much in his stompy foot snit disguised as an article.

Good thing @benhowe doesn’t have four kids to feed, or that @mattklewis post would’ve really been low.

— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) January 9, 2013

Indeed.

@drewmtips @benhowe And you’re not even getting paid. Can that guy be anymore childish? Good grief that article was embarrassing.

— Veruca Salt (D) (@LilMissRightie) January 9, 2013

Of course, childish and toolish is not new for Mr. Lewis, as Twitter users are quick to remember and point out.

Was @michellemalkin busy? RT @mattklewis: Confronting @benhowe: My own personal Twitter troll dailycaller.com/2013/01/09/con…

— Dan Isett (@DanIsett) January 9, 2013

So the guy so clearly trolling in the gutters just to get linkage to an article calling M. Malkin execrable is now upset about….trolling?

— Veruca Salt (D) (@LilMissRightie) January 9, 2013

Yep. Matt Lewis attacked Twitchy founder Michelle Malkin as “execrable” not too long ago. Then doubled-down. Execrable, heal thyself.

Twitter users continue to give King Whiner the business.

Geez, Matt. Grow a pair. RT @mattklewis: Confronting @benhowe: My own personal Twitter troll bit.ly/13iYRnP

— CatsPolitics (@CatsPolitics) January 9, 2013

I’d like to know how @mattklewis reached the conclusion @benhowe “apparently believes” he was employed by Heritage? Calling them was lame.

— Jay Caruso (@jaycaruso) January 9, 2013

He should work for MSNBC!RT @adamsbaldwin: .@benhowe Shorter @mattklewis: “I’m a professional writer who … m.tmi.me/FQtEK

— Anthony Sanders (@AnthonyBSanders) January 9, 2013

Ah, so it’s @benhowe vs @mattklewis? Yeah, #TeamBenHowe, pretty much.

— Kevin P (@mustango13) January 9, 2013

It’s helpful to remember we’re only days removed from Lewis calling a 23 year-old kid a douchebag in a news article.

— John Ekdahl, Jr. (@JohnEkdahl) January 9, 2013

If @mattklewis wants to be taken seriously, then perhaps he should behave more seriously. Professionals do not whine like a mule.

— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) January 9, 2013

@adamsbaldwin Or the difference between something to ignore and something to write a whiny blog post about. @benhowe @mattklewis

— Jim J (@anthropocon) January 9, 2013

@mattklewis your “troll” piece seems to confirm the quote’s suspicion that you’re using DC to settle a personal score.

— Michael Krempasky (@krempasky) January 9, 2013

New Twitter Rules: No one is allowed to criticize @mattklewis or he’ll tell on them. (No, I won’t linking to his whiny blog post)

— Jon Gabriel (@ExJon) January 9, 2013

Bingo. When called on his pathetic behavior, Matt Lewis, as always, bravely runs away!

I’m jealous of @benhowe. I could have been @mattklewis‘s twitter troll, but he blocked me 2 years ago. I mean, I can use sarcasm too!

— Right Scoop (@trscoop) January 9, 2013

By the way @mattklewis just blocked me for pointing out I don’t know anybody who likes him #courageous

— Stephen Gutowski (@collegepolitico) January 9, 2013

.@johnekdahl As I recall, @mattklewis blocked me in the fall for calling him a RINO.

— CatsPolitics (@CatsPolitics) January 9, 2013

WAIT! I remember now. @mattklewis blocked me for defending @michellemalkin.

— CatsPolitics (@CatsPolitics) January 9, 2013

@exjon he blocked me a couple of years ago cuz I criticized him. Life is still worth living. @verumserum@mattklewis

— Right Scoop (@trscoop) January 9, 2013

.@saintrph why does @mattklewis have a twitter? he blocks anyone who may read @dailycaller so he can’t promote or discuss his posts @benhowe

— Prudence Paine (@PruPaine) January 9, 2013

Seriously.

Having trouble finding a person in America more pathetic than @mattklewis. It may be time to stop looking.

— Jeff Emanuel (@jeffemanuel) January 9, 2013

So, he really is special! Sorry, Matt, not in the good way. We are laughing at you, not with you.

@benhowe Need something to write about. Make fun of me.

— Nathan Wurtzel (@NathanWurtzel) January 9, 2013

Heh. Share the concern trolling!

Dear Matt Lewis: Save your concern trolling for your therapist. No one else has time for that nonsense. Maybe you can find a new best friend with whom you can cry into your tear-stained diary. We have a suggestion for the perfect person for the job!

@mattklewis is the male version of @mccainblogette for a whole host of reasons. Where to even begin….. #Oy

— Veruca Salt (D) (@LilMissRightie) January 9, 2013

The 2013 Meghan McCain —> @mattklewis

— Matt Dawson (@SaintRPh) January 9, 2013

You’re welcome.

Related:

Malkin-bashing concern troll Matt Lewis urges Romney to avoid using ‘execrable’

‘Execrable,’ craven concern troll Matt Lewis deplores Malkin’s success; Malkin, #MalkinMinions give him drubbing

Feckless Matt Lewis calls Michelle Malkin ‘execrable’ like Frum, scurries away when called out

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/01/09/execrable-concern-troll-matt-lewis-throws-tantrum-about-trolling-tattles-on-critic-ben-howe/


Punishing success is good for business

Punishing success is good for business

Read more: https://imgflip.com/i/6erj9


This Baby’s Life Was Saved Thanks To A Smartphone App.

Usually when you see a smartphone involved in a life or death situation, it’s the cause of the problem — but this time it was the solution.

At a dance shop in Spokane, WA, clerk Leslie Reckord was told an infant was unable to breath and had started turning blue. A former lifeguard, she immediately called 911 and began attempting CPR. Two blocks away, volunteer EMT Jeff Olson was working on cars in his day job as a mechanic when his phone sent him a notification about the emergency taking place nearby. So he dropped everything, ran over, and saved the little boy’s life.

Olson still seemed rattled while talking about his heroism to the local news afterward. Take a look.

(via Business Insider.)

I guess smartphones are more useful than just beating your high score on Candy Crush after all.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/baby-saved-app/


What Is Really Going On In That Bill Ackman Picture? Hint: Nothing

A photo of the hedge fund boss, accompanying a recent Bloomberg profile, ignited a flurry of conspiracy theories. They were almost certainly all wrong.

The billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has amassed much of his fortune dethroning CEOs and taking at least partial control of the companies they once presided over, via his activist investing campaigns.

So when sharp-eyed viewers noticed a list of CEOs scrawled on a notepad on Ackman’s desk in a photo accompanying a recent Bloomberg Markets profile, the financial blogosphere went into quite a flurry trying to work out what it could all mean.

Here’s the picture as published alongside the Bloomberg article, with the yellow notepad bottom center.

Bloomberg / Via bloomberg.com

And here’s what you see when you zoom in on that notepad.

Via barbariancapital.net

Did Ackman, who is in the business of of taking CEOs down, intentionally leave the list right side up and facing the camera, in a calculated attempt to get into the CEOs’ heads? Could one of them be the target of his next activist campaign? Was this a genuine slip-up, or a genius strategic move by a guy who knows that internet sleuths would relish looking into the names on an “accidentally” revealed list?

“What does it mean?!” Business Insider asked in its analysis of what is now known as the Bill Ackman Desk Note.

BI believes the answer to be ¯_(ツ)_/¯. Who knows?

The most likely answer: This is nothing more than a list of people Ackman needs to get in touch with, a list he and his minders view as completely harmless.

This is what busy, high-ranking people do every day: they make a list of people to call or call back. And it’s not just members of the finance elite who do this. Find a person who doesn’t have a list of people they need to phone or email about something, and you’ve probably found a person who isn’t an office worker.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Every name on Ackman’s list is someone whom he either knows personally, has done business with, is currently doing business with, or whom he has myriad reasons to contact on any given day.

The names on the list:

Juan Ramon Alaix – CEO of Zoetis, a pharmaceutical company in which Ackman’s Pershing Square has a $2 billion investment.

Paul Fribourg – CEO of Contigroup, formerly known as Continental Grain Co., founding member of the Fix the Debt campaign, to which Ackman has pledged his name, and Burger King board member, a company Ackman has been heavily invested in throughout the years.

Dennis Reilley – Former CEO of Praxair, the main competitor of a company targeted by one of Ackman’s activist campaigns, Air Products & Chemicals Inc.

Michael Pearson – CEO of Valeant, the company Ackman teamed up with to try and orchestrate a hostile takeover of competitor Allergan.

Joseph Shenker – Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm Ackman worked with on his Herbalife campaign.

David Sokol – A Berkshire Hathaway alumni who, like Ackman, has spoken at the annual Ira Sohn Conference in New York.

People in the know told told BuzzFeed News the list holds no hidden strategic message, significant mystery or particular importance. The lesson of the Great Ackman Desk Note Saga Of 2015, then, is that sometimes a notepad is just a notepad.

correction

Ackman teamed up with Valeant to orchestrate a hostile takeover of Allergan, not the other way around, as an earlier version of this article stated. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_correction_time_4628725″).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-01-07 17:37:49 -0500′, ‘update’); });

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mariahsummers/what-is-really-going-on-in-that-bill-ackman-picture-hint-not


11 True Stories From Queer Women About Falling For The Straight Girl

Oh, the sweet misery.

We asked queer women to tell us about their own experiences falling for, or hopelessly crushing on, women who identify as straight.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

These are the stories they shared:

1. “So for the past few months I’ve been in and out of this weird limbo of denial and doubt and feelings of stupidity.”

“This is kind of hard to talk about right now because my feelings for my straight best friend are very powerful in the way that girl best friendships typically are. We have an incredibly close friendship, make jokes about being a married couple all the time, but she has no idea that sometimes I think about her in a deeper way. The confusing part is that those deeper feelings come and go and are super fleeting.

She’s crazy attractive and the funniest person I know. I have dated gay and bi girls in the past, and I consider myself bi. As much as I’ve thought about it, I could never act on my feelings for her in the event that it would destroy everything we have and ruin our friendship. So for the past few months I’ve been in and out of this weird limbo of denial and doubt and feelings of stupidity. Once those negative feelings pass, I come out of my hole and feel fine again. It’s the ebb and flow of the ‘yes I’m attracted to her’ juxtaposed with the ‘actually wait maybe I’m not really / don’t be stupid’ that’s been a great challenge to deal with.”

2. “I saw her holding hands with a guy and felt weirdly disappointed, not even for myself but just for like… all women.”

“When I was still in school a few years ago, I had a class located in this huge lecture hall in the university’s business school building, which was weird because there were only like 35 students in the class. One of them was this reeeaaaaaally hot girl who I just … could not stop looking at during class. We sat on opposite ends so I could not even see her that well, but, you know, well enough to know she was really hot. She was really tan (it was fall semester and her summer tan just seemed to never go away, which was unfair), and had really short blonde hair swooped to the side. Like, just the best alternative lifestyle haircut. And she always wore a leather jacket, which looked great. Anyway, I never even figured out what her name was (somehow?? despite the small class size?) or even spoke to her. Eventually I saw her holding hands with a guy around campus and felt weirdly disappointed, not even necessarily for myself but just for like… all women.”

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

3. “I’m just as confused as the rest of them.”

“I don’t have a legitimate story, other than I think I have a problem because I am attracted to a lot of my close friends who are straight. I wouldn’t necessarily call it falling for them, because it’s just the physical attraction. If I’d found out one of them had feelings for me then perhaps I’d be in a different place. But girls are so confusing and no one knows what they want until maybe they have it. But who am I to say? I’m just as confused as the rest of them.”

4. “At first I tried to deny it and tell myself I just really liked being friends with her.”

“I used to be obsessed with this girl on my soccer team in high school. I always used to ask her for a ride home and every time I switched classes I would look for her! Biggest straight girl crush I’ve ever had. At first I tried to deny it and tell myself I just really liked being friends with her. We just had so much fun and I wanted to hang out ALL THE TIME. In my last two years of high school I began to realize it was more than that, but I was still not ready to come out to anyone.

That was years ago and I’ve been out for almost four years now. Every Thanksgiving everyone comes home and goes out in our hometown. I always hope I’ll see her. Unfortunately, I just recently found out (via Facebook creep) she’s engaged to this guy. I’ve never been a home-wrecker, but I must admit I still secretly hope she’ll call off the wedding and call me. A girl can dream, right?”

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

5. “I burst into tears and they were both happy and sad tears. It wasn’t what I wanted, but hearing it that way was exactly what I needed.”

“The first time I fell for a girl, it was for my best friend in high school. When I realized I was attracted to her, I took a step back and thought “yeah, OK, I might not be straight, but I’m pretty damn sure she is.” Which was, you know, problematic for several reasons. I felt so awkward and uncomfortable because it was the first time I had fallen for a girl and not only was she one of my best friends, she was straight and from an extremely conservative religious family.

It’s hard to hide a crush when you’re 16. She brought it up late one night while we were eating ice cream in her kitchen. I thought for sure she was going to tell we couldn’t be friends anymore or I was going to hell (again, conservative religious family), but I was totally wrong. Instead she said, “I just wanted to tell you that you’re my friend, and I want you to be happy. I do love you, I hope you know that. You deserve someone who loves you and appreciates you for being the amazing person that you are. But I can’t give you what you want. What I can give you is my support and my ice cream and my laughter and my friendship, and I understand if that’s not enough for you, but I want you to know that it’s yours regardless.”

I burst into tears, and they were both happy and sad tears. It wasn’t what I wanted, but hearing it that way was exactly what I needed. So she hugged me and held me while I cried, and then we finished off the pint of mostly melted ice cream and I went home. Fifteen years later, I can’t convey how much that one conversation meant to me. The fact that she didn’t judge me, didn’t push me away, didn’t freak out, didn’t make me feel like what I was feeling was wrong… it meant everything.”

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

6. “I do think she loved me, but I don’t think we were ever on the same page.”

“The details leading up to me falling for my best friend in college are not important — even though those months will always hold special sentimental value for me. The fact that we both identified as straight at the time, the fact that she had many boyfriends and so I never expected anything, the fact that we both took this brave chance on our hearts and acted on these secret feelings — it’s all pretty amazing. Of course, what followed was the total shitstorm that comes with dating someone in the closet for a year and then having them break up with you. She made it clear she would never date another girl again, it was just a “me” thing. Is that something to feel good about? I still can’t decide.

I learned a lot about myself (that I’m not straight); I learned a lot about what I want out of a relationship (someone who is also not straight and willing to be open about our relationship). I’ll never let anyone ‘hide’ our relationship again. So in a lot of ways, I don’t regret what happened because it was such a huge learning curve for me.

We are still very close, but as with all horrific dumpings I still harbor some heartbreak. I do think she loved me, but I don’t think we were ever on the same page. I don’t think she will ever understand how painful it is for me that to this day our relationship is an ugly secret. The fact that she has clearly chosen to never reveal it to anyone makes me angry and sad for her, but proud of myself for not being ashamed of who I am — every part of me. I will always be there for her as a friend, but it’s hard to move past entirely.”

7. “We never had sex, which is what made it so much sexier.”

“I was leaving for New York City the next day. There was this girl, someone I’d been crushing on for YEARS, possibly the most beautiful girl I’ve still ever seen, in that never-gonna-happen-but-can’t-hurt-to-look kinda way. The night before my departure I was saying farewell to my friends and this goddess showed up to the bar professing that she had a crush on me too. Of course, I couldn’t let this sit. I pressed and I pressed and before I knew it we were making out in the middle of the bar. That is, before we were both unceremoniously kicked out.

We never had sex, which is what made it so much sexier. We talked on her porch, in the sticky southern summer, about tattoos and philosophy and the unequivocal desirability of women. She kept flashing her criminally adorable smile and saying, “I’m from Alabama,” in that remarkably southern way which was code for “I’m straight.” When we woke up cuddling the next morning, an hour before my flight to NYC, it was the most bittersweet good-bye I’ve ever had.

Optional addendum: The next time I heard from her, she was dating a lady. It was somehow both flattering and tragic, the road not taken and everything. But I still feel a little tang of pride when I think about it.”

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

8. “But more than anything, it left me a little shell-shocked because all of a sudden I was left to question my own sexuality alone.”

“I fell in love with my best friend towards the end of my time in college. We dated for almost a year — arguably the loveliest, most freeing, fulfilling, beautiful year of my life — and then she broke up with me because she was sure she was straight and didn’t want to be with a woman. It made me question who I was as a romantic, as a sexual partner, as a friend. It took me a long time to accept that this was more about her preferences than it was about who I was as a partner. A really long time. It actually might not totally be all there right now.

But more than anything, it left me a little shell-shocked because all of a sudden I was left to question my own sexuality alone. I’m in a hard place — knowing it will take more partners for me to figure out who I am and who I want, but nursing a broken heart that keeps me from trying. I’ve built a fair amount of resentment towards her, feeling like I may never find someone again who will take care of my heart the way that she did, and yet never getting the chance to win her back (as if, by some romantic gesture, I could will her to change a part of her that simply cannot be willed). Where do I go? I’m not entirely sure. I get up every morning trying to believe, if only in the most dormant corner of my soul, that one day the world will not be 10 sizes too small for my pain, and that this is all just sort of the way. And for now, that is enough.”

9. “She insisted that she was straight and just wanted to experiment, so we couldn’t continue to do what we were doing.”

“I used to work out with a girl named “Katie”; she is about 8 years older than me and incredibly attractive. Yes, I thought she was hot, but I also had a gut feeling that she could very well be into girls. I went out of my way to hang out with her for a couple of weeks until the opportunity presented herself.

I met her and her male friend, who she had dated in the past, at a bar uptown. When he left our table and went to the bar to get drinks, we chatted for a bit. I took the opportunity to let her know that I date both women and men; she responded by saying that she “may be attracted to women too.” This was the best news I had received in a while.

The three of us went back to her apartment, which was a bit of a hike uptown from my apartment, so she suggested that I stay the night, which I accepted. Once her friend left we went to bed… I made a move, and one thing led to another.

It was absolutely fun and lasted for about a month or so, but then she started to freak out. She insisted that she was straight and just wanted to experiment, so we couldn’t continue to do what we were doing.

I understood that she was “straight,” and I agreed to never disclose any of what happened to anyone if she was not comfortable with it, so I did not understand why she would be so cold towards me. She was rude, argumentative, and all around bad energy, which I did not appreciate at all. It was immature, especially for a 30-year-old, but her subversiveness was relentless and awkward for everyone that we would spend time with.

I decided to tell our mutual friend what had happened, and explained that I didn’t want to be around Katie, but I also didn’t want her to be offended when I did not go out with them in a group. She of course understood and also agreed that she would not let it be known to Katie that she knew what happened, but also mentioned that she had a hunch that Katie was gay and had been struggling with it for a while.

Fast forward four months: Katie comes out of the closet to everyone. She apologizes, which I appreciated, but then goes on to explain that she misses me, thinks about “us” and what we could have been very often, etc. My response was something along the lines of “thank you for your apology, but I don’t want to hear it.”

10. “For me, I feel like hooking up with straight girls is so much easier than getting things started with lesbians.”

“For me, I feel like hooking up with straight girls is so much easier than getting things started with lesbians. They usually come on to you, are totally into it and curious, and there is no pressure about it, so both of your guards are completely down which actually leads you guys to bond better than you would if you were guarded and insecure. When it starts to work out, you’re like, This is so amazing, she’s not gay, so we must have this super special rare connection that no one else has, and when it doesn’t actually work out you’re like, It’s not me, it’s the fact that you are not gay, so it’s less personal. Also, you totally fell for this chick and are completely heartbroken.

Getting started with lesbians is so complicated because everyone is friends with everyone and chances are the girl that I am crushing on already dated my best friend for three years orrrrrr all my friends like the same girl so it turns into this giant competition. OR you actually have to be so vulnerable for half a second because you have to admit you have feelings for someone that might not like you, not because you’re a woman but for who you really are… shit.”

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

11. “All of my crushes on women were quiet and intense.”

“When I was in the process of accepting my attraction to women, especially since I was still attracted to men and coming off of a six-year relationship with my high school boyfriend, all of my crushes on women were quiet and intense. They all seemed unattainable. I developed a full-blown obsession with a woman who rode the same shuttle as me to campus twice a week. She always smiled at me like she knew me, wide and bright. Her hair was red with a soft wave and what looked like gold threads shot through. I couldn’t tell if she was straight or not, and I felt ill-equipped to help her find out, so I just sat across from her on Mondays and Wednesdays, pining for her, hoping she’d make a move.

One day she got on the bus and sat next to me. The entire right side of my body lit up like a bonfire, and I thanked god for the thin blood and dark skin that kept my blushing minimal. We said hi to one another, barely making eye contact. We both had these small goofy smiles on our faces. I was certain she was going to make a move, when my friend Drew got on the bus and said, “Oh my god, Ashley! I heard about you and Brett breaking up! You guys have been together forever! Are you OK? Never mind. You know what they say, to get over one man you just need to get under another one.” I smiled at him, shell-shocked. When I looked back at her, she already had her nose buried in a book. It was like the last 60 seconds — the culmination of weeks of desire — had never happened.

She got off on the next stop and I never saw her again.”

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/11-true-stories-from-queer-women-about-falling-for-the-strai