Reimagining the Tax Code, Getting There with Grassroots Activism

Tax policy, which can be deadly dull, hasn’t inspired much enthusiasm for activist campaigns—until now. Advocates could leverage this energy to push for a progressive tax code.

The House and the Senate have reached an agreement on the final GOP tax bill and plan to vote on it sometime next week. However, there’s still aggressive mobilization against the legislation, fueled by progressive organizations like the Not One Penny and Stop the #GOPTaxScam coalitions; Indivisible; and Americans for Tax Fairness. These groups are working hard to disrupt a tax agenda that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy, even though in all likelihood the bill will pass. Tim Hogan, spokesperson for the Not One Penny campaign, says that regardless the outcome of the bill, this mobilization is a victory “in the court of public opinion.”

Indeed, Americans are strongly against the bill: a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly half of Americans who are aware of the legislation oppose it. And tax policy activism—a rarely- seen phenomenon—has played a role in raising awareness. This surge in activism could lay the foundation for a popular movement, not just reject the GOP’s giveaway to the rich, but to work toward a new, more equitable tax code.

In September, before the Republican tax proposals were released, Prosperity Now and PolicyLink, two economic justice organizations, released a report entitled “Making the Connection: Bringing Tax Wonks and Grassroots Activists Together to End Inequality.” The U.S. tax code, the report found, is an extremely “powerful lever … to drive inequality.” But as much as the tax code expands the divide between rich and poor, the report argues, that there is also serious potential for the tax code, reimagined, to bridge it.

And, as the report makes clear, that’s where activists could come in.

Not One Penny, spawned from April’s Tax March and officially launched in August, is a coalition of almost 50 organizations, demanding “Not one penny in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.” While the Tax March largely brought people out to protest Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, the organizers wanted to bring attention to progressive tax policies, too. Following the initial action, Not One Penny shifted its focus. This summer, with a Republican tax proposal looming on the horizon, the group began training activists in anti-tax policy organizing.

Months later, after the release of the Trump tax plan and the eventual passage of the House and Senate proposals, demonstrations are taking place across the country to protest these trickle-down economics-oriented plans. Recently, five protestors were arrested in Maine after conducting a sit-in in Republican Senator Susan Collins’s office; Collins is a potential “no” vote when the conference bill comes back to the Senate. And in the spirit of the holiday season, New Jersey activists have confronted their Republican representatives with tax-themed Christmas carols.

As the Senate debated their tax bill, groups opposing the legislation set up a “People’s Filibuster” to protest the GOP proposal. For over 30 hours and throughout the night, different organizations “sponsored” hours, inviting activists and advocates to tell their stories. The speakers warned about the damaging effects of the House and Senate proposals on specific sectors like health care and the environment, and on certain groups such as graduate students, people with disabilities, and young families.

The “Making the Connection” report suggests that these types of protests could be leveraged to advocate for fairer tax policies, as such tactics have not frequently been utilized in tax policy advocacy. The report found that while almost 60 percent of the activists it polled had recently attended a rally or protest on an issue of public concern, just 5 percent had recently attended a rally or protest related to tax policy.

The report’s authors further explain that such low mobilization in regard to tax activism could be attributed to tax policy’s “messaging problem,” as advocates and the general public commonly think of tax policy as “complex, unapproachable, and downright boring.” Major barriers to effective progressive tax advocacy include a “knowledge deficit” concerning taxes, and a lack of a personal connection to tax policy.

But not only does the tax code work to raise revenue for the government (which everyone knows about), it also helps American households build wealth (which fewer people realize). That may be because, in our current tax code, most tax benefits are funneled toward the wealthy. According to the report, the top 1 percent of households received more federal dollars than the bottom 80 percent. The mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction? The government spends almost double on those credits for wealthier households than it does on Section 8 housing vouchers or Homeless Assistance Grants.

This preference for the wealthy is hard to detect, since programs like the mortgage-interest deduction are hidden inside the tax code, helping create a two-tier welfare system, where means-tested welfare programs for the poor are visible and known, but welfare programs for the wealthy, like deductions for homeownership, education, and retirement, help the rich build wealth but exist as “tax credits,” not “welfare.” The rich are lauded for taking advantage of the tax system (think of Trump saying that not paying taxes “makes me smart”), but means-tested welfare recipients are seen as moochers.

In other words, our tax code—even before the GOP makes it incalculably worse—exacerbates the nation’s vast economic inequality, in which the richest 1 percent of households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth. The tax code also contributes to the racial wealth gap, where the median white family owns 12 times the wealth of the median black family.

But, it also means that the tax code could also be a major force in reducing economic inequality. To right the imbalance and “shift the benefits distributed through the tax code to working families,” the “Making the Connection” report lays out concrete steps that advocacy organizations can take to make tax policy accessible to community organizers and grassroots activists.  

This support is necessary, says Jeremie Greer, Prosperity Now’s vice president of policy and research and a coauthor of the report, “because the personal connection to [tax policy] is underneath the tax code.” Greer says that “when [people] think about taxes, they think about the annual exercise of doing their taxes,” instead of associating the tax code with programs that help them.

The tax code contains housing credits, credits for low-income working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The federal government uses that revenue to help pay for programs many communities rely on. One of the report’s survey respondents said that people often don’t realize that the EITC was the reason they received a tax refund. Another said that “many people don’t understand the connection between the taxes they pay and the roads they drive on or the schools their children attend.”

Other assistance programs outside the tax code are “very straightforward,” Greer says. Food stamps are for nutrition assistance. Housing vouchers help people with their housing. And the mortgage-interest deduction “is a wonky … and governmental way of talking about something,” he says. When talking to advocacy groups, Greer simply calls it what it is: a housing subsidy, which is one way to make tax policy clearer while helping people recognize how the tax code affects them personally.

Advocacy groups have been doing an excellent job of making the consequences of the Republican tax proposals both clear and personal. Lisa Beaudoin, executive director of ABLE New Hampshire, a disability rights organization, traveled to Washington for a recent Capitol Hill tax policy protest. She says, “Helping people understand the direct implications [that this tax bill has] in their lives … gives people something to hold onto and to fight for.”

The elimination of the individual mandate would threaten health care for millions of mostly low-income people. Multiple provisions, including the elimination of the medical expense deduction, would disproportionately hurt people with disabilities. And the reduction of the corporate tax rate is widely seen as a giveaway to wealthy Republican donors (as at least one Republican representative acknowledged).  

Anti-tax bill activism and the media coverage of the GOP bills have made an impact: Only 31 percent of Americans support the tax plan. But when the battle over the Republicans’ tax catastrophe is done, what will tax activists do then? It may be easier to advocate against polices that would be detrimental to low- and middle-income families than to campaign for fairer taxes, especially since progressive members of Congress have not put forth an omnibus proposal of their own.

Economist Gerald Friedman recently made the case at AlterNet that, “progressives should resist the temptation to simply attack the GOP giveaway to the ultra-rich; instead, they should articulate their own tax plan, one that would fund needed services, promote stable growth, and compensate the unlucky, including the victims of globalization.”

Many of Friedman’s policy proposals are not new to policymakers on the left; but they have not been bundled together in an overall progressive rewrite of the tax code. They include taxing capital income (such as profits from investments) at the same rate as income from work, and mandating new penalties on income stashed in offshore tax havens. Friedman also recommends strengthening the penalties on corporations that don’t provide benefits like health insurance and instituting a tax on carbon emissions.

The report’s policy proposals center on strengthening policies that already work, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and housing policy. The EITC lifts millions of families out of poverty, but really only works well for custodial parents. Greer says that people without children, including younger workers and the elderly, should be able to benefit too.

One such bill introduced by two progressive Democrats, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and California Representative Ro Khanna, would greatly expand the EITC along Prosperity Now’s lines. The Brown-Khanna plan increases the value of the credit for working families and gives childless workers greater access to the benefit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that this proposal would lift the incomes of 47 million households.

By introducing such a congressional bill now, when the Republican majorities in each house have no intention of giving it a hearing, of course, is to lay the groundwork for a more progressive tax code if and when the Democrats return to power.

Another such proposal, Greer points out, would be to create a tax credit that benefits renters as well as homeowners. Support for families that rent could help move them into homeownership—a transformation that would be further incentivized if Congress permanently established a program like the First-Time Homebuyer Credit, which temporarily came about during the Great Recession.  

Progressive leaders can’t simply say “no” to the Republicans’ plan to alter the tax code, because the status quo isn’t ideal either. Instead, a new, progressive tax code could help eliminate income inequality, make the wealthy pay their fair share, and finally give low- and middle-income families the resources they need to lead lives that are economically secure. If Democrats can retake power and activists get the support they need to transform public tax discussions, the party could be prompted to adopt new policies (which would require reforming campaign finance to curtail the Democrats reliance on big money) to make a new tax code a reality.

 

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Deal: Grab the Jaybird X3 Bluetooth earbuds for just $80

I love a good pair of Bluetooth earbuds. Since they’re wireless, they’re extremely convenient to wear while working out or laying in bed, and I don’t miss the drop in sound quality compared to wired earbuds. Sure, I have to remember to recharge them from time to time, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for convenience. 

One of the best pairs of Bluetooth earbuds I’ve ever owned is the Jaybird X3. I was lucky enough to pick them up earlier this year on sale and I have enjoyed them ever since. I routinely cycle back and forth between them and the V-MODA Forza Metallo Wireless depending on what mood I’m in or what activity I’m doing.

See also

The X3’s are great for working out. They’re sweatproof (not waterproof), and provide a good fit. I’ve never had an issue with them falling out of my ears when I’m active. They also sound pretty decent and get loud enough to block out most everything else around me.

I recommend them to my friends who are looking for a decent pair of earbuds without breaking the bank. Now, they’re back on sale and you can pick up a pair for just $80, a $50 savings. These are great as a last minute shopping gift. Or, you could just grab a pair for yourself guilt free since they’re almost half off.

If you want to pick up a pair, you can hit the buttons below for the listings from Amazon and Best Buy. Amazon has them in four colors and Best Buy offers them in six, including exclusive Camo and Platinum paint jobs. 

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Working with Adobe After Effects


About :

Adobe After Effects is a software program that allows its users to create animation and other special effects for graphic-related projects. Graphic designers use it to provide their projects with layer-based animation. After Effects is part of the Adobe family of software and is compatible with other Adobe software.

Index

1. Creating a New Composition and Importing Files

2. Building a Composition with Layers

3. Adding Animations, Effects, and Preset

4. Previewing and Rendering Your Composition 



1. Creating a New Composition and Importing Files



I. Make and set up a new composition. 

Projects in Adobe After Effects are called compositions, or comps. At the Welcome screen, locate and click on the “New Composition” button in the right column. If you already have the program open, you may either click on the “Composition” tab and select “New Composition” or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N. Every time you create a new composition, a “Composition Settings” window will appear on your screen.

  1. Locate “Preset” and click on the drop-down menu. The menu is divided up into four sections, respectively: web settings, standard definition broadcast settings (NTSC and PAL), HD settings (the most commonly used), and film settings. Select the top HD preset: “HDV/HDTV 720 29.97.” This selection with automatically set the width, height, and frame rate.
  2. In the second row, locate “Start Timecode” and “Duration.” Leave the “Start Timecode” at 0. “Duration” refers to the total length of the project, from start to end. Set the “Duration” to the required length for your composition.
II. Save your composition. 

Before you begin to work on the composition, you should always name and save the project. Click on the “File” tab at the top of the screen. When you select “Save,” a “Save As” window will appear. 
At the top of the window, type in the name of your composition. Select a location to save this file to and click the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen. The saved composition will appear in the “Project” tab to the left of the screen.
While you may save this file in any location, it is recommended that you save your composition near your “Footage” file. This file is located within the “Exercise Files” folder.

III. Import files into Adobe After Effects. 

In order to create a composition, you need material to manipulate and animate. 
Select File>Import>File or double click on the “Project” tab. Select all of the files you wish to import and hit “Open.” The imported files will appear in the “Project” tab.
 Alternative methods include:

  • Double click anywhere on the “Project” tab.
  • Strike “Command + I.”
  • Drag images directly into the “Project” tab.



2. Building a Composition with Layers


I. Add files to your composition. 

A composition is a composite graphic, or a composite of layers. Each individual layer of your composition is made up of a file. All of the layers combined form a composite graphic. There are several ways to add a file to your composition.

You may drag and drop files from the “Project” tab into the “Timeline” tab (located at the bottom right of the window), the “Composition” window (located to the right of the “Project” tab), or the “Layer” tab (located directly below the “Project” tab.)

II. Organize and edit the layers. 



Once the files appear in the “Layer” tab, you may begin to manipulate the files. From this tab, you may alter the order of the files and edit the appearance of a file.
To adjust the hierarchy of the layers, drag a file up or down the list. The order of the files will alter the appearance of the composition (see the “Composition” window.) Files at the top of the layer list will appear over files at the bottom of the layer list.

To alter the appearance of a file, click on the sideways triangle next to the layer’s number. This will open up a “Transform” menu. From this menu, you may alter the following properties: anchor point, position, scale, rotation, and/or opacity.

III. Generate a timeline for your composite graphic. 



The “Timeline” function allows you to animate the graphic—it controls when each layer is or is not visible. The “Timeline” is located to the right of the “Layer” list. Each layer has it own life bar within the timeline, which you can trim, extend, or group with other layers as desired.

IV. Trim your layers.



Select a layer from the list. Move your cursor over the line dividing the list and the timeline so that a double arrow appears. Click and drag the double arrow across the timeline to produce a translucent grey box (this indicates that a clip is trimmed.) Stop once you reach the moment you would like the layer to appear.


The red line with the Blue tab indicates your current time known as play head. You can use this line to help you automatically trim layers. Select the layer you wish to trim. Drag the red line to your desired starting or ending point for the layer. Strike  ”
Command + [ ” to automatically trim a layer to the right of the red line, strike ” Command ] “.


V.Transform your 2D layers. 



When you work within the “Composition” window, you may manually position, or transform, the layers. Select a layer from the list. Move your cursor over the “Composition” window and zoom, or scroll, out. A set of handles will appear around the composition. This indicates the the layer may be transformed, or positioned.
  1. To shrink or expand the layer, click on the handle, press ⇧ Shift, and drag your cursor towards the inside or outside of the window.
  2. To rotate an element, press Ctrl+W. This will activate the rotation tool.
  3. To move a layer on a 2-D plane, click on the element you want to move and drag it to its new position.

VI. Create 3D layers. 




To create a 3D layer, return to the “Layer” tab. The column directly under this icon controls the 3D settings for each layer. To activate this feature, check the layer’s blank space in this column. Return to the “Composition” window—if you activated the 3D property, a Y, X, and Z handle will appear on the layer’s anchor.

VII. Transform your 3D layers. 




To move a 3D layer, press CTRL+W to activate the rotation tool. Hover your cursor over the X or the Y axis. Click on the axis and drag your cursor to the left and right or up and down. The Z axis should always remain at “0.”

VIII. Apply the parent function to your layers. 



The parent function allows you to tie your layers together. One layer, the parent, will drive the actions of another layer, the child. The child layer, can still move independently of the parent.

  • Select the child layer (the layer that you want to apply the keyframes to)—this layer will become the child.
  • Locate the “Parent” category in the layer tab.
  • In the “Parent” column for this layer, locate the curly-q shaped icon in the child’s row. Click on the icon and draw a black line from the icon to the “Layer Name” section of parent. Through this process, the child will become tied to the parent.


3. Adding Animations, Effects, and Presets

I. Set up keyframes. 


Keyframes mark exact points in time when changes are to occur to a layer’s properties. This function, which is represented by a little stopwatch, allows you to animate your composite graphics.

  1. Move your red “Current Time Indicator” line to the moment at which you would like to activate a keyframe.
  2. Select a layer from the “List” tab.
  3. Expand the layer’s “Transform” or “Contents” tab.
  4. Click on the stopwatch icon next to the property you wish to alter. This will record a keyframe at the current time indicator. A yellow dot or a greater than/less than symbols will appear on the timeline to mark the keyframe.
  5. To see your keyframes on the timeline, lasso the layers you wish to view and press “U.”
  6. To move a keyframe, select a keyframe symbol on the timeline by lassoing it and then drag it to its new location. You may also copy and paste keyframes.

II. Animate keyframes. 



Keyframes allow you to animate your project. You may alter any of the properties listed under the “Transform” or “Contents” tab. There are two basic forms of animation: with ease or linear. If a layer in animated with ease, the layer will ease into and out of the motion. If a layer is linearly animated, the layer will start and stop moving abruptly and it will also move at the same rate the entire time. Altering a layer’s position is an example of linear animation.

  1. Click on the stopwatch next to “Position.”
  2. Move the red line to the point at which you would like the layer to be off the screen.
  3. Click on the layer’s anchor point.
  4. Hold down “Shift” as you drag the layer completely off of the screen. The motion path will appear as a purple dotted line and each related keyframe will appear as a purple square. To preview your animation, scrub the red line over the timeline.

III. Include effects and presets. 


Click on “Window” and “Effects and Presets.” You will see a list of various animations and effects that are available for application to your project. Simply drag and drop the effect or animation selection onto the layer to which you’d like to apply it. You should see the change immediately.

  • Effects include 3D, color correction, and various camera views.
  • Transition options include wipe, fade and checkerboard.
  • You may remove selections by dragging them off your projects.


4. Previewing and Rendering Your Composition


I. Preview your project. 

Select “Windows.” From here, click on “Time Controls.” A preview pane will pop up where you can select “Play” to see a rough draft of your project. If you wish to see a more finished version, click on “Ram Render Play.” If your project is especially long or requires a large amount of memory, adjust the resolution before you preview it. After clicking to play it, the video will run continually until you click on the screen to stop it.

II. Export your composition to Render Queue. 



If you need to produce and deliver a high-quality composition, export your project to the Render Queue. The Render Queue is built into Adobe After Effects.
Click on “File” at the top of the window. Select “Export” followed by “Add to Render Queue.” Instead of “File,” you may click on “Composition” and select “Add to Render Queue.”
In your Render Queue, locate “Output Module” and click on the linked text to the left of this section. A dialogue box will appear on your screen. From this screen, you can change the video and audio output settings. Click “Ok” when finished.

In your Render Queue, locate “Output To” and click on the linked text next to the left of this section. Another dialogue box will appear on your screen. The screen you prompt you to select a location to save your rendered composition. Click “Ok” when done.
Click on “Render” to export the composition.









III. Export your composition to Adobe Media Encoder. 


The Adobe Media Encoder will produce a compressed version of your composition. The Media Encoder will also export files that are compatible with specific web platforms. While your project is rendering in the Media Encoder, you may continue to work in Adobe After Effects.
Click on “File” at the top of the window. Select “Export” followed by “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue.” You may also select “Composition” followed by “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue” or drag the file directly into the “Adobe Media Encoder Queue” tab.
Locate the “Preset Browser.” Select the format for your composition. Drag this preset from the browser onto the file in the “Adobe Media Encoder Queue.”
In the queue, locate “Output To” and click on the linked text next to the left of this section. A dialogue box will appear on your screen and prompt you to select a location to save your rendered composition. Click “Ok” when done.
Click on the green play button to begin the export.

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Is Sea of Thieves an MMORPG?

Sea of Thieves wasn’t high on my radar until its release this week. But the headlines of servers crashing due to too many players strongly reminded me of, well, every MMORPG launch ever. So I was wondering whether the description of “multiplayer action adventure” meant that it was something completely different than a MMORPG, or whether Sea of Thieves basically is a MMORPG and they just changed the label because MMORPG isn’t fashionable any more.

I am wondering if this is something I should buy. However the game is not on Steam, and as we all know, PC games that are not on Steam basically aren’t real. 🙂 And buying a game at full price at release when everybody is complaining about overloaded servers and lack of content doesn’t feel like a good idea. I’d really like to have a better idea about the gameplay first: How necessary is PvP? How twitchy is the gameplay? Et cetera, et cetera.

Anybody here playing who can give me advice?

The One Scenario in Which Trump Would Risk Impeachment and Fire Robert Mueller

The president reportedly expects to be exonerated soon.

President Donald Trump believes that special counsel Robert Mueller will soon send him a letter that completely exonerates him of any wrongdoing — but the president’s allies fear that such a letter will never come.

CNN reports that Trump has recently been boasting to allies that the Russia probe will be over very shortly, and that Mueller will personally exonerate him. The president believes this, CNN’s sources say, because his attorneys have tried to manage him by telling him that he faces no real danger from the probe.

However, some of the president’s allies believe this is delusional, wishful thinking — and they fear what Trump will do if that exoneration letter never comes.

One Trump ally tells CNN that the president will likely have a “meltdown” after months go by without an exoneration letter, after which “he’ll try and fire Mueller and then be impeached.”

Another Trump ally similarly warns that Trump’s lawyers are playing a dangerous game by buttering him up with happy talk about the Mueller probe ending shortly.

“I’ve known him long enough to know that disappointing him is a problem and they’ve built up a level of expectations for him that are unrealistic,” the source said. “[They’ve] lulled him into a false sense of security.”

 

 

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Doublethink

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control,” they called it: in Newspeak, “doublethink.”

I have a memory problem. My memory is too good. When a few years ago I became interested in the history of the American Civil War and read a lot of books, saw a lot of documentary films and the like, the culture wars hadn’t reached that area of history yet. And so my memory tells me that in those unpolitical history books Robert E. Lee was depicted as a decent person. Yeah, sure, he was fighting for the losing side, and the losing side was obviously pro-slavery and thus on the wrong side of history. But history, before it got redacted by “the Party”, said that Lee wasn’t a political firebrand. He only entered the war reluctantly, out of a sense of duty to his state. He was a slaveholder in a state where everybody who had any social status was a slaveholder. At the time history still judged him on his actions as a general in the war. And on that count he wasn’t doing all that badly, being both competent and humane. If you took history documents from a decade ago and judged by them who the more decent human being was, Robert E. Lee would probably win over William T. Sherman, who was fighting on the winning side, but with far more brutal methods.

Of course that was a decade ago, and I really need to reformat my memory. Today the party line is that the statue of William T. Sherman in New York Central Park is honoring a hero, while the statues of Robert E. Lee are being torn down everywhere for being too offensive. An Asian American ESPN sports commentator, who unfortunately has the name Robert Lee, was pulled from a game because his name was considered too toxic to be on TV.

Now statues of the losers being torn down is quite a usual occurrence after a war, don’t we all remember the pictures of people tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein? What is somewhat weird is doing it 150 years after the war ended. Hey guys, we just discovered that Robert E. Lee was fighting for the slave-holding South, so we need to remove his statues now! Sorry we didn’t notice that earlier! What on earth has Robert E. Lee done in the past years to deserve such a fate now that he didn’t deserve a decade ago?

Although blaming “both sides” apparently isn’t politically correct any more either (or maybe it is if the other side is the “right” one?), I would say that the extreme right rallying around confederate symbols is of course a major trigger to those symbols suddenly becoming politically incorrect. That makes Robert E. Lee a victim, being caught in the middle of a culture war. It might have some rather hilarious results if the extreme right would chose symbols that more difficult to tear down, like the American flag. To some extent the Constitution of the United States of America is already a symbol of the extreme right, if you find somebody with a copy of it in his pocket he probably is a Trump voter. Or an immigrant in the process of learning it by heart as part of the naturalization process. Or a supreme court judge. So fortunately we don’t have to burn it yet in order to be politically correct.

Nevertheless, as a student of history I find the efforts to change or re-interpret history 150 years later somewhat worrying. Imagine we would tear down the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, because Napoleon lost his wars 200 years ago, and for some reason we now find his symbols offensive. When the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, we lamented the loss of history. Isn’t the preservation of history a bigger value for humanity than the need to remove anything that could be deemed offensive? If the culture wars rage back and forth, with both sides being in power at some point, aren’t we in danger of losing all our history, because it doesn’t fit with some party line? If history is offensive, which it certainly sometimes is, aren’t we still losing more by erasing it than by preserving it as a reminder to do better next time around?

Android LinkedIn Integration: Android – LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites and mobile apps. It is mainly used for professional networking, including employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their curriculum vitae. LinkedIn allows members (both workers and employers) to create profiles and “connections” to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships. It presents curriculum vitae of the individual which can be browsed by recruiters.

Android LinkedIn Integration

Android allow applications to connect to LinkedIn and share data or any kind of updates on LinkedIn.
Following are the ways through which you can integrate LinkedIn in application

  • LinkedIn SDK(Scribe)
  • Intent Share

1. LinkedIn SDK(Scribe)

The mobile SDK for Android increases your app’s time to market by providing out-of-box support for LinkedIn natively inside your Android applications. This allows you to boost your sign in conversion rates and provides you more time to work on the things that matter.

The SDK provides:
Single sign-on (SSO) authentication, in conjunction with the LinkedIn mobile app.
A convenient wrapper for making authenticated calls to LinkedIn’s REST APIs.
Deep linking” to additional member data in the LinkedIn mobile app.

Follow steps to integrate LinkedIn SDK 

Creating a new app in LinkedIn Developer account
Create a new LinkedIn application at https://www.linkedin.com/developer/apps. Click on Create new Application and follow the setup.
 create LinkedIn developer app
Fill following form
 create LinkedIn developer app form

 you will get Application ID for your Application

Create new Android Project
Open AndroidManifest.xml file and include the following code given below:
<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.INTERNET” />
Download Mobile LinkedIn SDK 
Go to https://developer.linkedin.com/docs/android-sdk  and download a Mobile SDK for Android.
Unzip the file and add LinkedIn-sdk folder in your project.
Add Mobile LinkedIn SDK in project
Open setting.gradle file in your project and include linkedin-sdk folder in your project.
include ‘:app’,’:linkedin-sdk
Adding library in depencencies
Add the following code in the file’s (/app/build.gradle file) dependencies to compile linkedin-sdk
compile project(‘:linkedin-sdk’)
compile ‘com.squareup.picasso:picasso:2.5.2’
compile ‘de.hdodenhof:circleimageview:1.3.0’
Synchronize your project
Generate hash Key
We need to generate a hash key. This generated Hash key will integrate your app with LinkedIn account.
Adding hash key in your LinkedIn Developer account
Go to https://www.linkedin.com/developer/apps  select your application name and click the Mobile tab. Add the package name and generated hash key in your LinkedIn Application. This hash key will authenticate your mobile application.
LinkedIn developer app hash key
Once everything is complete, you can run the Linkedin sample application

2. Intent Share

An android share intent allow your app to share contents such as URL or text and Image to other apps installed in your Android device like Facebook, Twitter, Messaging, Instagram, whatsapp, etc.

 Android provides intent library to share data between activities and applications. In order to use it as share intent , we have to specify the type of the share intent to ACTION_SEND. Its syntax is given below

Intent shareIntent = new Intent();
shareIntent.setAction(Intent.ACTION_SEND);

Next thing you need to is to define the type of data to pass , and then pass the data. Its syntax is given below 

shareIntent.setType("text/plain");
shareIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, " From Suven Consultency");
startActivity(Intent.createChooser(shareIntent, "Hello!!!!"));
Example
here is an example to share data on Linkedin using intent share.
  • You will use Android studio to create an Android application under a package net.suven.android.android_linkedinintegration.
  • Modify src/MainActivity.java file to add necessary code.
  • Modify the res/layout/activity_main to add respective XML components.
  • Run the application and choose a running android device and install the application on it and verify the results.
MainActivity.java
package net.suven.android.android_linkedinintegration;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.net.Uri;
import android.os.Bundle;

import android.support.v7.app.AppCompatActivity;
import android.view.View;
import android.widget.Button;
import android.widget.ImageView;
import java.io.FileNotFoundException;
import java.io.InputStream;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {
private ImageView img;

protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);

img = (ImageView) findViewById(R.id.imageView);
Button b1 = (Button) findViewById(R.id.button);

b1.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
@Override
public void onClick(View v) {
Intent sharingIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
Uri screenshotUri = Uri.parse("android.
resource://net.suven.android.android_linkedinintegration/*");

try {
InputStream stream = getContentResolver().openInputStream(screenshotUri);
} catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
// TODO Auto-generated catch block
e.printStackTrace();
}

sharingIntent.setType("suvenlogo/jpeg");
sharingIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_STREAM, screenshotUri);
startActivity(Intent.createChooser(sharingIntent, "Share image using"));
}
});
}
}
activity_main
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent"
android:paddingLeft="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingRight="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingTop="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
android:paddingBottom="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
tools:context=".MainActivity">

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/textView"
android:layout_alignParentTop="true"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:textSize="30dp"
android:text="Linkedin Share" />

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="Tutorials Point"
android:id="@+id/textView2"
android:layout_below="@+id/textView"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:textSize="35dp"
android:textColor="#ff16ff01" />

<ImageView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/imageView"
android:layout_below="@+id/textView2"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:src="@drawable/logo"/>

<Button
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="Share"
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_marginTop="61dp"
android:layout_below="@+id/imageView"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" />

</RelativeLayout>

Following is the output of application.

android linkedin integration app
Click on share button. you will see list of share provider
share post
Now select LinkedIn from the list and then write your message shown in following image 

write linkedin post


Click here to download Source Code and APK

Are you interested to learn Android Programming?

Group Known for Stalking and Harassing Climate Advocates Has Been Hired by EPA to Run Media War Room

Definers Public Affairs, a Republican-aligned research group, has been handed a $120,000 contract to help the EPA shape its media coverage.

A Republican-aligned research group with links to a campaign to stalk and intimidate environmental groups, journalists and campaigners has been handed a $120,000 contract to help the EPA shape its media coverage.

Virginia-based Definers Public Affairs was given the 12-month “no bid” contract to provide “news analysis and brief service” to the EPA, as reported by Mother Jones.

Definers is the corporate arm of America Rising LLC, America Rising PAC and its opposition research and tracking service, America Rising Squared—known as AR2.

Republican Activists

Definers Public Affairs was founded and launched in 2015 by America Rising founders Matt Rhoades and Joe Pounder.

Pounder is a Republican strategist and former research director for the Republican National Committee and worked on Marco Rubio’s failed 2016 nomination campaign. Rhoades was Mitt Romney’s campaign manager in 2012.

Green Attack Plan 

America Rising ran a concerted campaign to attack environmentalists and targeted individuals such as climate campaigner Bill McKibben, who was followed and filmed by the group’s trackers. 

Others targeted with attack tactics and adverts include billionaire philanthropist and environmentalist Tom Steyer and New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer, whose work has uncovered the influences of petrochemical billionaires and Republican donors Charles and David Koch.

Brian Rogers, an executive director at AR2 and a senior vice president at Definers, said his campaign would “hold Steyer and the Environmentalist Left accountable for their epic hypocrisy and extreme positions which threaten America’s future prosperity.”

Speaking about the accusations leveled at him, Steyer said: “They have to know they’re lying. It’s completely dishonest, unethical, and pitiful. And it’s creepy.”

America Rising attempted to discredit Mayer by alleging a distant relative that worked for Lehmann Brothers once did business with Nazi Germany—an accusation that was shown to be without any evidence.

One of the group’s earliest targets was 350.org founder McKibben, who wrote about his experience in the New York Times.  Describing the photos and videos taken of him, McKibben wrote:

“In one series, my groceries are being packed into plastic bags, as I’d forgotten to bring cloth ones. In other shots, I am getting in and out of … cars. There are video snippets of me giving talks, or standing on the street. Sometimes I see the cameraman, sometimes I don’t. The images are often posted to Twitter, reminders that I’m being watched.”

America Rising also sent an operative to Texas Tech University to request copies of everything in the 54 boxes that make up an archive of McKibben’s papers. This, said McKibben, “resulted in all kinds of odd things appearing on right-wing corners of the web.”

Global War Room

An EPA spokesperson told Mother Jones the Definers contract was “for media monitoring/newsclip compilation.”

According to Mother Jones, the contract would include EPA using the Definers War Room console that helps clients track media coverage and the output of opponents.

In November 2017, it was announced that Definers had joined law firm Denton’s to launch a global research firm called 3D Global Affairs.

Among the services offered at 3D Global Affairs would be “governmental relations and lobbying support to shape the environment” and “communications and rapid response professionals to direct  the narrative.”

 

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Civilization VI

I haven’t played Civilization VI yet. I am a fan of the series. But I have too many games and too little time, and I didn’t want to pay full price for yet another iteration of the same game. I was still waiting for the price to come down below $30 when I got the news that the full Civ 6 game has been ported to iOS. Yes, you need a newer iPad to play and it is battery-hungry, but it is the *full* Civ 6, not a toned down mobile version. That is pretty remarkable. So I downloaded the game for free, which lets you play 60 turns with the Chinese empire to see how it works. And then I balked at buying the full version for $60. I didn’t even want to pay that for the PC version, and for an iOS game that is very expensive.

So while I was still pondering what to do, I got another piece of news: You can this month get Civilization VI (PC version) plus 2 expansions plus a collection of other games in the Humble Bundle Monthly for $12. That is basically a subscription service where you pay $12 per month to get a bundle of games every month. But if you only want Civ 6 you can of course unsubscribe after 1 month. As this is the lowest I have ever seen Civ 6 go for, I ended up buying the game that way.

Not sure when I will get around to actually play it, I am still very busy with Zelda – Breath of the Wild. But as an opportunity to get Civ 6 cheap this is certainly worth mentioning. The offer is available until the end of the month.

Is Kratom Safe Enough for the Fight Against Opioids?

A new study says “yes,” and finds it relieves anxiety and reduces negative moods, too.

A review of 57 years of international scientific evidence may help change the perception of kratom and restore its potential as a public health tool that deserves more research.

As the nation grapples for solutions to the opioid epidemic—now claiming more than 33,000 American lives each year—the potential of the psychoactive plant kratom to become a useful tool in the battle has been the subject of hot debate.

While some in the medical field and many in the general public attest to kratom’s ability to help curb opioid addiction and relieve pain, governmental agencies continue to warn against its dangers to mental health, citing links to psychosis and addiction. In 2016, the DEA briefly recommended criminalizing kratom possession and distribution, before withdrawing the proposal.

The study not only points to the potential benefits of kratom as a safer substitute for opioids, but also suggests the plant’s potential to reduce negative mood and relieve anxiety. Published online this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, it represents the largest systematic review of the scientific literature on kratom use and mental health.

“There is a lot of confusing information about kratom in the media that makes it difficult for clinicians and the public to make informed choices,” says lead author Marc T. Swogger, associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s psychiatry department. “This study clarifies that there is no good scientific basis for claims that kratom causes psychosis, suicide, or violence, and the available data do not indicate that kratom is a significant public health problem.”

Coauthor Zach Walsh, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia notes that current approaches to addressing the opioid epidemic are leaving large numbers of high-need individuals without effective treatment.

“We need to explore all options, and our findings suggest it’s time to carefully examine the potential of this ancient plant,” says Walsh.

3 harmful myths about the opioid epidemic

Swogger and Walsh reviewed the combined results of 13 studies conducted between January 1960 and July 2017, using data from 28,745 individuals.

“There is a clear need for more rigorous, well-controlled, prospective studies to support a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the plant,” says Swogger. “But data across cultures indicated that kratom has a legitimate role to play in mitigating harms associated with opioid dependence. The bulk of the available research supports kratom’s benefits as a milder, less addictive, and less-dangerous substance than opioids, and one that appears far less likely to cause fatal overdose.”

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa; also known as krathom or ketum) is part of the coffee family and has been used medicinally for centuries in Southeast Asia to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal, to relieve pain, diarrhea, and cough, and increase stamina and energy. People chew raw leaves of the kratom plant, boil them to serve as tea, smoke, or vaporize them.

How 30 opioid pills for surgery turn into a habit

In recent years, kratom’s use has expanded beyond Asia, and its leaves, powders, gums, capsules, and extracts are widely accessed through retail outlets and the internet in North America and Europe.

“We need more and better research to be able to outline the risks and benefits of kratom in greater detail,” Swogger says. “Only through well-controlled studies can we elucidate kratom’s potential for good and harm, and give the public, policy makers, and health care professionals the information needed to make informed decisions.”

Source: University of Rochester

Original Study DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.10.012

 

 

 

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