This scope of this gymnastics scandal is really unreal and staggering.
A state district judge in Comal County said God told him to intervene in jury deliberations to sway jurors to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Buda woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex.
Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption, but defended his actions by telling them "when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it," according to the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels.
The jury went against the judge's wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.
He might get investigated for this, and he's been reprimanded for stuff before. The details of the case are here, but paywalled. You know, if this kind of thing keeps happening, this place is going to develop a reputation.
Prediction: this thread will mostly be about the name of the New Braunfels newspaper.
I guess the dumb budget mess possible government shutdown is the thing to talk about?
What is the most miniscule non-scandal that ever wrecked a political career? The guy who had to resign for using the word "niggardly"? (That woman who used a private server for her emails?)
Not to sound like a pansy, but winter clothes are kind of tiring. All these layers leave me feeling like Ralphie's younger brother. I can't remember having this cold a winter in a long time. (Admittedly it is supposed to be in the 70s this weekend.)
1. the nonwhite population in the US is nudging upwards as a percent, and
2. we're increasingly self-segregating by race.
I think both of these facts are well-known but I haven't googled anything?
Certainly individual factors can swamp all other housing considerations, but I'd bet that people here are at least thoughtful about segregation when they are seeking housing. Also, one's neighborhood and life can change out from under you, while you stay put. You could be grandfathered into a neighborhood which is increasingly white or diverse, through no effort of your own.
So: are these effects showing up in your life? has your world become noticeably less diverse, more diverse, or about the same, since say 2000?
I keep trying to write a paragraph about how these effects have shown up in my own life, but good lord it reads like the most awkward praise-seeking white anthropologist blather. I'll let other people answer and then maybe I'll pipe up in the comments. I really am curious about whether there are any noticeable trends across people here, though.
Nick S. writes: I'm curious what other people make of Facebook's changes to their newsfeed -- is it noticeable, what do you think motivated the change, and what impact do you think it will have?
Buzzfeed asks, "The world's largest social network wants to go back to an idealized safe space, free of hyperpartisan pages, misinformation, and fake news. Can it? "
Facebook's relationship to news has always been rocky. The company tried for years to make it work for the platform. It hired trending news curators. It worked with publishers, paying them to create live content (BuzzFeed is a partner) and it hosted their articles. But Facebook's commitment to news has always been hampered by an algorithmic approach that prioritizes likes and engagement. In this sense, news, which can be unpleasant and upsetting and controversial, has always been at odds with Facebook's goal. People don't "like" bad news and sharing controversial opinions can result in negative user experiences or, worse, unfriending: the ultimate negative outcome in Facebook's eyes. In many ways, the changes Facebook announced yesterday are the logical conclusion to an increasingly anxious -- and ultimately doomed -- years-long courtship with news. "News on Facebook has actually hurt, not helped, them," another former senior Facebook employee told BuzzFeed.
To hear Facebook insiders tell it, it's unclear how much the company truly wanted to be in the media game. "Public content was all about defeating Twitter originally," said one. Facebook referral data bears this out. In late 2013 -- starting just weeks before Twitter's IPO -- BuzzFeed News reported that traffic from Facebook referrals to more than 200 publisher sites went up 69% from August to October 2013. As the former employee explained, this show of strength ultimately didn't do much to kill Twitter, and perhaps drew Facebook's attention away from its original mission.
Jeff Jarvis has concerns but also feels like the Facebook change is just one element that it causing him to re-think the ideal relationship between journalism and the public:
I have been rethinking my definition of journalism. It used to be: helping communties organize their knowledge to better organize themselves. That was an information-based definition.
After our elections in the U.S., the U.K., Austria, Germany, and elsewhere, I have seen that civility is a dire need and a precondition for journalism and an informed society. So now I have a new definition for journalism, an imperative that I believe news organizations share with Facebook (if it is serious about building communities).
My new definition of journalism: convening communities into civil, informed, and productive conversation, reducing polarization and building trust through helping citizens find common ground in facts and understanding.
I'm note sure the new definition he proposes is actually workable, but it does highlight the challenges of world in which it feels like so much information is available that everyone has the option of finding their own facts.
Heebie's take: I read the link and I'm still not sure what's going on. When I share a news article on FB, it will be seen by fewer people in my feed? Fuck Facebook. I am not planning on deactivating my account or cutting back, because it has a monopoly on certain kinds of social interactions in my life, but I loathe the company with all my heart and soul.
Guesses in comments. No spoilers!
Out to dinner, eavesdropping on an Ivy League admissions director. He says the person most mentioned in college essays BY FAR is _____