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Montclair Local’s top picks for gifts that give back – Montclair Local

Posted By on November 23, 2020

There are many options in Montclair for thoughtful gifts. COURTESY Kira auf der Heide

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERSwinters@montclairlocal.news

Keeping it local is the perfect choice for those hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list. And buying a thoughtful gift from a nonprofit means your gift does double duty. All gifts can be purchased online, as well.

Here are our top picks.

The Montclair Public Librarys Adult School is holding classes online. Classes range from beginners ukulele and photojournalism to history lectures and language and art lessons. Gift-givers can go to the adult school website, asm.augusoft.net, to purchase an egift card in any amount.

The recipient will receive an email alerting them to the gift, and can then choose from hundreds of classes.

The Van Vleck House & Gardens originated as a 12-acre private estate and gardens more than 140 years ago and was owned by Joseph Van Vleck Sr. Today, it offers a quiet retreat and nature and gardening programs for both adults and children. A membership in Van Vleck includes discounted prices to nature programs including birding and gardening, as well as to yoga and meditation series online, among other things.

For more information, call 973-744-4752 or visit vanvleck.org. Memberships start at $75.

Although the Montclair History Center is closed, gift-givers can book a private tour for a family. The History Center also offers personalized map posters from either the 1906 Atlas, 1926 Tax Maps or 1934 Sanborn Insurance maps. You send in your address and specify which map youd like, and theyll select the map from the book that includes your address. Their virtual gift shop also offers mugs, 19th Amendment pins and Doors of Montclair posters. For the chef on your gift list, the Fanny Crane Cookbook is loaded with recipes for home-cooked meals. Married to Cranetowns most prominent citizen, Israel Crane, Fanny was mistress of a large home from 1796 to 1826, and was well known as an accomplished cook and hostess. The recipes chosen typify the food she prepared for her husband, family and friends. They have been prepared in the 18th-century manner in the Crane House kitchen and have been adapted for use in modern kitchens. Call 973-744-1796 or email mail@montclairhistorical.org for more details.

Give the gift of health with a YMCA membership. The YMCA offers aquatics and exercise programs. Call the Park Street branch, 973-744-3400, or the Geyer Family branch, 973-783-7640, or visit montclairymca.org.

Show your team spirit by giving a Mounties Christmas ball or stuffed bulldog. Montclair High School Project Graduations spirit shop has cute fan items for sale, including T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts.

Visit Project Graduations online store, mhs-project-graduation.square.site. Prices start at $10 for the holiday decoration or face mask, to $15 for a stuffed bulldog, to $35 for a sweatshirt.

Montclair Film offers virtual film screenings, classes and of course the annual Montclair Film Festival. The gift of a membership to Montclair Film includes advance access and discounts on tickets to all screenings and to the hard-to-get festival tickets, invitations to members-only nights and discounts for classes.

Gift cards can be purchased for Montclair Film classes such as film studies, screenwriting, editing or makeup design, as well as for screenings, events, memberships and merchandise, including their new face mask. Go to montclairfilm.org or call 973-783-6433.

A membership to the Montclair Art Museum includes unlimited admission for a year. Members get unlimited access to virtual programming, including MAM tours and MAM Conversations, priority registration for all virtual classes and a 20-percent discount on all adult art classes. Memberships start at $30.

Support local farmers by giving the gift of community-supported agriculture through Boxed Organics. Every other week the recipient will get a box of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits and eggs from as close to home as possible, keeping local dollars in the hands of local farmers.

Each pickup also includes recipes. Pickups are at Elm Street in Montclair. Go to boxedorganicsnj.com or call Melina Macall at 973-910-0708 for more information.

Local Master Pows Co. hot chili pepper sauce brings a taste of Trinidad and Tobago for the chefs on your list. They are a family-owned and -operated hot chili pepper company that launched with its first collection of hot pepper sauce products, inspired by the culture, music and people of Trinidad and Tobago. Owner Vernon Lee Pow Jr. replicated the recipes of his father, who grew up in the islands. The sauces go from Intermediate to Chili Head, with Caribbean Aji Dulce habanero pepper sauce a customer favorite. To order online, go to masterpows.com.

Rose & Co. Candlemakers was formed by 13-year-old Rose Powell, an eighth-grader at Glenfield Middle School, and her dad five years ago. They started making candles at home because of the Powells allergies to the toxins in paraffin wax candles. After giving them as gifts, the candles were so popular that they decided to move the business to pop-up markets, artisan fairs and a website.

The candles are handmade, with natural soy, coconut wax and eco wicks; they are dye-free. Candles include HERSTORY, Boss Life, 100% Girl, Save the Turtles and more. Prices start at $24. Go to http://www.roseandcocandles.com to shop.

Dolce Federica creates small-batch, artisanal products with high-quality chocolate and superior fresh ingredients. They can customize your order, creating custom flavors, design and packaging with your family or business name. Or get the Art Montclair Collection, a partnership with a local artist who has created original artworks representing the Montclair community. The artworks appear on the packaging of the assortment. Boxes start at $25. Free delivery is offered in Montclair with a minimum order of $25. Go to http://www.dolcefederica.com for more information.

Applegate Farm has been serving up sweet little frozen holiday treats since the 1930s. Beginning this week, the farm will take orders for ice cream turkeys, santas, bells, trees and wreaths in flavors such as vanilla and chocolate, peppermint, pistachio or mint chocolate chip.

The 4-inch confections are made with the same pewter molds used since the farm started making the holiday treats 90 years ago. Each ice cream piece is $5.95, and the farm has a 48-hour turnaround. Call 973-744-5900 to order.

For the book lover on your list, Watchung Booksellers carries hundreds of novels and books from Montclair authors, from Dorothea Benton Franks new novel, Queen Bee, to Lettie Teagues books on wine, to Andrew Wanders book Stately Homes of Montclair. For young readers theres Twas the Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Daniel Kirk. For a full list go to http://www.watchungbooksellers.com/localauthors.

For the beer connoisseurs on your list, Montclair Brewery will deliver beer flights, an assortment of 12-ounce cans of four different styles. You can also add glasses or steins to your order. Co-owners Leo and Denise Sawadogo opened the microbrewery in 2014. For about 13 years Leo has been brewing batches of beer in his home and gifting bottles to friends and family. Orders can be placed at montclairbrewery.com.

For the past 10 years, Montclair Emergency Services for Hope has called upon emerging young adult artists to design ornaments for the holiday season.The ornaments are at the center of the annual MESH 32 Campaign to raise funds to cover the cost of emergency shelter for the homeless when the temperature drops to 32 to degrees and is life-threatening.Funds generated are also used to cover costs for college students who remain in local dorms because they do not have a home to go to.Through MESHs partnership with the Partners for Health Foundation, each $15 ornament purchase will be matched dollar for dollar. Ornaments may be purchased on the MESH website, MESHmontclair.org.

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Montclair Local's top picks for gifts that give back - Montclair Local

Demonstrating Compassion in our Responses and Actions – Atlanta Jewish Times

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Uncertainty abounds amid a global pandemic and at a political crossroads. Our children and grandchildren are in various models of school face-to-face, remote, and everything in between aware that a positive COVID-19 test result can call for change at any moment. These are challenging times, to put it mildly.

And yet, these are also opportunities for us both as individuals and as part of a larger kehillah (Jewish community) to practice and uphold the very Jewish principles and values we celebrated during Rosh Hashana and recommitted on Yom Kippur. Even when we are stressed, it is imperative we support each other, our community, and the organizations we hold dear.

As you may have read, after many months of having no cases of COVID-19, The William Breman Jewish Home experienced an outbreak which, sadly, has taken eight lives. Together, as a community, we mourn for these individuals, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones. We have in our thoughts those who are in the hospital; we are grateful for the caregivers. We are fortunate that Jewish HomeLife is served by leaders who responded quickly, instituting the comprehensive COVID response plan they had prepared months ago. And, while we know that across the country COVID-19 rates have been rising in older adult care communities, agencies are being reassured that this vulnerable population will be among the first to receive a vaccine. Thankfully, the numbers at the Breman Home are steadily declining, and currently there are nine residents and two staff who have tested positive for the virus. They continue to conduct weekly testing and have not had any new positive cases at The William Breman Jewish Home since Nov. 1.

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About a month ago, we admitted our shortcomings to G-d and asked Him for forgiveness. We pledged to be better Jews, to be better humans. Our job, as good stewards of the greater Atlanta Jewish community, is to support the Breman Home through this time. Our individual and collective response to this news should be one filled with compassion and helpfulness.

Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) and the shiva ritual is steeped in our Jewish heritage. Unfortunately, the pandemic has brought myriad challenges to observing these traditions in their usual manner. We, as a community, have an opportunity an obligation as Jews to support the families who are suffering losses in whatever ways we can. At the very least, we can provide sympathy, empathy and compassion.

Despite the uncertainty we all undoubtedly feel right now, we can cultivate some best of times through our responses to events, and through our actions.

Eric Robbins is president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

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Demonstrating Compassion in our Responses and Actions - Atlanta Jewish Times

This non-Jewish leader is working to clean up Polands Jewish cemeteries – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on November 21, 2020

National Independence Day in Poland has served in recent years as a backdrop for antisemitic, xenophobic and violent incidents at nationalist rallies.Last week, thousands in Warsaw flouted the coronavirus ban on public gatherings and clashed with police who tried to disperse them. The illegal procession on Independence Day, Nov. 11, included a banner that read no to Jewish demands a reference to the efforts pushing Poland to pass legislation offering restitution for property that once belonged to Jews, mostly Holocaust victims.Compared to previous years, that was relatively tame. In 2017, marchers shouted White Europe, Europe must be white, Sieg Heil and Remove Jewry from power.

But this year in Nowe Miasto, a village situated 35 miles northwest of Warsaw, about a dozen non-Jewish teenage members of the local branch of the International Scouts movement spent their Independence Day quite differently. They were cleaning up the local Jewish cemetery, beating back the overgrown vegetation from around the graveyards 10 surviving headstones.

At noon, the members of the Wagabunda 426th Scout team put down their shears and, outside the cemetery, they joined in the customary singing of the Polish anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost, or Mazurek Dbrowskiego.

The symbolism of that moment was not lost on Micha Laszczkowski, president of the Cultural Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit that organized the Wagabunda cleanup and dozens of others like it in recent years.

Maybe it was symbolic, but that wasnt the intention, Laszczkowski, 38, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The fact that the cleanup fell on Independence Day was for practical reasons, not to make a statement.

Lockdowns and school shutdowns in Poland forced the scouts to postpone plans to clean up the cemetery last month, said Laszczkowski, who contacted the Nowe Miasto Scouts at the suggestion of the Mayors Office.

We needed to do it on a school holiday, so we chose Independence Day because most other events were canceled this year anyway, he said.

The end result is nonetheless appropriate, Laszczkowski said.

But looking at it now, yeah, I mean its symbolic because the people buried there are an important part of Polands identity that doesnt always get the attention it perhaps should on Independence Day, he said.

Before the Holocaust, Poland was home to 3.3 million Jews. The Nazis and their collaborators killed 3 million of them about half the total number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. They also killed about 3 million non-Jewish Poles. Few of the 300,000 Jews who survived the Holocaust in Poland remain there today, according to the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research. The country now has about 4,500 Jews.

The Cultural Heritage Foundation mostly focused at first on sites important to Polish people in neighboring countries, which have territories that used to be part of Poland or are still home to Poles today.

Then, in 2014, Laszczkowski toured the Okopowa Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. The 83-acre site has about 250,000 graves and is among Europes largest Jewish cemeteries. Its also the final resting place of some of Polands best-known personalities, including Ludwik Zamenhof, the inventor of the Esperanto language, and Samuel Orgelbrand, who published Polands first encyclopedia in the 20th century.

At the time, Laszczkowski recalled, Okopowa was a jungle, just a jungle.

Parts of it looked like a forest because the plants completely covered the headstones, he said, adding that other headstones were buried in the ground that had accumulated from the leaves that fell off the many trees allowed to grow all over the cemetery (there are about 7,000 trees now).

I thought to myself: Why are we fixing Catholic churches in Ukraine but dont do anything about one of the most important cemeteries in Poland?

If you go now to Okopowa, it still kind of looks like a jungle, Laszczkowski said. About 2,000 trees there still need to be felled because they are a hazard and large swaths of the cemetery are still covered.

But when you compare it to 2017, he said, you can already see a difference.

Okopowa is only the tip of the iceberg for the Cultural Heritage Foundation. Poland still has some 800 Jewish cemeteries among the approximate 1,200 that existed before the Holocaust. Laszczkowskis foundation has matched 120 of the surviving cemeteries with entities he calls guardians organizations, such as charities, associations or even schools that undertake maintenance and other duties connected to the cemetery.

Being a guardian can be a complicated affair because Jewish cemeteries are owned by a host of entities ranging from Jewish communities to municipalities to the forestry service and even private landowners, Laszczkowski said. You have to coordinate any action with the owner.

The response to the effort to maintain Jewish cemeteries has been widespread and touching, including by many young people whove never seen a Jewish person in their lives but understand that Judaism has left a big mark on our society, he said.

But the issue, and especially the Independence Day action, remains a sensitive subject in a country with a surging right wing and widespread popular resistance both to acknowledging the actions of (relatively few) Poles who collaborated with the Germans and resolving the outstanding issue of Jewish property.

The Independence Day event was intentionally kept low-profile, although some local media did cover it, Laszczkowski said.

We didnt send any information, he added. We informed only local media because, frankly speaking, Poland is a very complicated, divided country.

Almost like Israel, he added jokingly.

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This non-Jewish leader is working to clean up Polands Jewish cemeteries - The Jerusalem Post

What to do this Weekend: Nov 18-22 – Nob Hill Gazette

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Take a break from tinkering with your turkey recipe, worrying about Senate runoffs and all other stresses in between its time for the weekend roundup. Bay Area arts and cultural institutions have plenty of offerings to keep you sane as we speed toward a very different holiday season.

This week, delve into the Citys storied past with the California Historical Society. Or, get your glow on at the Oakland Zoo. You could also sink into an enchanting evening of Italian cinema, complete with culinary treats and jazz.

Check out our full curated roundup below.

SFMOMAs No Time to Rest! exhibition a five-part program of films by women is now open and accessible online. Dive into films that foreground the possibilities of resistance and activism as it critiques power structures, reclaims historical narratives, seeks bodily autonomy and reframes the act of representation in direct confrontation with patriarchal, racist, and capitalist legacies.

This week, program two of the series features a compilation of three works by Bay Area artist Jeanne C. Finley. Dont miss 1986s Common Mistakes, wherein Finley uses documentary and found footage and photography to illustrate four synonyms for the word mistake. Through Nov. 24 online. Free. Info: sfmoma.org/exhibition/no-time-to-rest/

The California Historical Society presents a new in-person exhibition spotlighting a selection of gelatin silver prints by Minor White, capturing WWII-era San Francisco.

Visit and view 60 images taken from 1948 to 1953. Combining sophisticated abstract composition with socially astute observations, the photographs reveal a growing, rapidly modernizing, and more ethnically diverse San Francisco, read the exhibition notes.

Opening Nov. 18. 678 Mission Street, San Francisco. $5$10.Info: californiahistoricalsociety.org/exhibitions/san-francisco-photographs-by-minor-white/

Every Wednesday since early October, PUSH Dance Company has showcased dynamic performances and conversations about dance and activism in its eclectic festival PUSHfest Global. The finale is on Wednesday tune in for a program moderated by Farah Yasmeen Shaikh and featuring Peri Trono & John Paul Alejandro, Joan Lazarus and Mariella Morales.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6 p.m. online. $10.

Info: pushdance.org/festival

Marvel at a giant multicolor bear, enormous butterflies, a herd of illuminated zebras and brightly hued dinosaurs at Oakland Zoo, where the Glowfari lantern festival is here to brighten your holiday season.

Grab a hot chocolate, ride the zoo gondola and visit the radiant menagerie now throughout the holiday season.

Nov. 2030; Dec. 131; Jan. 1-17 at the Oakland Zoo. $20 adults, $18 children and seniors.

Info: oaklandzoo.org/programs-and-events/glowfari

Oakland Museum of California presents its member premiere weekend, where the museums new garden and renovated Galleries of California Art, History and Natural Sciences are on display after many months of closure due to the pandemic.

Consider supporting the museum with a membership and gaining early access before the museum opens to the public next weekend. Members need to reserve a spot due to COVID-19 capacity constraints.

Friday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m.5 p.m. 1000 Oak Street, Oakland. Annual memberships start at $55$75.

Info: museumca.org/2020/member-premiere-weekend

The Anat Cohen Tentet made its West Coast debut at SFJAZZ in December 2017. Watch the vitalizing performance of this ensemble, led by Israeli clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Cohen who SFJAZZ describes as at the leading edge of a wave of brilliant Israeli improvisers who have energized the New York jazz scene over the past two decades. Tenants love of Brazilian music and orchestral influences is on full display in this performance.

Also performing are trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, Brazilian pianist/accordionist Vitor Gonalves, vibraphonist James Shipp and guitarist Sheryl Bailey.

Friday, Nov. 20, 5 p.m. online. Monthly memberships are $5.

Info: sfjazz.org/fridaysatfive

November is Native American Heritage Month. The San Francisco Public Library presents an important dialogue about Native American activism between Asha Nordwall and Benayshe-Ba-Equay Titus the daughter and granddaughter of Adam Fortunate Eagle Nordwall, a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and Native American activist.

The focus of the talk is on the movements sculpting new generations of Native American activism. Its something the speakers know intimately Nordwall spent time on Alcatraz during the occupation.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m. on Zoom and YouTube. Free.

Info: sfpl.org/events/2020/11/21/dialogue-shaping-new-generation-native-american-activism

Drive-in movies, such as those showing at Fort Mason, have become a staple of the pandemic. This week, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco team up with the Academy of Italian Cuisine and Fort Mason Flix for a special evening of Italian cinema. Watch Sergio Leones inaugural spaghetti western, A Fistful of Dollars, and An American in Rome.

Rounding out the evening at the Citys first Italian drive-in are a musical tribute by jazz ensemble Sonam honoring Ennio Morricone and a menu of Italian dishes and ice cream on sale.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 p.m. Fort Mason, 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco. $35 per car.

Info: iicsanfrancisco.esteri.it/iic_sanfrancisco/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2020/11/settimana-della-cucina-italiana.html

The Contemporary Jewish Museums next installment of its Sunday Stories programming centers on the Thanksgiving aesthetic from the 1930s through the 1950s, with a close look at how migr architects and designers assimilated into creative communities throughout the United States. As organizers remind, the era was also a bounty of Thanksgiving food and design that still informs traditions today.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m. on Facebook. Free.

Info: thecjm.org/programs/797

Piano works are the showcase of the latest concert from Merola Opera. Merola alumni pianist Tamara Sanikidze and pianist/vocalist Edoardo Barsotti promise a delightful afternoon of works by Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Morricone.

VIP tickets include a virtual reception with Sanikidze.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 4 p.m. online. $25$80.

Info: eventbrite.com/e/an-afternoon-of-piano-treasures-with-tamara-sanikidze-and-edoardo-barsotti-tickets-121405965511

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What to do this Weekend: Nov 18-22 - Nob Hill Gazette

The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 11/19/20 ~ Homeless for the Holidays Judge Will Rule Next Monday on Whether to Allow FiDi Shelter Plans – ebroadsheet.com

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Lower Manhattans Local News

Homeless for the Holidays

Judge Will Rule Next Monday on Whether to Allow FiDi Shelter Plans

The Radisson New York Wall Street located at 52 William Street

Hearings before State Supreme Court Justice Debra James on Monday and Tuesday left unresolved the question of whether the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio will be allowed to implement a controversial plan to move more than 200 homeless men from a hotel on the Upper West Side to another hotel in the Financial District, which the City plans to convert into a permanent shelter.

The two days of argument focused on a temporary restraining order, issued by Justice James on October 19, which barred the Citys Department of Homeless Services (DHS) from moving ahead with the plan, based on arguments from attorney Michael S. Hiller, acting on behalf of the homeless men, who were originally scheduled to be transferred from the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street, to the Radisson New York Wall Street (located at 52 William Street) in early October. Mr. Hiller argued that planned move would have a devastating effect on the lives and well-being of the Lucerne Residents. This filing cited the specific cases of three homeless men who currently reside at the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West SideRamone Buford, Larry Thomas, and Travis Trammellalong with the 200-plus other men who were expected to move with them.

These arguments come against the backdrop of significant controversy on the Upper West Side, where some residents of that community organized, raised funds, and hired lawyers to stop the City from housing approximately 240 homeless men there. After City officials agreed to vacate the Lucerne in September, they settled on the Radisson New York Wall Street as a replacement facility.

But Mr. Hillers brief contended that, a significant portion of the Upper West Side community has also now embraced the men, and a neighborhood non-profit has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide them employment, mental and other health programs, and recreational activities. The men do not want to leave the Lucerne, and are making substantial progress in their recovery.

Joining Mr. Hillers motion on behalf of his clients was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who argued in a separate affidavit that, with the support of the community, [the homeless men at the Lucerne] have an opportunity to bring some normalcy to their battered lives, to receive the support they deserve to create stability and opportunity andmost of allto be part of a community that has come to embrace and support them.

Attorneys for the City introduced a new argument, contending that the availability of 1,000 square feet of recreational space at the Radisson (which the Lucerne does not have) will be a crucial amenity for the homeless men, now that cold weather has arrived.

Lawyers for the de Blasio administration were joined by attorneys representing the West Side Community Organization (based in the neighborhood near the Lucerne Hotel), who argued that the Radisson also offers a larger number of single rooms, as well as space for medical and therapeutic services, as well as job training support.

At the conclusion of Tuesdays arguments, Justice James said she would issue her decision by 5:00 pm on Monday, November 23rd.

Matthew Fenton

Giving Locally, Impacting Globally

Eleemosynary Advice for Reaching Out and Making a Difference Downtown

As we embark upon the giving season, many Lower Manhattan residents are interested in finding a way to give back. To help connect prospective volunteers with organizations that need help doing good, LMHQ, the collaborative workspace operated by the Downtown Alliance for companies in the technology, advertising, media, and information industries, will offer a free, online showcase for local volunteer opportunities today (Wednesday, November 18) at noon.

Getting into Hot Water

Court Rules That FiDi Condo Buyers Can Recover Damages from Developer for Shoddy Construction

More than a decade ago, real estate developers in Lower Manhattan were performing a feat that seemed akin to alchemy. Buying up unglamorous office buildings (abandoned by financial firms that had decamped for Midtown after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) and converting them into high-priced residential towers, such developers rode the wave that was transforming Downtown into a chic residential district.

One example among many in this narrative was 90 William Street, a 17-story back-office facility constructed in 1967, that was rebranded as Be@William, a 113-unit condominium in 2008.

Matthew Fenton

The Downtown Calendar

Thursday November 19

Today through November 27

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indians Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year, for the 20th-anniversary showcase, the museum presents the full program online, streaming new films, fan favorite classics, and conversations with filmmakers. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers and stories from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. Free

4PM

National Museum of the American Indian

Native food systems and agricultural practices were disrupted upon European settlement and the displacement of Native peoples from their lands. For the past century, new foods introduced by U.S. federal policy were unhealthy and substantially different from traditional diets. The introduction of unhealthy food, combined with uneven quality of and access to medical care, continues to leave many American Indians fighting an uphill battle for their health. Today many young people are returning to traditional food sources and sustainable ways of living through political action and sustainable practice. This November, for Native American Heritage Month, participants can join a conversation with young Native foodies working to decolonize their diets and restore balance in their bodies and communities. Free

6PM

Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee

AGENDA

1) DDC Oversight Discussion

6:30PM

Fraunces Tavern Museum

By now, most everyone has heard the hit Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Story and has become a Hamilton buff.

In this talk, Robert Watson will examine some of the little known, intriguing aspects of the Founders remarkable life, including his Jewish roots and hard scrabble upbringing. This talk will also feature a fun fact-checking of the musical and look at the backstory for some of the shows main scenes. This lecture will take place using Zoom.

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The Tale of the Ticker Tape, or How Adversity and Spontaneity Hatched a New York Tradition

What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors

New Yorks first ticker-tape parade erupted spontaneously from bad weather

and an over-zealous stockbroker.

While the festivities in New York Harbor didnt go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.

On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloes Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.

What was planned as a grand affair-with President Grover Cleveland as the main speaker-became a comedy of errors. The fog prevented efficient communication between the dignitaries on the island and the ships awaiting orders to fire their salutes and blast their horns at the given signal.

John Simko

TODAY IN HISTORY

November 19

Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address

1095 At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II calls for a Crusade to the Holy Land.

1493 Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island called Borinquen he first saw the day before. He names it San Juan Bautista (later renamed Puerto Rico).

1863 American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

-

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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1942 World War II: Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSRs favor.

1946 Afghanistan, Iceland and Sweden join the United Nations.

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The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 11/19/20 ~ Homeless for the Holidays Judge Will Rule Next Monday on Whether to Allow FiDi Shelter Plans - ebroadsheet.com

Georgia Writers Hall Of Fame Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary In Honor Of The State’s Literary Legends – WABE 90.1 FM

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Southerners take great pride in their story-telling; a tradition enriched by the combined heritage of all of those who have lived in this region. To honor Georgias rich literary tradition, The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame was established, and this year marks its 20th anniversary.

City Lights host Lois Reitzes was joined via Zoom by University of Georgia Librarian Toby Graham, distinguished author and professor Ralph Eubanks, and the Oscar and Tony award-winning playwright Alfred Uhry.

The Hall of Fame was established by the University of Georgia in 2000 to honor the talented writers, playwrights, lyricists, and literacy legends in the state.

People like Alfred Uhry, Alice Walker, Pat Conroy, Natasha Trethewey, Flannery O Connor, even people like songwriter Johnny Mercer and many others, Graham said. Over the years, we have inducted almost 70 Georgia writers that you can learn more about on our website.

Uhry was inducted into the hall in 2014, but he was honored at the 20th anniversary ceremony earlier this month.

There was a plaque in my induction and it says, Honoring Georgias Literacy Legacy and theres my picture and a picture of Margaret Mitchell and a picture of Martin Luther King Jr, Uhry said. Thats pretty intimidating. Its a very high honor and I treasure it greatly.

He has written many popular plays such as Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, and Parade, which focus on Jewish life and relationships in Atlanta.

The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame virtual ceremony is available online here. At the ceremony, Professor Eubanks gave a virtual lecture entitled, Georgias Literary Past and the Future of Southern Letters.

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Georgia Writers Hall Of Fame Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary In Honor Of The State's Literary Legends - WABE 90.1 FM

For 75th Anniversary of Nuremberg Trials, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Makes Available Full Sound Recordings of Trials and Film Used as…

Posted By on November 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has made available online the full sound recordings of the War Crimes Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal(IMT) established in Nuremberg, Germany, commonly referred to as the Nuremberg Trials. Additionally, the film evidence presented by the World War II Allied prosecutors at the trial is now available for online viewing. The collection consists of 1,942 gramophone discs holding 775 hours of hearings and 37 reels of film used as evidence in the trials.

The sound content can be found on the Museum's website here, and the film can be found here. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, is the custodian of the original IMT materials and has granted permission to the Museum to make them available online in time for the 75th anniversary of the start of the trials.

"The Nuremberg Trials mark the first time that an international court indicted defendants for perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity," Dr. Rebecca Boehling, Director of the National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The 24 major Nazi officials indicted by the Allied victors--with American, British, French and Soviet judges presiding over the IMT-- represent only a tiny fraction of the perpetrators. Yet the Nuremberg trials documented in a court of law with international press coverage the historical truth of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes. The IMT Proceedings set lasting legal precedents that nations have a duty to protect civilians from atrocities and to punish those who commit them. Putting this important historical documentation online to view and to listen to is part of our ongoing efforts to digitize and make accessible the evidence of the Holocaust."

The Museum, the Mmorial de la Shoah in Paris, and the ICJ collaborated to digitize the recordings, a process which took two years and was the culmination of the ICJ's broader project, initiated in the early 2000s, to digitize the entire IMT archives. More information on the IMT archives at the ICJ is available here.

"The Museum is deeply grateful to the International Court of Justice for permitting us to make this content available to the public," continues Boehling. "In a time when Holocaust distortion and denial are on the rise, providing access to the evidence of these crimes is critically important."

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires people to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors nationwide.

SOURCE United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

http://www.ushmm.org

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For 75th Anniversary of Nuremberg Trials, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Makes Available Full Sound Recordings of Trials and Film Used as...

EmTech Stage: Facebooks CTO on misinformation – MIT Technology Review

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Misinformation and social media have become inseparable from one another; as platforms like Twitter and Facebook have grown to globe-spanning size, so too has the threat posed by the spread of false content. In the midst of a volatile election season in the US and a raging global pandemic, the power of information to alter opinions and save lives (or endanger them) is on full display. In the first of two exclusive interviews with two of the tech worlds most powerful people, Technology Reviews Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield sits down with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer to talk about the challenges of combating false and harmful content on an online platform used by billions around the world. This conversation is from the EmTech MIT virtual conference and has been edited for length and clarity.

For more of coverage on this topic, check out this week's episode of Deep Tech and our tech policy coverage.

This episode from EmTech was produced by Jennifer Strong and Emma Cillekens, with special thanks to Brian Bryson and Benji Rosen. Were edited by Michael Reilly and Gideon Lichfield.

Strong: Hey everybody, its Jennifer Strong. Last week I promised to pick out something to play for you from EmTech, our newsrooms big annual conference. So here it is. With the U-S election just days away, we're going to dive straight into one of the most contentious topics in the world of tech and beyond - misinformation.

Now a lot of this starts on conspiracy websites, but it's on social media that it gets amplified and spread. These companies are taking increasingly bold measures to ban certain kinds of fake news and extremist groups, and theyre using technology to filter out misinformation before humans can see it. They claim to be getting better and better at that, and one day they say theyll be able to make the internet safe again for everyone. But, can they really do that?

In the next two episodes were going to meet the chief technology officers of Facebook and Twitter. Theyve both taken VERY different approaches when it comes to misinformation, in part because a lot of what happens on Facebook is in private groups, which makes it a harder problem to tackle. Whereas on Twitter, most everything happens in public. So, first up - Facebook. Heres Gideon Lichfield, the editor in chief of Tech Review. Hes on the virtual mainstage of EmTech for a session that asks, Can AI clean up the internet? This conversations been edited for length and clarity.

Lichfield: I am going to turn to our first speaker, who is Mike Schroepfer. Known generally to all his colleagues as Schrep. He is the CTO of Facebook. He's worked at Facebook since 2008 and when it was a lot smaller and he became CTO in 2013. Last year The New York Times wrote a big profile of him, which is a very interesting read. It was titled Facebook's AI whiz is now facing the task of cleaning it up. Sometimes that leads him tears. Schrep, welcome. Thank you for joining us at EmTech.

Schroepfer: Hey Gideon, thanks. Happy to be here.

Lichfield: Facebook has made some pretty aggressive moves particularly in just the last few months. Youve taken action against QAnon, you've banned Holocaust denial, and anti-vaccination ads. But people have been warning about QAnon for years, people have been warning about anti-vaccination misinformation for years. So, why did it take you so long? What, what, changed in your thinking to make you take this action?

Schroepfer: Yeah, I mean, the world is changing all the time. There's a lot of recent data you know, on the rise of antisemitic beliefs or lack of understanding about the Holocaust. QAnon you know has moved into more of a threat of violence in recent years. And the idea that there would be threats of violence around a US election is a new thing. And so, particularly around places where society and things that are critical events, like an election, we're doing everything we can to, to make sure that people feel safe and secure and informed to make the decision they get to make to elect who is in government. And so we're taking more aggressive measures.

Lichfield: You said something just now, you said there was a lot of data. And that sort of resonates with me with something that I had Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer of Facebook, he said in a podcast recently, that at Facebook decisions are really taken on the basis of data. So is it that you need, you needed to have overwhelming data evidence, but, you know, the Holocaust denial is causing harm or the QAnon is causing harm before you take action against it.

Schroepfer: What Id say is this is. We operate a service that's used by billions of people around the world and so a mistake I don't wanna make is assume that I understand what other people need, what other people want, or what's happening. And so, a way to avoid that is to rely on expertise where we have it. So, you know, for example, for dangerous organizations, we have many people with backgrounds in counter terrorism, went to West Point, we have many people with law enforcement backgrounds where you talk about voting interference, we have experts with backgrounds and voting and rights.

And so you, you listen to experts, uh, and you look at data and you, and you try to understand that topic rather than, you know, you don't want me making these decisions. You, you want sort of the experts and you want the data to do it. And because it's not just, you know, this issue here, it's, it's issues of privacy, it's issues and locales, and, and, so I would say that we try to be rigorous in using sort of expertise and data where we can, so we're not making assumptions about what's happening in the world or, or what we think people need.

Lichfield: Well, let's talk a bit more about QAnon specifically because the approach that you take, obviously, to handling this information, as you try to train your AIs to recognize stuff that is harmful. And the difficulty with this approach is the nature of misinformation keeps changing it's context specific, right? And misinformation about Muslims in Myanmar, which sparked riots there. You don't know that that is misinformation until it starts appearing. The issue it seems to me with Q Anon is it's such a, it's not like ISIS or something. its beliefs keep changing the accounts, keep changing. So, how do you tackle something that is so ill defined as, as a threat like that?

Schroepfer: Well, you know, I will talk about this and, and I think one of the, from a technical perspective, one of the hardest challenges that I've been very focused on in the last few years, because of similar problems in terms of subtlety, coded language and adversarial behavior, which is hate speech. There's overt hate speech, which is very obvious and you can use sort of phrases you've banked or, or, or keywords. But people adapt and they use coded language and they do it, you know, on a daily, weekly basis. And you can even do this with memes where you have a picture and then you overlay some words on top of it, and it completely changes the meaning. You smell great today. And the pictures of skunk is a very different thing than, you know, a flower, and you have to put it all together.

And so, um, and similarly, as you say, with QAnon and there can be subtlety and things like that. This is why I've been so focused on, you know, a couple of key AI technologies. One is we've dramatically increased the power of these classifiers to understand and, and deal with nuanced information. You know, five or ten years ago, sort of keywords were probably the best we could do. Now we're at the point where our classifiers are catching errors in the labeling data or catching errors that human reviewers sometimes make. Because they are powerful enough to catch subtlety in topics like, is this a post that's inciting violence against a voter? Or are they just expressing displeasure with voting or this population? Those are two very unfortunately it's a, it's a fine line when you look at how careful people try to be about coding the language to sort of get around it.

And so you see similar things with QAnon and others. And so we've got classifiers now that, that, you know, our state-of-the-art work in multiple languages and are really impressive in what they've done through techniques that we can go into like self supervision, um, to look at, you know, billions of pieces of data to, to train. And then the other thing we've got is we sort of use a similar technique like this, that allows us to do, you know, the best way to describe it as sort of fuzzy matching. Which is as a human reviewer, spends the time and says, you know what, I think that these pieces of misinformation, or this is a QAnon group, even though it's coded in different languages, what we can then do is sort of fan out and find things that are semantically similar, not the exact words, not keywords, not regexes, um, but things that are very close in a, in an embedding space that are semantically similar. And then we can take action on them.

And this allows what I call quick reaction. So, even if I had no idea what this thing was yesterday, today, if a bunch of human reviewers find it, we can then go amplify their work sort of across the network and implement that proactively anytime new pieces of information. Just to put this in context, you know, in Q2, we took down 7 million pieces of COVID misinformation. Obviously in Q4 of last year, there was no such thing as COVID misinformation. So we had to sort of build a new classifier techniques to do this. And the thing I've challenged the team is like getting our classifier build time down from what used to be many, many months to, you know, what, sometimes weeks, to days, to minutes. First time I see an example, or first time I read a new policy, I want to be able to build a classifier that's functional at, you know, at billion user scale. And, you know, we're not there yet, but we're making rapid progress

Lichfield: Well. So I think this is what the question is, how rapid is the progress, right? That, that 7 million pieces of misinformation statistic. I saw that quoted by a Facebook spokesperson in response to a study that came out from Avaaz in August. And it had looked at COVID misinformation that found that the top 10 websites that were spreading misinformation had four times as many estimated views on Facebook as equivalent content from the websites of 10 leading health institutions, like the WHO, they found that only 16% of all health misinformation, they analyzed had a warning label from Facebook. So in other words, you're obviously doing a lot, you're doing a lot more than you were and you, and you're still, by that count way behind the curve. How, and this is a crisis that is killing people. So how long is it going to take you to get there, do you think?

Schroepfer: Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, this is where, you know, I'd like us to be publishing more data on this. Because really what you needed to compare apples to apples is overall reach of this information, and sort of what is the information, sort of, exposure diet of the average Facebook user. And I think there's a couple of pieces that people don't get. The first is most people's newsfeed is filled with content from their friends. Like, news links, these are sort of a minority of the views all in and people's news feed and Facebook. I mean, the point of Facebook is to connect with your friends and you've probably experienced this yourself. It's, you know, posts and pictures and things like that.

Secondly, on things like COVID misinformation, like what you really got to compare that with is, comparing it, for example, to views of our COVID information center, which we literally shoved to the very top of the newsfeed so that everyone could get information on that. We're doing similar things, um, for voting. We've help to register almost two and a half million voters, in the U.S.. Similar information, you know, for issues of racial justice given all the horrible events that have happened this year. So what I don't have is the comprehensive study of, you know, how many times did someone view the COVID information hub versus these other things? Um, you know, but my guess is it would be that they're getting a lot more of that good information from us.

But look, you know, anytime any of this stuff escapes I'm, I'm not done yet. This is why I'm still here doing my job is, is we want to get this better. And, and, and yes, I wish it was 0%. I wish our classifiers were 99.999% accurate. They're not. You know, my job is to get them there as fast as humanly possible. And when we get off this call, that's what I'm going to go work on. What I can do is just look at like recent history and project progress forward. Because I can't fix the past, but I can fix today and tomorrow. When I look at things like, you know, hate speech where, you know, in 2017, only about a quarter of the pieces of hate speech were found by our systems, first. Almost three quarters of it was found by someone on Facebook first. Which is awful, which means they were exposed to it and had to had to report it to us. And now the number's up to 99, 94.5%. Even in the last, you know, between Q2 of this year and same time last year, we 5Xed, the amount of content we're taking down for hate speech. And I can trace all of that. Now, that number should be 99.99 and we shouldn't even be having this conversation because you should say, I've never seen any of this stuff, and I never hear about it, cause it's gone.

That is my goal, but I can't get there yet. But if you just look at the last, you know, anytime I say something 5Xs in a year, or it goes from 24% to 94% in two years, like, and I say, we've got a, we're not, I'm not out of ideas, we're still deploying state-of-the-art stuff like this week, next week, last week, then that's why I'm optimistic overall that, that we're going to move this problem into a place where it's not the first thing you want to talk to me about but I'm not there yet.

Lichfield: It's a tech problem. It's also obviously a, a workforce problem. You're obviously going to be familiar with, uh, the, the memo that Sophie Zhang, who was a former Facebook data scientist wrote when she departed. And she wrote about how she was working on one of the teams, you have multiple teams that work on trying to identify harmful information around the world. And her main complaint, it seems was that she felt like those teams were understaffed and she was having to prioritize decisions about whether to treat, you know, misinformation around an election in a country for instances as dangerous. And when that, those decisions one prioritized, sometimes it could take months for a problem to be dealt with and that could have real consequences. Um, you have, I think what 15,000 human moderators right now, do you think you have enough people?

Schroepfer: I never think we have enough people on anything. So I, you know, I've yet to be on a project where we were looking for things to work on and I mean that real seriously. And we, you know, at 35,000 people working on this from, you know, review and content and safety and security side. The other thing that I think we don't talk a lot about is, if you go talk to the heads of my AI team and ask them what has Schrep been asking us to do for the last three years, it's integrity, it's content moderation. It's not cool wizzy, new things. It's like, how do we fight this problem? And it's been years we've been working on it.

So I've taken sort of the best and the brightest we have in the company and said, you know, and it's not like I have to order them to do it because they want to work on it. I say, we've got this huge problem, we can help, let's go get this done. Are we done yet? No. Am I impatient? Absolutely. Do I wish we had more people working on it? All the time. You know, we have to make our trade-offs on these things, and so, you know, um, but my job, you know, and what we can do with technology is sort of remove some of those trade-offs. You know, every time we deploy a new, more powerful classifier, um, that removes a ton of work from our human moderators, who can then go work on higher level problems. You know, instead of you, you know, really easy decisions, they move on to misinformation and really vague things and evaluating dangerous groups and that sort of moving people up the difficulty curve is, is also improving things. And that's what we're trying to do.

Strong: Were going to take a short break - but first, I want to suggest another show I think you'll like. Brave New Planet weighs the pros and cons of a wide range of powerful innovations in science and tech. Dr. Eric Lander, who directs the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard explores hard questions like;

Lander: Should we alter the Earths atmosphere to prevent climate change? And Can truth and democracy survive the impact of deepfakes?

Strong: Brave New Planet is from Pushkin Industries. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts. Well be back right after this.

[Advertisement]

Strong: Welcome back to a special episode of In Machines We Trust. This is a conversation between Facebooks Mike Schroepfer and Tech Reviews Editor-In-Chief Gideon Lichfield. It happened live on the virtual stage of our EmTech Conference, and its been edited for length and clarity. If you want more on this topic, including our analysis, please check out the show notes or visit us at Technology Review dot com.

Lichfield: A couple of questions that I'm going to throw in from the audience, how does misinformation affect Facebook's revenue stream? And another is, um, about, uh, how does it affect trust in Facebook? Well, there seems to be an underlying lack of trust in Facebook and how do you measure trust? And the gloss that we want to put on these questions is, clearly you care about misinformation, clearly a lot of the people that work at Facebook care about it or worried by it, but there is, I think an underlying question that people have is does Facebook as a company care about it, is it impacted by it negatively enough for it to really tackle the problem seriously?

Schroepfer: Yeah. I mean, look, I'm a person in society too. I care a lot about democracy and the future and advancing people's lives in a positive way. And I challenge you to find, you know, someone who feels differently inside our offices. And so we, yes, we work at Facebook, but we're people in the world and I care a lot about the future for my children. And well, well, you're asking, do we care? And the answer is yes. Um, you know, do we have the incentives? Like what did we spend a lot of our time talking about today? We talked about misinformation and other things, you know, honestly, what would I rather talk about? I'd rather talk about VR and, and positive uses of AR and all the awesome new technology we're building, because, you know, that's, that's normally what a CTO would be talking about.

So it is obviously something that is challenging trust in the company, trust in our products, that is a huge problem for us, um, from a self-interest standpoint. So even if you think I'm full of it, you just, from a practical self-interested standpoint, like as a brand, as a consumer product that people voluntarily use every single day, when I try to sell a new product like Portal, which is a camera for your home, like the people trust the company that's behind this product and think we have, you know, their, their best intentions at heart. If they don't, it's going to be a huge challenge for absolutely everything I do. So, I think the interests here are, are pretty aligned. I don't think there's a lot of good examples of consumer products that are free, that survive if people don't like them, don't like the companies or think they're bad. So this is from a self-interested standpoint, a critical issue for us.

[Credits]

Strong: This conversation with Facebooks CTO is the first of two episodes on misinformation and social media. In the next part we chat with the CTO of Twitter. If youd like to hear our newsrooms analysis of this topic and the election, Ive dropped a link in our show notes. I hope youll check it out. This episode from EmTech was produced by me and by Emma Cillekens, with special thanks to Brian Bryson and Benji Rosen. Were edited by Michael Reilly and Gideon Lichfield. As always, thanks for listening. Im Jennifer Strong.

[TR ID]

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EmTech Stage: Facebooks CTO on misinformation - MIT Technology Review

Wiesenthal Center warns about Parler opening the door wide to anti-Semitism – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Parler, a social-media website founded in 2018 that prides itself on allowing virtually unfiltered viewpoint, has allowed anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry to flourish on its site, according to a report released on Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The report details how Parler has taken no action against anti-Semitic and overt racist postings, including one depicting former U.S. President Barack Obama with a noose.

We submitted these materials for Parlers review and have spoken with senior officials of the company who emphasized that Parler makes room for all speech, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a statement. We emphasized that the last thing our nation needs is for Parler to become home to a subculture of hatred and violence that besets other social-media platforms. We are grappling not only with the [corona]virus but the virus of anti-Semitism that saw 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes last year targeting American Jews.

He added that this opens the door wide for white supremacy, neo-Nazism and conspiracy theories that range from Holocaust denial to charge that COVID-19 is a hoax.

The report also shows the international reach of Parler and its increased role as a space for extreme far-right individuals and organizations like the Proud Boys. Parler has surged in popularity after endorsements by multiple figures, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Eric Trump, one of U.S. President Donald Trumps sons.

In fact, it has emerged as a growing alternative to larger platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which conservatives have criticized for censoring and flagging right-wing content.

While Parler seeks to be as much of an unfiltered website of viewpoints as possible within legal limits, Cooper said that we should be able to experience a platform that is open for the full gamut of the marketplace of ideas without allowing for a subculture of hate that feeds anti-Semitism and racism. Unfortunately, as the report shows, it has also attracted extremists who seek to use social media platforms to inject their hate into the mainstream of society.

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Wiesenthal Center warns about Parler opening the door wide to anti-Semitism - Cleveland Jewish News

A former right-wing media creator on how a different reality became so prominent. – The New York Times

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Matthew Sheffield started his first conservative website in 2000, dedicating it to criticizing the former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who Mr. Sheffield believed was a partisan liberal and not critical enough of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Mr. Sheffield then went on to help create NewsBusters, another right-leaning website that criticized the mainstream media for liberal bias. Later, he became the founding online managing editor of the Washington Examiner, another popular outlet for conservative views.

I basically built the infrastructure for a lot of conservative online people and personally taught a lot of them what they know, he said.

But Mr. Sheffield, who is 42 and lives in the Los Angeles area, grew disillusioned in recent years. He said facts were treated as an acceptable casualty in the broader political war. The end justifies the means, said Mr. Sheffield, who hosts a politics and technology podcast called Theory of Change and is writing a memoir about growing up in a strict Mormon family. He now blames right-wing media for undermining faith in American democracy by spreading unsubstantiated claims by President Trump and others that the election was rigged. Through websites and platforms like Facebook and YouTube, Mr. Sheffield said, right-wing media has created an environment in which a large portion of the population believes in a different reality.

In a recent interview, edited for length and clarity, Mr. Sheffield discussed how it got to this point.

What are some of the most important things about right-wing media that people dont understand?

Almost all right-wing support in the United States comes from a view that Christians are under attack by secular liberals. This point is so important and so little understood. Logic doesnt matter. Fact-checking doesnt matter. What matters is if I can use this information to show that liberals are evil. Many of them are not interested in reporting the world as it is, but rather to shape the world like they want it to be.

A recent poll suggests about 70 percent of Republicans now believe the election was rigged. Can that be blamed on right-leaning media when President Trump is spreading misinformation about the results?

They go along with whatever he says. Before Trump won in 2016, conservative media was actually, finally, starting to develop a marginal sense of independence. But once he became the president all of that just fell apart. Now you cant have a conservative outlet unless you worship Donald Trump. Your business will be destroyed. You cant have a career in conservative media if you are against Donald Trump, with only a few exceptions.

Would this be possible without Facebook and social media platforms?

Facebook is the primary protector and enabler of the far right in the United States, without question. The company has sheltered and promoted this content for years. Mark Zuckerberg even now says that Steve Bannon calling for beheadings is not justification to ban him. Zuckerberg was also fine with tolerating Holocaust denial until he was called out for it.

Do you see a way out of this, or will the problem get worse?

The first step is to get people to improve their information diet. If youre eating nothing but candy or toxic food you are going to get sick. If you can improve your news diet to include things that you like but also other things that might be challenging to you then you are going to have a much better understanding of life. In the information age, the people who control the information control the age. That is something that the right-wing media apparatus has figured out.

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A former right-wing media creator on how a different reality became so prominent. - The New York Times


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