But here’s the thing: Peter King’s entire career has been built on being exactly this sort of Pollyanna nonsense. It’s not a bad habit; it’s a worldview. He is the Billy Bush of the NFL. I know this because I’ve been reading Peter since I was a kid, and NOTHING about his style has changed. At all. Take any MMQB column from 2003 (strangely, many links to his old cnnsi.com columns are now dead), swap out the old player names for new player names, and it’ll read like 2014 Peter King. He is the league leader in glad-handing, a guy who is nice to everyone because everyone is either a contact or a potential contact, and contacts lead to precious MMQB nuggets. (Nuggets are the currency of Peter King’s world, and the pursuit and acquisition of them can lead to a certain boorish obliviousness on King’s part: “Rey Maualuga checking into Betty Ford later this month, by the way, according to Adam Schefter. Good nugget.”)
That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq. The utter lack of interest in what possible legal authority Obama has to bomb Syria is telling indeed: Empires bomb who they want, when they want, for whatever reason (indeed, recall that Obama bombed Libya even after Congress explicitly voted against authorization to use force, and very few people seemed to mind that abject act of lawlessness; constitutional constraints are not for warriors and emperors). It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters it that it be at war, always and forever. Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar. That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment (and thus anti-American extremism) is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region. If you know that, then they know that. At this point, it’s more rational to say they do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug. It is what justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War.
In a much-publicized open letter last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged to protect user privacy with improved encryption on iPhones and iPads and a hard line toward government agents. It was a huge and welcome step toward thwarting the surveillance state, but it also seriously oversold Apple’s commitment to privacy. Yes, Apple launched a tough-talking new privacy site and detailed a big improvement to encryption in its mobile operating system iOS 8: Text messages, photos, contacts, and call history are now encrypted with the user’s passcode, whereas previously they were not. This follows encryption improvements by Apple’s competitors Google and Yahoo. THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME THAT APPLE HAS OVERSOLD THE SECURITY OF ITS PRODUCTS.
But despite these nods to privacy-conscious consumers, Apple still strongly encourages all its users to sign up for and use iCloud, the internet syncing and storage service where Apple has the capability to unlock key data like backups, documents, contacts, and calendar information in response to a government demand. iCloud is also used to sync photos, as a slew of celebrities learned in recent weeks when hackers reaped nude photos from the Apple service. (Celebrity iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers answered security questions correctly or tricked victims into giving up their credentials via “phishing” links, Cook has said.)
The tipping point for the Wymans was the 2011 New York state law that made it unlawful to rent out apartments or rooms in residential buildings for less than 30 days. The legislation was intended to shut down illegal hotels—mostly single-room-occupancy properties that have been converted to youth hostels or landlords renting out rooms on a nightly basis—not traditional bed-and-breakfast inns that pay taxes and register with the city.
The law, along with competition from home-sharing service Airbnb, has decimated the already small bed-and-breakfast business in the city, current and former B&B operators say.
The city slapped the Wyman House, along with other inns like it, with a hefty fine. The couple decided doing business in New York wasn’t worth the hassle anymore.
Since 2011, the number of traditional bed-and-breakfasts in the city has shrunk by half, estimated Mary White, founder of BnbFinder.com, which lists just nine properties here. Compounding innkeepers’ woes is increased competition from Airbnb and similar websites that allow people to rent rooms in their homes, contributing to a significant decline in B&B occupancy rates, say experts.
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection has recorded sound in excess of permissible levels, and issued a notice of violation this week to the concert producers for the Replacements’ too-loud finale on Friday, which closed a show in which the opening bands had repeatedly been warned to turn it down.
Some opponents of campaign finance reform argue that “money is like water,” and will always find its way through the cracks regardless of what limits are in place. But in a real-world experiment that’s had tragic consequences for American democracy, that claim has been proven false. In 2009 and 2010, the Supreme Court used a series of cases — Emily’s List v. FEC, Speech Now v. FEC and Citizens United v. FEC — to effectively gut most limits on “independent expenditures” in elections. And a flood of dark money followed. As Harvard law scholar Lawrence Lessig told BillMoyers.com back in April, “if money always finds its way in, we wouldn’t have seen that. The rules changed and the amount of money and the size of the influence of large contributors went up dramatically.” So it turns out that the rules really do matter. And an analysis by the The PBS Newshour on Monday revealed that, with seven weeks of heavy spending to go before the 2014 election, the record for the most money spent by outside groups in a midterm cycle has already been broken. What’s more, it’s the most spent in any election other than the 2012 presidential race.
Whole intellectual industries are devoted to proving that there is nothing new under the sun, that everything comes from something else — and to such a degree that one can never tell when one thing turns into something else. But it is the moment when something appears as if out of nowhere, when a work of art carries within itself the thrill of invention, of discovery, that is worth listening for. It’s that moment when a song or a performance is its own manifesto, issuing its own demands on life in its own, new language — which, though the charge of novelty is its essence, is immediately grasped by any number of people who will swear they never heard anything like it before — that speaks. In rock ’n’ roll, this is a moment that, in historical time, is repeated again and again, until, as culture, it defines the art itself.