‘I grew up in total ruins’: Irmin Schmidt of Can on LSD, mourning and musical adventures

The last founding member of the visionary German band left alive, the 81 -year-old remembers how he repudiated his Nazi father to discovery freedom in music

In the dining room of his jogging farmhouse in Provence, Irmin Schmidt pours a glass of rose in preparation for being interviewed. At 81, he is twinkly, genial company, a little at odds with the image he projected as the keyboard player in Can, the Cologne band once described as” the most influential and worshipped avant-garde band of the late 20 th century “. While his bandmate Holger Czukay used to play up for the camera, Schmidt tended to stare sternly down it from between a pair of immense sideburns, every inch the serious musician who had trained under Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Since the band split up in 1979, he has induced solo albums, conducted, written cinema scores, penned an opu. He says he doesn’t much concern himself with the past. He is dismissive of Can’s brief late-8 0s reunion on the grounds that it” voiced too much like Can” and balked at a suggestion that he should join an all-star Can tribute group at the Barbican’s 2017 celebration of the band’s 50 th anniversary:” It was a wonderful performance they did, but I entail, playing a Can piece as a sung, having to learn the fucking piece and remember it …” He giggles.” We never cared about what people expected. I always imagined if one day we would go onstage again, people would think:’ No, this isn’t Can. This is another group- we are in the wrong place .'”

Can in 1973( left hand: Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, Holger Czukay( standing ), Irmin Schmidt and Damo Suzuki. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

But, of late, he has been dwelling on the band’s history. For one thing, 2017 left him the sole survivor of Can’s original four-piece line-up. Guitarist Michael Karoli succumbed of cancer in 2001, while drummer Jaki Liebezeit and bassist Holger Czukay both succumbed last year, the latter in the disused Weilerswist cinema that had once housed Can’s Inner Space studio, and where Czukay had continued to live after the band broke up. And then, at the urging of Hildegard, his partner of 51 years and Can’s manager since the early 70 s, he has co-authored, with Rob Young, a definitive biography of the band, All Gates Open.

It is a fascinating book , not least because Schmidt’s life was extraordinary even before he formed Can. Born in Berlin in 1937, he can remember ensure Allied aircrafts strafe a German military train with gunfire while he was an evacuee in Austria; returning to Germany in 1946, he found it” absolutely flattened by bombing. I grew up in these total wreckings. That was an experience that is still deeply within me: growing up in this town, this land, where everything was devastated, all the buildings, all the culture .” His teenage years were marked not only by the usual teen surliness but by an obsessive ferocity over his homeland’s recent history: he was expelled from school for using its student publication to expose his educators’ Nazi pasts, while his relationship with his father- another Nazi supporter who had done nothing to intervene when their Jewish neighbours were taken to Auschwitz- was ” pure war “.” Always asking,’ Why did you do this ?’,’ Why didn’t you do that ?’,’ How could you? How could you ?’ I think there is this kind of … mourning within me which I can never get rid of .”

By all accounts a brilliant musician from an early age, he was already a professional classical pianist when he signed up to study under Stockhausen at Cologne’s Rheinische Musikschule. Czukay was a fellow pupil, and Schmidt is rather proud of the fact that, when Stockhausen was subsequently played a selection of experimental German stone tracks, he rejected all of them except Can’s 1971 track Aumgn.” When he found out who had made it, he said:’ Well, of course it’s good- these were my students .'”

Schmidt was all set for a life in classical music until a 1965 journey to New York changed his mind.” Germany was very strict; there was this phrase’ serious music ‘. But in New York, there was no barrier- people is no more than interested in whether music was wild and interesting and beautiful .”

On his return, energised by both rock music’s more avant fringe- Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground- and by the funk of James Brown and Sly Stone, he recruited Czukay, free-jazz drummer Liebezeit and Karoli. None of them seems to have had any notion what they want to get do, other than attain” new music “.” But when we came together, we all knew what the other had done and where he came from and what he was able to do, and we all had quite a confidence- a brilliant jazz drummer, a bass player who was classically developed but was also a strange and powerful musician, a guitarist who was immensely gifted and inventive, very sensitive. It was that atmosphere of 1968: let’s dare something, let’s have an adventure, we will find an art .”

Can in full flow performing on German TV in 1970

But even given their backgrounds and the work they put in- they improvised for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, recording everything on tapes pinched by Czukay from Stockhausen’s studio- the art that Can saw seems utterly extraordinary. While their music was avant garde, it never sounded like a cerebral workout. Quite the opposite. It was raw and propulsive and funky, Liebzeit reacting against his free-jazz background by playing hypnotic, cyclical dancefloor grooves.” That was something we had in common ,” Schmidt tells.” We wanted music that relates to the body. Holger and me, with all this Stockhausen and contemporary music experience, we wanted to be free- we definitely didn’t want intellectual games. If it was intellectual, it never indicated. It was even banned in interviews: if I would start talking about sophisticated things, Holger would always butt in:’ I’ve never read a volume in my life !'”

They recruited vocalists – first American expat Malcolm Mooney, afterwards an itinerant Japanese street performer called Damo Suzuki- and between 1969 and 1973 released five of the most acclaimed and influential albums in rock history: Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and the sublime Future Days. They began playing gigs, always completely improvised.” Ask Hildegard how awful we were when it didn’t work ,” chuckles Schmidt.” The astounding thing in the concerts that went totally wrong, where we didn’t get the groove and it didn’t come together, was that the public didn’t run away or scream’ Shit !’- they suffered with us, they didn’t give up. You felt that empathy, and very often we’d play a second situate and it would click .”

Indeed, how quickly Can found an audience is one of the more remarkable aspects of All Gates Open. Devoted that the contents of their albums bore almost no resemblance to any music that had come before, you might expect them “mustve been” greeted with bewilderment, but no. They had reached singles in Germany and won music press polls. Schmidt recollects a gig in Glasgow where one punter expressed his delight by jumping onstage and hugging him so tightly that one of his rib transgressed. They enjoyed themselves in time-honoured rock’n’roll style: Schmidt’s method of killing day on the road involved ingesting” a microscopic dose of LSD” and then taking the wheel. “Wonderful!” he insists , noting my horrified expres.” You get extremely concentrated, but it is like driving through a movie. You have to drive extremely carefully. Never had an accident .”

It was, he says,” the most wonderful hour of my life “; but still, from the outside, life in Can seems curiously stressful. As well as the constant, obsessive rehearse, and the high-wire act of their improvised gigs, there was the ongoing tumult of German counter-culture, which had curdled from hippydom to political indignation to terrorism and which Can did their best to conscientiously avoid (” I met Andreas Baader in a commune in Munich once and from the first position, I didn’t like him ,” says Schmidt ). Both Mooney and Suzuki left in cloudy situations- the former had a nervous breakdown, the latter joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses- and it’s seducing to wonder if day-to-day life in Can wasn’t a contributory factor. Schmidt tells no: he guesses Mooney’s precarious mental state was down to the fact that the report was dodging the Vietnam draft and thought he would be caught, while Suzuki was ” not fragile at all … He guessed:’ That was Can and now that’s enough .’ Maybe he also felt that it would become a routine, which we actually felt that later on it was .”

Can in 1972 in their Inner Space studio where they created their groundbreaking albums. Photo: Courtesy of Faber and Faber

They never found another full-time vocalist, though in a fascinating instance of what-if, Can super-fan John Lydon contacted the band’s office in the wake of the Sex Pistols’ split, offering his services.” Maybe it would have been wonderful ,” says Schmidt, “but it was too late”: Can had run its course. They had always argued ferociously about their music, but the divisions in the band were becoming too broad, and their albums were audibly less focused than they once had been; the spontaneity that had fuelled them had sagged.

The second part of All Gates Open, a selection of interviews and periodical entries edited by journalists Max Dax and Robert Defcon, is testament to Can’s nonpareil ability to turn the most curmudgeonly musicians into gushing fans: the late Mark E Smith , nobody’s definition of a suck-up, seems genuinely overawed to satisfy Schmidt (” He kept nuzzling me ,” he smiles ); Portishead’s Geoff Barrow describes himself as” a stalker” and pumps Schmidt for information about how Can did it. The thing is, Schmidt says, he doesn’t really know. Something inexplicable happens between the four of them, that all his musical educate can’t get to the bottom of.” Like in physics ,” he says.” Different components, when they come together, it creates something new. And that’s what Can is. It’s not the sum of us four – it’s something new .”

All Gates Open: The Story of Can , by Rob Young and Irmin Schmidt, is published by Faber& Faber( PS25 rrp ). To order a transcript for PS21. 25 with free UK p& p, go to guardianbookshop.com

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Ubers raising up to $600M in a secondary round at $62B valuation, Q1 sales grew to $2.5B

Uber’s CEO is in Paris this week meeting with the French chairperson to talk tech in Europe and expanding its insurance coverage in the region, but back in the U.S. the company are moving forward on another kind of expansion.

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Uber is creating another secondary round of funding of up to $600 million, on a valuation of $62 billion. The fundraising growth goes at the same hour that Uber is also releasing its Q1 financials — which indicate that the company pulled in $2.5 billion in net revenues, with a net loss of $601 million, and negative EBIDTA of $304 million on a pro forma basis.

Raising between $400 million and $600 million on a valuation of $62 billion( at $40 per share) would indicate that while Uber is regaining from the drop in valuation from its last round with SoftBank at the end of 2017another round with secondary components that valued the company at $48 billion — it’s still not back up( or higher than) its loftiest valuation of $69 billion.

From what we understand, investors participating in the offering, which has yet to close, include Coatue, Altimeter and TPG. Uber employees with at least 1,000 shares can also participate in the financing. According to the terms of offer , no one can sell more than $10 million worth of shares.

That general upward trend is also being reflected in Uber’s financials.

An investor presentation that was shared with TechCrunch indicated that the company’s $2.5 billion in net revenues was a seven percent one-quarter over one-quarter increase, and a 67 percentage increase year over year. Uber’s $304 million loss, meanwhile, were about half the amount they were last year: in Q1 2017, Uber’s adjusted losses were $597 million. Gross bookings — the total taken for all of Uber’s transportation services — was $11.3 billion in Q1, a 55 percent increase compared to $7.5 billion a year ago. At the end of Q1, Uber had $6.3 billion in gross cash.

GAAP numbers indicated net revenues of $2.6 billion with a GAAP profit nearly as big: $2.456 billion.” We had$ 3 billion of income on a GAAP basis because of the’ gain’ from the Yandex and Grab bargains ,” a spokesperson said.” That’s why we prefer to focus on EBITDA as the best number to present our underlying business in the one-quarter .”

“We are off to a terrific start in 2018, with our rides business beating internal plan and continuing to grow at healthy rates, while we significantly reduce our losses and maintain our leadership position around the world ,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.” Given the size of the opportunity ahead of us and our goal of attaining Uber a true mobility platform, we plan to reinvest any over-performance even more aggressively this year, both in our core business as well as in big wagers like Uber Eats globally.”

In other words, that could mean losses might get worse in the short-term as Uber continues to invest money in industries like Eats and JUMP, the bike-share service it acquired for about $200 million earlier this year to expand them into more markets. As with many tech companies, Uber appears to be focused more on growth than profitability, even as it eyes up an IPO, maybe as soon as next year.

Uber has raised over $21 billion in funding to date.

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Warriors take Game 1 of NBA Finals; LeBron James scores 51 in defeat

On a night when an unstoppable LeBron James poured in 51 phases for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors need some help in securing a victory.

They got it, in part, through a costly blunder by Cleveland’s J.R. Smith and a disputed foul call involving James — en route to a 124 -1 14 win in Oakland, Calif ., on Thursday night.

Stephen Curry scored 29 points and the Warriors capitalise on Smith’s mistake — which sent the game into overtime.

Just prior to OT, James jawed with both Curry and Klay Thompson, then Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green tangled moments afterwards and made contact. After replay review, Tristan Thompson received a Flagrant 2 fouled and ejection with 2.6 seconds left.

James was in utter skepticism as regulation ended stunningly: George Hill built the first of two free throws with 4.7 seconds away after being fouled by Klay Thompson, but when Smith procured the rebound of the second, he dribbled back toward half-court instead of shooting, apparently believing the Cavs had a lead.

“He thought it was over. He thought we were up one, ” coach Tyronn Lue said.

“He thought it was over. He thought we were up one.”

– Cavs coach Tyronn Lue

Yet Smith insisted he knew the score. Green figured Smith was simply looking for James, saying, “I would have looked for LeBron, too.”

Cleveland’s J.R. Smith, 5, manages the ball, surrounded by Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. ( Reuters)

“I merely thought we were going to call a timeout. Because I got the rebound, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t shoot it over KD, ” Smith told of Kevin Durant. “If I thought we were ahead, I would have just held on to the ball so they could foul me. Clearly that wasn’t the case.”

“I just thought we were going to call a timeout. Because I got the rebound, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t shoot it over KD.”

– Cleveland’s J.R. Smith

Instead, OT. And why not? Both these teams were pushed to their limits in seven-game seminar finals they each had to win on the road.

Cleveland’s LeBron James scored 51 phases in defeat. ( Associated Press)

“I can’t talk about a situation that style because I do some dumb stuff on the court, ” Durant told of how the fourth quarter finished. “I don’t know what was going through J.R.’s head. He made a great rebound and devoted them an opportunity to win the basketball game.”

“I don’t know what was going through J.R.’s head. He made a great rebound and gave them an opportunity to win the basketball game.”

– Golden State’s Kevin Durant

Game 2 is Sunday night back at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have won 18 of their last 19 postseason games.

James shot 19 for 32 to go with eight assistances and eight rebounds in the opener of his eighth straight NBA Finals and ninth overall, as well as Cavs-Warriors Take IV. James notched his eighth 40 -point game during this playoff run to tie Hall of Famer Jerry West’s feat in 1965 for most in a single postseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this story .

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This beer’s packaging isn’t hurting turtles, it’s feeding them.

The ocean is in crisis.

I don’t mean to start this on a down note, but let’s be real for a second: There are real problems swirling underneath the waves. Not only are the water getting warmer and the Great Barrier Reef losing coral, but nearly 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the water on an annual basis. And that’s hurting the beasts that live down where it’s wetter. According to recent research, sea animals from birds, to turtles, to whales regularly feed upon plasticbecause it smells like food. That’s not good for them.

Here’s what it would feel like for a human:

Here’s the issue, though: Brine is the first company to utilize these rings. And while they’re popping up in stores all over Florida — Publix, Total Wine& More, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits — they’ve still got a long way to go. According to a news release, E6PR is working to bring the packaging to other breweries across the country, though it hasn’t exposed which ones yet. But the eco rings are sure to grow in popularity( and drop in price ?) as it becomes more apparent how important it is for us to save our oceans.

And I’m sorry, but have you assured a sea turtle lately? They’re majestic AF and we should be doing everything we can to protect them. If that entails reusing water bottles , not hurling garbage on the beach, and being more conscious of how much plastic we buy in general, it’s worth it.

Image by Tarik Tinazay/ AFP/ Getty Images.

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Samantha Bee apologizes for ‘unfiltered’ slam on Ivanka Trump while accepting ‘social change’ award

Newly notorious comedian Samantha Bee told a crowd in Los Angeles on Thursday that the media focus should shift from the “one bad word” she uttered to describe Ivanka Trump to the nation’s therapy of immigrant children and families, a report said.

Press access was revoked hours before the Television Academy event, which honored Bee’s show, “Full Frontal, ” and six other programs as platforms for advancing social change, but IndieWire was able to report Bee’s speech.

“We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word, when we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from both parents and treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals, ” Bee told at NeueHouse Hollywood. “If we are OK with that then really, who are now we? ”

Bee, 48, a former is part of comedian Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” troupe on Comedy Central, was honored on the same day she apologized for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c—” during the opening monologue of her Wednesday show, Deadline reported.

Ivanka Trump was criticized for a photo she shared, indicating her hugging her son, amid reports that the Office of Refugee Resettlement had lost track of 1,500 immigrant children in the last three months of 2017.

Bee admitted that while her depict strives to position the world through an “unfiltered” lens, there are times when she “should probably have a filter.”

“You know, the thing is, our show is immersed in passion, ” Bee told the audience. “Every week I strive to show the world as I see it, unfiltered. Sometimes I should probably have a filter. I accept that. I take it severely when I get it right and I do take responsibility when I get it wrong.

“There is power in saying what you feel without apology, ” Bee said. “OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.”

The media was denied to Thursday’s ceremony itself, but reporters and photographers had access to the red carpet preceding the event. Bee, however, was a no-show, Entertainment Weekly reported.

An apparently sudden increase in the number of press attending the event forced the Television Academy “to limit access to tonight’s activities” just hours before the red carpet.

An academy rep told the Hollywood Reporter late Thursday afternoon that the press “re no longer” allowed into the reception “as a result of today’s events involving Samantha B.”

TBS, the network that airs “Full Frontal, ” also issued an apology after Bee’s tweet: “Samantha Bee has taken the right action in apologizing for the vile and inappropriate speech she used about Ivanka Trump last night. Those terms should not have been aired. It was our mistake too, and we regret it.”

The segment has since been removed from the show’s YouTube page.

At least two advertisers so far have pulled sponsorship from Bee’s program.

The other indicates honored Thursday were “Andi Mack, ” “Daughters of Destiny, ” “Forbidden: Undocumented& Queer in Rural America, ” “LA 92, ” “One Day at a Time” and “1 3 Reasons Why.”

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Suspect charged after shooting in volcano evacuation zone

Police have charged a man they say is considered on video jostle another man and firing a gun in a mandatory evacuation zone near the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Authorities told 61 -year-old John Hubbard of Leilani Estates has been charged with reckless endangering, terroristic endanger, robbery and other countings involving failure to obtain and register a firearm.

“Stress is high, nervousnes is high, ” Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told reporters Wednesday. “They’ve got this live volcano in their backyard.”

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began spewing lava on May 3, forcing thousands of residents in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods in the Puna district to evacuate. County officials say 75 homes have been completely covered by lava, and roads have been constructed impassable.

Residents “see strange people in their subdivision, ” Magno said. “Basically, they try to protect stuff. It’s a hard time for the folks that are still in there.”

Police have made other arrests in recent weeks within evacuation zones for property crimes such as burglary including firearms, and for flying a drone.

No injuries resulted from the gunfire, but the victim, whose name was withheld by police, reported minor injuries from the scuffle.

Police say Hubbard was arrested Wednesday without incident. He remained in police detention in lieu of $222,000 bail and was slated to appear in court afterwards Thursday.

Police reacted Tuesday to a report of gunshots in Leilani Estates and were told by the victim that he and acquaintances were approached by a man in a pickup truck as they surveyed the site where his residency had been burned down by lava, county officials said.

A video posted on Facebook and authenticated by police shows the back of a white-haired man with a handgun approaching another man followed by what appears to be a brief profanity-filled argument.

The man without the firearm yells to the other man that he would be arrested and screamings, “Are you kidding me? ” as shootings are fired. He ducked as the man with the handgun advanced toward him.

It was unclear if Hubbard had an attorney.


AP journalist Caleb Jones contributed to this report.

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Liberals’ worst nightmare: a second supreme court pick for Trump

A future conservative nominee could affect issues ranging from womens reproductive health to LGBT rights

When, merely weeks after taking office, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, the freshly minted US president made good on a central promise of his campaign: to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia with a bona fide conservative.

That moment portended what is shaping up to be among the most indelible of Trump’s triumphs- the reshaping of the federal judiciary with the appointment of dozens of judges with an ideological bent toward the administration’s agenda.

Republicans are working with Trump to make a record-breaking number of appointments to federal tribunals. These new, largely young, white men will be in a position to rule on legislation that could change America for years.

But the most contentious appointment would be a second nomination to the highest court in the land. The supreme court has over decades delivered landmark decisions on issues from abortion to affirmative action and same-sex matrimony. The possibilities for Trump to install another justice on the nine-seat bench, some legal expert argue, could have profound repercussions on issues ranging from women’s reproductive health to LGBT rights.

With speculation mount over the possible retirement of supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump could have a lasting impact on reshaping America’s most important court.

” If President Trump fills another vacancy on the court it will have an enormous effect ,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley School of Law at the University of California.

” It will create the most conservative court since the mid-1 930 s ,” he added.” It would entail a majority to overrule Roe v Wade and to allow states to prohibit abortions, to eliminate all manner of affirmative action, to eliminate constitutional limits on illegal police conduct .”

The president himself underscored the power of future vacancies earlier this year, where reference is tweeted that Republican” must ALWAYS hold the Supreme court !”.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrat would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme court!

March 28, 2018

While it is not unusual for presidents to appoint supreme court justices with similar ideological tilts, Trump’s comments all but reinforced that he is unlikely to nominate a consensus pick if the opportunity. In November, the president updated his shortlist of nominees for a hypothetical vacancy, adding to a roster of proven judicial conservatives.

While the likelihood of a pending vacancy is far from corroborated, judicial watchers have set their sights on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive icon who turned 85 this year, and Kennedy, a critical sway election who has been the subject of retirement rumors for the second straight year.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest sitting magistrate at age 85, was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/ AP

Any vacancy prior to 2020 would almost certainly be filled by Trump, and a rules change adopted by Republican during the Gorsuch nomination oppose enabled the Senate to confirm supreme court justices with a simple majority vote.

Under the current balance of the court, Kennedy and the chief justice, John Roberts, though conservative appointees, have at times sided with the bench’s liberal justices.

Kennedy was the architect of several major decisions on LGBT rights, most notably the supreme court’s milestone ruling in 2015 establishing same-sex wedding as the law of the land. He is being closely watched as the likely choosing vote on the court’s highly expected decision considering a example of a baker in the state of Colorado who refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Camilla Taylor, the director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, their own nationals civil rights group focused on LGBT issues, said Kennedy’s previous decisions in the LGBT community’s favor” helped bring our relationships and our families out of the shadows and recognized the full human beings and citizenship of our community on the court “.

Taylor voiced concern thata second Trump supreme court nominee would present” an immediate and unambiguous threat to the LGBT community .”

” Another conservative Trump justice would jeopardize our right to marry who we love, and also our fundamental equality under the law including protections from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and education .”

Some nonetheless argue that if the supposition around Kennedy’s departure proved true, it would not fundamentally alter the supreme court.

Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor of statute at Vanderbilt University, said Republican pledges to overrule Roe v Wade, the supreme court’s 1973 ruling that decriminalize abortion in the US, are more designed to energize conservative voters than they are grounded in reality.

” Even if we have a more conservative replacement for Kennedy, the conservatives are not going to overrule the human rights of an abortion, they’re not going to overrule lesbian wedding ,” Fitzpatrick said.

” The reality is the big cases where he goes with the liberals are cases that I doubt the conservatives have the belly to reverse, even if they had the votes next year.

” That would be too dramatic a change in national societies ,” he added.” It would cause all kinds of turmoil and backlash in the political system. People like Chief Justice Roberts, he’s a very institutionally minded person. He’s not going to risk the supreme court’s credibility and consistently by operating it like a weathervane .”

If Trump were to oversee a supreme court vacancy, a prevailing topic remains as to whether Democrat in the Senate would force a similar blockade of the seat as Republican did under former chairperson Obama – should they retake the Senate in November’s elections

Democratic wounds have yet to mend over the repudiation of Republican to grant Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia in 2016, a hearing or a election.

The Republican opposition went despite the fact that Garland held a reputation as a widely respected centrist judge on the US appeals court.

Progressives now believe Democrat should devote any future Trump nominee what has become known in Washington as” the Garland treatment “.

Prominent Democrat have signaled reservations about resorting to the same tactics, which they argue would risk further eroding institutional norms. But Senator Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, suggested an overtly partisan pick by Trump would not receive much of an audience with Democrats.

” The topic is who you put up ,” Warren said in an interview with Pod Save America, a political podcast hosted by former Obama aides.

” The people that George W Bush would put in wouldn’t be exactly the same as the people that Barack Obama would put in. But they’d be along the same road .”

Warren noted that the climate had changed, even as she conceded it was counterproductive to follow in McConnell’s footsteps and state from the outset that Democrats would block any Trump nominee regardless of background.

” I think that’s wrong ,” she said.” But I do think you send a Neil Gorsuch to us, and the answer is no. We do hearings, we do it substantively, but the answer would be no .”

McConnell, for his part, has said any supreme court vacancy this term would be dealt with expeditiously and before the midterm elections.

” It would be a top priority ,” he told NPR last week.

” If we get a vacancy on the supreme court this year, we’ll dealing with this problem .”

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If you spot a ‘sensory room’ at a sports stadium, you likely have this couple to thank.

When Julian Maha and Michelle Kong’s first infant was diagnosed with autism, their world turned upside down.

Maha and Kong’s son Abram was an easy, delightful, precocious newborn at first. Around age 2, his behaviour abruptly changed. He stopped talking. He stopped sleeping. He wept inconsolably half the night.

Though they are both physicians themselves, his mothers were at a loss. They consulted several physicians, finally landing an appointment with one of the top speech postpone specialists in the country.

After a short examination, the doctor abruptly delivered the daunting news: Abram has autism. He would probably never speak, never tell, “I love you.” And the doctor’s opinion was that there was a good chance Maha and Kong would end up institutionalizing him because he was only going to get worse.

Maha and Kong were stunned.

“It was as if someone had dropped a bomb in our lives, and we were just standing there holding the pieces, ” Maha said in a TED Talk. Abram’s diagnosis changed everything — including what would become the couple’s life calling.

Maha and Kong speedily became aware that families affected by autism often feel isolated and excluded from society.

The couple found themselves thrust into a whole new world, and soon discovered that many parents of kids with autism find themselves with little social support.

Some people with an autism spectrum ailment are nonverbal totally or merely at times, which can stimulate communication difficult. The vocalizations that sometimes come with autism can be fazing to people without autism who are unfamiliar with them. Too many noises, suns, people, or other stimuli can push people with autism into sensory overload, which can lead to meltdowns.

And then there are the premises. Because they communicate differently, people with autism are often perceived to be unintelligent or unfeeling.

Abram and two brothers Juda. Photo via Julian Maha.

However, Maha and Kong realized that many of society’s perceptions of autism are simply wrong. People with autism are often very intelligent and experience a full range of feelings. Many utterly can and do feel and understand — it’s only that sometimes, they just can’t demonstrate it in ways that most of us without autism understand.

Maha and Kong believe that many of these prejudices can be dissolved through awareness, acceptance, and inclusion. So they set out on a major mission.

They founded KultureCity, an all-volunteer nonprofit that advocates for acceptance and inclusion of the persons with autism — and helps make it happen.

Based out of Birmingham, Alabama, where Maha and Kong live, KultureCity seeks to transform national societies to be accepting and inclusive of neurodiversity.

“Everyone’s aware of autism now, ” says Maha. “I think it’s the next step of adoption and inclusion that’s really going to start construct changes for so many kids.”

Noise-cancelling headphones can help a child with autism in sensory overload. Photo via Julian Maha.

KultureCity works toward that goal by developing people in guest service positions on how to interact with guests with sensory processing differences. They also help stimulate spaces more all-inclusive through minor adjustments and accommodations. The educate is the most important thing, though, Maha says. When non-autistic people know what to expect and have tools for interacting with someone who may made sensory overload, everyone’s experience is more positive.

KultureCity has helped generate sensory-inclusive spaces at more than half of NBA stadiums, in addition to other venues.

The organization works with zoos, aquariums, professional sports venues, and other public spaces around the country to help them be more sensory-inclusive.

Maha points out that there’s a difference between a sensory-friendly space or event and a sensory-inclusive one. A sensory- friendly space offer lower noise levels and mob, but such accommodations might obstruct the experiences of others. A sensory- inclusive space provides accommodations that have little to no impact on anyone else, but make a big difference for people prone to sensory overload.

Such an accommodation might be a room where people can escape the crowds and noise in a sports stadium, for example. Or it could be a grab bag filled with things like noise-cancelling headphones, stimming tools, and weighted lap pads( which can help people feeling grounded ).

Calm lighting, minimal decor, and various grounding activities give people a respite from sensory overload. Photo via Julian Maha.

But that really only scratches the surface of what KultureCity is doing. Most recently, they’ve generated a free app that provides various resources for people with sensory processing differences and parents of kids with autism.

It can be a challenging diagnosis, but Maha wants people to know that people with autism are no different from your children or loved ones who don’t have it.

“They view the world differently and they take in the world differently from us, but their wants and needs are still similar, ” Maha notes. “They still seek adoption and inclusion, they want to be part of the community, and it’s our mission to help embrace them regardless of their differences.”

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As Kubernetes grows, a startup ecosystem develops in its wake

Kubernetes, the open source receptacle orchestration tool, came out of Google several years ago and has gained traction amazingly fast. With each step in its growth, it has created opportunities for companies to develop industries on top of the open source project.

The beauty of open source is that when it runs, you build a base platform and an economic ecosystem follows in its wake. That’s because a project like Kubernetes( or any successful open source offering) generates new requirements as a natural extension of the growth and development of a project.

Those requirements represent opportunities for new projects, of course, but also for startups looking at building companies adjacent that open source community. Before that can happen however, a couple of key pieces have to fall into place.

Ingredients for success

For starters you need the big corporates to get behind it. In the case of Kuberentes, in a 6 week period last year in quick succession between July and the beginning of September, we saw some of the best known enterprise technology companies including AWS, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware and Pivotal all join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation( CNCF ), the professional organisation behind the open source project. This was a signal that Kubernetes was becoming a standard of kinds for container orchestration.

Surely these big companies would have preferred( and tried) to control the orchestration layer themselves, but they soon found that their customers preferred to use Kubernetes and they had little choice, but to follow the clear tendency that was developing around the project.

Photo: Georgijevic on Getty Images

The second piece that has to come together for an open source community to prosper is that a significant group of developers have to accept it and start build stuff on top of the platform — and Kubernetes get that too. Consider that according to CNCF, a total of 400 projects have been developed on the platform by 771 developers contributing over 19,000 perpetrates since the launch of Kubernetes 1.0 in 2015. Since last August, the last date for which the CNCF has numbers, developer contributions had increased by 385 percentage. That’s a ton of momentum.

Cue the investors

When you have those two ingredients in place — developers and big vendors — you can begin to gain velocity. As more companies and more developers arrive, the community continues to grow, and that’s what we’ve been considering with Kubernetes.

As that happens, it typically doesn’t take long for investors to take notice, and according to CNCF, there has been over$ 4 billion in investments so far in cloud native companies — this from a project designed didn’t even exist that long ago.

Photo: Fitria Ramli/ EyeEm on Getty Images.

That investment has taken the form of venture capital fund startups trying to build something on top of Kubernetes, and we’ve seen some big raises. Earlier this month, Hasura created a $1.6 M seed round for a packaged version Kubernetes designed specially to meet the needs of developers. Just last week, Upbound, a new startup from Seattle get$ 9 million in its Series A round to help manage multi-cluster and multi-cloud environments in a standard( cloud-native) way. A little farther up the maturity curve, Heptio has raised over $33 million with its most recent round being a $25 million Series B last September. Finally, there is CoreOS, which raised virtually $50 million before being sold to Red Hat for $250 million in January.

CoreOS wasn’t alone by any means as we’ve find other exits coming over the last year or two with organizations scooping up cloud native startups. In particular, when you consider the largest organizations like Microsoft, Oracle and Red Hat buying relatively young startups, they are often go looking for talent, customers and products to get up to speed more quickly in a growing technology region like Kubernetes.

Growing an economic ecosystem

Kubernetes has grown and developed into an economic powerhouse in short period of time as dozens of side projects have developed around it, making even more opportunity for companies of all sizes to build products and services to meet an ever-growing situated of required in a virtuous cycle of investment, invention and economic activity.

Cloud Native Computing Foundation projects. Photo: Cloud Native Computing Foundation

If this project continues to grow, chances are it will gain even more investment as companies continue to flow toward containers and Kubernetes, and even more startups develop to help create products to satisfy new needs as a result.

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Google under fire for listing ‘Nazism’ as the ideology of the California Republican Party

Google arrived under fire on Thursday after an error in its Knowledge Panel listed “Nazism” as the ideology of the California Republican Party.

The error, which was first spotted by political strategist Eric Wilson, indicated “Nazism” alongside other ideologies such as “Conservatism, ” “Market liberalism, ” “Fiscal conservatism, ” and “Green conservatism.”

The error presented up in Google’s Knowledge Panel, which pulls info from various sources from across the web, including Wikipedia.


“Google should apologize for labeling Republicans nazis, ” Wilson tweeted. Wilson is the founder of LearnTestOptimize, which describes itself as “a community platform for professionals working at the intersection of marketing, technology, and politics.”

The error has since been fixed, but not before House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif ., slammed the company over the error.

“Sadly, this is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives, ” McCarthy wrote. “These damaging actions must be held to account. #StopTheBias”

The news was first reported by Vice News.

When reached for remark, a Google spokesperson told Fox News the error was likely the result of vandalism on one of its sources.

“This was not the result of any manual change by anyone at Google. We don’t bias our search results toward any political party. Sometimes people vandalize public information sources, like Wikipedia, which can impact the information that appears in search, ” the spokesperson told via email.

The spokesperson continued: “We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally mistakes get through, and that’s what happened here. This would have been fixed systematically once we processed the removal from Wikipedia, but when we noticed the vandalism we worked promptly to accelerate this process to remove the erroneous information.”


Silicon Valley has come under flame in recent months for being seen as inhibiting conservative voices, including from some senior members of the Republican party.

During his testimony in front of Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about the company’s “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship, ” pointing to a recent incident with Fox News Channel contributors Diamond and Silk who were temporarily banned from the platform.

In response to Cruz’s question, Zuckerberg said that Diamond and Silk’s ban was an error. “In that specific case, our team made an enforcement fault and we have already get in touch with them to reverse it, ” Zuckerberg said.


The tech exec also noted that he was concerned about political bias in the tech industry, and he has tried to root that out at Facebook.

A source familiar with Google’s guessing noted that its systems are designed to see if their information services have been vandalized.

“These generally work well, but aren’t perfect, ” the source told, and when the company is alerted of a mistake, it is fixed.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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