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Deutsch CEO Mike Sheldon Reflects on Two Decades at the Agency   


By Doug Zanger
Senior Editor

Reprinted with permission

Deutsch North America’s CEO Mike Sheldon 
is hanging up his cleats. It’s not a retirement, per se, but a move away from Deutsch in Los Angeles after 22 years.

During his tenure, the Michigan native has presided over highs and lows. Most notably, Sheldon is credited with turning Deutch’s then-nascent L.A. operation into one of the staples of the market, taking it from a handful of people to, at its peak, a 600-plus juggernaut. The agency continues to create standout work for brands, including high profile campaigns for Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper and others.

On the downside, the agency split from Target, yet won the Reebok business shortly after that. Additionally, after nine years—and being credited with reviving Volkswagen’s fortunes with breakout work including the oft-referenced “The Force”—Deutsch and the carmaker ended their relationship.

Yet with all of the ups and downs (common in any agency), Sheldon, who spent six years at TBWA\Chiat\Day pre-Deutsch, remained upbeat and steadfast in his mission to build and retain a positive outlook and culture. Adweek caught up with Sheldon to find out a little more about his time at Deutsch and what’s next.

I’ll start with the predictable question. Why now?
Mike Sheldon: It’s a confluence of events. I’ve been doing this for 22 years, and I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been talking to [IPG CEO] Michael Roth about this for a while and want to see what else is out there. I’m not ready to go feed pigeons on a park bench. I want to see what the universe brings. I still have a lot of energy and interest in new and exciting ventures, and I figured after 22 years at Deutsch and 37 years in advertising, maybe there’s something else out there for me.

What would you say, outside of the obvious things like technology, are the most significant changes you’ve seen at Deutsch L.A.?
We’ve always been about investing ahead of revenue. In the future, it will be the same. You have to stay ahead of the business, or you’ll get run over. We got into digital production years ago, 
and started Steelhead [Deutch’s in-house production company] a few years ago. Experiential is now huge, analytics are as well. The future is going to be like the past: Unless you stay ahead, it will get the best of you.

How does an agency “stay ahead”?
For us, it’s having rock-solid clients like Taco Bell, Keurig Dr. Pepper and H&R block that appreciate the partnership and long-term commitment and depths of understanding that an agency can have into a client’s business and provide value way beyond any marketing communication. Then some clients want a TV spot or need to spend time looking at their consumer base. You have to go with the flow since there aren’t a ton of AOR relationships. I keep telling everybody to think of yourself as the ultimate Swiss army knife because that’s what we need to be a good, successful agency moving forward.

You’ve touched on a couple of successful points in your tenure. Aside from those, what would say is another significant accomplishment?
By far, the idea of kindness. There are a lot of really good people in this business—brilliant and creative people. But that has to be combined with being kind and putting your employees first and, unfortunately, making some of those difficult decisions like walking away from a prickly client. It doesn’t get talked about much in this business, but being good to other humans is a business asset.

Anything you would have done differently over the past two-plus decades?
I thought that I could have started an agency at one point, but it was never in the cards or the right things for me. I used to think that I should have done that, but looking back, I’ve realized how much I’ve enjoyed and valued my time here.

One of the tougher times for the agency was the end of the VW relationship. What did you learn from that?
I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t say it was a kick in the gut after nine years of really great results, fantastic work and a great brand point of difference. But that’s advertising. That’s what we signed up for. There are a lot of things that you can’t control, and the best advertising executives have a short memory. So while that stung, nine months later, it’s a distant memory, and we’re on to all the work that’s currently filling up the plate. You can’t take that stuff too seriously, personally or emotionally—it’ll eat you alive.

What’s your view on the agency world today?
It’s a tougher time than it’s ever been in the business, but it’s also kind of a mind game now. You have to stay positive, keep pitching and pushing. Anybody that reads too much of the press or gets bummed out about anything is dead because this business is just unforgiving. So it’s staying ahead. It’s innovating, it’s adding new divisions. It’s not being afraid to invest and keeping both feet on the gas. Otherwise, there’s just too much gravity pulling things down right now. Clients will always pay for ideas, great execution and results-driven communications.

What’s next for you?
I’m going to keep the aperture wide open. I have purposely not overplanned this. My goal is to see what the universe brings in. That might be taking a bike ride on a random Tuesday, consulting, bringing in a direct-to-consumer product to life, or another type of product to life. I really want to stay open.

Is Lil’ Sweet, Diet Dr. Pepper’s mascot, the most underrated ever?
I think he might be. But, in all seriousness, 
we love Lil’ Sweet, and that brand continues to defy gravity year after year because it’s the coolest, weirdest campaign in the world.

Doug Zanger is a senior editor at Adweek focusing on creativity and agencies. Find him on Twitter at @zanger.

This article originally ran in Adweek and is reprinted with permission.



Rons Blood II   


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Wondrous Creatures Genesis 2 Female(s)   


Wondrous Creatures is a set of one-click dialed head and body morph presets for the Genesis 2 Creature Creator morphs. It includes 35 presets that run the gamut from cute to cool to scary to strange in seven different categories:

Goblins and Orcs

Also included are 17 brand new morph dials for Genesis 2 Female to round out what is offered by the original Creature Creator pack. These include a digitigrade foot morph, an alternate cat girl nose, more paw like hands and feet, and many others!

As a bonus, this pack also includes versions of all of the dialspun morph presets for the HD creature creator morphs.

Additional detail can be found in the product's ReadMe HERE.

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Direct Report Seems to Be Overdoing it with Health Excuses? Ask Madeleine   


Dear Madeleine, I run a very lean team and one of my people is a hypochondriac. Every week there is a new reason he needs to go to the doctor. Any cold that comes through he gets, and it is worse for him than for anybody else. He gets the flu every year. It is…


TNT preempting Star Wars marathon for playoff baseball led to hilarious complaints and “spoilers”   


TNT preempted a Star Wars marathon for playoff baseball, and people got upset.Sports events sometimes run longer than scheduled or wind up on alternate channels, and that can lead to some funny complaints from viewers expecting to see something else. We’ve seen this before with things like college basketball running into golf or college football games being sent to Fox Business Network, but a particularly humorous one happened Read more...

The post TNT preempting Star Wars marathon for playoff baseball led to hilarious complaints and “spoilers” appeared first on Awful Announcing.


Αποστομωτική απάντηση Κικίλια πρός χοιροβοσκό Πολάκη μέσω Facebook για τον θάνατο της καθηγήτριας   


Μια έντονη κόντρα μέσω social media έχει ξεσπάσει μεταξύ της νυν και της πρώην πολιτικής ηγεσίας του υπουργείου Υγείας, έπειτα από τη θλιβερή είδηση της καθηγήτριας πανεπιστημίου, η οποία άφησε την τελευταία της πνοή σε ηλικία 52 ετών σε ασθενοφόρο, κατά τη διακομιδή της από την Αρχαία Ολυμπία στα Ιωάννινα, λόγω έλλειψης καρδιοχειρουργικής μονάδας στην Πελοπόννησο....
Αρχικά, τοποθετήθηκε μέσω Facebook ο Παύλος Πολάκης, ο οποίος έγραψε σχετικά με το γεγονός: «Είμαι στα Σφακιά.Έμαθα πριν λίγο για το θλιβερό γεγονός του θανάτου της πενηντάχρονης με τη ρήξη ανευρύσματος θωρακικής αορτής καθ οδόν από Πύργο προς Γιάννενα.
Η βάση λειτουργεί και έχουν σωθεί ασθενείς από τον Απρίλιο!!!!».
Στην ανάρτηση αυτήν σήκωσε… το γάντι ο Βασίλης Κικίλιας, ο οποίος από το ίδιο μέσο κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, έγραψε: «Ο κ. Ξανθός και ο κ. Πολάκης μετά από 4 χρόνια στο Υπουργείο Υγείας, θα έπρεπε να ντρέπονται περισσότερο και να μιλούν λιγότερο. Είναι αυτοί που έκλεισαν την καρδιοχειρουργική κλινική του Ρίου. Αντί να αναλάβουν τις ευθύνες τους και να ζητήσουν σήμερα συγγνώμη, παριστάνουν τους σχολιαστές για τον τρόπο διακομιδής.
Γνωρίζουν όμως ότι:
  • Οι αεροδιακομιδές γίνονται όταν έχουν εξαντληθεί όλοι οι υπόλοιποι πιθανοί τρόποι διακομιδής.
  • Δευτερογενείς αεροδιακομιδές δεν πραγματοποιούνται μεταξύ χερσαίων περιοχών.
  • Αν και γιατρός, ο κ. Πολάκης αγνοεί σκοπίμως τόσο το συνολικό χρόνο εκτέλεσης της αεροδιακομιδής, όσο και την επιβάρυνση στην κατάσταση του ασθενούς από τις συνθήκες.
ΥΓ: Αναφορικά με την πολυδιαφημιζόμενη από τον κ. Τσίπρα βάση στο Άκτιο, αυτή εκτελεί αεροδιακομιδές μόνο με το φως της ημέρας.
Δυστυχώς περισσεύει το θράσος τους και λείπει η ντροπή».
Στην απάντηση του νυν υπουργού Υγείας έδωσε ανταπάντηση ο πρώην αναπληρωτής υπουργός, ο οποίος ανάρτησε τη δημοσίευση του κ. Κικίλια, για να σχολιάσει: «Προσοχή, Προσοχή!!
Μου απάντησε ο κύριος Κικιλιας στο ερώτημα που έθεσα χθες για το θάνατο της καθηγήτριας κατά τη διακομιδή της προς Γιάννενα από Πύργο στο ασθενοφόρο του ΕΚΑΒ, γιατί δεν χρησιμοποιήθηκε το ελικόπτερο του Ακτίου!
Λοιπόν, χθες προσπάθησα να είμαι ευγενικός σήμερα λόγω του θράσους και της ΑΓΝΟΙΑΣ που επιδεικνύει ο κύριος Κικιλιας ΔΕΝ ΘΑ ΕΙΜΑΙ….
  • Επειδή λοιπόν κύριε Κικίλια εγώ είμαι ΠΟΛΥ ΣΧΕΤΙΚΟΣ με το αντικείμενο της επείγουσας Ιατρικής και έχω σώσει εκατοντάδες ανθρώπους στη ζωή μου
  • Επειδή ως υπουργός ενδιαφερόμουν σε ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ ΒΑΣΗ για τέτοια προβλήματα και πάντα ΕΔΙΝΑ ΛΥΣΕΙΣ (γιατί ΞΕΡΩ την ουσία του θέματος και όχι μόνο τη διαδικασία) ,όταν η ολιγωρία ,η ανεπάρκεια ή η γραφειοκρατία μπέρδευε τα πράγματα
  1. Όταν έχεις ένα περιστατικό με τέτοια βαριά διάγνωση που δεν μπορεί να αντιμετωπιστεί στην υποδομή υγείας που έχει μεταφερθεί ,ψάχνεις και βρίσκεις το ΣΥΝΤΟΜΟΤΕΡΟ ΤΡΟΠΟ ΜΕΤΑΦΟΡΑΣ προς τον υγειονομικό σχηματισμό που μπορεί να το αντιμετωπίσει. Κάνεις δηλαδή Scoop and Run και όχι stay and play, αν καταλαβαίνετε τι εννοώ
  2. Στη συγκεκριμένη περίπτωση ο συντομότερος τρόπος ΗΤΑΝ ΤΟ ΕΛΙΚΟΠΤΕΡΟ ΤΗΣ ΒΑΣΗΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΚΤΙΟΥ, το οποιο έμαθα πως δεν ήταν σε άλλο περιστατικό για να υπάρχει καθυστέρηση στην ανταπόκριση. (Θα πήγαινε το ελικόπτερο από το Άκτιο στην Ανδραβίδα και σε αυτό το χρόνο θα είχε μεταφερθεί το περιστατικό από τον Πύργο εκεί)
  3. Σε ποιο βιβλίο Ιατρικης ή σε ποιο νόμο γράφεται πως οι δευτερογενείς διακομιδές ΔΕΝ ΓΙΝΟΝΤΑΙ ΜΕ ΕΝΑΕΡΙΑ ΜΕΣΑ;;; Τόση ασχετοσύνη πια;;;; Ποσά περιστατικά έχουν μεταφερθεί τα τελευταία μόνο καλοκαίρια από την ευρύτερη περιοχή της Χαλκιδικής προς νοσοκομεία της Θεσσαλονίκης με το ελικόπτερο της Πυροσβεστικης που επιχειρεί εκεί τα Παρασκευοσαββατοκύριακα του καλοκαιριού;; Ποσά περιστατικά από την ηπειρωτική Ελλάδα έχουν μεταφερθεί με εναέρια μέσα λόγω του επείγοντος της κατάστασης από νοσοκομεία της περιοχής προς νοσοκομεία των Αθηνών;;; Ζητήστε από το ΕΚΑΒ να σας δώσει ονομαστικό κατάλογο !!
  4. Να σας ενημερώσω επίσης ότι το ελικόπτερο δεν πετάει στα 15.000 πόδια για να υπάρχουν Αιμοδυναμικό προβλήματα στο συγκεκριμένο περιστατικό από τις μεταβολές των πιέσεων κατά την πτήση, αλλά πολύ χαμηλότερα. Τέλος η ώρα θανάτου της Ασθενούς αναφέρεται πως ήταν 6.30 το απόγευμα στο ύψος της Άρτας έχοντας ξεκινήσει από τον Πύργο. ΔΗΛΑΔΗ υπήρχε άφθονος χρόνος με το ΦΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΗΜΕΡΑΣ για να μεταφερθεί η ασθενής!!!!! (Εκτός αν στην άριστο τέλους πλέον νυχτώνει Οκτώβρη μήνα από τις τρεις το μεσημέρι….)
  5. Για δε το πρόβλημα της ουσιαστικά Θωρακοχειρουργικής και δευτερευόντως Καρδιοχειρουργικης πανεπιστημιακής κλινικής στην Πάτρα που μετά την αποχώρηση του προηγούμενου διευθυντή που ήρθε καθηγητής στο Αττικό ,σταμάτησε να εφημερεύει για έκτακτα Καρδιοχειρουργικα, ΞΕΡΩ ΠΩΣ ΕΧΕΤΕ ΠΑΡΕΙ ΑΝΑΛΥΤΙΚΗ ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ ΓΙΑ ΟΛΑ ΟΣΑ ΚΑΝΑΜΕ ΓΙΑ ΝΑ ΑΝΟΙΞΕΙ και τις αντιστάσεις και ανεπάρκειες του τοπικού κυκλώματος που δεν θελει να λειτουργήσει εκεί η Κλινική. Για να μην τα λέω εγώ σας ΠΡΟΚΑΛΩ ΝΑ ΔΗΜΟΣΙΕΥΣΕΤΕ ΕΣΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ ΠΟΥ ΕΧΕΤΕ ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΤΙ ΚΑΝΑΜΕ και ελπίζω να το ολοκληρώσετε .
  6. ΤΕΛΟΣ μήπως να ρωτήσετε αυτούς που σας συμβουλεύουν και γράψατε όλα αυτά τα απαράδεκτα και αβάσιμα (ΑΛΛΑΞΤΕ ΤΟΥΣ) γιατι δεν χρησιμοποιήθηκε, αφού επιλέχθηκε οδική μεταφορά ,η ΚΙΝΗΤΗ ΜΟΝΑΔΑ του Εκαβ της περιοχής που είχε μέσα ειδικευμένο γιατρό αλλά επιλέχθηκε απλό ασθενοφόρο με σύνοδο μη ειδικό γιατρό
ΑΥΤΑ ΠΡΟΣ ΩΡΑΣ και επαναλαμβάνω εμπλουτίζοντας παλαιότερη συμβουλή μου για διάβασμα-διάβασμα -διάβασμα και ενημέρωση-ενημέρωση-ενημέρωση για τις δυνατότητες του συστήματος επείγουσας μεταφοράς που σας παραδώσαμε .
Παύλος Πολακης βουλευτής Συριζα Χανιων ,πρώην Αναπλ Υπ.Υγειας ,γενικός Χειρουργος-εντατικολόγος».


Nominations Open For The 2019 BroadwayWorld Fargo Awards, Presented by TodayTix!   


Nominations are NOW OPEN for the 2019 BroadwayWorld Fargo Awards, brought to you by TodayTix!

Regional productions, touring shows, and more are all included, honoring productions which opened between October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. Our local editors have set the categories and now YOU get to nominate and vote for your favorites! Nominations are reader-submitted and will be open through October 31.

After the nomination period ends, BroadwayWorld's local editors will proof the list for eligibility and errors, then voting will begin in early November and run through December 31. Winners will be announced in January!

This year the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards are bigger and better than ever, including over 100 cities across America, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia!

Please carefully and accurately fill in the nomination form for your region, making sure the production meets the eligibility requirements described above.

TodayTix has joined forces with BroadwayWorld to offer more access to the best theater in your city. By gathering the best prices into one place in TodayTix Ticket Central, sharing exclusive TodayTix Lottery and Rush programs, and providing insider tips on how to score the best prices on trending shows, planning your next night out is now easier than ever.

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Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!


Kenowa Hills Grad Rolls To World Title In The 800 Meter Run [Video]   


Donovan Brazier is a world champion and he set an American record in the process.


Kenowa Hills Grad Goes For World Title Today [Video]   


Donovan Brazier breezed to a semi-final win this weekend in the 800 meter run at the World Track and Field Championships in Qatar.


SC halts tree cutting for metro rail car-shed, at Mumbai’s Aarey Colony   


The Supreme Court, on October 7, 2019, restrained the authorities from cutting any more trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, to set up a metro car-shed. A special bench, comprising justices Arun Mishra and Ashok … READ FULL STORY




    Aku dan kamu sudah saling kenal sejak seminggu yang lalu. Dalam rentang waktu tersebut aku tahu kamu tidak sedingin es seperti yang pernah kuterka sebelumnya. Di balik perawakanmu yang keras seperti karang di laut, bermukim satu siluet lembut yang penuh kasih. Mungkin kamu akan tersenyum kecil tatkala membaca perumpamaan ini. Dan bisa jadi kamu tertawa karena kata-kata tadi terasa picisan. Biarpun begitu, aku tak peduli. Karena hanya itu yang mampu kuungkap.

    Sebenarnya aku ingin berucap aku senang bersamamu. Setiap gerak-gerikmu seperti magnet yang membuatku terus-terusan menatapmu. Aku penasaran. Daya tarik macam apa yang kamu punya. Bahkan aku juga tak bisa membunuh rasa penasaran itu saat rasa kantuk sudah mennguasaiku.Ini gila! Belum pernah aku terinfeksi oleh sesuatu yang berasal dari makhluk yang disebut manusia.
    Berdua denganmu, seperti mengenakan sweater hangat saat embun pagi masih mengambang di puncak-puncak bukit. Kamu hangat, dan kehangatan itu aku yakini bukan sebagai kehangatan sesaat. Tiap jengkal sweater itu, yang membungkus kulitku, mampu membuatku  bernafas sebagaimana mestinya.
    Suatu kali pernah kudapati kamu bermenung di balkon. Kamu pandangi rekahan-rekahan merah dan magenta di ufuk barat. Tatapanmu berat dan sendu. Jika aku adalah langit yang kamu tatap itu, tak akan kubiarkan sejumput sendu bersemanyam di kedua bola matamu. Akan kuganti sang merah dan magenta menjadi beberapa barisan aurora.
    "Apa yang kau pikirkan?" tanyaku setelah berdiri di sebelahmu.
    "Langit itu," ucapmu datar.
    "Ada apa dengan langitnya?"
    Kamu mendesah pelan. Ringan kepalamu menoleh padaku lalu kita pun bertatapan untuk beberapa detik. "Langit itu seperti hati. Kadang mendung, kadang cerah."
    Senyap. Desau angin sore menelisik helai-helai rambut kita. Kata-katamu yang baru saja kudengar sudah membuatku tahu bahwa ada sesuatu yang menyesaki pikiranmu. Aku tidak tergerak untuk memberi pertanyaan lanjutan.
    Sore semakin jingga, cerah tanpa awan. Sebelum meninggalkanmu dan lamunananmu, kucari sebuah kata yang bisa kubaca dari wajahmu. Kamu masih memandangi langit senja di ufuk barat. Kamu tak lagi menoleh padaku. Dan tanpa kuhendaki, senja yang hangat terasa seperti pagi yang basah dan berembun. Dingin.

* * *

    Pagi-pagi buta aku terjaga. Tidak biasanya aku begini. Kulirik jam dinding. Pukul tiga dini hari. Aku mengosok-gosok kedua mataku kemudian turun dari ranjang. Rasa haus yang mendadak muncul secara otomatis menuntunku menuju dapur di lantai dasar.
    Setiap anak tangga yang kuinjak berdecit. Mau tidak mau kucoba untuk turun dengan pelan. Aku tidak ingin membangunkan yang lainnya. Apalagi kalau sampai membangunkanmu. Terhitung sejak percakapan kita tadi sore, baik aku maupun kamu tidak saling menyapa. Hanya seulas senyum yang saling kita berikan bila kita berpas-pasan. Dalam konsep ini, aku yakin senyum itu hanyalah sebentuk perjuangannmu untuk menyatakan bahwa kamu baik-baik saja. Padahal sebenarnya tidak.
    Langkahku terhenti pada anak tangga terakhir. Lampu ruang tengah masih menyala, berikut televisi berukuran tiga puluh inchi. Aku menggeleng. Ingin tahu siapa yang telah melakukan kesembronoan ini. Mataku tertumbuk pada remote televisi yang ada di atas meja. Reflek aku melangkah menuju meja tersebut lalu tersadar bahwa ada seseorang yang sedang tidur pulas di sofa panjang. Rupanya kamu tertidur di sini,membiarkan seorang presenter di layar kaca bercuap-bercuap sendiri tanpa ada yang menonton.
    Sebelum mendapatimu, kedua kelopak mataku berat. Namun, seperti yang sudah-sudah, kedua bola mataku akan terbuka bila  parasmu telah ada di hadapku. Aku yakin Tuhan pasti memahatmu dengan ketelatenan yang tinggi sehingga tak pernah kuasa aku mengabaikan segala yang ada padamu. Bila ada yang bilang cinta itu tak melirik tampilan fisik, itu perlu diklarifikasi. Karena pada hakikatnya apa yang tampak di luar, mempengaruhi apa yang akan tampak dari dalam. Kendatipun begitu, tak perlu salahkan aku kalau aku tergoda karena parasmu.
    Kamu tidur seperti anak kecil. Berbantalkan sweater abu-abu tanpa selimut. Aku tersenyum. Kamu tetap menarik, bahkan saat tidur.
    "Kamu belum tidur?"
    Aku berbalik. Seorang laki-laki berusia setengah abad tengah menatapku. Aku bergeming, "Saya terjaga."
    "Dia?" laki-laki yang biasa dipanggil Koh Achan itu kini melirik kamu yang masih tidur, di belakangku. "Kenapa dia tidur di situ?"
    "Ketiduran." Ujarku datar lalu menunjuk televisi yang masih menyala. Koh Achan geleng-geleng. Segera kumatikan televisi dan ia pun berlalu. Kembali ke kamarnya di lantai atas.
    Sekarang, ruang tengah senyap. Cuma ada aku dan kamu di sini. Indera penglihatanku kembali menikmati parasmu dalam decak kagum yang tak pernah terucap. Bukannya aku egois, hanya saja aku tak ingin kamu berpikir bahwa aku tipikal orang yang mengejar kesempurnaan jasmani sementara kesempurnaan rohani dikesampingkan. Jadi, akan lebih manusiawi kalau rasa kagumku padamu tetap kupendam di dasar hati. Dan jika waktu bermurah hati padaku, aku yakin kekaguman itu akan keluar sendiri dengan cara yang tak diduga-duga. Seperti orang bilang, semua indah pada waktunya.

    Kamu menggeliat. Memeluk tubuhmu sendiri untuk memberikan sedikit kehangatan. Sontak aku sadar. Malam semakin dingin dan sudah pasti dalam kondisi macam ini kamu butuh selimut. Aku menggaruk-garuk kepalaku yang tak gatal. Intuisiku bilang, tidak seharusnya aku menikmati parasmu manakala kamu tengah kedinginan. Kutinggalkan kamu sejenak lalu melangkah ke kamarmu yang pintunya masih terbuka. Kupagut selimut tebal bermotif daun-daun bambu. Tanpa kumau, aroma tubuhmu tercium.
    Selimutmu lucu juga. Karena di setiap sudutnya ada gambar kepala Panda. Aku tersenyum kecil. Mencoba menerka bagaimana parasmu waktu kecil dulu. Pasti kamu tidak kalah lucu bila dibandingkan dengan hewan herbivora itu. Pipi yang berisi, bola mata yang besar, dan mulut yang masih belum memiliki gigi. Kamu pasti menggemaskan.
    Kututup pintu kamarmu tanpa menimbulkan suara gaduh. Aku yakin, kamu akan terus tidur di sofa itu sampai fajar menyingsing. Jadi bisa kupastikan kamu tidak akan kembali ke kamarmu kecuali kalau kamu ingin menaruh selimut pandamu di tempatnya semula.
    Kamu masih di atas sofa. Memeluk dirimu sendiri dalam keadaan mata terpejam. Mungkin mimpimu terlalu monoton atau bisa jadi kamu tidak sedang mimpi sama sekali. Eksperesi wajahmu datar dan hanya hela lepas nafasmu yang bisa kudengar. Segera kuusir dingin yang masih menggerayangimu dengan menutupi tubuhmu dengan selimut. Kamu kembali menggeliat, aku berhati-hati. Takut kalau sentuhan selimut yang baru saja menghangatkanmu merusak tidur pulasmu.
    Kamu tidak kedinginan lagi. Aku senang.
    Kupadamkan lampu ruang tengah, agar lelapmu semakin nyaman. Selepas itu, aku memasuki dapur yang bersisian dengan tangga ke lantai atas. Kuraih cangkir kaca yang tertangkup di atas meja. Di sebelah cangkir itu, kulihat sekotak teh celup berikut sebungkus gula pasir. Sekarang, rasa kantukku benar-benar sudah hilang. Satu-satunya yang bisa kulakukan sekarang adalah menanti pagi. Dan sepertinya, secangkir teh panas bisa membuat penantianku sedikit lebih menyenangkan.
    Aroma teh yang telah kuseduh cukup nikmat. Kuteguk teh berwarna cokelat kemerahan itu perlahan. Merasakan manisnya di lidah lalu menikmati hangatnya saat melewati tenggorokan lalu berhenti di lambung.
    Sepuluh menit lagi jam dinding di ruang tengah akan menunjukkan pukul empat dini hari. Aku tidak ambil pusing. Di malam yang dingin ini, aku hanya ingin merenungi keberadaanku. Ngomong-ngomong, kenapa aku bertemu denganmu di tempat seperti ini? Barangkali kamu akan menjawab bahwa memang takdir lah yang menyebabkan pertemuan itu terjadi.
    Sebenarnya aku tidak begitu suka dengan sesuatu yang berbau liburan, apalagi berlibur di puncak. Tapi, aku tidak bisa menolak ajakan Lili saat ia memberitahuku tentang rencananya menghabiskan libur semester di alam terbuka. Ia bahkan merajuk pada ibu dan ayahku agar ia bisa membawaku turut serta dalam agenda liburannya. Ia sukses.
    Alhasil, di hari pertama aku menempati villa Lili, aku bertemu denganmu. Waktu itu perbukitan di sekitar villa tidak bisa dilihat dengan jelas. Embun turun dengan ketebalan yang hebat sampai-sampai aku merasa sedang berada di atas awan. Dingin sedikit menusuk tulang, juga membuat bulu-bulu halus di leherku meremang. Aku, yang saat itu sedang duduk santai di teras villa, dikejutkan oleh suara klakson mobil. Itu kamu.
    Kamu keluar dari mobil seraya menjinjing sebuah koper berukuran sedang. Bersamaan dengan itu, seorang laki-laki paruh baya keluar dari sisi mobil yang berlawanan, Koh Achan. Baik kamu maupun pamanmu itu, memiliki tiggi dan postur tubuh yang sama. Hanya saja, kamu lebih muda dan tentunya lebih menarik di mataku. Bukannya aku menyanjung atau membual, tapi memang demikianlah adanya. Saat itu, darahku langsung berdesir pada pandangan pertama.
    Tidak terpikir olehku bahwasanya kamu juga memiliki rasa humor yang bagus. Kamu mudah menulari tawamu pada siapa saja, termasuk aku. Lili, Rila, dan Anton bahkan seringkali kesulitan untuk menahan tawa karena guyonan-guyonan segarmu. Kata Koh Achan, 'lucu' adalah kata yang paling tepat untuk mendeskripsikan siapa dirimu. Kendatipun demikian, ada sebagian dari diriku yang ingin menguak sesuatu dari dirimu. Apakah dibalik derai tawamu itu pernah mengalir air mata? Apakah dibalik wajah yang selalu tersenyum itu pernah tergores luka? Aku sangat penasaran dan sayangnya pertanyaan itu masih kupendam.

    Dari hari ke hari, aku seperti terlupa tentang rasa engganku untuk menikmati liburan di villa Lili. Aku tak kunjung jengah bersepeda di alam hijau, bersantap barbeque tiap malam, bersantai di halaman belakang sembari menyaksikan air terjun, dan berbagi cerita tiapkali kita semua berkumpul di ruang tengah. Aku bisa menikmati semua itu karena ada kamu.
    Dua hari lalu, baru kutahu kalau kamu sudah memiliki seseorang yang spesial. Bahkan, di antara obrolan-obrolan kita, kamu juga menyinggung tentang hubungan manismu dengan orang spesial itu. Walaupun sebagian hatiku tidak ikhlas menerima kenyataan ini, tapi aku masih tak kuasa memalingkan mata darimu. Barangkali beberapa urat syarafku tidak lagi berfungsi secara optimal. Sehingga aku masih mengagumimu untuk alasan yang irrasional. Ya, aku sadar diri. Kamu tidak bisa kumiliki.
    Rila dan Anton sesekali menggodaimu dengan kata 'pernikahan'. Menanggapi kata itu kamu tersenyum lebar tanpa memberi ungkapan yang muluk-muluk. Dan Lili, sepupumu yang manis itu, tak pernah bosan menggodaimu sampai akhirnya pipimu bersemu merah. Sementara aku, jauh merasa lebih baik untuk tersenyum lebar saat melihat mereka menggodaimu. Aku tersenyum bukan karena aku bahagia dengan guyonan mereka, tapi aku hanya menyembunyikan rasa sakitku yang tak tertahan. Aku tidak mau mendramatisir keadaan dengan air mata berlinang. Itu bukan aku. Sesakit apa pun, senyumku masih tetap sama. Tetap hangat tapi menyimpan makna yang kadang berlawanan dengan kenyataan.
    "Hai," satu sapaan berlabuh di telingaku. Sontak lamunanku terhenti. "Tidak tidur?"
    "Aku terjaga."
    Kamu menaruh salah satu tanganmu di mulut, menguap. Kantukmu masih bergelantungan di pelupuk mata. "Kenapa tidak tidur lagi?"
    Aku angkat bahu. Tersenyum.
    Kamu mendekat. Kemudian menarik kursi yang ada di sebelahku. Sekarang, kita duduk bersisian. Denyut jantungku seketika memburu.
    "Apa yang kamu pikirkan?"
    "Banyak," ujarku hambar.
    "Oh, ya?"
    Aku mengangguk. Nyaris tanpa ekspresi. Aku tak mau kamu menyelami apa yang sedang kurasakan. Tidak boleh.
    "Ceritakan padaku salah satunya."
    Kamu tersenyum, "kalau kamu keberatan, aku tak memaksa."
    Akhirnya, aku penuhi permintaanmu. Mumpung di ruang ini hanya ada aku dan kamu, kita. Saat-saat yang tak pernah kubayangkan akan ada di dalam hidupku.
    Aku mulai bercerita, tentang kisah cintaku yang tak pernah berakhir bahagia. Jujur, cinta itu seperti petir. Tidak ada yang bisa mencegahnya terjadi, hal itu terjadi secara alamiah tanpa rekayasa manusia. Kedengarannya mungkin agak puitis, tapi memang itulah satu-satunya filosofiku tentang cinta.
    Kamu mengangguk pelan, kemudian menatapku sendu.
    "Intinya, apa itu cinta masih merupakan tanda tanya besar bagiku. Karena itulah aku masih single sampai detik ini."
    "Begitu, ya." Timpalmu tanpa meninggikan suara.
    Mulutmu mengatup rapat. Kedua matamu menatapku lurus, seolah-olah ada sesuatu yang kamu cari di kedua bola mataku. Setelah itu, kamu bangkit dari kursi lalu mendekati jendela dapur. Mendadak aku menjadi arca. Tak berucap sepatah kata pun.
    "Sebentar lagi pagi," jelasmu datar. "Berbahagialah, karena pagi ini kamu masih hidup untuk mencari arti cinta."
    Usai berkata demikian, kamu beranjak dari hadapanku. Dan sementara itu, aku masih menjadi arca di depan secangkir teh manis yang kini telah dingin.
    Aku, kamu, dan cinta. Sukar dipahami.
By; Lovero





Боттас принял участие в благотворительном забеге   


В воскресенье утром Валттери Боттас пробежал дистанцию традиционного забега Orchid Run & Ride 2019, состоявшегося в столице Малайзии Куала-Лумпуре...


Kurds Have Been Preparing for Trump’s Syria Betrayal—With a Vengeance   


Kurds Have Been Preparing for Trump’s Syria Betrayal—With a VengeanceDelil Souleiman/GettyLate Sunday night in Washington, the White House announced it was pulling U.S. troops out of northeast Syria to clear the way for a Turkish invasion. The Kurds there who led the fight on the ground that defeated the so-called Islamic State had seen President Donald Trump’s betrayal coming. But still they hoped it could be avoided. “Don’t let the Turks disrupt my wedding,” our translator texted in September prior to our arrival in the region. For more than a year, we have been visiting almost monthly to interview captured ISIS cadres held by the Kurdish and Arab troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as part of a project for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism. Trump’s Crazy Syria Move Will Wipe Out America’s Allies and Set Up a Big ISIS ComebackIn September, we saw the Turkish threat to invade at any moment was held off by tense U.S. negotiations in which the SDF made considerable concessions, allowing Turkey to patrol jointly a large swath of territory while agreeing to remove checkpoints and military positions farther back from the Turkish border.“They should put their patrols inside Turkish territory, and not enter Syria,” SDF leaders told us at the time, as they reluctantly acquiesced to U.S. demands.* * *BITTER FRIENDS* * *Many current and former White House advisors counseled against the kind of announcement made Sunday night. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned last year over Trump’s threat to remove the few thousand U.S. troops in Syria, who not only served as advisors in the fight against ISIS, but as deterrence against Turkish operations east of the Euphrates River. In a particularly bitter post on Twitter, Bret McGurk, who served as the special U.S. presidential envoy for the fight against ISIS from 2015 to 2018, wrote, “Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.”The U.S. military learned about the withdrawal plan only after Trump decided on it following his Sunday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has pulled out of two small observation posts in the security-mechanism zone near the Syria-Turkey border so far. But no further withdrawals are imminent, according to a knowledgeable source. The military, remembering Trump’s December order out of Syria and subsequent reversal, is waiting to learn if Trump will follow through with withdrawal this time.A recently departed senior Pentagon official considered the pullout a “blatant betrayal” of the U.S.’ Kurdish partners that gives “carte blanche to Erdogan” for a widely forecast bloodletting. “It’s going to be a massacre, that’s clear,” the ex-official told The Daily Beast. “It’s fundamentally wrong. They destroyed the Caliphate.”But the Kurds are not entirely defenseless. Military leaders of the dominant group, known as the YPG or People’s Protection Units (and their female YPJ partners), already were in overdrive in September, preparing for what they had long anticipated—a possible betrayal by their closest ally, the United States.* * *DIGGING IN* * *Alongside every major highway and criss-crossing the entire Northern Syria area, in fields, cities and towns, we saw digging for an extensive system of tunnels. “We’re ready either way,” the Kurdish leaders told us when we asked if they trusted the Americans to keep the Turks at bay.Kurds don’t have much, but their spirit of freedom and their desire to protect their hard-won territory and what they see as their incipient democracy was evident everywhere in September as the YPG troops prepared for battle with a much better equipped foe—the Turkish armed forces, the second biggest military in NATO. But nobody who fought ISIS in Syria in one vicious battle after another has forgotten that the huge Turkish army stood by and did nothing against the Islamic State as its killers carried out genocidal campaigns against Yazidis and Shiites, while abducting, torturing, ransoming or beheading Americans, Europeans, and Japanese, among others. Through all that, NATO ally Turkey was not interested in intervention. Far from it.That was until the White House statement Sunday night, up to which the U.S. military denied Turkey the ability to operate in airspace over SDF controlled territory, effectively making it more difficult to enter Northern Syria to conduct the “terrorist cleansing operation” that Turks insist upon. They already carried out one such operation in Afrin, west of the Euphrates, in January 2018, displacing Kurds and effectively taking over the area, using what Kurds claim are former ISIS cadres to fight for them.Turks view the Northern Syria area of Rojava, and the YPG dominated SDF, as controlled by Kurdish PKK terrorists operating under another name—wolves in sheep’s clothing. Indeed, in times past—until 1998—PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, lived freely in Syria and the father of the current Assad allowed him to train and equip his highly disciplined terrorist group for attacks into Turkey. It’s also true that over time, the various governing parties of Syria, Iraq and Iran have made use of PKK assaults on Turks as a way to exert pressure on Turkish politics. Turkey has suffered greatly from PKK terrorist attacks both inside Turkey and globally, and the PKK is clearly designated on the U.S. and EU’s list of terrorist organizations. In recent concessions to Turkey’s alarm over the SDF, a group they view as being in the hands of the PKK, the U.S. recently added additional individuals involved in the PKK to the U.S. State Department’s specially designated terrorist list. Turkey has also developed drones that fly over the Qandil mountains, in northern Iraq, making it easier to spot PKK movements and routinely send fighter jets to bomb them.  In the case of northern Syria however, until President Trump’s announcement late Sunday night Washington time, the U.S. policy was to deny the Turks military incursions into territory where U.S. troops patrol and the U.S. military controls the airspace and claims by Turkey that the SDF is PKK have also been hotly disputed.While Turkey sees the SDF as dominated and led by a terrorist organization, the U.S. has a completely different perspective, viewing the YPG and SDF as valued allies in the fight against ISIS. Indeed, YPG and YPJ (Women’s People’s Protection Units) fighters lost over 1,000 lives fighting ISIS and it is common to see Kurdish men and women in Rojava on crutches, in wheelchairs and otherwise suffering from serious and lifelong injuries sustained in the battle to retake ISIS dominated areas, including Raqqa. While the rest of the world was silent, the YPG and YPJ can also take credit for going to the rescue of the Yazidis on Sinjar mountain in 2014, fighting to stop ISIS from carrying out a massive genocidal campaign in which ISIS cadres captured and enslaved countless Yazidi women, boys, and girls. The men were killed by ISIS, the boys killed or indoctrinated. The women and girls subsequently were raped and treated as chattel. But thousands were able to escape with YPG help.* * *THE PRISONERS* * *At present the SDF houses thousands of captured ISIS prisoners, holding the men in repurposed schools and prisons overflowing with former fighters and in camps similarly run at overcapacity for ISIS women and children. According to a March 2019 UN report, a total of 8,000 Islamic State fighters currently are held in SDF custody. In our recent visits to north and east Syria from May through August, relying on our primary intelligence sources, we were told that approximately 2,000 of these Islamic State prisoners were considered “foreign terrorist fighters” from North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.The same data was also corroborated in an August 2019 press release by the Office of the Spokesperson, Special Envoy of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey. Just under a 1,000 of the prisoners are believed to be Europeans. ICSVE has interviewed approximately five percent of those detained. Most appear to have become totally disillusioned, are exhausted from battle and prison and say they want to lay down arms. While there is no specific deradicalization or rehabilitation program applied to them at present and we have been requested by the SDF and also agreed to build one, it’s safe to say the majority are spontaneously deradicalizing and simply want to return home to their former lives after facing a judicial process.The SDF prisons are overcrowded and the SDF leadership repeatedly has expressed a need to ICSVE researchers for technical assistance in dealing with terrorist prisoners and for financial assistance to build at least five prisons. Riots and attempted jail breaks have occurred in SDF prisons holding foreign fighters. Likewise, recent news reporting shows over-capacity has prisoners sleeping next to each other on their sides to be able to fit into small and overcrowded rooms. Three detention centers holding ISIS women and children also are administered by the SDF: Camps Hol, Ain Issa and Roj. According to a UN Report as of April 2019 an estimated 75,000 women and children were being held. Our data suggests that at least 60,000 are Syrians and Iraqis. At least 8,000 children and 4,000 wives of foreign fighters remain in the camp.Women and children live in tents in these camps which are hot in the summer, freezing cold during winter, and leak cold rainwater as well.  Dust blows around the camps causing breathing difficulties for some. Women and children have died of typhus, tent fires, and other dangers in the camps. Recently vaccinations have been offered, but many mothers don’t trust the program and refrain from having their children vaccinated. The women cook for themselves and complain that the food provided them lacks nutritious fruits and vegetables. Schools are lacking as well.All of the camps housing women have suffered from ISIS enforcers still dedicated to the group who require the other women to continue to cover themselves and punish those who speak out against them. These women have attacked other women, set their tents on fire, stolen their possessions, attacked, bitten, beaten and stabbed guards and have murdered other women creating a sense of chaos, constant danger and oppression in the camps. Recently a gun fight broke out in Camp Hol, with one woman killed and seven wounded.Foreign fighters from about 60 countries remain in SDF custody. We have interviewed foreign fighters who are nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Dagestan, Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, Switzerland, Egypt, and Germany. * * *A TRIBUNAL?* * *While the SDF has struggled to contain the overflow of captured ISIS fighters, they have been frustrated by Turkish politics and threats to their very existence. In recent years with the Syrian uprising and rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Turks saw it to be to their advantage to fund, train and equip Islamist rebels that they believed could keep the Kurdish independence movements in Syria in a weakened state or altogether destroyed. The Kurds, meanwhile, fought back in 2015 when ISIS invaded the city of Kobani on the Turkish border and rose up as a valiant on-the-ground force to repel the terrorists. The U.S. led coalition began arming and supplying the YPG and YPJ, and providing air cover, infusing the Kurds with a powerful sense of valor and military might that ultimately led to the complete territorial defeat of an Islamic State “Caliphate” that had taken as its motto “remain and expand.”ISIS is hardly a defeated foe however, with weekly sleeper cell attacks occurring in both Syria and Iraq and the likes of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi still making video and audio appeals to supporters around the world to reinstate the Caliphate, starting with breaking the ISIS prisoners out of captivity.The subject of ISIS captives is one of great importance to President Trump who repeatedly has threatened to release the roughly 12,000 ISIS foreign men, women and children prisoners held by the SDF in prisons and camps.  Trump’s view is that each country has to take its citizens back, even countries like Sweden that lack a terrorism law under which to prosecute returnees, and countries like France, which already has a serious militant jihadi prison problem and fears any more potential ISIS cadres inside its penitentiaries. These countries have continued to tell the SDF that an international tribunal can be established in its territory to try ISIS prisoners in place. But the UN Counter Terrorism Directorate and U.S. State Department strongly disagree with this proposal and President Trump continues to tweet that he is simply going to release the prisoners to European countries refusing to repatriate them—even though it is the SDF, not Washington, that has them in custody.In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump claimed erroneously that most of the ISIS prisoners are foreigner terrorist fighters and seemed to ignore that ISIS, even when based far away in Syria, is a very real threat to U.S. citizens and interests. It is “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to … figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!”While arguments of who should be responsible to prosecute and hold ISIS prisoners can be made on both sides, in many ways Europe, Jordan and many other countries effectively did “flush the toilet” of their militant jihadi problem by allowing them to freely exit their countries to go fight in Syria, most of them ultimately joining ISIS. The U.S. at present repatriates all of its ISIS fighters bringing them to swift and sound justice at home.* * *ISIS AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY* * *Turkey also has a responsibility in the rise of ISIS, having allowed over 40,000 foreign fighters to cross over its border into Syria, many unabashedly on their way to join the Islamic State. Many prisoners tell us of Turkish complicity with their journey into ISIS-land and being wished well by border guards who winked as they crossed into Syria.Abu Mansour, a 36-year-old Moroccan ISIS emir interviewed by ICSVE in February 2019 in Iraqi prison, told us that he basically functioned as the ISIS ambassador to Turkey, negotiating border issues, the transfer of ISIS wounded into Turkey for treatment, the flow of foreign fighters across the Turkish border into ISIS territory, and other logistics. “The subject of Turkey is a very big one,” he said, “and the mutual interests include the obvious and the hidden.”“Their benefit was that it was a border area and we have a border strip with them,” Abu Mansour continued. “Security is one of them, and they wanted to control north of Syria.”  The Turks wanted to control the entire border region in Syria and even into Iraq as far as Mosul, according to Abu Mansour, but they wanted to do it through a proxy force. “So, they wanted to find organizations that would do this favor for them, including terminating the presence of the Kurdish Workers Party [the PKK], without a direct interference from Turkey. At the same time, especially since they were part of NATO, they don’t want to anger NATO, because they need NATO.”By the same token, Turkish President Erdogan’s background as a committed Islamist created a certain sympathy, as did his ambition to revive in modern form the old Ottoman empire, Abu Mansour claimed. “The pretext of [controlling the] Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] is a strong pretext for Turkey, but they have ambitions, as they have entered regions that don’t have PKK in them.” Abu Mansour explained the Turkish and ISIS relationship through his own experiences. In 2013, he said, he was assigned to receive the ISIS volunteers arriving in Turkey, but later, “I supervised the country entry operations, registration as a whole.”  Then in 2015, he said, “I worked on external relations, relations with the Turkish intelligence. It started when I was at the borders.” First there was an agreement about passing the wounded from Syria into Turkey, about the border crossing and security arrangements. “Ambulances, especially in critical and serious situations, could go straight to the [border] gate,” said Abu Mansour. “Then a Turkish ambulance takes the case to the Turkish hospitals, and it is followed up inside Turkey. There was a hotline with intelligence who are located at the borders. Most places were available, [including] hospitals in Turkey [and] there was a technical staff of doctors who follow up the case in Turkey. The [Turkish] state was paying for certain operations performed in private hospitals, but most cases referred by the public hospitals were for free.”Abu Mansour said he had “face-to-face meetings with Turkish delegations. Sometimes they represented the intelligence services, sometimes the Turkish army, depending on the issue. “Most meetings were in Turkey on the border strip, but there were also meetings in Ankara and Gaziantep, depending on the issue,” said Abu Mansour. He would travel with a delegation of two or three ISIS people.”Referencing the easy relationship, as he saw it, between ISIS and the Turkish intelligence and military, Abu Mansour claimed, an ISIS emir could “go to Ankara without a problem.  They always sent a car, or a bodyguard. At one point, we met weekly, depending on the issue and its importance to Turkey and to us, according to the demand.”The situation described by Abu Mansour raises a question: did the ultimate defeat of ISIS in fact deprive the Turks of the proxy buffer zone they wanted—which they are now invading Syria to establish?Abu Mansour recalled, “Turkey asked on many occasions for a safe zone.” This would be a demilitarized zone where it would provide ISIS with whatever it wanted, but only inside Syrian territories. According to Abu Mansour, , ISIS refused to grant it, and relations started to fall apart. Eventually, Turkey grew sick of the back and forth, and there was also a split in ISIS leadership, with one faction deciding it would take the terror war into Turkey with a 2016 bombing at Istanbul airport. At the time, Abu Mansour was in Gaziantep, Turkey, and the Turkish authorities told him they thought this was an orchestrated act to pressure Ankara. But he says that was not the case. The external security services of ISIS had started setting their own agenda, “carrying out operations everywhere,” Abu Mansour told us. “We reached a state in which they couldn’t care less about politics, and they worked like gangs, [and would] strike anywhere.”While Turkey continues to claim that the SDF, our strongest ally in fighting ISIS, is a terrorist dominated group, many questions remain about Turkey’s own complicity with ISIS. Given that during a bitterly fought war with ISIS, in which many Kurdish lives were lost, that the SDF managed to take control of the area, institute a functioning political system that included granting an impressive array of minority rights and rights to women, the SDF deserves our respect and protection.But U.S. President Donald Trump has put a price on all this. “The Kurds fought with us,” he tweeted, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” That they saved countless lives in the process, including American lives, does not seem to have been a factor.Spencer Ackerman also contributed reporting to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


The strategic incoherence of Trump's Syria critics   


The strategic incoherence of Trump's Syria criticsIt's always foolish to put your faith in Donald Trump. He's incapable of thinking strategically about anything besides advancing his own material interests.So it makes perfect sense to presume that Trump's apparent decision to permit Turkey to conduct military operations against (until now) American-backed Kurdish forces near the Turkish border in Syria has nothing to do with geopolitical strategy or any process of foreign policymaking beyond his personal and business relationship with Turkey's quasi-authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.But that doesn't mean that the bipartisan freak-out against Trump's policy shift is founded in a coherent strategic vision. It isn't. Instead it grows out of a combination of inertia, hubris, pusillanimity, and moralism -- all of them traits that have been on the ascent since the end of the Cold War, and especially since the September 11 attacks.The one positive thing to come out of Trump's flailing foreign policy is that it has exposed the incapacity of the country's leading thinkers in international affairs to offer a compelling reason to resist the president's mischief-making and revert to the status quo. That doesn't give us much to work with now. But it just might set America up for an eventual reckoning with our foolishness and mistakes over the past few decades.The most common response to Trump's announced change of course in Syria has been a cry of lament for the fate of Kurds, who may well find themselves the target of Turkish attacks. How can we abandon allies who fought by our side against the Islamic State and allow them to be crushed by a dictator like Erdogan?There's just one problem -- or rather, several. For one thing, the Kurds aren't our allies. Allies are defined by mutuality: We promise to defend a given state if attacked, that state promises to defend us if we are attacked. The Kurds, a stateless ethnic group found in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, has zero capacity to come to America's defense. They are American clients: We have provided them with aid and protection in return for help in fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Precisely how long should the United States be obligated to provide that protection in a dangerous part of the world 6,000 miles from our borders? None of Trump's critics in and out of Congress will tell us. Instead, they'd rather posture earnestly and avoid having to answer.If the U.S. has an ally in the region, it is … Turkey, a member of NATO, an explicit defense alliance. Do those denouncing Erdogan favor ejecting Turkey from NATO, thereby revoking the country's status as an American ally? Maybe that makes sense. But deciding whether it does would require engaging in clear-sighted strategic thinking about NATO, its purpose, and American interests in the Middle East, which is something no one wants to do. They'd rather keep Turkey in NATO -- because no one ever leaves NATO, and because keeping Turkey in the organization helps to antagonize Vladimir Putin -- and then bash the government in Ankara when it's convenient to do so.When critics of Trump's policy shift want to sound harder-nosed, they move beyond Turkey and the Kurds and talk instead about how irresponsible it would be to give up the fight against ISIS: If we don't stay in Syria, terrorists will grow powerful again, threatening the U.S. homeland like they did on 9/11!The first thing to be asked in response to those making such claims is whether they think it's possible for the U.S. to win any war anywhere in the world. Because if the battle against ISIS, which began in earnest five years ago, is measured against the goals enunciated at the start -- the elimination of ISIS's territorial caliphate -- it has been a smashing success. We won. The caliphate is gone. Yet now the goalposts have been shifted. Now "victory" has been redefined to mean … I'm not really sure. Sometimes it sounds like the goal is to make sure ISIS or a successor Islamist organization doesn't arise. At other times it appears to mean something even more amorphous, like the complete elimination of any person who might aspire to revive the caliphate at some time in the future.But is that a sensible foreign policy goal? Keeping an American military footprint in the desert of Syria and Iraq in order to exert control over what happens there for fear that it may possibly cause eventual harm to the United States, a continent and an ocean away? Even assuming this makes sense, for how long should it continue? Five more years? Ten? Twenty? More? And what metrics should we use to evaluate whether it's really benefiting the country, or is working, or has worked?No one wants to say because no one has an answer that makes sense. It's enough, they think, to speak gravely and vaguely about dire threats and keep us doing the same thing -- always expanding American commitments abroad, never pulling them back, and never even prioritizing among them. Anywhere.The U.S. is committed, all at once, to defending Europe, including serving as a check on Russia's ambitions in Eastern Europe, and to defending Israel. It also wants to micromanage regional rivalries across the Middle East in perpetuity. And keep a lid on terrorist activity across North Africa. And win an 18-year-old game of Whack-a-Mole against the Taliban in Afghanistan. And contain North Korea. And stand toe to toe with a rising China. And determine the outcome of a political transition in Venezuela.That's a lot for any country to handle intelligently or wisely -- because having such control-freak ambitions in the world isn't intelligent or wise in the first place. That doesn't mean that Donald Trump's acting out in defiance of Washington's foreign policy consensus makes sense. But it does mean that those who oppose the president need to do more than run screaming back into the arms of that consensus without reflection on its many unacknowledged problems and confusions.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.


Comment on University caught off guard by recent data on self-citations by chad chaddington    


well the data set they used is available calling nature in to question is a little pointless when all they did was just run a simple quantitative analysis on a data set


Anuga 2019 is less than a week away, will open doors Oct. 5   


Anuga, the world’s leading food fair for the retail trade, along with the foodservice and catering markets, will open its doors Oct. 5, and run thru Oct. 9, in Cologne, Germany.


Titanfall 2: Neuer Gauntlet-Speedrun lässt mich an meinen Skills zweifeln   


Den neuesten Speedrun für Titanfall 2 zu knacken, dürfte schwierig werden.

Zum einen, weil kaum vorstellbar ist, wie es noch schneller geht. Zum anderen, weil damit der vorherige Rekord nur knapp unterboten wurde.

Die Speedrunner befassen sich dabei mit dem Gauntlet-Trainingskurs zu Beginn des Spiels, bei dem es gilt, ihn so schnell wie möglich abzuschließen.



تعليق على مستشفى العارضة الجديد القديم بواسطة برنامه های امنیت خانگی    


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BBC: "San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit his 661st career home run on Tuesday to move past his godfather Willie Mays into sole possession of third place on the all-time list."


Review: In nuanced ‘Judy,’ Zellweger proves she just may be best singing actor of her generation   


In the last moments of Rupert Goold’s “Judy,” Miss Garland herself (Renée Zellweger) tells (or perhaps implores) her audience: “You won’t forget me, promise me you won’t.” The film does make sure of that, preserving the iconic star in amber, though it’s not as the soft, golden-voiced teen we know so well.

This is not Judy in her prime but at one of her lowest points, at her most real and raw, and in a transformed and transfixing performance, Zellweger captures Judy as her flawed, vulnerable, sweet, charming and deeply human self.

Based on Peter Quilter’s stage play “The End of the Rainbow,” adapted by Tom Edge for the screen, “Judy” takes place during a run of shows in 1969 at London’s Talk of the Town dinner club.

A destitute Judy Garland reluctantly takes the gig in hopes of earning enough money to regain custody of her children, Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey, from her ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell).

During the contained period, the film unspools what makes the famous Garland tick. Yes, it is indeed the uppers, downers, booze, insomnia, anorexia and deep-rooted trauma inflicted by a childhood spent laboring under the watch of a controlling, verbally abusive Louis B. Mayer.

But what we learn is Judy is driven equally by her desires as she is by her demons. All she wants is to be loved. And, every night, if she chooses, she can receive that love, in droves, from her audience.

Zellweger embodies Garland’s brittleness, twitchy and strained, hardened by years of drugs and her rough upbringing of long workdays and forced diet pills. Judy has crystallized, thin as glass, ready to shatter at any moment.

She works because she must, and because she loves her children, but also because it’s all she’s ever known, to get up onstage and sing. It’s how she earns her living, her love, her existence.

Goold’s film is unshowy, merely a platform for Zellweger’s virtuosic performance. Goold is smart to simply give breathing room to Zellweger, and to the musical numbers, letting her stalk the stage in anger, glory and confusion without cutting away.

Zellweger ably reminds us all that her ability to act while singing is unparalleled. And in “Judy,” she proves she may well be the best singing actor of her generation (lest we forgot “Chicago” or her spunky performance of “Sugar High” in “Empire Records”).

Her first performance at Talk of the Town is riveting. Zellweger never blinks (literally) as Judy switches into performance-mode like a woman possessed by her own talent, relying on sheer adrenaline, muscle memory and the uncut adoration of an audience. That’s her real addiction, the high she’s always chasing.

Zellweger is a force of nature onstage, but she finds the softness and sweetness in the fragile Judy, her wry humor and loving nature. We witness these moments in the hushed exclamation of “oh, that’s good” over a bite of cake she allows herself, out of politeness to her hosts, and in a shy invitation to dinner to a couple of fans waiting for her after her show, the only folks in London happy for her company.

It’s a nuanced, complex, nakedly emotional performance that digs into the darkest psychology of one of our most beloved stars and demands that, even in her lowest moments, we could never count Judy Garland out. The same goes for Renée Zellweger.


'Riders Of The Orphan Train' Preserves The Unforgettable Stories Of Unwanted Children   


From Texas Standard: In the late 1800s and early 1900s, New York City had a problem – tens of thousands of homeless children. Widespread poverty and disease led to a city overrun with orphans and unwanted children. That is until a minister had an idea: send them west.


Citizen-centric initiatives: Ayushman Bharat, Ujjawala benefits for PMAY users   


Citizen-centric initiatives: Ayushman Bharat, Ujjawala benefits for PMAY usersThe government will not just cover these beneficiaries under schemes like Ujjawala and Ayushman Bharat, but will also offer them solar energy run devices like solar cookers, etc as part of its efforts to develop a holistic self-sufficient and sustainable urban cluster.


Tony Bourdain keeping it real in Fruitvale   


My friend Connie emailed to say Anthony Bourdain is chowing down in front of at least one of the famed taco trucks in the Fruitvale district of Oakland:

so i just sent zack on a taco run to our favorite
truck (mi grullense) and he just called saying that
tony bourdain was there (w/the contra costa times).
he's super tall and ordered the cabeza and the tripa.

cool, huh?

Very cool, but what would be even cooler is if Tony could convince one of those truck owners to publish "Taco Truck Confidential." SO much scarier than Kitchen Confidential.

(PS, maybe he found this place through nerdfury??)


Your wine bottles are melting the planet, snob   


I just got a press release saying I should buy my wine from Oakland vintners because shipping bottles from Napa spews way more carbon than shipping grapes, since glass is so bloody heavy.

And it turns out there is new scientific research to confirm this, described the author Tyler "Dr. Vino" Coleman on his awesome blog.

Which has been covered elsewhere, but everyone, including Dr. Vino, emphasizes the solution of continuing to buy wine bottles, but from a local winery.

Yet Dr. Vino's research found boxed wine "has much less (carbon) intensity" than bottles.

Wine snobs object to boxed wine because it was historically used for low-quality wine and sometimes even marketed to alcoholics as cheap guzzle. Also, the wine suffers is you leave it in the box too long, since it's wrapped in plastic, so you can't age the wine.

The thing is, the vast majority of Americans who buy bottled wine do not cellar -- heck, their wine is lucky to last 48 hours! And the composition of wine, from what I gather, has evolved in response. Most bottles serve as props to perpetuate the acknowledged, romantic fiction that they will be lovingly aged by sophisticated drinkers in the cool, dry caves under their chateaus.

Get with the program, Monsieur Terroir! I'm ready to start buying some quality boxed wine to drink in my sweltering shack!

I'm also ready to start re-using my bottles. Hook a hose up to your tank or barrel or whatever, stick it in my used bottle or portable plastic tank, and fill 'er up! If it works in France it can work here. And ideally I would be able to buy not just from the winery, but at the wine shop, supermarket, heck even my gas station. I mainly use them for Ben & Jerry's anyway, and they're right across from Acme Bread and could give Kermit Lynch a run for their money!

It's time to end this preposterous charade of wastefully shipping bottles around.


Maud’s Café Serves More Than Coffee   


Maud's CafeMaud’s Café, a non-profit program overseen by the Volunteers of America Utah is run on teen power—specifically teens that are taking the steps needed to leave, or avoid, homelessness. Each latte, Americano, and blueberry muffin sold not only helps a young person develop job performance skills, but also funds the program.

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