Elliott Wilson, the former editor of XXL, the Source and others, is prepping the launch of Rap Radar, a Web site he says he’d like to see become the Huffington Post of hip-hop, a platform artists and producers can use to sound off on music, politics and culture. Wilson has a reputation for being outspoken. And given his reported tendency toward rants, when I spoke to Wilson yesterday, I found him to be surprisingly level-headed about everything, from the state of print (“If you’re a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value”) to the Web (“in the climate we’re in, launching this way makes the most sense”) to business (“creative people have to put their business hats on now … [the recession] is forcing all of us to grow up”) to marketing (“I’ve been doing the legwork on Facebook and Twitter”), branding (“we’ll do Rap Radar magazine, Rap Radar socks, lunch boxes, whatever”) and need for community (“Right now, the goal is to build a brand”).Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. “If Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, there’s not really a forum where he can do that right now.” Whether or not he’s successful remains to be seen. (After all, if a guy like Jay-Z wanted to sound off on Obama, he could blog for the Huffington Post; if he wanted to renew his beef with Nas, he could post it on his own blog—as Kanye West has proven, if you blog enough, people will find you, wherever you are.)But he seems to have the right approach: Build your brand online first, and if there’s enough interest and a business rationale, launch a print product later.Read the full story here …
Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Apple iPhone XS Paddle through 16 breathtaking and prize-winning underwater photos $999 Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays 16 Photos Tags Best Buy Read DJI Osmo Action preview $299 at Amazon Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Read Google Home Hub review Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Sarah Tew/CNET $520 at HP Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. The Cheapskate The parks department offers a link to a page from the group Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina, which explains the snake’s zombie behavior in more detail. “When threatened, hognose snakes hiss loudly and spread their necks like cobras do, resulting in the nicknames ‘puff adder’ or ‘spreading adder,'” the page explains. “They rarely bite during these displays, but they may strike repeatedly. If the antagonist continues, the hognose snake will feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around. If turned over onto its belly, it will immediately roll again onto its back.”It gets even more horror-movie-like when you learn that “enlarged teeth in the rear of the (snake’s) mouth are used to ‘pop’ toads for easier swallowing.” That’s toad-ally disturbing. But to humans, the snake isn’t much of a threat. Katie Hall of the parks department told Fast Company that while the snake does have venom, it very rarely bites people, and the bites are treatable.”It’s not like your flesh is going to rot or you’re going to lose a limb or something,” Hall said.North Carolina State Parks has declared 2019 to be the “year of the snake,” and is urging residents to “scale back your fear” by learning about the creatures. Forget The Walking Dead. Try The Crawling Dead. Last week, the North Carolina State Parks and Recreation Department warned citizens about a “zombie snake” in the state that knows how to play dead.In the post, the department shared images of the eastern hognose snake lying on its back, mouth open, pretending to be dead. “Let’s play a game!” the post declared. “Who is this ‘famous’ NC snake? A cobra? A zombie snake? It’s a harmless one.” $60 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $59 at eBay Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $999 I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Sprint Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. See at Amazon Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. See It Rylo Boost Mobile Angela Lang/CNET Share your voice Read the Rylo camera preview The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Sarah Tew/CNET $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express 7 Sci-Tech,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 1 Share your voice Comments Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. $155 at Google Express See at Turo What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Turo $999 See it Comment JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. $999 Read the AirPods review See It $210 at Best Buy Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags Chris Monroe/CNET HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Sarah Tew/CNET Read Lenovo Smart Clock review DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. $6 at Tidal See It Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Amazon
Not changing the income tax rates or increasing the exemption limits for individuals, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday proposed increasing the range of tax deductible investments/ spend.Presenting the budget proposals for 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the government is proposing to rationalise various tax exemptions and incentives to reduce tax disputes and improve tax administration.The proposals mentioned by the finance minister made clear the government’s focus on enlarging the tax-exempt investments/spend.Jaitley said the proposals would result in tax deductions to the tune of around Rs.440,000 crore.Jaitley said in order to encourage savings and to promote health care among individual tax payers, it is proposed to increase the limit of deduction on account of health insurance premium from Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000 — for senior citizens this limit is to be increased from Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000.For senior citizens above the age of 80 years — who are not eligible to avail of health insurance — deduction will be allowed for medical expenses up to Rs.30,000.The deduction limit of Rs.60,000 on expenditure on account of specified diseases — like cancer — will be enhanced to Rs.80,000 in the case of senior citizens.The minister also proposed additional deduction of Rs.25,000 for differently-abled persons, increasing the limit from Rs.50,000 to Rs.75,000.It is also proposed to increase the limit of tax deduction from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.According to Jaitley, investment in Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme will be eligible for deduction under section 80C of the income tax and any payment from the scheme shall not be liable to tax.Limit on deduction on account of contribution to a pension fund and the new pension scheme is proposed to be increased from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.5 lakh. Additional deduction of Rs.50,000 will be allowed for contribution to the new pension scheme under section 80 CCD of Income Tax Act — increasing the exemption from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.5 lakh.Jaitley also doubled the transport allowance exemption to Rs.1,600 per month.According to him, the details of tax deductions proposed are as follows:Deduction u/s 80C – Rs.150,000; Deduction u/s 80CCD – Rs.50,000; Deduction on account of interest on house property loan (Self-occupied property) – Rs.200,000; Deduction u/s 80D on health insurance premium – Rs.25,000; Exemption of transport allowance – Rs 19,200; Total – Rs.444,200Reacting to the budget proposals, Prashant Khatore, tax partner, Ernst and Young told IANS: “The finance minister is connecting various proposals to the Make In India programme. Though there is no change in personal income tax rates, the corporate tax rate has been proposed to be brought down to 25 percent over a four-year period.”
Share This! Share This! We are not all the same, and in our difference we are divine August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts TagsBaltic states Christianity Estonia homepage featured Latvia Lithuania neopaganism Soviet Union Top Story,You may also like Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email News Share This! Catholicism As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,SAMMA, Estonia (RNS) — In the middle of a dense forest in northern Estonia, where the closest village has a population of 32, only a wooden sign with the word “HIIS” clumsily daubed in green indicates anything unusual in the vicinity.“Hiis” means “sacred grove” in Estonian. Past another wooden board with a runic symbol carved on it — it is customary to knock on this board — is a green clearing where visitors have tied ribbons around trees and placed eggs at their bases as a gift and left the dark remnants of a fire.“All that is brought there has to be eaten there or burned in the ritual fire,” said 28-year-old Tõnu Rehela, who has been a member of Estonia’s nature-oriented, neopagan Maausk community since he was 16. “Through the fire, the gods eat. Through the holy tree, the gods drink.”The board at the entrance to Tammealuse Hiis, a sacred grove in the forest near Samma, Estonia, on May 13, 2019. RNS photo by Aliide NaylorWhile pagan and folk religions may seem archaic to the wider world, they are thriving across the Baltic states. The Maausk community, along with Estonia’s other prominent neopagan group, the Taaraists, tripled in size from 2001 to 2011, the latest figures available from the national census. Meanwhile, a 2014 study from the University of Tartu indicated that 61% of Estonians believed that neopaganism was the “true” religion of Estonia.There is a similar situation in both Latvia and Lithuania.The increase in popularity is “mainly young people,” said Inija Trinkūnienė, the high priestess known as the “Krive” of Lithuania’s Romuva community.“More and more people are asking for us to (perform) wedding ceremonies. … They want to have their children blessed by the ancient traditions,” she said, adding this is true even of people who aren’t officially in the community. “People more and more are becoming aware of what they really are.”In 2001, only 1,200 people identified as Romuva, but, by 2011, about 5,100 did, according to online Baltic news portal Delfi.While Trinkūnienė performs rituals for births, marriages and deaths, they are still not acknowledged by the government. Official debates over their official recognition started in May 2018.People gather at the Lokstene Shrine, where Latvian neopagans hold ceremonies and annual celebrations, on May 6, 2017, in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. RNS photo by Uģis Nastevičs“Wedding ceremonies are still not recognized by the state, but we are waiting for Parliament to make their final decision,” she said. “According to the law of religions in Lithuania — 25 years (after) our official registration, we can apply for getting a higher status.”Lithuania was the last nation in Europe to officially Christianize (1387), but it took much longer for the religion to take root. Under the Soviet Union, which occupied the Baltics after World War II until 1991, the native religions were suppressed along with nationalist sentiment.The Baltic states, lower right, on the western edge of Russia. Map courtesy of Creative CommonsStill, these religions lingered partly because fostering a connection to the land, old languages, old gods and tradition was a way of preserving a form of national identity and local memory in the face of an occupying power.“It was completely banned,” said Aldis Pūtelis, a researcher at the University of Latvia’s Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art. “It was the reaction to the perceived danger to perceived Latvianness. This whole movement was started as another way of strengthening it, and it was really popular among the exiled Latvians. Its main purpose was to strengthen the feeling of Latvian-ness.”The old religions also offered more than Christianity, according to proponents. “People say they seek such spirituality that is not available in other religions and a way of fostering Latvianness,” said Uģis Nastevičs, a spokesperson for Latvia’s Dievturība. “The community has been gradually growing over the last 10 years. All age groups are represented.”Trinkūnienė said that when her husband celebrated the summer solstice festival in 1967, lighting sacred fires and praying to Lithuanian gods and goddesses, he was soon expelled from university, lost his job and was unable to find regular work until the beginning of the 1990s, when the struggle for independence gained momentum.Meanwhile, both Lithuania’s Romuva and Latvia’s Dievturība communities have thrived among those in exile from the war and Soviet occupation. Today, the Dievturība have a branch in Wisconsin and other places across North America, according to the organization, while the Romuva community is active in Indiana, among other places.Ausma Spalviņa, left, offers puzuri (straw octahedrons that symbolize the Universe) during a ceremony in the Lokstene Shrine on May 6, 2017, in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. RNS photo by Uģis NastevičsThe pagan religions have been spurred especially by a growing awareness of climate change and the rise of conservation movements that tap into a deep local connection to nature and a desire to protect sacred spaces.“In Lithuania there is a strong movement against deforestation,” said Trinkūnienė.Outside Tammealuse Hiis, the sacred grove in the Estonian forest, a sign states that as late as the 1930s people would converge on the area to meet relatives, play music and dance. “The long tradition of get-togethers died during World War II, but the power of the sacred site continued,” wrote local author Ahto Kaasik, a folklore researcher, director of the Center of Natural Sacred Sites at the University of Tartu and key figure in the movement on the sign.Rehela often celebrates Munadepüha, a folk equivalent of Easter, at the grove. During this event his community holds rituals where members strike knives on axes to make bell-like noises, and the ritual leader gives a speech to the old gods and their forefathers.“Sometimes we hear a sign during the rites,” he added. “Once a dog came in and knocked over a milk flask. … Perhaps the gods didn’t want us to drink milk on this day, or they wanted to drink it themselves.” Aliide Naylor,Load Comments,With anti-Semitism on the rise, U.K. begins formal inquiry into Labour Party’s a … Share This! Columns • Opinion • Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith Aliide Naylor By: Aliide Naylor Lutheran student pastor deported amid protests Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 By: Aliide Naylor By: Aliide Naylor Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email
As a self-published author, Kimberly K. Parker is using her life experiences to educate, tell stories, and coach others into living their dreams. At the heart of Parker’s work is her love for writing. “I just love words. They’re so powerful, they have the ability to uplift or destroy, they can change a person’s outlook, [and] they can change a person’s life. So if they are there, why not utilize them,” Parker told the AFRO.As a child, she was often ridiculed and labeled proper, smarty-pants, and teachers pet. She was even called ‘white girl’ on several occasions because slang was not part of her day-to-day conversation. However, she continued to use the dictionary for new and interesting words and proceeded to put them on paper, making writing her primary source of expression.In 2005, Parker self-published her first book, Out of the Mouths of Babes: Spiritual Insights for Practical Living, which was inspired by her two oldest children and their ability to transform her spirit through words. After the birth of her third child, she released the book’s sequel in 2011, Out of the Mouths of Babes: Daily Devotions from Our Greatest Teachers. In 2013, she released her first technical book, Writing an Essay is Like Playing Basketball, where she correlates players on a basketball court to essential pieces of an essay.Parker works with first-time authors, helping them translate their thoughts onto paper and walking them through the steps of self-publishing. “When people hear book publishing, they think it’s this massive undertaking and it’s not,” she says. “To publish a book simply means to take your creative content and put it in a format that can be reproduced so others can enjoy it – that’s all it is.”Parker’s latest book, published in 2015, documents one of her most life-altering experiences: teaching English to students in China through the international language program English First. In about 200 pages, she documents the challenges and successes of her year abroad in 2013.“What I experienced in China is there is no glass ceiling. They look at your base qualifications and if you’re a hard worker. If you prove that, you can advance,” she says. “So I started off as a foreign teacher in January and by June I was senior teacher because I put in the work. They needed someone to work 12 hours on Saturday, I did it, and my daughter was with me, too.”During her time in China, Parker also witnessed a cultural awakening. “If you were of African descent and you were a child, I did not see you,” she says. The only children she saw who resembled herself were her own.“When I saw that there were no beautiful Black faces consistently seen in China, I said I have a duty to offer this opportunity to as many Black children as possible,” says Parker, who is organizing a trip back to China in April 2016. “I have a grand vision of seeing this sea of beautiful Black faces at the Great Wall with our Kimberly K. Parker International t-shirts on saying ‘Yes we can, yes we did.’Parker is working on her next book, which will focus on the importance and ease of increasing vocabulary for adults and children alike. She takes these strategies into corporations and nonprofits during “Lunch n’ Learns,” teaching groups of busy professionals ways to refresh their English and language arts skills.“I enjoy teaching in whatever capacity that may be, I welcome the opportunity,” she says. “I believe that we’re so marginalized as African Americans and oftentimes labeled in ways that are not true so any opportunity I have to expose a little insight to help a person change their thinking and foster change on the parts of others – it’s my duty.”For more information, visit www.kimberlykparker.com.