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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jessie Ware’s Tough Love: Why the Singer’s New Album Sounds So Bold

Jessie Ware’s Tough Love: Why the Singer’s New Album Sounds So Bold


Jessie Ware’s Tough Love: Why the Singer’s New Album Sounds So Bold

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:58 AM PDT

When Jessie Ware broke through with “Wildest Moments,” two things were immediately clear to anyone who followed the song’s muffled, echoing instructions to “Listen listen listen!” First, that volatile couples everywhere had a new anthem — but second, that Jessie Ware had a voice: elegant and intentionally unflashy, but still plainly capable of holding its own alongside her contemporaries. That’s part of why it’s a little shocking to hear the 30-year-old Brit admit she only recently stopped feeling self-conscious about it.

“I was scared about showing more of my voice,” Ware says of her sophomore effort, Tough Love, out now. “I couldn’t have written this album before. I didn’t feel confident enough.” What a difference a few years makes. Nearly everything about Tough Love is bolder than her 2012 debut, Devotion, from the edgier production (courtesy of one of pop’s biggest producers) to her vocals (whose power is no secret this time around) to her collaborators (hungover sessions with “Adore” crooner Miguel and a spontaneous Ed Sheeran collaboration dot the credits). Just listen to the soaring “Say You Love Me,” and it’s clear fans are dealing with a new and improved Jessie Ware. Finally, the singer jokes, she’s “letting it all hang out.”

The turning point, she says, occurred while working with “Stay With Me” songwriter James Napier, who co-wrote the album’s blistering torch song, “Pieces”; he begged the singer not to hold back for a change. “I remember Jimmy being like, ‘I want to hear you Jessie, I want to hear you sing,’” she recalls. “‘You let it rip in shows! Why can’t I hear that?’” Ware worried she was screaming bloody murder until Romy Madley Croft, the xx’s whisperer-in-chief, gave her an unlikely confidence boost. “I was like, ‘Oh God, how is this going to go down with the queen of subtlety and understated vocals?’” Ware says. “She was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to have a song like this.’ It really reassured me.”

Just like her debut, Tough Love drew some inspiration from a wedding. Ware wrote “Wildest Moments” after she and her best friend got into a fight at one and didn’t speak for weeks. (“I wrote a pretty good song out of it, so I’m glad we had that fight!” she says. “We’re still best friends.”) The slick electro thump of Tough Love‘s “You & I (Forever),” meanwhile, was inspired by how long it took Ware’s high school sweetheart, whom she married in August, to pop the question. (Ware herself walked down the aisle to Sade’s “Your Love Is King”; fans have gotten in touch to say they play her song “Valentine” at their weddings, which Ware notes is actually a terrible choice — the very first line is “So you will never be my lover or my valentine.”)

Part of the album’s electronic heft comes from Katy Perry and Kesha hitmaker Benny Blanco, who co-executive produced Tough Love with Sam Smith producer Two Inch Punch under the name BenZel. Word of their collaboration left fans wondering if Ware was pursuing a more club-friendly sound, which wasn’t totally out of the question, given her early work with electronic act SBTRKT and “Imagine It Was Us,” a dancefloor workout that was tacked on to the U.S. release of Devotion. Though Ware says she was inspired by Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” when recording the Dev Hynes disco jam “Want Your Feeling,” making dance songs was never the plan. Part of the reason Blanco and Two Inch Punch work under the name BenZel — and pretended for a long time that the project was actually a group of Japanese school girls — was to put some distance between the duo’s work and Blanco’s Top 40 success. “Everyone was like, ‘She’s trying to crack America! She’s going to have a big ol’ hit!’” Ware laughs. “Benny was never that for me. He knows what kind of artist I am.”

Still, Ware says she and Blanco fought often in the studio about the direction of the new songs. She balked whenever the material veered too far into pop territory; Blanco told her to “f-ck off” and pushed her to stop hiding in her own songs. Listening to the album, it’s clear Blanco’s influence rubbed off — and that Ware is still adjusting to the change.

“I think what Benny wanted was for more people to hear me, and if that meant having more of a direct chorus, then so bloody be it!” she says. “I don’t feel like a pop star.” With Tough Love, she may not have a choice for much longer.

U.S. Will Restrict Travel From Ebola-Hit West African Countries to 5 Airports

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:32 AM PDT

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that airline passengers traveling to the United States from the the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak must travel through one of five U.S. airports, where they will undergo screening.

The new restrictions take effect Wednesday and expand on a previous requirement that passengers whose travel plans originate in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone must undergo screening if they arrive at airports in New York, Newark, Washington, Atlanta or Chicago. Now, passengers must modify their itinerary to ensure they arrive at one of the five airports where they can be screened.

Though the tighter security measure is symbolically significant, it will likely only impact a small minority of travelers who arrive in the U.S. from West Africa. More than 9o% of passengers from the affected countries already arrive at those five airports via air connections in Europe or elsewhere in Africa. There are currently no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone to the U.S.

In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that the agency would continue monitoring the situation to determine whether additional restrictions are necessary.

New York Subway Performers Rally for Arrested Musician

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Buskers in New York City planned a demonstration Tuesday on behalf of a fellow subway performer whose arrest for serenading commuters was recorded by protesting bystanders and turned into a viral video, the AP reports.

Adam Kalleen was arrested in an underground station in Brooklyn Friday after he refused a police offer’s request to put down the guitar and go. While the officer said that the 30-year-old needed permission to play, Kalleen and on-lookers said that the MTA does not issue permits.

The video, which has been viewed almost half a million times on YouTube, shows people protesting Kalleen’s arrest for loitering. “You don’t have something better to do? There are people breaking real laws,” someone shouts.

The fedora-wearing busker can be seen singing Neil Young’s “Ohio,” a song written in 1970 by Neil Young about the Kent State shootings, to the chants “F*** the police” from the crowd.

The MTA guidelines state that “artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations” are permitted, although that does appear to conflict with state law that prohibits subway station loitering “for the purpose of soliciting or engaging in business.” Busker advocacy organizations exist to fight for street performers’ rights.

An NYPD spokesperson told the AP that the department is looking into the arrest.

[AP]

Supplier of Faulty Air Bags Sees Stock Plummet

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:19 AM PDT

Shares of the Takata Corporation dropped 23% on Tuesday following news that the airbag manufacturer had supplied potentially defective parts to a range of automakers, including Toyota, Honda and General Motors.

The market reaction was swift and decisive, the Wall Street Journal reports, after U.S. regulators issued an unusually urgent public warning to “act immediately” to resolve the defect.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two deaths and a number of other incidents that indicate the airbags might explode under conditions of high humidity, potentially sending scraps of metal flying into passengers.

The warning prompted Toyota to recall 247,000 vehicles on Monday and warn passengers to avoid sitting in the passenger seat.

[WSJ]

North Korea Releases One of Three U.S. Detainees

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:19 AM PDT

North Korea has released Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans who have been detained by the reclusive country, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

“I am in a position to confirm that Jeffrey Fowle has been allowed to depart the DPRK and is on his way home to his family as we speak,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing.

The U.S. negotiated Fowle’s release through the government of Sweden, which handles consular cases for American citizens in North Korea.

Fowle, who was visiting the country as a tourist, was arrested earlier this year for leaving a bible in the restroom of a club. Two other Americans, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller, continue to be held.

North Korea requested that the U.S. provide transportation for Fowle out of the country, and Earnest said the Department of Defense arranged transport for his trip back to the U.S.

Watch a Soldier Coming Back From Afghanistan Surprise His Daughter at a Pumpkin Patch

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

North Carolina mom Meg Kaplan filmed the moment when her husband surprised his daughter at a pumpkin patch. He was deployed to Afghanistan for 10 months, and the family is stationed at Fort Bragg, The TODAY Show reports. In the video, he sneaks up behind her as she’s posing for the camera and exclaims “Pumpkin Day!” Then she turns around and starts to sob. We dare you to watch this clip and not get at least a little choked up as well.

MORE: #TIMEVets: Exploring the Profound Effects of War on Those Who Serve and Their Families

PHOTOS: 12 Portraits That Illustrate the Pain and Joy of Returning to Civilian Life

What John Grisham Got Right About Child Pornography

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Last week John Grisham, the best-selling author of legal thrillers, triggered a storm of online criticism by arguing in an interview with The Telegraph that criminal penalties for possessing child pornography are unreasonably harsh. Grisham, who has since apologized, spoke rather loosely, overstating the extent to which honest mistakes account for child porn convictions and the extent to which those convictions expand the prison population.

But he was right on two important points: People who download child pornography are not necessarily child molesters, and whatever harm they cause by looking at forbidden pictures does not justify the penalties they often receive.

Under federal law, receiving child pornography, which could mean downloading a single image, triggers a mandatory minimum sentence of five years—the same as the penalty for distributing it. Merely looking at a picture can qualify someone for the same charge, assuming he does so deliberately and is aware that web browsers automatically make copies of visited sites. In practice, since the Internet nowadays is almost always the source of child pornography, this means that viewing and possession can be treated the same as trafficking.

The maximum penalty for receiving or distributing child porn is 20 years, and federal sentencing guidelines recommend stiff enhancements based on very common factors, such as using a computer, possessing more than 600 images (with each video clip counted as 75 images) and exchanging photos for something of value, including other photos. In a 2009 analysis, federal public defender Troy Stabenow showed that a defendant with no prior criminal record and no history of abusing children would qualify for a sentence of 15 to 20 years based on a small collection of child pornography and one photo swap, while a 50-year-old man who encountered a 13-year-old girl online and lured her into a sexual relationship would get no more than 4 years.

Nine out of 10 federal child-porn prosecutions involve “non-production offenses”: downloading or passing along images of sexual abuse, as opposed to perpetrating or recording it. As a result of congressional edicts, the average sentence in such cases rose from 54 months in 2004 to 95 months in 2010, according to a 2012 report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The penalties have become so severe, the commission noted, that judges frequently find ways to dodge them, resulting in wildly inconsistent sentences for people guilty of essentially the same conduct. In a 2010 survey, 71% of federal judges said mandatory minimums for receiving child pornography are too long.

State sentences can be even harsher. Dissenting from a 2006 decision in which the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a 200-year sentence for a former high school teacher caught with child pornography, Vice Chief Justice Rebecca Berch noted that the penalties for such offenses were more severe than the penalties for rape, second-degree murder, and sexual assault of a child younger than 12.

These draconian sentences seem to be driven largely by the assumption that people who look at child pornography are all undiscovered or would-be child molesters. But that is not true.

The sentencing commission found, based on criminal records and additional information in presentencing reports, that one in three federal defendants convicted of non-production offenses in the previous decade had known histories of “criminal sexually dangerous behavior” (including prior child pornography offenses). Tracking 610 defendants sentenced in fiscal years 1999 and 2000 for 8.5 years after they were released, the USSC found that 7% were arrested for a new sexual offense.

Even allowing for the fact that many cases of sexual abuse go unreported (as indicated by victim surveys), it seems clear that some consumers of child pornography never abuse children. “There does exist a distinct group of offenders who are Internet-only and do not present a significant risk for hands-on sex offending,” says Karl Hanson, a senior research officer at Public Safety Canada who has co-authored several recidivism studies.

Another argument for sending people who look at child pornography to prison, emphasized by the Supreme Court in its 1990 decision upholding criminal penalties for mere possession, is that consumers create a demand that encourages production. Yet any given consumer’s contribution to that demand is likely insignificant, and this argument carries much less weight now that people typically obtain child pornography online for free.

Defenders of harsh penalties for looking at child pornography also argue that viewing such images imposes extra suffering on victims of sexual abuse, who must live with the knowledge that strangers around the world can see evidence of the horrifying crimes committed against them. But again, any single defendant’s contribution to that suffering is apt to be very small.

Tellingly, people who possess “sexually obscene images of children,” such as “a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting”—production of which need not entail abuse of any actual children—face the same heavy penalties under federal law as people caught with actual child pornography. That provision, like the reaction to John Grisham’s comments, suggests these policies are driven by outrage and disgust rather than reason. There is clearly something wrong with a justice system in which people who look at images of child rape can be punished more severely than people who rape children.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a syndicated columnist.

These Are the 5 Coolest Features of OS X Yosemite

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:11 AM PDT

From Apple Pay to Apple Watch — and with new iPhones and iPads launched in between — the tech world has been awash with innovations flowing from Cupertino over the past few months. Less publicized but just as game-changing, OS X Yosemite, Apple’s new Mac operating system, was released last Thursday as a free upgrade.

A major release with an array of features, Yosemite has a lot more than just new graphics and typefaces: the operating system unites Apple’s desktop and mobile devices in ways they’ve never worked together before, for instance. So while you were eyeing that oversized iPhone 6 Plus and ogling that svelte iPad Air 2, here are the five coolest, new OS X features that you missed.

1. Handoff

As fun as it is to say phablets are killing tablets or tablets are killing laptops, the reality is that most computer users are carrying around more than one machine. Yosemite’s new Handoff feature gets these multiple devices thinking like one intuitive supercomputer. For example, imagine reading about the World Series in Safari on a Mac Mini, and then turning to check the weather with an iPad. With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 installed, you’ll find a Safari icon at the bottom left of your iPad’s lock screen, ready to be swiped and take you to the same baseball story in Safari on the tablet. It’s a fantastically fluid feature that works with an array of apps, from productivity software like Numbers and Pages to personal apps like Reminders and Contacts.

2. Desktop Macs Can Make Phone Calls

It’s almost 2015 — shouldn’t this new feature be old hat? In a way it is; Skype and Google Voice users have been yapping away for years on Macs. But Yosemite uses a new technology called “Continuity” that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to link iDevices and Macs owned by the same user in order to push phone calls from iPhones to Apple computers and even iPads.

The feature is enabled by default, so it may be a bit jarring the first time your iMac rings. But with all the standard calling features like call waiting, conference calling, and even custom ringtones, it’s a welcome addition to a multi-tasker’s workflow. SMS text messages, not just iMessages, even get displayed in the Messages app, turning your MacBook into a full-fledged smartphone. Still, beware deploying this new feature in an office environment: with computers ringing and people conducting conversations via speakers and microphones, this new feature could get very old, very fast.

3. Safari Gets Private and Secure

Prior to Yosemite, Safari’s Private Browsing mode was the best way to ensure Apple’s web browser would keep your secrets. But this operating system release saw an overhaul of the browser, introducing more security features like a custom history clearing option that lets users clear history, cookies, and other data from the previous hour, day, or two days. In addition, Apple has added DuckDuckGo, a non-tracking search engine that doesn’t store users’ data, to its search offerings. And with Continuity features of its own, a Safari browser running on an Apple computer can not only share its history with browsers on associated iPhones and iPads, but it can also close tabs left open on the iOS devices—a great way to ensure people don’t view the browsing habits on your mobile devices.

4. Edit Attachments Directly In the Mail App

Little bloats a computer’s hard drive more than email attachments, especially when you need to edit them. Consider this workflow: Save the attachment, edit the saved data, and reattach the updated document — that simple exchange turns one file into three, at least tripling the space it occupies on a hard drive. Yosemite’s Mail app lets users make edits to attachments within the email window through tools that allow text to be inserted, signatures to be doodled with the touchpad, and diagrams to be drawn. It’s a small but necessary feature that is much overdue, and offers a convenience that could finally (hopefully?) spell the end of the fax machine.

5. AirDrop with iOS

Speaking of Mail, Yosemite’s Mac to iDevice diplomacy marks the end of another painstaking workaround: emailing files from your mobile device to your desktop. AirDrop is nothing new — introduced in iOS 7, it previously allowed two nearby iDevices to transfer files between each other, wirelessly. But for reasons that only Apple engineers can explain, these handhelds couldn’t send files to Macs — until now. It’s such a simple feature that it hardly feels like magic, but Yosemite’s AirDrop is representative of the overhaul Apple made with this operating system build: Finally, all your machines can interact with each other and it just works.

CNN and Other Turner Stations Pulled From Dish Network

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:06 AM PDT

CNN, Cartoon Network and other stations owned by Turner Broadcasting were pulled from the Dish Network lineup late Monday after negotiations between the two companies stalled. The incident is the latest flare-up in the pay-TV industry as television distributors balk at paying increasingly high programming costs to networks.

“In the past year, DISH has successfully renewed agreements with many large content providers,” Warren Schlichting, DISH’s senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “As a result, we are confident that we have offered a deal to Turner that reflects an appropriate value for our customers.”

Turner fired back by claiming that Dish was the one who had led to the blackout. “Turner has worked diligently for months to come to a fair agreement including multiple extensions and compromises, and it’s unfortunate that Dish is once again operating in a disruptive manner that takes away networks and programming from their customers,” the company, a subsidiary of Time Warner, said in a statement.

Dish Network has about 14 million pay-TV subscribers, making it one of the largest providers in the U.S.

Spats between pay-TV operators and network owners have gotten increasingly contentious as operators have begun to shed video subscribers in recent years. A blackout of CBS on Time Warner Cable last summer lasted about a month, and the cable operator Suddenlink dropped Viacom channels indefinitely at the start of October. In their statements, both Dish and Turner indicated that they are trying to come to an agreement soon.

With HBO and CBS having just announced that they will offer their channels directly to consumers who don’t have cable, negotiations over programming costs may grow even more heated in the future. The growing discord in the pay-TV industry indicates that massive, expensive bundle of one-hundred-plus channels that we’ve all grown accustomed to may not be long for this world.

U.S.: 1 American Released From North Korea

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:03 AM PDT

(WASHINGTON) — Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans being held in North Korea, has been released, the State Department said Tuesday.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Fowle was on his way home Tuesday after negotiators left Pyongyang. Fowle is from Miamisburg, Ohio. Harf said the U.S. is still trying to free Americans Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae.

Associated Press journalists in Pyongyang spotted the U.S. government plane at the capital’s international on Tuesday.

Washington has tried for months to send a high-level envoy to North Korea to seek release of the three men.

Analysts say North Korea has previously used detained Americans as leverage in its standoff with the U.S. over its nuclear and missile programs, a charge that Pyongyang denies.

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