Money & Happiness
July 23, 2019
“A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.”
“It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.”
– Albert Camus
“Good Guy” Rosselló Dwells In Office Like A Fungi
Massive demonstrations have swamped the US island territory of Puerto Rico ever since 889 pages of text messages between Governor Ricardo Rosselló and 11 members of his inner circle were leaked on July 13. The chats were replete with partisan political work carried out during regular office hours, and peppered with sexist, misogynist and homophobic jokes. Among numerous dehumanizing slurs against political rivals and cultural figures was a joke about the dead bodies left after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
A general strike took place across the territory on Monday, and hundreds of thousands lined the streets protesting Rossello’s attempt to hang onto power despite resigning as president of the New Progressive party and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.
President Trump weighed in from the Oval Office Monday, declaring: “[Rossello’s] a terrible governor. You have an even worse mayor of San Juan. We did a great job in Puerto Rico.” San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Carmen was critical of both the governor and the president, and Trump has frequently inflated the amount of aid Washington extended to Puerto Rico following Maria.
Numerous congressional members of both parties have called for Rossello’s resignation, but administration officials have not. Rossello’s administration has been plagued with scandals since Maria. Prior to July 13 the FBI had arrested a number of administration officials and contractors — including Rossello’s former education secretary — on charges of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Get Free 2 Day Logging With Amazon Tribe
- An indigenous media group is hoping to raise awareness of the threat posed in the Amazon rainforest by illegal loggers, miners and drug traffickers.
- The group released a video of an uncontacted tribesman believed to belong to the Awá people. The video was recorded by a member of a neighboring tribe, the Guajajara, which is trying to defend one of the last pockets of intact forest in Maranhao, a massively deforested state in northeast Brazil.
- Commercial interests that want to move into the land have questioned the existence of these tribes, but the new footage has been cited as proof that they remain in the territory. The Awá have been described as the world’s most threatened tribe by the NGO Survival International, which has tracked killings by loggers who surround and frequently encroach upon the group’s territory. (Guardian)
Wealthy War Games Tear Apart Somalia
For the past two years wealthy Persian Gulf monarchies have been competing for power and profits across the Horn of Africa. War-torn Somalia has emerged as a central battleground, with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar each providing weapons or military training to favored factions, exchanging allegations about bribing local officials, and competing for contracts to manage ports or exploit natural resources. (NYT)
Fly Me To The Moon
- India is celebrating the successful launch, on its second try, of an unmanned mission to the moon. A rocket named Chandrayaan-2 — “moon craft” in ancient Sanskrit — is expected to make a soft landing in the moon’s south pole region in early September.
- That would make India the fourth country to accomplish a controlled landing on the moon’s surface, following the US, Russia and China. After landing a moon rover will explore water deposits India discovered on a previous moon mission 11 years ago.
- That first lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, used radar to map the moon’s surface but did not actually touch down. (NPR)
Oh Where Oh Where Have All The Police Gone?
For nearly two months millions have been demonstrating against Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive, Carrie Lam, who is seen by protesters as allowing an erosion of freedoms independent of mainland China. Some three dozen people were injured when a group of pro-democracy activists and other bystanders were attacked at a train station Sunday night following a night of street demonstrations. An opposition lawmaker is questioning whether Lam is responsible for lack of police response. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Ukrainian President’s Party Wins Snap Elections In Bid To Consolidate Power (NPR)
- Cambodia Denies Report Of Deal With China For Use Of Naval Base (NPR)
- French submarine found 50 years after disappearance: La Minerve, which vanished in 1968 with 52 sailors on board, discovered off Toulon (Guardian)
- Iran says it arrested CIA spies and sentenced some to death: Iran says it has arrested 17 spies who it says were working for the CIA, and sentenced some of them to death. (BBC)
- Israel razes Palestinian homes ‘built too near barrier’: Israel has begun demolishing a cluster of Palestinian homes it says were built illegally too close to the separation barrier in the occupied West Bank. (BBC)
The Lesser Of Like 26 Evils
- According to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, independent voters are not impressed with the direction either President Trump or Democrats want to take the country at this point ahead of the 2020 election. This is not good news for Democratic presidential hopefuls who have been trying to outrace each other in presenting new, improved and progressive policy ideas.
- The poll shows some of those ideas, while popular with the base, are not popular with a general election electorate. Trump did his best in this polling since taking office, but his approval rating is still just 44 percent.
- Fewer independents are undecided about the president, giving him a 42 percent approval rating, up from 35 percent in June. The poll was conducted from July 15 to 17, after the president’s July 14 tweet that four Democratic congresswomen of color, all American citizens, should “go back” to their countries of origin. The poll of 1,336 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. (NPR)
- Tracking The Money Race Behind The Presidential Campaign (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Don’t Have Lunch Money? A Pennsylvania School District Threatens Foster Care (NPR)
- ‘It’s a crisis’: Facebook kitchen staff work multiple jobs to get by: Workers have spent months negotiating with the food services contractor employed by Facebook over wages and hours (Guardian)
- New York just passed the most ambitious climate target in the country: Carbon-free electricity by 2040 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. (Vox)
- US debt ceiling and budget deal is ‘near final,’ source says (CNBC)
Money MAY Buy Happiness
A journalist wanted to explore what conditions are present that induce some rich people to feel happier about their money than others. She asked the following of a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending: Once people have enough money to cover their basic needs and then some, what would make them feel satisfied—happy, even—with what they have? Could one of the answers be: “It’s not just about how much you have — it’s what you do with it.” (Atlantic)
- Unhatched birds can warn others of danger by vibrating shells: Study finds developing chicks communicate with siblings when they hearalarm calls (Guardian)
- The Success Of Streaming Has Been Great For Some, But Is There A Better Way? (NPR)
- Discrimination Is Hard to Prove, Even Harder to Fix: Even when older plaintiffs win their suits, correcting institutional biases can take years. (NYT, $)
- The greatest long-term threats facing humanity: How long can civilisation survive? To thrive for billions of years, there will be a few troublesome problems to solve – from the death of the Sun to the decay of matter. (BBC)
- The Ice Bucket Challenge and the promise — and the pitfalls — of viral charity: Five years later, the ALS Association tells us how they spent the money. (Vox)
- Why Online Dating Can Feel Like Such an Existential Nightmare: Matchmaking sites have officially surpassed friends and family in the world of dating, injecting modern romance with a dose of radical individualism. Maybe that’s the problem. (The Atlantic)
- Microsoft invests $1 billion in artificial intelligence project co-founded by Elon Musk (NBC)
“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”
– Groucho Marx
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” – Epictetus
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