Banner day for Little Rock, Ark., as city flies ‘no thanks’ message to Amazon over Seattle

Little Rock banner
The group Love, Little Rock flew a banner over Seattle directing people to a website with its letter to Amazon. (Twitter Photo / @jeremypbeasley)

The city of Little Rock, Ark., has plenty of love, but none for Amazon.

A group called Love, Little Rock flew a banner over Seattle on Monday letting the tech giant know that it wasn’t interested in being one of the 238 places that submitted a proposal to be home to the company’s second headquarters.

“Hey Amazon. It’s not you. It’s us,” read the message towed behind a small plane, visible in photographs on social media. A website URL on the banner offered more clues about what was up at

Visitors to that site found a letter and video spelling out why Little Rock went from being “all over it” when it came to interest in lobbying for HQ2, to realizing “it would probably never work out between us.”

The letter called Amazon “smart, sexy, and frankly, incredibly rich” but said that it would be a “bummer” to concentrate a workforce of 50,000 people in the capital city, with its population of around 200,000.

“Our lack of traffic and ease of getting around would be totally wrecked, and we can’t sacrifice that for you,” the letter said.

The stunt makes no mention of the fact that Arkansas is home to Walmart — Amazon’s big competition when it comes to controlling America’s retail landscape. The New York Times wrote last month about how the nation’s largest private employer is doubling down on the state, and rebuilding its headquarters there.

Here’s the video and full letter:

Hey Amazon. We need to talk.

It’s not you, it’s us.

We know, we know, when you originally sent out your offer for cities to send in proposals for your future HQ2, we were all over it.

After all, you’re Amazon. You’re smart, sexy, and frankly, incredibly rich. And thanks to ourbooming business environmenttech-savvy workforce, diverse, creative culture and flourishing downtown, there are a lot of reasons why we’d be great together.

But when we started really thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us.

You want 50,000 employees for your new campus. We have a sizable, resourceful workforce, but if we were to concentrate them here, it would be a bummer. Our lack of traffic and ease of getting around would be totally wrecked, and we can’t sacrifice that for you.

You want on-site mass transit at HQ2. Here, there are many transit options that fit our city perfectly, and thanks to our compact urban footprint, many of our residents can easily get to the office on foot, on a bike or just by a quick drive. It would be cool if we could offer that, but we simply can’t do that just to make you happy.

Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us.

We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks, coupled with our brains for business, irresistible.

If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call. We would love to find a way to make “us” work out.

We wish you all the success in the world.

Love, Little Rock

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My Life on a Socialist Kibbutz in Brooklyn, and What I Learned There

I rarely mention one of the most important things I’ve done in my life. When it does come up, I do my best to quickly move on. The trouble is, most people don’t have a frame of reference for understanding it, and so it confuses some and annoys others. But every once in a while, someone gets interested and asks me to explain, and then I get confused. In many ways I just don’t have the language and the patience to untangle all the historical nuances that make this thing so important. The experience to which I am referring is the five years I spent living in a socialist commune.

Yet the more time that gets between me and the commune, the more I realize that my experience can help fill a gap in today’s social justice conversation. I’m referring here to a conflict between what activist groups and organizations aim to do, and how they go about doing it; a misalignment of aims and means that has torn some groups apart and made some organizations ultimately ineffectual. We can easily fill this gap by adopting structures—legal, financial, and facilitative—that reflect our values and visions, but sadly, most people don’t know enough about these structures to name them, let alone to enact them.

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Today on Jewcy: Alon Schwarz, one half of a brother directing team, discusses his film about two brothers meeting for the first time after seventy years.

The new documentary Aida’s Secrets comes from brothers Alon and Shaul Schwarz, who chronicled their uncle Izak’s search for the brother he never knew he had, featuring an emotional reunion between Israeli Izak, Canadian Shep, and their mother Aida, and the exploration of many unexpected developments and histories along the way. Jewcy sat down with Alon, who just arrived from Israel to promote the film.

Click here to read the full post on Jewcy.

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Tel Aviv to Chabad: Excuse Me, Are You Jewish? Now Get Out.

Being a Chabad emissary in Tel Aviv is hardly any easier than it is anywhere else. Sure, you don’t have to go around asking people if they’re Jewish, but you do have to contend with city hall asking if you’ve got a permit for those phylacteries: This past Friday, a Chabad rabbi doing his work at a booth in the city’s tony Ramat Aviv neighborhood was approached by a municipal inspector and warned that he lacked the proper license necessary to ask passersby if they’d like to put on a pair of tefillin.

This is the second case in a few weeks involving Chabad being singled out by unfriendly Israeli municipalities. In September, a Chabad rabbi in Herzliya was fined $209; the inspector who issued the fine wrote that the rabbi’s offense was “harassing people by asking them to put on tefillin.”

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As Bar Refaeli Gives Birth to Second Daughter, Israelis Ask: Is She a Feminist Icon or a Shanda?

This may come as a bit of a shock to readers of this magazine, but, in Israel, many things are controversial, including things that really shouldn’t be. Like supermodels and their life choices: The newest social media derecho involves one Bar Refaeli, who this weekend gave birth to her second daughter, Elle.

What makes Refaeli, second only to Gal Gadot as an avatar of national pride, so contentious? To understand that, you’d do well to look back to a photo she posted on Instagram last summer. It features a glass of white wine next to a bottle of Similac, with the caption “hers and hers,” meaning that the libation was intended for Refaeli herself and the formula for her first daughter, Liv.

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Hamas Tries, Fails to Smuggle Tactical Shooting Gloves into Gaza

Life in Hamas-governed Gaza is a festering hell, with 96 percent of the strip’s water reportedly unsafe to drink, most of its electrical infrastructure having collapsed, and more than 40 percent of its population unemployed. Addressing these issues, the terrorist organization has responded by using children as human shields, embezzling humanitarian aid funds, and stepping up its efforts to smuggle weapons and tactical aids into Gaza.

Yesterday, Israeli soldiers intercepted a shipment of thousands of tactical shooting gloves meant for Hamas. If this doesn’t seem like much of a big deal—gloves, after all, aren’t guns—consider the story’s larger implications. The shipment was concealed inside a truck containing goods approved by Israel, which means that rather than protecting itself to the best of its ability against a belligerent and murderous foe committed to its destruction, the Jewish state still allows—at a considerable risk and at a significant cost—for necessary supplies to find their way into Gaza, a gesture that Hamas’s neighbors to the south, Egypt, aren’t too keen on replicating. Any organization even remotely interested in governing would’ve embraced Israel’s leniency, making sure it maximized the number of essentials needed to secure the health and safety of its citizens. Hamas, however, has no interest in any goal other than the continuation of its war on Israel, which is why the group is stepping up its smuggling efforts. Last year, according to Israel’s Ministry of Defense, Hamas attempted to smuggle contraband into Gaza 1,226 times, a 165 percent increase over the previous year. The contraband included drones, scuba diving gear, as well as ball bearings popular in improvised explosive devices.

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Star Trek: Discovery Goes Psychic & Psychedelic in ‘Lethe’: Season 1, Episode 6 Review (Synopsis)

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.” -Federico García Lorca

In an episode filled with Vulcan mindmelds, Klingon treachery, a spectacular nebula, themes of racial purity, and PTSD, you’d think all the ingredients were there for a spectacular episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Instead, describing it as a hot mess would be overly generous; this episode is just a disappointment as far as just about every avenue is concerned. Except for the Captain Lorca / Admiral Cornwell scenes, there’s really nothing to like about where this goes.

While running her fingers over his scars on his back while Lorca sleeps, Cornwell suddenly finds herself with a phaser pointed in her face. She understandably doubts whether Lorca is fit to command a vessel as high-priority as Discovery. Image credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive.

From a psilocybin-ed out Stamets to an increasingly annoying Lilly, to a jackass version of Sarek to a blame-assigning Burnham who can’t believe that the galaxy isn’t fair, this episode is full of weak points. For a show that’s attempting to be an action/drama, this episode is very short on both the action and the drama. The Cornwell/Lorca scenes can’t save the episode, and the science part of the science fiction never even appears.

Some rare galaxies exhibit a green glow thanks to the presence of doubly ionized oxygen. This requires UV light from stellar temperatures of 50,000 K and above. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), of NGC 5972.

After a promising fifth episode, Star Trek: Discovery returns to its worst impulses in Episode 6, ‘Lethe’. Come get the full review and recap.

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The Lowest Strings of an Incredible 15-String Bass Impressively Played Slap Style

Davie504, the talented bassist who is constantly looking for new ways to play, demonstrated a truly unusual 15-string version of the instrument, impressively slapping the lowest strings for those of his fans who are all about the bass and no treble.

Slapping the 15 Strings Bass Guitar 😀 This time I am playing the lowest strings too, so you can hear how they sound. Hope you’ll like it!

A post shared by Davie504 (@davie504) on

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A Reunited Swan Couple Form the Shape of a Heart With Their Heads After Being Separated for Weeks

Swan Heart Reunite

After being separated for several weeks in September 2017, a newly reunited swan couple in Dordrecht, Netherlands immediately swam towards one another. As soon as they reached each other, the pair nuzzled each other, forming the shape of a heart as their heads touched. The female of the pair had taken ill with a case of botulism and was treated off site with the help of a volunteer at the animal rescue organization Dierenbescherming

Highlighting the strength of emotions the birds have for one another, the recovering female headed straight for its partner when she was released back into the water by animal rescue workers. The bird had fallen ill with botulism, a food poisoning caused by bacteria-produced in toxins, and around three weeks earlier could barely lift her head. …With only a few exceptions, once swans have courted they are bonded for life.

Another instance of this show of love happened in Ireland during February 2017 when the pair was reunited after a few weeks. The male had swallowed a fish hook that had gotten lodged in his esophagus. The Kildare Animal Foundation stepped in to help the bird, necessitating a separation of the couple.

via Tastefully Offensive

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Faceless Dancers Use Trampoline to Rebound Onto a Rotating Stairway in Stunning Panthéon Show

Pantheon Mechanics of History

In the stunning Yoann Bourgeois performance entitled “La Mécanique de L’Histoire”, faceless dancers gracefully fell from an Escheresque rotating circular stairway and in an amazing demonstration of intertia, balance and control, immediately rebounded back onto the steps with a single bounce off of a trampoline. The figures repeated the movement over and again until only a single dancer remained, tirelessly trying to make his way back onto the top step until he finally reached it. This performance, part of the Monument en Mouvement, took place at the Panthéon in Paris, France.

(translated) Set at the highest point of the dome of the Pantheon, the famous Foucault pendulum serves as a support for the choreographer’s work on movement and balance. Around four spectacular devices trampoline, turntable or in precarious balance, as well as its famous “Balance of Levity”, installed in the monument, the dancers-acrobats, the clock of Foucault and the public, will be the actors of an ambulatory spectacle unpublished.

via Golem13

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