Bresha Meadows Thought You’d Understand

Photos by Maddie McGarvey

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio ― There are things that Bresha Meadows remembers about the night she killed her father and things she doesn’t. She tells me this as she slowly picks apart a chocolate chip cookie, discarding the stale edges. We’re sitting at her attorney’s dining room table in an east side suburb of Cleveland. Although Bresha is 18, she looks younger, with warm brown eyes and a slightly upturned nose, which her boyfriend playfully teased her about the first time they met. She lifts her chin when she laughs, and she laughs often. The more distressing the story she’s telling, the more she breaks into a smile. It’s a nervous habit.

Her guess, she says, is that her mind blocked out some stuff to protect her. She remembers steadily extracting the gun from under her dad’s pillow as he slept on the couch. Then putting it down. Picking it up. Putting it down. You know when you can kinda like, foresee something?” she asked. “I sat there thinking and pictures kept flashing in my head, like my mom’s funeral casket, and then my sister and brother are old enough to move out, and it is just me and him left in the house.” Her dad had been sexually abusing her since she was 8, she said, and beating her mother for her entire life. The last thing she thought before she pulled the trigger was: It’s never gonna stop. It’s only gonna get worse. She clicked the gun and spun around like a wooden spinning top.

She was 14.

She doesn’t remember screaming, though her mother describes hearing an unearthly sound, high-pitched and deafeningly loud. When the police arrived to arrest her, she was dripping wet. After shooting her father, she bolted upstairs and jumped in the shower fully clothed. “I felt myself going into shock, so I tried to get cold water on me,” she explained. The police officers who responded, all men, allowed her to put on dry clothes before taking her down to the station, but insisted on remaining in the room as she undressed, she said.

I’d been covering Bresha’s case since 2016, but this was the first time we’d met. In court, her back was always to the public gallery. From behind, she struck a fragile figure, often visibly shaking and shifting foot to foot as she stood in front of the judge, her hands clasped behind her. In person, she was lighter, more animated, although she chose her words with a degree of caution and precision rarely observed in teens. That’s a repercussion of jail, she said. She is always bracing for something terrible to happen. 

The fact that we were even having this conversation was improbable. Normally kids who kill a parent are tried as adults and go to prison for decades, even if they are victims of severe child abuse. Bresha was an outlier. Eighteen months after the shooting, she returned home to her family in Warren, Ohio. This spring, she graduated high school with a 4.0 for the year. 

During one of our conversations, I asked her what she wanted from her new life. She paused and a look of confusion flashed across her face. It was the wrong question, impossible for her to answer. Her childhood was focused on survival; it left no space to dream. Recently, she purchased an old Jeep. It had a cracked windshield and an oil leak, but it ran. When she is driving, she said, she is able to capture the rare and blissful feeling of having complete control over her life.

A Childhood Deferred

Bresha Meadows poses for a portrait in her lawyer’s home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, on Oct. 2, 2019. Meadows killed her father after he allegedly terrorized and abused her family for years.

The hours and minutes leading up to the shooting on July 28, 2016, were unremarkable. Jonathan Meadows, 41, drank vodka mixed with pop and yelled at Bresha’s older brother before passing out on the couch. At the young age of 14, Bresha was accustomed to this pattern. Drinking, then fighting. Her dad was prone to physical violence, she said, and his cruelty grew when he was drunk. His favorite target was her mother, Brandi, who married him when she was 19. “Most of the time he’d keep the bedroom door closed when he hit her, but if he was drunk, he’d forget and leave it open,” Bresha said. Some days, she’d come home from school to find her mother with a fresh black eye. She recalled one occasion when she was hanging out in her bedroom and heard a loud thud. She peeked her head out and tiptoed down to her parents’ room. Her mother was knocked out on the floor. “Do you remember that, mom?” she asked, turning to Brandi, who sat with her daughter during interviews in early October. Brandi shook her head no, her eyes watery. Bresha laughed nervously again.

When Bresha was little, her father used to tuck her in at night and offer up his cheek for a “zerbert,” the term for a raspberry popularized by “The Cosby Show.” She’d press her lips against his face and blow, making a silly noise. It was their special evening ritual. Later, she would come to dread bedtime. Around the age of 8, her father began molesting her, she said. He told her to keep it a secret and she did. But soon after, Bresha started asking her mother if they could leave Daddy. “She was the first one to say it to me,” Brandi said. In 2011, when Bresha was 9, Brandi had a stroke and ended up in the hospital for a week. For Brandi, the medical emergency served as a wake-up call. “I realized this is not what I want. Like, I don’t want to die here, living like this in front of my kids,” she said.

As soon as she was well enough, Brandi fled to her mother’s house in Parma, Ohio, with her three children ― Bresha and her older siblings, Brianna, now 22, and Jonathan Jr., now 24. In a protective order filed at the time, she detailed her husband’s brutality. “In the 17 years of our marriage he has cut me, broke my ribs, fingers, the blood vessels in my hand, my mouth, blackened my eyes,” she wrote. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children.” Sitting on the back porch of her mother’s house, Brandi opened up to one of her sisters, Martina Latessa, a Cleveland detective who knew firsthand the complexities of domestic violence. Still, a few months later, Brandi returned to her husband, a decision that she still hasn’t forgiven herself for. Once they were home, Bresha said, things deteriorated further. Her dad believed his children betrayed him by leaving, and was paranoid they’d do it again. “We wasn’t allowed to talk no more after that,” Bresha said, nodding at her mom. “If he walked in and we were talking, he’d get mad.” 

On left, Bresha (baby in center) is pictured with her mother, father and two siblings. On right, Bresha (in black) poses with her family. To her left is Ja’Von, her cousin, who also went public with his allegations of abuse at the hands of Jonathan Meadows.

When Bresha was 12, her dad raped her for the first time, she said. She hadn’t had a period yet, but started menstruating soon afterwards, which led her to wonder if the two were related. “I don’t know if that could bring a period faster,” she said, her voice trailing off. She shared a room with her sister, and her father would time his visits for when his youngest daughter was alone. At 13, she ran away to Cleveland, seeking help from her aunts. “I needed to breathe,” she said. Latessa, her aunt, was struck by how withdrawn her niece appeared. “She was rubbing her hands together and shaking and very closed off,” she said. Bresha told her that her dad’s violence was getting worse. He had strangled her mother, and threatened to shoot all of them. When Latessa told Bresha that she had to go home ― her parents had reported her missing ― she broke down crying. On the car ride back, she lay comatose in the backseat. She didn’t tell her aunt about any sexual abuse, but Latessa wondered about it after spotting cut marks on her arms. Self-injury is common among female victims of molestation, she said. Latessa made Bresha memorize her phone number and took her to the Warren Police Department so that Bresha could tell them about her father’s violence, and what it was like inside the home. Nothing came of the report, Latessa said. The police did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Three months before the shooting, Bresha’s family moved houses. For the first time in her life, she had her own bedroom. Most teens crave their own personal space. But for Bresha, sleeping alone meant she was never safe from her father. She stopped sleeping and developed chronic, debilitating headaches, terrified of her father’s surprise visits. She ran away again. “Every time I left, they just sent me back. It was pointless,” she said. “You could walk through that house and you knew it, he had control, he wasn’t going to get in trouble.” One night, she was in the process of hanging herself in her closet, she said, when her friend walked in and stopped her. 

Before she pulled the trigger, Bresha said, it hadn’t actually occurred to her that she would go to jail. She thought it was obvious she was acting in self-defense, and everyone would agree. Nowhere is her 14-year-old mind more evident than in this calculation. It wasn’t until she was inside the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, and heard her charge ― aggravated murder ― that it dawned on her that she was in serious trouble. If she was tried as an adult and convicted, she could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

‘The Archetypal Violent Act’

Bresha Meadows poses for a portrait in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 

Parricide, the killing of a parent, is extremely rare. Only about 50 children under the age of 18 in the U.S. kill their parents each year, according to an estimate by Kathleen Heide, a professor at the University of South Florida who was hired as an expert witness by Bresha’s defense team. Most are victims of severe child abuse. And, like Bresha, most act while their parent is asleep or otherwise incapacitated because it is the only time they believe they can fight back and win.

To a child, it’s a rational choice. “It’s when their fear level is a little lower,” said Paul Mones, a lawyer who specializes in defending children who kill their parents. But it usually dooms them in court. Under most self-defense laws, a person is only justified in using deadly force if they believe they are being threatened with imminent death or serious bodily harm, with an emphasis on imminent. There is no exception for juveniles, Mones said, although in a handful of cases, courts have allowed testimony on battered child syndrome ― a condition resulting from severe abuse ― to explain why a child might truly believe their life was in danger despite the absence of an imminent threat.

Mones, who wrote “When a Child Kills: Abused Children Who Kill Their Parents,” said that in most of his cases, his clients were charged as adults, convicted and sent to prison for at least 10 years. “There’s a strong streak of retribution against youth in the juvenile justice system,” he said. “The killing of a parent, no matter what, is still viewed as the archetypal violent act of kids, the ultimate rebellion.”

On left, Bresha is seen inside the Warren Police Department a few hours after the shooting. On right, she appears at one of her many hearings at the Trumbull County Family Court.

The practice of trying children as adults is commonplace in the U.S., especially if the defendant is a person of color. Bresha is Black. “We have this expression, ‘If you can do the crime, you can do the time,’ which from a developmental point of view is ludicrous,” said psychologist James Garbarino, who studies the use of violence by children. A growing body of neurological research has found that the parts of the brain associated with functions such as planning, reasoning, judgment and impulse control are not done maturing until a person is in their 20s. Kids simply think differently than adults. The Supreme Court has acknowledged this in a series of landmark decisions. In 2012, the court ruled that it was cruel and unusual to sentence a child to life in prison without the possibility of parole, because it “precludes consideration of [a child’s] chronological age and its hallmark features — among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences.” Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan noted that it also prevents the justice system from taking into account a child’s home environment, from which a child “cannot usually extricate himself — no matter how brutal or dysfunctional.” 

In addition to their cognitive immaturity, children are also especially vulnerable to the effects of trauma. Back in the 1990s, a landmark study found a significant link between negative childhood experiences and chronic health problems later in life. Ongoing research into adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs as they are called, has found that the more ACEs a person has, the more likely they are to develop heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, depression; struggle with substance abuse; or end up incarcerated. (You can take the 10-question ACE test here.) The exact mechanism that links childhood trauma to negative health outcomes is unclear, but scientists hypothesize that it has to do with the stress response. When we feel threatened, our bodies react by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones, such as cortisol. Learning to manage stress is a normal and healthy part of growing up. But when children are constantly stressed, it can literally shape the developing brain. 

Bresha has an ACE score of 7. While extremely high, it is not out of the ordinary for girls in juvenile justice. An estimated 45% of female juvenile offenders have an ACE score of 5 or higher, according to a Department of Justice report. Like Bresha, 31% were sexually abused prior to incarceration.

For many children, you can draw a straight line between the trauma they experienced and the crime that put them behind bars. They’re not bad kids, they’re hurt ones. 

The Fight Of Her Life

Ian Friedman, the lawyer for Bresha Meadows, in his home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 

On Bresha’s first night in juvenile detention, she got a surprise visit from Ian Friedman, a criminal defense attorney based in Cleveland. Before they met, he wasn’t planning on taking her case. His trial schedule was full and the family couldn’t pay. But he promised Brandi, who came to see him in his office that day, that he would talk to Bresha in person before making up his mind. “My first impression was that she was a little girl who didn’t have anything, didn’t come from anything and wasn’t going to get a fair shake in the system,” he said. “I was concerned that she would get flushed down the toilet.” He took the case on the spot.

Outside the jail, Bresha’s case was beginning to go viral. A few days after the shooting, Brandi went on local television and called Bresha a hero. “I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped me,” she said, sobbing. The heartbreaking clip was picked up by national news outlets, including HuffPost. Latessa, Bresha’s aunt, also began speaking to reporters about the violence in the house and her niece’s recent repeated attempts to run away. By this point, Latessa was a detective in Cleveland’s special domestic violence unit. (She has said she was inspired to work with domestic abuse victims after witnessing her sister’s untenable situation.) Her clear, calm recounting of what she knew about the family lent credibility to her Bresha’s claims of self-defense. So did the account by Bresha’s cousin, Ja’Von Meadows-Harris, who described being physically and emotionally abused by Bresha’s father when he lived with them. Jonathan Meadows’ sister denies that he was abusive, and says that he was a good dad.

The racial dynamics of her case ― as a young Black girl, Bresha was more than four times more likely to end up incarcerated than her white peers ― also caught the attention of activists. An organizing collective, called #freebresha, began ginning up public support, promoting the family’s GoFundMe, organizing book drives and starting a petition to demand Bresha’s immediate release.

Bresha Meadows talks with her lawyer, Ian Friedman.

On the inside, Bresha was struggling. Every morning in juvenile detention, she woke up in a panic to a loud pop. It was her cell door snapping open, but to her, it sounded like a gunshot. She suffered from flashbacks to the night of the shooting, and anxiety attacks. The worst part was that she couldn’t talk to anyone about it. She was in the midst of the biggest mental health crisis of her life, and she didn’t even have a therapist, she said. When she entered the jail, her mother had to sign a form that stated “other than prescription refills and emergencies, your child will not be approved for any medical appointments while in detention.” Renae Hoso, the juvenile court coordinator for Trumbull County Juvenile Court, told HuffPost that detained youth generally have access to a licensed professional counselor, but she could not speak to any specific services provided to Bresha. Bresha, who was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, maintains that she didn’t receive needed psychiatric care while incarcerated. “I felt like there was nothing to live for,” she said. Another girl in juvie taught her to cut herself with a snapped hair elastic. 

Meanwhile, she began to receive a steady stream of letters from people who had heard about her case. They sent her books to read, and encouraged her to stay positive. People thought she was brave, she said, though she didn’t see it that way. “When I think about it, I don’t think I did it because I was strong,” she said. “I did it because it was the last resort.” 

Behind the scenes, her attorney, Friedman, was working hard to get her a deal. “It was terrifying the whole time,” he said. “If we made a mistake, even the slightest mistake, a little girl could end up in prison and that would alter the course of her life.” In December, he won his first victory. Four months after Bresha was taken into custody, prosecutors announced that they would not try her as an adult, removing the threat of a life sentence. The longest she could go to prison if convicted was until the age of 21. It was welcome news to Bresha, but her 21st birthday still seemed forever away. It meant she would spend the rest of her childhood behind bars, separated from her family. Being in jail was beginning to remind her of being in her dad’s house. The authorities had complete control over her life — when she ate, when she slept, whom she talked to. She felt entirely powerless. “It kind of triggered me, being in there,” she said. “I’m like, y’all don’t understand. I’ve been through this.”

As the months wore on, she sunk into a deep depression. Friedman and her family were increasingly worried about her mental state. “It was insane. You had this girl whose condition was just deteriorating every day,” he said. “To us, this was the central issue of the case.” In April, after Bresha had been in jail for over eight months, Friedman took action. He filed a motion urging the judge to release Bresha and put her on electronic surveillance pending trial, arguing that the lack of mental health services inside Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center was akin to cruel and unusual punishment. “It was clear she had sustained some real trauma throughout her life and needed care. And here she was, sitting in jail for excess of 250 days without it,” he said. He attached study after study to his 21-page motion, showing the negative effects of long periods of incarceration on teens. “The research caused us to believe this would end with irreparable harm towards Bresha,” he said.

The motion seemed to move the needle on her case. The following month, Friedman secured a plea deal. On May 22, 2017, she pleaded “true,” equivalent to guilty in juvenile court, to an involuntary manslaughter charge. It was her 299th day behind bars. She was sentenced to a year and a day in juvenile detention, with credit for time served, as well as six additional months at a residential mental health facility and two years of probation. 

She was 15.

Home For Healing

Bresha Meadows stands with her mother Brandi Meadows outside her lawyer’s home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

On a recent morning, Bresha was debating whether people are born optimists or pessimists, or made that way by their life experiences. She was leaning toward the latter. She used to be bubbly and chatty, she said, open to talking to anyone. Now, she shies away from big crowds. When she returned to her high school in February 2018, she was embarrassed to notice that she was walking with her hands clasped behind her back, a holdover from juvie. In any situation with multiple outcomes, she said, she is primed to expect the worst. 

She plans to go to college and study criminal justice, but she’s not sure where yet. It will depend on money, mostly, and where she has enough family support. She might become a lawyer like Friedman, or a detective like Latessa. Or a domestic violence advocate, so she can support families like her own. 

“Most of the kids just need help, you know?” she said, referring to the children she met while in juvenile detention. “They always had something behind why they were there. Not like, an excuse. But you gotta remember, a kid has a kid’s mind. We don’t have adult minds. And so it’s like, for them to incarcerate us as if we’re adults ― it just crushes us. It messes with the mind a lot, actually.” 

Bresha Meadows and her mother Brandi Meadows show their matching semicolon tattoos.

These days, Bresha and Brandi spend a lot of time at home, just hanging out. In a way, they’re both convalescing. They got matching tattoos: a semicolon with an arrow through it. The image signifies that “the story is not over,” Bresha said. Life goes on. In many respects, she’s just like any other teen: She binges Netflix, Snapchats with her friends, and longs for new experiences, away from the trappings of her hometown. She’s never left Ohio, except for one time she was helping her mom deliver phone books and they crossed the state line into Pennsylvania. She’s never roller-skated. When we spoke, she had yet to take a plane ride, though that was about to change. This week, she is flying to Chicago to give a talk at an event for grassroots activists. It will be her first time speaking in public about what happened to her. She is nervous, she said, but feels compelled to do it. For all the other children who didn’t get a second chance like she did.

“I feel lucky, but I also feel bad, ’cause like, how am I any better?” she said. “I can’t do much, but I feel like I’m supposed to do something.” 

This story has been updated with more information on mental health services at Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bresha-meadows-thought-youd-understand_n_5da48081e4b087efdbb23973

Michelle Obama Shared The Cutest Back-To-School #TBT To Make A Major Point

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Michelle Obama’s 2019 Back-To-School TBT Photo Has An Adorable Message

From grinning, eager kindergarteners to college students returning to campus, the first day of school is a universal new start — whether exciting or dreadful, or sometimes, both. For those who no longer have September to mark the passage of time, it may come with a jolting reminder of times past. Former First Lady Michelle Obama knows what feels like, and on Instagram, she showcased one of the most quintessential parts of the back-to-school experience: picture day. Michelle Obama’s 2019 back-to-school TBT photo has an inspiring message that may have students feeling a bit better about returning to class.

In the caption, Obama wroteabout “all the young people heading back to school and reflecting on my own days as a student in Chicago.” She reminisced about the things she — and all of us, really — went through as students. “I learned a lot in school—how to do my multiplication tables and structure a paragraph, yes, but also how to push myself, be a good friend, and dust myself off after a failure,” she wrote.

The post features an adorable image of the former first lady as a young student sometime in the 1970s, complete with short bangs and an awkward smile. Her plaid outfit and brooch necklace really complete the effect. It looks like a photo you’d find in a family photo book, or in your dad’s wallet. To be honest, the fact that she seems to have blinked in the photo just makes it that much more relatable.

Her post was not really about herself, though. Obama had a bigger point to make about how easy it is for people, especially those in the United States, to take education for granted. Just as her education led her to become a top administrator at the University of Chicago, write a best-selling memoir, and tackle children’s issues in the White House, she wants other girls to have the same chance, too.

“I believe every girl on the planet deserves the same kind of opportunities that I’ve had — a chance to fulfill her potential and pursue her dreams,” she wrote. “We know that when we give girls a chance to learn, they’ll seize it. And when they do, our whole world benefits.”

Obama made the post to her 32 million Instagram and 13 million Twitter followers on World Charity Day. She chose to tag the Girls Opportunity Alliance, which is a program of the Obama Foundation, focused on empowering adolescent girls and grassroots education leaders across the world. The post urged others to also share back to school photos and visit the program’s GoFundMe. Obama launched the Girls Opportunity Alliance almost one year ago on Oct. 11, 2018, the International Day of the Girl.

During her time in the White House from 2008 to 2016, Obama often prioritized education and women’s issues. In 2010, she launched efforts to promote physical activity and healthy nutrition among children, which first brought her interest in youth policy to the public eye. Over the coming years, she would also spearhead Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn, which aim to help students go to and stay in school.

Obama herself received a formidable education. A Chicago South Side native, she attended Whitney Young Magnet High School, a public magnet school for gifted children, and graduated as salutatorian. She then headed to Princeton and Harvard Universities for her undergraduate sociology and law school degrees, respectively.

With both of her daughters off to college, Obama is now an empty nester, but she’s still taking the role of nation’s mom very seriously. She and her husband have often said their role as parents always comes first. It seems there’s no sign of her slowing down on a national level either, when it comes to getting girls healthy, happy, and on the path to taking their own back-to-school photos.

Read more: https://www.elitedaily.com/p/michelle-obamas-2019-back-to-school-tbt-photo-has-adorable-message-18727200

Beware, Democrats. Impeaching Trump will backfire | Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti

From a legal point of view, the case for impeaching Trump may well be difficult to resist. Politically, though, its a different story

The anguish that preceded the Democratic partys momentous decision to initiate impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump is not without cause. While some have celebrated the partys resolve to finally embark on a process they had been demanding for months, the situation this puts Trumps opponents in is nothing short of tragic. The reason is that it imposes contradictory demands on the Democrats, which leave them no easy way out.

On one hand, the evidence that Trump may have abused his powers in a variety of ways since assuming office is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. If these actions do indeed amount to high crimes and misdemeanors or even just a violation of his oath to protect the US constitution then it is not just Congresss constitutional right, but also its legal duty, to initiate impeachment proceedings.

What Nancy Pelosi said about Trump in her announcement yesterday also applies to Congress as a whole: Nobody is above the law. So, if crimes have been committed, they must be pursued and impeachment is the procedure specified by the constitution for this type of pursuit.

On the other hand, from a political point of view, the legal drama that is now set to unfold will most likely harm Democrats. This is not just because there is very little chance that the Republican-controlled Senate will ultimately vote to depose the president by a wide enough margin; and if that fails to happen, the whole thing may well backfire as it did for the Republicans after their failed attempt to depose Bill Clinton by impeachment in 1998.

There is a deeper reason why attempting to impeach Trump is politically counter-productive for Democrats. Up until now, the momentum in the presidential campaign was clearly on their side. Even though Trumps core basis of electoral support has proved surprisingly resilient, his opponents were on the offensive on a number of key substantive issues, ranging from healthcare to the environment, up to the economy (especially if, as seems likely, the country is now headed towards a recession, in no small part because of Trumps unpopular trade war with China).

Despite its procedural flaws and the deep disagreements it has laid bare, the Democratic primary process has so far demonstrated an ideological vitality and combativeness that hadnt been seen for decades, either within the US Democratic Party or, frankly, any other left-leaning political force in consolidated Western democracies. Now, the risk is to squander that political energy into a legal dispute over Trumps dealings with Russia and the Ukraine.

It shouldnt be surprising, therefore, that Trump has long seemed to invite the opportunity to convert this electoral campaign into a further highly-mediatized circus over his fitness for office. As has already been amply demonstrated, he is far better at personalized polemics than at actually running the country.

Nor is there any evidence that when his misdeeds become public that they will have a significant effect on his popular support. On the contrary, they may even serve to reinforce his populist appeal, by confirming the narrative that the countrys establishment and deep state are conspiring to prevent him from fulfilling his political mandate.

A cautionary example may be offered here by a figure that anticipated many aspects of Trumps political style. During the time of Silvio Berlusconis premiership in Italy, the countrys left-leaning Democratic party virtually converted itself into a party of impeachment. Although one of the many proceedings initiated against him did result in condemnation, ultimately forcing him out of office, the fact that Berlusconi was not defeated politically at the polls, but only juridically in court, meant that the underlying reasons for his electoral popularity were never dented. Thus, even after Berlusconis ouster, the country has seen a succession of populist leaders replicating important features of his political style and substance from the comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo up to the far-right nationalist Matteo Salvini.

This shows that there is a risk of legal proceedings distracting from the underlying political issues. If that happens, the US may at most get rid of Trump himself, but wouldnt necessarily overcome the broader problem of Trump-ism as a political phenomenon. To be sure, that shouldnt matter from the point of view of the integrity of the institutional system, but it is a problem for anyone who wants to replace Trumps substantive policy agenda with something better.

The only way out of the conundrum is for Trumps political opponents to hold as tightly as possible onto a conceptual distinction that is especially precarious in a country with a long history of the judicialization of politics: that between law and politics.

While, from a legal point of view, the case for impeaching Trump may well have become difficult to resist, politically, it is imperative that the Democratic party not allow this to overshadow the more substantive grounds for its opposition to him. For, what ultimately matters to electors are the concrete political alternatives that are being offered to them.

If Trump has committed any crimes, he should be tried for them according to the procedures that are in place for doing so. But this is not what Democrats should be making the upcoming presidential election about.

  • Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti is associate professor of political science at the City University of New York, City College.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/25/beware-democrats-impeaching-trump-will-be-a-disaster

The best porn comics online and where to find them

There’s something gorgeous about high quality, well-written porn comics. They tell an immersive story about people coming together and embracing each other’s bodies through both dialogue and art. And as with any medium of porn, each artist has their own style. Some adult comics are tender, soft, and loving. Others are raunchy and horny as hell.

Either way, porn comics are hot. And the internet has tons of them.

The following article contains sexually explicit material.

Listed below are some of the best porn comics available online for everyone from anime fans to furries to queer readers. Read on for our top picks and why you should subscribe (or visit for free).

The best porn comics online

1) The best cartoon porn comics site: Slipshine

Slipshine

Slipshine is one of the oldest platforms on our list, and it’s also one of the best sources for cartoon porn online. Originally called OrgyMania, Slipshine started in 2001 and joinedHiveworks Comicsin 2014. Today, the site is a self-described “sex-positive porn comic publisher” promoting “positive representations of various kinks, pairings, and orientations” in its works. Subjects range from gay pairings to straight sex, and comics explore everything from BDSM to cute, wholesome lovemaking between queer women. As of August 2019, Slipshine has two weekly comics for gay men, two daily lesbian comics, and two daily bisexual comics.The site also offers a new major comic every week.

Subscribing to Slipshine grants users approximately 122 new images per month and over 22,000 porn comic pages from the site’s backlog, according to Slipshine’sFAQ. Membership plans start at $24.95 for 30 days followed by $9.95 per month.

2) Best site for queer and gay porn comics: Filthy Figments

Bramblefix/Filthy Figments

Queer and feminist porn is growing, but it’s still a rarity in the adult content world. Filthy Figments is changing that.Featuring erotic comics created entirely by women and nonbinary people, Filthy Figments offers over 150 artists like Jen Hickman, Niki Smith, and Molly Ostertag. Comics are high quality, engaging, and cover a wide range of interests, from sex between trans and cis lesbians to demonic sapphic sex. For queer folks, Filthy Figments is an amazing LGBTQ porn investment.

To get started, Filthy Figments hosts multiple membership options. The lowest payment plan costs $16.99 for 30 days and then $8.99 recurring monthly. After joining the site, Filthy Figments members gain access to all of the site’s comics indefinitely (or until they decide to unsubscribe).

3) The best anime porn comics subscription: Fakku

KUMA/Fakku

Hentai manga is more popular than ever, and Fakku is capitalizing on anime fans’ interest.Known for its wide assortment of officially licensed anime, games, and books, Fakku made a name for itself early on as an official hentai manga distributor for English-speaking audiences. Under the site’s “comics” section, users can browse through a wide assortment of anime porn, with new manga regularly added.Popular tags range from “anal” to “magical girl,” and the site caters to such niche interests as muscular women, pegging, yaoi (or male/male manga), and yuri (female/female manga).

To check out Fakku’s full manga collection, sign up for the site’s subscription service“Fakku Unlimited.” The platform offers its hentai collection for just $12.95 per month, along with access to hentai anime on demand. For a quick demo, check out Fakku’s free manga tag.

4) Top site for furry porn comics: Yiffer.xyz

DrGraevling/Yiffer.xyz

If you’re familiar with the Daily Dot’s guide to the best furry porn comicson the web, then you probably recognize Yiffer.xyz. But unlike the other websites on this list, Yiffer’s comics are completely free to read. Yiffer.xyz curates its own material in order to maintain a premium collection of furry smut, including both straight and gay furry porn comics. Pirated content is banned, assuring readers are ethically viewing all of the site’s porn. And readers can even filter for specific tags, interests, or pairings, such as “F/F” for lesbian porn or “Warcraft” for smut themed around Blizzard’s popular fantasy IP.

Thanks to the site’s fast performance, high-quality content, unlimited offering, and ad-free experience, Yiffer.xyz is easily one of the best porn comic sites available online. While it’s hard to recommend the collection to non-furries, it’s still a great model for a stellar, yet ethical, smut comic experience.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/best-porn-comics-sites-online/

This Account Showcases Real Women That Dont Follow Societys Expectations (30 Pics)

Women can shape-shift to different identities. They’re mothers, friends, CEOs… But they’re also compassionate. Strong enough to be vulnerable. And they literally have the superpower to create life. They’re amazing. To show that women don’t need fancy filters to be appealing, Instagram account womenirl has been sharing real, raw moments of their everyday life. By doing so, they’ve already accumulated nearly 150k followers, and this number is constantly growing. What’s also cool about this project is the fact that everyone can participate. All you need to do is tag your Instagram photos with #WomenIRL and you might get featured.

#1

“I was in the waiting room at the doc office today and this lady walked in with her sleeping baby! They handed her paperwork to do & as she was sitting there trying to figure out how to hold her sleeping baby while filling out the paperwork, this man, from across the room, ask’s her if she would like for him to hold her baby while she did her paperwork!! She smiled and said that would be wonderful!! This man went over there and rocked and loved on that baby like he was his!!”

#2

“Moms helping moms”

#3

“Shout out to all the women who are trying.⁣

Trying to look in the mirror more often at the gym.⁣

Trying to get in the photo.⁣

Trying to take off the cover up at the pool.⁣

Trying to add more weight to the bar.⁣

Trying to order the two piece.⁣

Trying to speak up for themselves.⁣

Trying to start hard conversations.⁣

Trying to do push-ups.⁣

Trying to allow themselves to be seen.⁣

Trying to silence the negative self-talk.⁣

Trying to learn.⁣

To grow.⁣

And to accept their journey.⁣

Even if today was hard.⁣

Just try.⁣

I woke up this morning and I honestly didn’t feel like trying. My head was in a weird place. Already sweating, got to the gym, and felt my stomach hanging more than normal. I felt it taking up space. I felt it being noticed. And yet, more often than not, I found myself looking in the mirror.⁣

Even in a moment of feeling defeated, I noticed myself trying.⁣

It was simple.⁣

But it meant everything.”

#4

“A friend’s daughter-in-law was told to ‘cover up” while feeding her baby, so she did,’ said Carol Lockwood in a FB post that has now gone viral. “I’m SO over people shaming women for nursing,” she continued.”

#5

“My hubby snapped this pic as I fell asleep sitting up, breastfeeding our 2 week old twins. Exhausted doesn’t fully describe this experience as I was healing from 2 types of births (Baby A vaginal, Baby B cesarean) and my body is working non-freaking-stop to make all the milk for these boys.”

#6

“This mom *thought* she was having a third baby girl — and now the exact moment she found out she actually gave birth to a boy”

#7

“What does a pregnancy give you? stretch marks, loose skin, weight gain, hair loss, saggy boobs? Or does it give you a baby? Both are probably true – you get both of the above, but what should we focus on? I mean… you just made a baby, you made 10 fingers and 10 toes, a tiny nose, you made a person, you did THAT. If you looked exactly the same after, it would be very rare, what’s normal is to change, so why is society shaming that change? We rarely receive comments about how amazing our bodies are after a pregnancy, what we do see, hear and read is how we need to “get back to normal”, “loose our baby weight”, “use these creams to prevent stretch marks” (sorry to break it to you ladies but you can’t prevent stretch marks to begin with) “get a boob job to “fix” the damage breastfeeding did”, “hide your scars” and on it goes. This is so sad and I feel like some of us get robbed of the joy of becoming a mother because they feel the need to start changing back to “normal” instead… I think we should bring the focus back to what our bodies have done, what they’re capable off – and be damn proud of how we look because of it ♥️ that’s where the focus should be, don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise ♥️”

#8

“Why is it that people we haven’t seen in a while or even complete strangers ask us if we’re #married or if we have kids? I get messages from complete strangers asking about my relationship, asking when I’ll get married & asking why I haven’t got children yet as I’m ‘getting on’. It’s annoying & to be honest, it’s downright rude.

What business is it of other people? Why do they feel the need to comment on my life? I’m HAPPY and honestly, that’s all that really matters.

If you’re going to ask an old friend a question or worse yet, someone you don’t even know; let your first question be ‘HOW ARE YOU’ or ask if they’re happy or living their best life? Ask them if they’re ok? – You might be the first person to check in with them!

To all my #ladies (and men) who feel behind in life… trust me YOU ARE NOT! Although it might feel like everyone around you is getting married, having #kids or growing up… it’s just your focus. Trust me that there are equal if not more people starting new relationships, ending relationships, going back to uni, starting uni, traveling the world, throwing in their jobs or changing careers to purse what truly sets their soul on fire. There’s no right or wrong with life – you just do it the best you can & honestly as long as you’re happy that’s ALL THAT MATTERS

This is your little reminder that no matter where you are in life, you are NOT behind. You are not in front. You are not at the top. You are not at the bottom. You are exactly where you need to be. So let’s stop asking questions & making people feel inferior, let’s instead start asking how they are – because being #kind is all that really matters “

#9

The perfect mom:” Recently someone responded to my postpartum body with these words: “disgusting, I don’t know what husband would ever want to come home to that.”

First of all, shame on her. If anything is disgusting it is those words.

Yes, my body has changed quite dramatically since my pre-baby days, as you can see. But let me tell about the woman in the top photo with the gorgeous tan lines and flat tummy. She mastered shaming her body. She had such a distorted idea of body image and struggled to understand self-love and self-care. She would look into the mirror and find everything wrong with her body and worked hard to fix it.

Then there is the woman in the bottom photo. She may not have the perfect tummy, gorgeous tan, and a stretch mark free body BUT she has more confidence than she ever has in her life. She knows the value and meaning of embracing your new body and loving yourself. She takes care of herself by reminding her of the beauty in the body staring back at her in the mirror. She is beautiful and can find strength in what some people would call her flaws. Her body is beautiful and she worked hard for exactly what it is now.

Carrying a child, let alone 3 at one time, is not an easy task. Yes, the journey came with a whole new body, but I am also a whole new me with a greater understanding of loving myself and that is a GIFT!

It takes time and daily affirmations of love and body positivity to really embrace your new body. You can change your perspective! You can find the beauty! You must have grace for yourself. And Don’t compare yourself to the old you and pick out all the imperfections in your new body. It will cause more harm than good. Instead, remember this, you’re on a journey. One day at a time, choose to see the beauty because it is there.”

#10

“I saw a guy insult another woman for her cellulite and it really bummed me out for a second but then I remembered that women’s bodies don’t exist to please men “

#11

“Sleep when the baby sleeps!”

#12

“Sometimes you just have to make it work”

#13

“No babies. No weight fluctuations. Just a girl who’s lived 30 years and got something to show for it”

#14

“What a journey this has been! From the huge shock of learning there were three, to people’s reactions, the numerous scannings/checks and all the preparations and planning for this life-changing event,” said triplets_of_copenhagen, who documented her pregnancy before giving birth a few days ago. “Nothing like the ordinary.“

Her baby bump weighed 20 kg total and she’s so ready for the next chapter. “It’s strange to have ended up with such a big belly and it’s even stranger that it can stand out like that without falling down,” she said.

#15

 “Sometimes I hear the rare negative comment about my decision to go to school instead of being home full time with my kids. ⁣

It’s hard to not get offended at these comments. It’s hard to not question myself and question if I’m really doing what’s best for my babies. ⁣

But then I have days like today. ⁣

A full day of clinical hours, gone before they wake up, home just in time to get going again (to study) then this… My little guy running toward me, all smiles and excitement and I just know, I’m doing something right. ⁣⁣”

#16

“Stop worrying so much about not looking like you’re a brand new and shiny human,” said Sarah Nicole Landry on a recent IG post. “Because you’re not. You’ve lived. Loved. Experienced. Your body in its own way will show itself through those memories. Whether you live it out shabby chic or get refinished, it doesn’t matter. Because ultimately you are something that has grown in worth, not lessened. Not one bit.”

But the blogger didn’t always feel this way—after having kids, she lost 100 pounds and struggled with body image: “I found myself faced with so much self-loathing and worked my way through that and realized I had worth,” she explains to health magazine. “Even amid the scars and stretch marks, I still had beauty. I knew that if I felt this way, others must too. So I decided to be vulnerable and put it out into the world to share.”

#17

“A letter to my one year postpartum self, Stop hating you for thinking you have an ugly stomach and start loving you for how absolutely stunning and beautiful you were and still are for carrying and caring for you two gorgeous little humans. Stop thinking about how hard you need to work at bouncing back after baby even if at 1 year postpartum you still look pregnant and focus on your objectives at staying healthy and happy and active. Stop worrying about what others will think if they see your wrinkled stomach and start thinking about how absolutely blessed you are for what you’ve created. Be you! Be the best you, your negative energy about you and your body shows and it’s ugly. Give yourself some grace (a lot) and time (a whole lot) to heal emotionally, mentally and physically. You’re one tough mama and you’ve got this. :muscle: Embrace you today and remember that your kids adore you, in the world of so much hate let their love nurture you back to loving you! Now, tomorrow when Levi turns 1, don’t just celebrate him, celebrate your “birth” day and know that you are amazing no matter how you feel. With all the love, Your dearest self!”

#18

“Yes, I do I have a valley of lines mapped across my belly, mountains of stretched skin left over my mid section, lightning bolts on my sides and back, all signs that I carried life inside of me…. five times! 

I also have a cesarean scar reminding me that my belly was cut open twice!

My body is amazing.

My body is beautiful.

My body is powerful.

My body is strong.

My body is capable.

My body made me a mother.

My body grew a human inside. 

Not everybody has that privilege.

So while society wants to sit behind a screen and label us as flawed, I am here to remind myself and all of you that to our children we are perfect. They see behind the stretched out skin, marks, and lines. They see us for who we truly are. They know our hearts and love us unconditionally. And that is all that matters.”

#19

“The pictures of ‘perfect bodies’ you see on Instagram… don’t let them get you down,” said influencer Rini Frey. “Most of them don’t represent reality and if they do, it doesn’t mean that these bodies belong to a healthy and happy human,” she continued. “It’s just what we are made to believe, but it’s mostly not true.”

See Also on Bored Panda

“Here I am, nursing Miles on the ground because I’d rather J be on my back than on Miles’ face. Not posed or looking cute. Surrounded by laundry on the floor. Dishes sitting in the sink. Dogs barking through the fence with a hole in it.”

#21

“Dear postpartum depression,

If you weren’t so ugly, I would have 10 more babies.

Dear postpartum depression,

You’ve been the toughest years of my life, to the point where I almost wanted to end it.

Dear postpartum depression,

You’re a cheat and a theif, and it’s so not cool that you’ve stole some (what would have been) very beautiful moments from me and my young family.

Dear postpartum depression,

Why do you feel the need to hit me at my most vulnerable state? Do I not already have enough to deal with at this whole thing call motherhood?

Dear postpartum depression,

You’re not welcome, and I’m here today to tell you that I’ve won! Stop trying to creep in, stop trying to make me feel like I’m nothing, stop making me feel so guilty at how I choose to mother my babies.

Dear postpartum depression,

Pack your bags, while you’re at it, pack all you’ve got cause I’m sending you to a place where you can no longer touch me.

Dear postpartum depression,

This is where we part! I survived! I’m a survivor. I’m a warrior mom!

Mamas out there, let’s recognize how to deal with these feelings and know how to treat them. I’m here to tell you, it’s not you… It’s PPD. Let’s talk!”

#22

“It took me 4 days and several internal battles to finally decide I would post this picture. Why? because this photo was never intended to be seen by anyone, in fact, when my husband took it my first words were “OMG DELETE THAT NOW!” You see, this photo highlights so many things that are deemed “wrong” with the postpartum body.

Stretchmarks, loose skin, and a big, round belly. Surprisingly, though, none of that bothers me. The reason why I hate this picture is because it shows the giant, sagging bulge of fat that hangs off of my midsection. The “mom pouch” that makes all other mom pouches look like an ad for the perfect body. The mom pouch that I always hide behind high waisted bottoms. The mom pouch that made me hate myself for several months postpartum. This photo reminds me of that hate; how I used to stare in the mirror, rub that pouch and think “I’m hideous, this child destroyed my body”. I hated those days and this photo is a reminder of who I was before I truly loved myself.

I want to be clear, I love my body. Now, more than ever I had embraced every “flaw” and I truly love myself and how I feel. Becoming a mother helped me realize that I am made of magic and no matter what I look like on the outside, I am worthy and beautiful. We all are.

Just because I spread body positivity and selflove doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Far from it, in fact.

I still struggle with that mom pouch; yes, I wish it wasn’t so saggy and maybe just a tad smaller, but I no longer hate myself because of it. I no longer look in the mirror and call myself names or try to push it in so it won’t sag down as much.

I am no longer defined by that damn pouch.

It doesn’t hold me back anymore or make me feel inferior.

This mom pouch is a much a part of me as my arms, legs, breasts…so I have chosen to embrace it because hating it means hating a piece of myself, and that just won’t be tolerated.

Once you go down that road towards self love you realize that although you may have bad days, you are still worthy of all the love and magic in this world.”

#23

“I am 5’6, 138lbs. I eat a balanced clean diet 85% of the week. I don’t count calories, macros or build, bulk, drop at any point during the year. I don’t binge all day Sun and starve myself the other 6 days. I don’t detox, I don’t take supplements, I don’t have a secret meal plan and I’m not obsessed with kale. I listen to my body when it speaks to me and I remain disciplined and make smart decisions throughout the whole process. I connect to my daily needs within the gym and workout according to that desire. I want to look good for a beach vacation and I will proudly admit to doing more cardio when it’s crunch time. I want my jeans to fit right. I want to be proud of my strength when the sleeves are off. I want to live a healthy life. I don’t punish myself for wanting guacamole and chips on a Wednesday night. I don’t expect one spin class to drop 5lbs. I have built a LIFE around balance and the understanding you must work hard with a level of consistency, determination and focus to get what you want and this mindset stems much beyond the walls of health and fitness. I make time and prioritize what is most important to me. I wake up with the motivation to become the best possible version of myself. I have to cut time in my schedule to get stronger and find peace within my mind. I make sacrifices. I work my ass off in the gym. You may see me eating a massive pizza with a side of boneless buffalo wings with an incredible margarita but please don’t chalk it up to having a “good metabolism” or getting to workout all day…Bc I don’t. I am still very much and will always be a work in progress. Start to change one thing today that will help you live a more balanced, happy, healthy life. Whether it’s finding time to call family on the way home or a 10 minute walk on the treadmill. Just start. Start with the understanding that it will not be easy but you are surrounded by support. Stay committed, driven and focused to whatever goal or dream it may be. Consistency is key. Never sacrifice your dreams or the things you love. Strive to find a balance on every level and what once seemed like a burden will inevitably just feel like a way of living.”

#24

“Pro runner Stephanie Rothstein recently shared what her stomach looks like 3 years postpartum, revealing that she still has Diastasis Recti: “This is as good as it will get for me,” she says. I still have a 1 finger gap, extra saggy skin, and stretch marks.” But she’s grown to love her body for more than just looks: “My core is also the strongest it’s ever been, and the proof has been no major injuries in my hips, glute, back, and core since giving birth. This is how I look, but not how I feel. When I’m training hard, lifting, sprinting at the end of races I feel the strongest core possible. It doesn’t look the same as the women I race against who haven’t given birth, but who gives a crap. It took me a while to be comfortable in my own skin, but every time I run in a sports bra, wear crop top shirts I grow a little more confident in my postpartum body.”

#25

“Mara Martin walked the SISwim runway while breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter and we are here for it. “I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day,” said the model the next day. “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL.”

#26

“Motherhood is not a one size fits all—what works for one family may not work for the next,” said diaryofafitmommyofficial in a recent post. “So who are we to judge another mom’s choices or reasoning?” Fed up with haters who claim she’s not doing motherhood “correctly,” she posted a list of everything she’s been called a bad mom for to make an important point: “Workout out during pregnancy.

Working out while having kids… period.

For caring about my looks and health.

Working out in Target.

Using canned goods and plastic crockpot liners.

Having tattoos and piercings.

Enjoying wine every now and then.

For letting my kids use technology.

For letting my kids have sugar and happy meals occasionally.

For not ‘covering up’ around my kids.

For running a full time business from home.

For co-sleeping with my kids.

For collecting sports cars and motorcycles aka having a hobby.

For taking time for myself.

For having abs.”

#27

“The first and last time my precious Hazel ever nursed. I didn’t know that one person could feel so proud and so broken at the same time, right now I am a hormonal, emotional, and mental mess. Raising my arm in this picture was very difficult for me as I had to fight through uncontrollable tears: this picture meant that I would never breastfeed my Hazel ever again. I have been nursing for so long, that I don’t know what it’s like to not nurse anymore. As I looked behind the camera, Tim is crying like I had never seen him cry before, like seriously, a deep gut cry. I was her comfort, her safe place, and I hope she still finds me that way. A month shy of 2 years old, she finally has a bed in a shared bedroom with her sister. We bought Hazel her first bed, used any distraction we could come up with, snacks and new toys to keep her mind off of it. Tim has taken over bedtime completely, including all nighttime wakings. We are on our third day, and every day gets a little bit easier. The guilt I feel for not putting her to bed is so intense and I can’t wait to go back to it once she doesn’t ask to nurse anymore. Closing a chapter is painful, but I am hopeful that this new season of our lives will also be special in its own way. Through this maturation step she will not only grow more independent, but I will get a much needed break. She unlatched for the last time and sobbingly I said to Tim: ‘I did my best.’ He hugged me and responded with: ‘No. You did THE best, because you gave her your all.’ I love my family and am so thankful for such special and unforgettable moments like these. “

#28

#29

“One week postpartum.

I will heal slow and gentle.

I will take long hours swaying and just breathing.

I will release all expectations.

I will not hurry.

Or rush.

Or be anxious.

This week I will savor and trace your outline.

For I plan to remember how you feel tucked against me for as long as I live.-Mia”

See Also on Bored Panda

“Someone once needed to drop something off to me and asked ‘what time works for you?’ I responded with ‘anytime, I’ll be home all day.’ The comment back shocked me, they said ‘gosh I wish I was a stay at home mom so I had all the time do anything.’ That was 3 years ago and I have never forgotten those words. So let me tell you what I do with my time all day. I breastfeed my second on demand all day. Thats 109,500 mins a year (but most likely more). I breastfed my first until 3 so that’s approximately 328,500 (who yes I continued to breastfeed on demand the whole time) and approximately 164,250 with my second so far (taking only a 3 month break in between). I change diapers all day sometimes multiple times an hour. I do loads of laundry, dishes, pick up toys about 100 times a day, heal ouies with a kiss, bounce a crying baby, play dress up with a wild toddler, figure out how to make teething more comfortable, cook breakfast lunch and dinner, teach colors, numbers, letters, shapes, and words, rub backs, and take care of sick children even when I’m sick. I read about 50 books a day and help paint a multitude of pictures. I rarely sit to eat, have a break to watch tv, or simply go to the bathroom alone let alone take a shower. I’m a cook, a cleaner, teacher, ‘doctor,’ a healer, comforter, lullaby singer, mother, and wife. I have no sick days, no time off, and barely any alone time. Yes it’s exhausting and yes it’s a lot of ‘work’ but I know for me, and I think for most, wouldn’t change it for a second. Because in all the chaos and piles of laundry there are millions of moments that fulfill me more then I could every dream. There is joy in the chaos and love in the mess. It is hard for all mothers whether working or stay at home. One is not better then the other and one is not harder then the other. Working or stay at home, we are all mother working 24/7 So let’s stop assuming what a mother’s day is like and praise every mother for all the work that they do.”

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/women-in-real-life-breaking-unrealistic-expectations/

Startups Weekly: Angel vs. VC

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about DoorDash’s acquisition of Caviar, which no one saw coming. Before that, I jotted down some notes on SoftBank’s second Vision Fund.

Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here.

What’s new?

Alternative funding mechanisms, like Clearbanc’s revenue share model, may be on the rise but most Silicon Valley startups still turn to venture capital to get their company off the ground. As I’ve previously said in this newsletter, VC spending in 2019 is reaching record-highs, already surpassing $62 billion. Angel investment, for its part, also continues to occupy a meaningful portion of private investment. So far this year, individual angels and angel groups in the U.S. have doled out $10 billion to startups. 

Angel investors are not traditional venture capitalists bogged down by processes, quotas and fund economics. Rather, they’re deep-pocketed former operators (often) with expansive networks. For some, their capital is superior to VCs; for others, a VC’s ability to write larger checks and participate in additional fundings as their company grows makes VC the only viable option. 

So how do early-stage startups decide who’s money to take (if they have that luxury)? Here’s what Jana Messerschmidt, both an investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners and a founding partner of the angel network #ANGELS, had to say: “It’s dependent on who the individual angel is, as well as who the individual partner is. In these frothier times, I encourage founders to interview investors who take a slot on their cap table with the same rigor they would a potential employee.”

Ben Ling, an early Facebook executive who spent years angel investing only to launch his own institutional venture capital fund, Bling Capital, tells TechCrunch the plus side of angel investors is that they are oftentimes less sensitive to valuations. Angels, while they can’t usually invest as much capital as a VC, tend to offer better terms and be approving of less rigid deal structures.

But being an investor isn’t an angel’s full-time job, typically. The limited amount of time an angel can give each company may be problematic for a founder seeking mentorship but a non-issue for a more experienced founder, who is simply seeking an individual passionate about her or his vision. 

Given the rise in venture capital investment overall, more founders and former operators are running into wealth and opting to try on the VC hat for size. And more and more, those people are becoming professional investors with an appetite for a bigger pool of capital. Ling, as mentioned, decided last year to raise his first institutional fund, a $60 million effort, for example: “I think it’s rare for super angels to ‘beat’ firms for most regular financings but it certainly can happen,” Ling tells TechCrunch.

Presumably, that’s why he and many others (Cyan Banister, Keith Rabois, Ron Conway, James Currier) made the switch to “real” VC — to win over the best deals. As angels turn into VCs, whether your startup’s money came from one person’s wallet or an institutional fund matters a whole lot less. Just make sure you have good people investing in your company, and while you are it, make sure they’re diverse too.

That’s all for now… Onto the news.

WeWork IPO update

"WeWork"

Bloomberg reported Friday that WeWork was expected to make its IPO filing available next week. Soon, we can all finally get an inside look at the co-working giant’s financials. A reminder, WeWork was last valued at an eye-popping $47 billion and it wants to raise some $3.5 billion in the IPO. Skeptical? Me too.

#Equitypod

If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm and I discuss a new trend in venture capital: sperm storage startups. Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast and Spotify.

Big Deals

Little Deals

M&A

Airbnb announced its acquisition of Urbandoor, a platform that offers extended stays to corporate clients, earlier this week. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though an SEC filing connected with the deal emerged Friday, indicating the deal was worth more than $80 million in what’s likely a combination of cash and stock. We’ve got all the details on the deal here.

Healthtech & VC

Now it’s time for your weekly reminder to sign up for Extra Crunch. For a low price, you can learn more about the startups and venture capital ecosystem through exclusive deep dives, Q&As, newsletters, resources and recommendations and fundamental startup how-to guides. Here’s a passage from my personal favorite EC post of the week:

“Why is tech still aiming for the healthcare industry? It seems full of endless regulatory hurdles or stories of misguided founders with no knowledge of the space, running headlong into it, only to fall on their faces. Theranos is a prime example of a founder with zero health background or understanding of the industry — and just look what happened there! The company folded not long after founder Elizabeth Holmes came under criminal investigation and was barred from operating in her own labs for carelessly handling sensitive health data and test results…”

Read the rest of Sarah Buhr’s piece, ‘What leading healthtech VCs are interested in,’ here.

Just For Fun

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/10/startups-weekly-angel-vs-vc/

‘The Boys’ sucker-punches the superhero genre

This years was yet another triumphant moment for Marvel to plant its flag as the dominant force in the modern film industry. Disney dominates the box office, and superhero fandom dominates popular culture. Even the smallest bit of news about a superhero film can ignite social media.

If superheroes are going to dominate the monoculture, then we at least deserve satire thats as creative and interesting as The Boys. The new Amazon Prime series is the result of a partnership between comedy veterans Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. The combination of Rogen and Goldbergs comedic chops and Kripkes genre expertise has yielded one of the most biting superhero parodies to date.

The Boys

RELEASE DATE: 7/26/2019
CREATORS: Evan Goldberg, Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen
STREAMING: Amazon Prime
Television veterans join forces to create the sharp, if slightly skeevy, superhero satire MCU skeptics have been waiting for.

The Boys is an adaptation of a comic series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson that ran from 2006 to 2008, and like the comic books, the series follows a group of human vigilantes trying to take down corrupt superheroes. Despite the age of the source material, the series has an incredible awareness of our current cultural moment and feels very much about 2019.

In a sense, The Boys is a supervillain origin story.Mild-mannered AV technician Hughie (Jack Quaid)s girlfriend dies by the hands of a superhero five minutes into the pilot.The death is needless and gratuitously graphic, like so many deaths in actual superhero fare. But unlike many innocent bystander deaths in the superhero world, this one actually serves the plot. Hughie resolves that he will become a vigilante who keeps superheroes in check.

Amazon Prime Video/YouTube

Hughie quickly learns the dark truth about the fresh-faced superheroes who protect his world. Vought Industries (a combination of Marvel and a defense contractor like Raytheon) controls superheroes and leases them to cities across the country at high prices. The heroes themselves, led by The Seven, an approximation of the Justice League or the Avengers, are venal, carnal, and callous.

Hughie meets a mysterious Aussie named Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) who also holds a grudge against superheroes, thus beginning his literal antihero journey. He meets the rest of The Boys, fellow anti-superhero conspirators who have have their own grudges against supes.

As long as there have been superheroes, there have been superhero parodies. Hancock, Mystery Men, Kick Ass, and Deadpool have lampooned caped crusaders to varying degrees of success. Even if this is somewhat familiar territory, The Boys is a worthy entry in the subgenre because its depictions of the superhero world areso sharp, so bitter, and so grotesque.

The Boys sets a high bar for itself, trying to parody both the military-industrial complex and Hollywood monoculture at once. You get lines like, It is without a doubt a good time to be in the superhero business The branding opportunities are limitless. But you also get lines like, Allowing superheroes into national defensebasically we would be privatizing war. This broad satirical canvas allows the show to take shots at Hollywood sexism, police brutality, NDAs, Academi, neoliberal philanthropy, corporate greed, and a myriad other plagues of our modern moment.

Amazon Prime Video/YouTube

While it excels as an ambitious satire, The Boys is also a fine superhero show in its own right. Kripke has mastered the art of writing and staging great fight sequences after a decade-plus of Supernatural, and Rogen and Goldberg have perfected mixing action and humor on efforts like Preacher and The Interview. One particularly stunning fight in the pilot involves The Boys duking it out with an invisible superhero. The production design and cinematography are top-notch, which is vital if youre trying to send up blockbuster superhero fare.

Despite allThe Boys does well, it has its limitations. The romantic angle, so vital in sustaining any hourlong drama, isnt quite there. Erin Moriarty plays Starlight, a rookie superhero who serves as Hughies love interest. She gives the strongest performance on the show, but shes sometimes saddled with thankless material.

The Boys, like most earnest superhero fare, sometimes misfires in its portrayal of women. While the show makes noble attempts to tackle #MeToo and gender discrimination in the workplace, it often fails to properly serve its female characters. Starlights sexual assault serves as superficial character development. Jokes about middle-aged motherhood feel easy and arch. One character who appears mid-season is characterized only by her perfect body and drug addiction. Generally, The Boys come off as horny, voyeuristic, and a bit sexist.

The boys club writing tendencies and gory style will turn some people off fromThe Boys. The line between parodying and embracing the problematic aspects of the superhero genre feels awfully thin at times, and the show often feels caked in blood, sweat, and semen.

Amazon Prime Video/YouTube

Despite its blind spots,The Boys fundamentallyworks works well because it understands the symbiotic relationship between our politics and our culture. One character says in the pilot: Movie tickets. Merchandising. Theme parks. Video games. A multibillion-dollar global industry supported by politicians on both sides. But the main reason you wont hear about it is because the public dont want to know about it.

This dialogue could apply to Marvel movies or politics. People put equal faith in Captain America and Beto ORourke to save us, even though theres no saving a rotten system. For Kripke, Rogan, and Goldberg, the rot at the core of American life is pervasive, corrupting everything from the silver screen to the halls of Congress. Dousing it all in buckets of blood feels excessive at times, but its not hard to see why they want to do it.

If the prospect of Marvel movies dominating the box office from now until your unborn child graduates college, youll likely enjoy a parody as smart, funny, and acidic as The Boys. Early episodes may not do everything right, but more often than not, the show sucker-punches the superhero genre with a wink and a smile.

Still not sure what to watch on Amazon? Here are thebest Amazon originals, thebest documentaries on Amazon Prime,whats new on Amazon, thebest 4K movies,Amazon original movies,alien movies, and thesexiest moviesyou can stream right now.

Looking for something more specific? Here are thebest comedies on Amazon Primewhen you need a laugh,sad moviesto make you cry,kids moviesfor the whole family, thebest thrillersto get your heart racing, and theclassic movies on Amazon Primeeveryone should see. If thats not enough, here are thebest Amazon Prime channels.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/amazon-prime-the-boys-review/

Heres My Challenge to White Parents This School Year

Last school year, my seven-year-old son’s childhood ended. He was in grade two, and we had to explain to him the intricacies of being a Black boy in the school system.

My son had a great grade two teacher. But he did have a challenging year as the only Black child in his class—he was beginning to question his identity. He wasn’t always happy going to school, and his teacher, as lovely as she seemed, was consistently calling me to report on what I considered trivial concerns. She said he didn’t express excitement enough, and the next time she called it was to tell me he was expressing his emotions too much. We tried a collaborative approach: talking to her, talking to him each time, but the calls continued.

Finally, we sat him down and had “the talk.” We had to tell him that his behavior had to be twice as good as his classmates’. That he had to stand extra still when it was time to line up to go out for recess and to be sure not to get too excited in class. When other kids bothered him, he should always just ignore them and never engage. Essentially, to never defend himself or raise his voice, because his teacher may misinterpret his behavior as threatening. We had to teach him to police his behavior first, before others had the opportunity to do so. We had to teach him the realities of being Black.

The very next day, after we asked our seven-year-old son to dim his light, we received a glowing report from his teacher.

Prior to this, in an attempt to address my son feeling uncomfortable in the classroom, and an overarching issue around equity in the school system, I tried to have a conversation with the school principal. I tried to talk to her about the fact that for Black children, punishments are often harsher and their behavior is watched much more closely than that of white children. We wanted to ensure that we disrupted any narrative being formed about our son—he’s a sweet, sensitive child who stops to give money to every homeless person he sees, who asks the big questions about the universe, who philosophizes about the existence of God, Santa and an alternate universe where we are all superheroes in the same breath. The principal shifted in her seat, looked at her watch over and over, alluding to the fact that she had another meeting to get to.

She denied our experience by saying that “things are better now,” and then, in what I consider typical of the heavy-handed approach applied to Black kids and parents, she decided to escalate the conversation to the superintendent without our consent or (at the very least) a courtesy call telling us what she intended to do.

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When I share these experiences with white friends, they respond with shock, sympathy and sometimes anger on our behalf. There’s also guilt. Guilt that they do not have these experiences, that they love their child’s school, that their kids get to be naughty and grow freely with few consequences. Sometimes there is silence. But these are not the reactions I’m looking for. Instead of sympathy or guilt, I want action.

Here’s the truth of the matter. A white voice advocating carries more weight than a Black one. My Black voice is heard as bitter. It’s seen as stirring up trouble, as scary and threatening. It’s why people get panicked when groups of Black people hold meetings.

So please, use your voice this school year to speak up for my kids and all the kids who look like mine, because, frankly, I’m tired.

If you want to be an ally, here are seven practical things you can do to help:

1. Educate yourself on equity vs. equality

Equality means treating everyone the same, but anti-Black racism means that kids are not all on an even playing field at school. Equity is realizing that factors like race, gender and income put people in unique situations, and that we need to give them different things to make them successful. And you can help. Do some research to find out why Black experiences are different from those of other racialized groups. The world has set expectations of my son that are hugely problematic and often result in Black children disengaging from school. Lobby your school board to hire more Black teachers, which research shows will benefit your child just as much as mine. Don’t accept trite responses like “there are no qualified Black candidates.” This is simply not true and is a lazy and unacceptable response to questions of equity in 2018.

2. Order books with Black characters for your classroom

There’s no question that all kids deserve representation, and the reality is that Black kids see very little of themselves reflected in the books, shows and movies they’re surrounded by. We affirm our son and daughter constantly at home, but they spend more time at school than they do at home with us. I am tired of my daughter drawing herself as white with blond hair. So, when you are ordering from Scholastic and you see a book with Black characters, order it and donate it to your child’s library or class.

3. Ask the tough questions

I’ve already faced off with my child’s principal, who didn’t have time to discuss equity and most likely thinks I have a chip on my shoulder because I spoke the truth about outcomes for Black children and what that means for my son. I need help. I need you to go into the principal’s office and ask him or her if the teachers receive equity training, if they are trained on systemic and anti-Black racism and what that looks like in a school. Ask her if they have any Black teachers, and if they don’t, why not? Do they have a plan in place to address this?

4. Push for more than just Black History Month

While you are in that meeting with the principal, ask about Black History Month. Push to have Black history incorporated throughout the curriculum year-round. Tell them you want your kids to know about the history of people of African descent—not just slaves, but the sculptors and artists who lived thousands of years before slavery. And when it is Black History Month, advocate for it to be about more than drummers coming in for a gym assembly and a few lessons on Martin Luther King.

5. Make art class more diverse

Visit the art teacher or your child’s teacher and ask them to incorporate artists, art styles and crafts from countries other than Western ones. There are enough classes throughout the year to feature African-influenced arts and crafts at some point.

6. Teach your kids that color does matter

You can’t tell your kids to be color-blind because then you are telling them to ignore difference. You want them to celebrate difference. So teach them that Black is beautiful. Buy them Black dolls to play with. Most of all, show them Black excellence beyond sports and music. Talk to them about Black inventors, and while you’re at it, maybe mention that to your child’s teacher as well. Why not make a traffic light craft and spend a little time talking about the man who invented it? His name was Garrett Augustus Morgan and he was African-American. No, kids are not “colorblind”

7. Stay vigilant for us

Pay attention to the Black children in your child’s class and how they are being treated. Our kids are often isolated, literally boxed with tape, as happened in one Peel classroom, made to sit on separate mats or treated more harshly than other students. If you are on a school trip and you see it, let us know. If you don’t know the parents, speak to the principal and tell her you want the parents to know. Our children often can’t speak up for themselves when things happen at school. They may feel something is wrong, but they may not have the words to articulate what is happening to them. If you are there and you see something, speak up for them.

**Kearie Daniel is a mom of two. You can follow her blog at wokemommychatter or on Twitter at @wokemommy

Read Next On FaithIt
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Read more: https://faithit.com/challenge-white-parents-this-school-year/

What do we know about Archie’s christening?

Image copyright Chris Allerton / SussexRoyal

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, has been christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the private chapel at Windsor Castle.

Harry and Meghan ruffled some feathers when they announced the event would be held privately and that details, such as the names of godparents, would not be released.

So what do we know about the christening and how does it compare to other ceremonies in the UK?

Numbers

Baptisms are a must for Windsor babies.

The Queen is Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England and royal infants are often welcomed into the Christian faith within weeks of being born.

George was christened when he was three months old, Charlotte was only nine weeks and Louis was 11 weeks, while Archie will be exactly two months old on 6 July.

Harry was baptised at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 21 December 1984 when he was three months and six days old.

George was the first future monarch in modern times not to be baptised at Buckingham Palace, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge choosing the intimate Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace instead in 2013.

Statistics show the number of baptisms performed by the Church of England during this period has declined from 135,000 in 2009 to just under 93,000 by 2017.

The christening gown

Image copyright Mary Turner/The Times
Image caption Princess Charlotte on her christening day wearing the family gown

Archie was christened in the frilly cream royal christening gown, like his cousins.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all wore the outfit for their christenings, as did Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughters Mia and Lena.

The replica of the intricate lace and satin gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter has been used for royal infants for the last 11 years.

The new gown was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly and the team of dressmakers at Buckingham Palace, and features the same lengthy skirt and elaborate collars and bow as its predecessor.

The original Honiton lace and white satin robe, which was made in 1841, was last used in 2004, after which the Queen commissioned the handmade copy so the historic outfit, which had become too fragile to use, could be carefully preserved.

Unlike the royals, many parents in the UK now choose to dress up their little ones in “smart” but less formal clothing which has led to sales of traditional christening gowns going down.

The cake

Image copyright Steve Parsons
Image caption Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake – did they save a tier for the christening?

Traditionally, newlyweds would keep the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening of their first child, just like William and Kate did with their seven-tier fruit cake.

Fruit cakes, which for years were the traditional wedding cake of choice, can be stored for years, but sponge cakes should generally be eaten within two to three days.

But Harry and Meghan chose a layered lemon and elderflower sponge cake, decorated with fresh buttercream for their wedding reception.

Lily Jones, owner of London bakery Lily Vanilli, says that sponge cakes can be frozen and defrosted up to a year after the wedding.

She told the BBC: “No-one really orders fruit cake any more – I think in the last 10 years I’ve only had about three orders for it.

“But we get quite a lot of christening cake requests. Most people are more concerned with the decoration and they tend to be quite traditional – white flowers, crosses, that sort of thing. They are quite simple usually, a bit more pared back.

“All of my customers are quite modern, but there are those nods to tradition. Only a few have ordered a wedding cake with the intention of keeping a layer for the baby, but it sometimes happens – just not very often.”

Godparents

Image copyright Getty Images

Royal infants usually have more than the standard three godparents.

Prince Louis has six, Prince George has seven and Princess Charlotte has five.

Speculation is rife that Meghan’s best friend, the Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, will be chosen while Harry’s old schoolmates, brothers Thomas and Charlie van Straubenzee, could be picked.

Tennis star Serena Williams ruled herself out on Thursday after Meghan watched her play at Wimbledon, as she is playing on Saturday.

The Church of England’s advice states: “You can have as many godparents as you wish, but every child should have at least three, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to the child.”

Normally under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 the names of godparents are publicly listed.

However, it is understood that to protect the privacy of the godparents, who are thought to be private individuals and not public figures, their names are not being released.

Presents

Image copyright Getty Images

The tradition of giving a silver coin to a young child for their christening goes back centuries and it is though to have links to the Biblical story of the Three Wise Men.

People thought the coin symbolised good luck, but it also served the practical purpose of setting up a nest egg for the child, according to the Royal Mint.

Over the centuries the type of gift has evolved. During the Tudor era people gave silver spoons and in Queen Victoria’s reign people started giving silver trinkets.

Etiquette expert William Hanson told the BBC: “Traditionally the idea is to give something that lasts and is fairly ageless – something that when the child is an adult they can still use and cherish.

“Things made from silver are always popular, or cases of wine made in the year of the birth (if a vintage year, for instance) that can be enjoyed on the child’s coming of age. I suggest people avoid things that are overly infantile, like children’s books, rattles (even silver ones) or cuddly toys. These are not ‘ageless’, however well meant.

“I suspect some of Archie’s godparents (not that we are likely to know) will be American so there may be some presents that have a US provenance, which can help remind him of his transatlantic roots. But I am sure whatever he will receive will be well meant and of great quality.”

Etiquette guide Debrett’s adds: “Premium bonds or other savings accounts may be set up, or a life membership of an organisation, for example the National Trust, may be suitable.”

Prince Harry reportedly bought his youngest nephew, Prince Louis, a first edition of A.A Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh, for his christening last year.

Harry spent around £8,000 on the book. The gift was inspired by Harry’s childhood memories, a source told The Sun.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48881697

58 Cognitive Biases That Are Screwing Up Everything You Do

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally. In fact, even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind-spot bias.

The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologist Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology.

Hoping to clue you — and ourselves — into the biases that frame our decisions, we’ve collected a long list of the most notable ones.

This is an update of an article that was previously published with additional contributions by Drake Baer and Gus Lubin.

The affect heuristic describes how humans sometimes make decisions based on emotion.

The psychologist Paul Slovic coined this term to describe the way people let their emotions color their beliefs about the world. For example, your political affiliation often determines which arguments you find persuasive.

Our emotions also affect the way we perceive the risks and benefits of different activities. For example, people tend to dread developing cancer, so they see activities related to cancer as much more dangerous than those linked to less dreaded forms of death, illness, and injury, such as accidents.

Anchoring bias means people rely too heavily on the first piece of information they hear when making decisions.

People are over-reliant on the first piece of information they hear.

In a salary negotiation, for instance, whoever makes the first offer establishes a range of reasonable possibilities in each person’s mind. Any counteroffer will naturally react to or be anchored by that opening offer.

“Most people come with the very strong belief they should never make an opening offer,” said Leigh Thompson, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “Our research and lots of corroborating research shows that’s completely backwards. The guy or gal who makes a first offer is better off.”

Availability heuristic describes a shortcut where people make decisions based on information that’s easier to remember.

In one experiment, a professor asked students to list either two or 10 ways to improve his class. Students that had to come up with 10 ways gave the class much higher ratings, likely because they had a harder time thinking about what was wrong with the class.

This phenomenon could easily apply in the case of job interviews. If you have a hard time recalling what a candidate did wrong during an interview, you’ll likely rate him higher than if you can recall those things easily.

The bandwagon effect describes when people do something simply because others are also doing it.

The probability of one person adopting a belief increases based on the number of people who hold that belief. This is a powerful form of groupthink — and it’s a reason meetings are often so unproductive.

Bias blind spots describes how individuals can see bias in others, but struggle to see their own biases.

Failing to recognize your cognitive biases is a bias in itself.

Notably, Princeton psychologist Emily Pronin has found that “individuals see the existence and operation of cognitive and motivational biases much more in others than in themselves.

Flickr / Tristan Bowersox

Choice-supportive bias describes the tendency to have positive attitudes about the things or ideas we choose, even when they are flawed.

When you choose something, you tend to feel positive about it, even if the choice has flaws. You think that your dog is awesome — even if it bites people every once in a while — and that other dogs are stupid, since they’re not yours.

The clustering illusion happens when we see trends in random events that happen close together.

This is the tendency to see patterns in random events. It is central to various gambling fallacies, like the idea that red is more or less likely to turn up on a roulette table after a string of reds.

Confirmation bias describes the tendency to only listen to information that confirms our preconceptions.

We tend to listen only to the information that confirms our preconceptions. Once you’ve formed an initial opinion about someone, it’s hard to change your mind.

For example, researchers had participants watch a video of a student taking an academic test. Some participants were told that the student came from a high socioeconomic background; others were told the student came from a low socioeconomic background. Those in the first condition believed the student’s performance was above grade level, while those in the second condition believed the student’s performance was below.

If you know some information about a job candidate’s background, you might be inclined to use that information to make false judgments about his or her ability.

Conformity describes how people tend to behave similarly to other people.

This is the tendency of people to conform with other people. It is so powerful that it may lead people to do ridiculous things, as shown by the following experiment by Solomon Asch.

Ask one subject and several fake subjects (who are really working with the experimenter) which of lines B, C, D, and E is the same length as A. If all of the fake subjects say that D is the same length as A, the real subject will agree with this objectively false answer a shocking three-quarters of the time.

“That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern,” Asch wrote. “It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct.”

Conservatism bias occurs when people believe prior evidence more than new evidence.

Conservatism bias is where people believe prior evidence more than new evidence or information that has emerged. People were slow to accept the fact that the Earth was round because they maintained their earlier understanding the planet was flat.

Curse of knowledge means that when people know something, it’s hard to imagine not knowing it.

People who are more well-informed cannot understand the common man. For instance, in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” it’s difficult for scientist Sheldon Cooper to understand his waitress neighbor Penny.

Decoy effect is a phenomenon in marketing where consumers have a specific change in preference between two choices after being presented with a third choice.

In his TED Talk, behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains the ” decoy effect” using an old Economist advertisement as an example.

The ad featured three subscription levels: $59 for online only, $159 for print only, and $159 for online and print. Ariely figured out that the option to pay $159 for print only exists so that it makes the option to pay $159 for online and print look more enticing than it would if it was just paired with the $59 option.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decoys.jpg

Denomination effect is when people are less likely to spend large bills than their equivalent value in small bills or coins.

The phenomenon is typically seen with currency.

Duration neglect occurs when the duration of an event doesn’t factor enough into the way we consider it.

For instance, we remember momentary pain just as strongly as long-term pain.

Kahneman and colleagues tracked patients’ pain during colonoscopies (they used to be more uncomfortable) and found that the end of the procedure pretty much determined patients’ evaluations of the entire experience. One set of patients underwent a shorter procedure in which the end was relatively painful. The other set of patients underwent a longer procedure in which the end was less painful.

Results showed that the second set of patients (the longer colonoscopy) rated the procedure as less painful overall.

Empathy gap occurs when people in one state of mind fail to understand people in another state of mind.

If you are happy, you can’t imagine why people would be unhappy. When you are not sexually aroused, you can’t understand how you act when you are sexually aroused.

Frequency illusion occurs when a word, name or thing you just learned about suddenly appears everywhere.

Now that you know what that SAT word means, you see it in so many places!

Fundamental attribution error is where you attribute a person’s behavior to an intrinsic quality of her identity rather than the situation she’s in.

For instance, you might think your colleague is an angry person, when she is really just upset because she stubbed her toe.

Galatea effect occurs when people succeed — or underperform — because they think they should.

Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, in schools it describes how students who are expected to succeed tend to excel and students who are expected to fail tend to do poorly.

Halo effect is when we take one positive attribute of someone and associate it with everything else about that person or thing.

It helps explain why we often assume highly attractive individuals are also good people, why they tend to get hired more easily, and why they earn more money.

Hard-easy bias occurs when individuals underestimate their ability to perform easy tasks, yet overestimate their ability to perform more difficult ones.

Hard-easy bias occurs when everyone is overconfident on hard problems and not confident enough for easy problems.

Herding occurs when individuals mirror the sometimes irrational actions of a group.

People tend to flock together, especially in difficult or uncertain times.

Hypervision Creative/Shutterstock

Hindsight bias is when people claim to have predicted an outcome that was impossible to predict at the time.

Of course Apple and Google would become the two most important companies in phones — but tell that to Nokia, circa 2003.

One classic experiment on hindsight bias took place in the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon was about to depart for trips to China and the Soviet Union. Researchers asked the participants to predict various outcomes. After the trips, researchers asked participants to recall the probabilities that had initially assigned to each outcome.

Results showed that participants remembered having rated the events unlikely if the event had not occurred, and remembered having rated the events likely if the event had occurred.

Hyperbolic discounting happens when people make decisions for a smaller reward sooner, rather than a greater reward later.

Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency for people to want an immediate payoff rather than a larger gain later on.

Ideomotor effect occurs when the body reacts to ideas alone.

Where an idea causes you to have an unconscious physical reaction, like a sad thought that makes your eyes tear up. This is also how Ouija boards seem to have minds of their own.

Illusion of control is when people overestimate how much control they have over certain situations.

Illusion of control is the tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control events, like when a sports fan thinks his thoughts or actions had an effect on the game.

Information bias is the tendency to seek information when it does not affect action.

More information is not always better. Indeed, with less information, people can often make more accurate predictions.

In one study, people who knew the names of basketball teams as well as their performance records made less accurate predictions about the outcome of NBA games than people who only knew the teams’ performance records. However, most people believed that knowing the team names was helpful in making their predictions.

Inter-group bias is when we view people in our group differently from how see we someone in another group.

This bias helps illuminate the origins of prejudice and discrimination.

Unfortunately, researchers say we aren’t always aware of our preference for people in our social group.

Irrational escalation is when people make irrational decisions based on past rational decisions.

It may happen in an auction, when a bidding war spurs two bidders to offer more than they would otherwise be willing to pay.

hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

 

Negativity bias is the tendency to put more emphasis on negative experiences rather than positive ones.

People with this bias feel that “bad is stronger than good” and will perceive threats more than opportunities in a given situation.

Psychologists argue it’s an evolutionary adaptation: it’s better to mistake a rock for a bear than a bear for a rock.

In modern times, the negativity bias has meaningful implications for our relationships. John Gottman, a relationship expert, found that a stable relationship requires that good experiences occur at least five times more often than bad experiences.

The observer-expectancy effect is when a researcher’s expectations impact the outcome of an experiment.

A cousin of confirmation bias, here our expectations unconsciously influence how we perceive an outcome. Researchers looking for a certain result in an experiment, for example, may inadvertently manipulate or interpret the results to reveal their expectations.

That’s why the “double-blind” experimental design was created for the field of scientific research.

Omission bias is the tendency to prefer inaction to action, in ourselves and even in politics.

Psychologist Art Markman gave a great example back in 2010:

The omission bias creeps into our judgment calls on domestic arguments, work mishaps, and even national policy discussions. In March, President Obama pushed Congress to enact sweeping healthcare reforms. Republicans hope that voters will blame Democrats for any problems that arise after the law is enacted. But since there were problems with healthcare already, can they really expect that future outcomes will be blamed on Democrats, who passed new laws, rather than Republicans, who opposed them? Yes, they can — the omission bias is on their side.

The ostrich effect is the decision to ignore dangerous or negative information by “burying” one’s head in the sand, like an ostrich.

Research suggests that investors check the value of their holdings significantly less often during bad markets.

But there’s an upside to acting like a big bird, at least for investors. When you have limited knowledge about your holdings, you’re less likely to trade, which generally translates to higher returns in the long run.

Outcome bias refers to judging a decision based on the outcome, rather than how exactly the decision was made in the moment.

Just because you won a lot in Vegas doesn’t mean gambling your money was a smart decision.

Research illustrates the power of the outcome bias on the way we evaluate decisions.

In one study, students were asked whether a particular city should have paid for a full-time bridge monitor to protect against debris getting caught and blocking the flow of water. Some students only saw the information that was available at the time of the city’s decision; others saw the information that was available after the decision was already made: debris had blocked the river and caused flood damage.

As it turns out, 24% of students in the first group (with limited information) said the city should have paid for the bridge, compared to 56% of students in the second group (with all information). Hindsight had affected their judgment.

Overconfidence is when some of us are too confident about our abilities, and this causes us to take greater risks in our daily lives.

Perhaps surprisingly, experts are more prone to this bias than laypeople. An expert might make the same inaccurate prediction as someone unfamiliar with the topic — but the expert will probably be convinced that he’s right.

Overoptimism occurs when individuals believe they are less likely to encounter negative events.

When we believe the world is a better place than it is, we aren’t prepared for the danger and violence we may encounter. The inability to accept the full breadth of human nature leaves us vulnerable.

On the flip side, overoptimism may have some benefits — hopefulness tends to improve physical health and reduce stress. In fact, researchers say we’re basically hardwired to underestimate the probability of negative events — meaning this bias is especially hard to overcome.

Pessimism bias occurs when individuals overestimate how often negative things will happen to them.

This is the opposite of the overoptimism bias. Pessimists over-weigh negative consequences with their own and others’ actions.

Those who are depressed are more likely to exhibit the pessimism bias.

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Placebo effect is when simply believing that something will have a certain impact on you causes it to have that effect.

This is a basic principle of stock market cycles, as well as a supporting feature of medical treatment in general. People given “fake” pills often experience the same physiological effects as people given the real thing.

Planning fallacy is the tendency to underestimate how much time it will take to complete a task.

According to Kahneman, people generally think they’re more capable than they actually are and have greater power to influence the future than they really do. For example, even if you know that writing a project report typically takes your coworkers several hours, you might believe that you can finish it in under an hour because you’re especially skilled.

Post-purchase rationalization is when we overlook an expensive item’s flaws to justify the purchase.

Post-purchase rationalization is when we make ourselves believe that a purchase was worth the value after the fact.

Priming is when you more readily identify ideas related to a previously introduced idea.

Let’s take an experiment as an example, again from Less Wrong:

Suppose you ask subjects to press one button if a string of letters forms a word, and another button if the string does not form a word. (E.g., “banack” vs. “banner”.) Then you show them the string “water.” Later, they will more quickly identify the string “drink” as a word. This is known as “cognitive priming” …

Priming also reveals the massive parallelism of spreading activation: if seeing “water” activates the word “drink,” it probably also activates “river,” or “cup,” or “splash.”

Pro-innovation bias occurs when a proponent of an innovation tends to overvalue its usefulness and undervalue its limitations.

Sound familiar, Silicon Valley?

Procrastination occurs when you decide to act in favor of the present moment over investing in the future.

For example, even if your goal is to lose weight, you might still go for a thick slice of cake today and say you’ll start your diet tomorrow.

That happens largely because, when you set the weight-loss goal, you don’t take into account that there will be many instances when you’re confronted with cake and you don’t have a plan for managing your future impulses.

Reactance refers to the desire to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do, in order to prove your freedom of choice.

One study found that when people saw a sign that read, “Do not write on these walls under any circumstances,” they were more likely to deface the walls than when they saw a sign that read, “Please don’t write on these walls.” The study authors say that’s partly because the first sign posed a greater perceived threat to people’s freedom.

Recency is the tendency to weigh the latest information more heavily than older data.

As financial planner Carl Richards writes in The New York Times, investors often think the market will always look the way it looks today and therefore make unwise decisions: “When the market is down we become convinced that it will never climb out, so we cash out our portfolios and stick the money in a mattress.”

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Reciprocity is the belief that fairness should trump other values, even when it’s not in our economic or other interests.

We learn the reciprocity norm from a young age, and it affects all kinds of interactions. One study found that, when restaurant waiters gave customers extra mints, the customers upped their tips. That’s likely because the customers felt obligated to return the favor.

Regression bias occurs when people take action in response to extreme situations. When the situations become less extreme, they take credit for causing the change, when a more likely explanation is that the situation was reverting to the mean.

In ” Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Kahneman gives an example of how the regression bias plays out in real life. An instructor in the Israeli Air Force asserted that when he chided cadets for bad execution, they always did better on their second try. The instructor believed that his reprimands were the cause of the improvement.

Yet Kahneman told him he was really observing regression to the mean, or random variations in the quality of performance. If you perform really badly one time, it’s highly probable that you’ll do better the next time, even if you do nothing to try to improve.

Restraint bias occurs when we overestimate our capacity for impulse control.

With restraint bias, one overestimates one’s ability to show restraint in the face of temptation.

Salience is our tendency to focus on the most easily recognizable features of a person or concept.

For example, research suggests that when there’s only one member of a racial minority on a business team, other members use that individual’s performance to predict how any member of that racial group would perform.

Scope insensitivity is where your willingness to pay for something doesn’t correlate with the scale of the outcome.

From Less Wrong:

Once upon a time, three groups of subjects were asked how much they would pay to save 2,000 / 20,000 / 200,000 migrating birds from drowning in uncovered oil ponds. The groups respectively answered $80, $78, and $88. This is scope insensitivity or scope neglect: the number of birds saved — the scope of the altruistic action — had little effect on willingness to pay.

Seersucker illusion is the over-reliance on expert advice.

Seersucker illusion has to do with the avoidance of responsibility. We call in “experts” to forecast when typically they have no greater chance of predicting an outcome than the rest of the population. In other words, “for every seer there’s a sucker.”

Selective attention occurs when we allow our expectations to influence how we perceive the world.

The classic study on selective attention is called the ” invisible gorilla” experiment. Psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons created a short film in which a team wearing white and a team wearing black pass basketballs. Participants are asked to count the number of passes made by either the white or the black team. Halfway through the video, a woman wearing a gorilla suit crosses the court, thumps her chest, and walks off screen. She’s on screen for a total of nine seconds.

About half of the thousands of people who have watched the video (you can watch it here) don’t notice the gorilla, presumably because they’re so wrapped up in counting the basketball passes.

Of course, when asked if they would notice the gorilla in this situation, nearly everyone says they would.

Self-enhancing transmission bias occurs when everyone shares their successes more than their failures.

Self-enhancing transmission bias leads to a false perception of reality and inability to accurately assess situations.

Status quo bias is the tendency to prefer things to stay the same.

This is similar to loss-aversion bias, where people prefer to avoid losses instead of acquiring gains.

Stereotyping occurs when people generalize characteristics about others based on the groups they belong to.

Stereotyping occurs when we expect a group or person to have certain qualities without having real information about the individual.

There may be some value to stereotyping because it allows us to quickly identify strangers as friends or enemies. But people tend to overuse it.

For example, one study found that people were more likely to hire a hypothetical male candidate over a female candidate to perform a mathematical task, even when they learned that the candidates would perform equally well.

Survivorship bias occurs when individuals focus on successful outcomes, yet overlook failure.

Survivorship bias is an error that comes from focusing only on surviving examples, causing us to misjudge a situation. For instance, we might think that being an entrepreneur is easy because we haven’t heard of all of the entrepreneurs who have failed.

It can also cause us to assume that survivors are inordinately better than failures, without regard for the importance of luck or other factors.

Tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals use public resources in their own self interest rather than for the common good.

We overuse common resources because it’s not in any individual’s interest to conserve them. This explains the overuse of natural resources, opportunism, and any acts of self-interest over collective interest.

Unit bias occurs when people think a particular size is the optimal amount.

We believe that there is an optimal unit size, or a universally acknowledged amount of a given item that is perceived as appropriate. This explains why when served larger portions, we eat more.

Zero-risk bias occurs when we choose to eliminate risk absolutely in one area, rather than eliminate more risk spread out across different areas.

Sociologists have found that we love certainty — even if it’s counterproductive.

Thus the zero-risk bias.

In general, people tend to prefer approaches that eliminate some risks completely, as opposed to approaches that reduce all risks — even though the second option would produce a greater overall decrease in risk.

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2019.

Read next on Business Insider: A Harvard psychiatrist has identified 7 skills to help you get along with anybody

Read more: https://www.iflscience.com/brain/58-cognitive-biases-that-are-screwing-up-everything-you-do/