T. G. I. F. Solitude

Asks UN to Stop WAR

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (above) urged world leaders Tuesday to create new rules governing the use of force in the wake of a series of violent conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa that have sparked a refugee crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people flee to Europe looking for safety.

Speaking for the annual gathering of heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly, Maduro said he supported a plan by proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to create an international coalition to coordinate foreign military action in Syria.

Arguing that the Middle East is more more violent and unstable than it was before U.S.-led military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, along with foreign military support of rebel groups in Syria, Maduro called on the U.N. to restrict the ability of powerful countries to wage war.

“We should take advantage, we believe, of the total and complete, tragic failure of these four wars,” Maduro said, drawing applause from the crowd.

“So that from the Security Council, from the United Nations, we can move forward toward creating new rules that prohibit the use of interventionist methods to bring war, to sow terror, to bring destruction and death to people who are declared by the elites of the world to be undesirable people or enemies.”

Some 250,000 people have died in Syria since the fighting broke out in 2011.

The violence there has fueled the largest refugee crisis facing Europe since World War II.

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The Pope and The Clerk

UPDATE: The Vatican has confirmed that the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis took place. "I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no further comments," Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement. 

More from AP:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court's orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis last Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

Davis offered details on their brief encounter to ABC News.

“I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes," she said. "I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.”

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis' situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.

Davis was in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, presented her with an award for defying the federal judge.

Pope Francis did not focus on the divisive debate over same-sex marriage during his visit last week. As he left the country, he told reporters who inquired that he did not know Davis' case in detail, but he defended conscientious objection as a human right.

"It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right," Francis said.

What They Want You To Know

Here's a look at 21 things hiring managers wish all job candidates knew — both to help them make the right hire more easily and to end some of the frustration and anxiety on job seekers' side of the hiring process.

1. We actually want you to be honest

I see too many job applicants who approach the interview as if their only goal is to win a job offer, losing sight of the fact that this can land them in the wrong job. Think of it like dating. This means being honest about your strengths and weaknesses and giving the hiring manager a glimpse of the real you, so he or she can make an informed decision about how well you'd do in the job.

2. We pay attention to the small stuff

Frequently, I see candidates act as if only "official" contacts — like interviews and formal writing samples — count during the hiring process. They'll send flawless cover letters and then check up on their applications with sloppily written emails with spelling errors. Or they'll be charming and polite to me but rude to an assistant. I pay attention to how quickly a candidate responds to requests for writing samples and references, and even how fast he or she returns phone calls.

3. We want you to ask questions

I encounter many candidates who don't have many — or even any — questions when I ask what I can answer for them. Your interviewer wants to know that you're interested in the details of the job, the department, your prospective supervisor's management style and the culture of the organization. Otherwise, you risk signaling that you're either not that interested or just haven't thought very much about it.     
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Hump Day Art

The Art 


Everyone Needs a Conspiracy

Bill and Hillary Clinton have long believed in a unified-field theory about their opponents — one that she memorably dubbed a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” And they have their own theory of the moment it all began.

The former president, who is about to take a more visible role in his wife’s presidential campaign, told the tale again in a broadcast over the weekend, in which he described getting a menacing phone call from inside the George H.W. Bush White House. 

It was 1991, as the then-Arkansas governor was mulling whether to challenge a popular incumbent president, he said. 

The caller said, “‘We’ve looked at the field. You’re the only one who can win,’” Bill Clinton recalled in an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN. “‘The press has to have someone every election. We’re going to give them you. You better not run.’”

Except that the man whom Clinton claims was on the other end of the line insists nothing of the kind ever happened.

Former President Bill Clinton is interviewed by Becky Quick of CNBC at the Clinton Global Initiative Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)
“There is no shred of truth to it whatsoever. I never made any such call,” said Roger B. Porter, a mild-mannered policy wonk who at the time was assistant to the president for economic and domestic policy, and who now is a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward also investigated the story for his book “The Agenda,” about the turbulent early years of the Clinton White House. 

Although both Clintons have told “nine or 10 versions” of the phone call, Woodward too is convinced that “there is nothing to it” — and went so far on Monday as to call it “preposterous.”

The former president, who has stayed largely offstage during his wife’s second run for the presidency, plans to step up his campaigning on her behalf.      Read More:


Polluted Lake Burns

Residents in Bangalore, India, were alarmed earlier this week when a local lake caught fire.

For several weeks, Bellandur Lake has been covered with several feet of toxic foam that some have said resembles snow from far away, according to The Hindu.

Beneath the snow-white lather, the water has turned black from chemicals and sewage.

Over the years, the 9,000-acre Bellandur lake in India's technology capital has been polluted by chemicals and sewage.

Bellandur Lake which lies to the southeast of the city of Bangalore, and is the largest lake in the city. 

It is a part of Bellandur drainage system that drains the southern and the southeastern parts of the city. 

The lake is a receptor from three chains of lakes upstream, and has a catchment area of about 148 square kilometres (37,000 acres). 

Water from this lake flows further east to the Varthur Lake, from where it flows down the plateau and eventually into the Pinakani river basin. 

It is currently highly polluted with sewage, and in May 2015 the foam covering the water surface caught fire and burned for hours. 

What will it take for the world to realize that pollution is harmful to our survival?

France Targets Syria

PARIS — French warplanes have struck targets in Syria for the first time, President François Hollande’s office said Sunday.

The strikes were launched against targets identified during reconnaissance missions flown by the French airforce over the past two weeks, in coordination with the U.S.-led coalition bombing Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, or ISIL, a statement from the presidency said.

It did not specify how many strikes were carried out, or against which type of target.

The strikes confirm the extension of France’s air campaign against ISIL from Iraq, where France’s efforts were originally contained, to Syria, as Hollande announced two weeks ago.

“We will strike every time our national security is threatened,” the statement said. “But the Syrian chaos must have a global solution.

Civilian populations must be protected against all forms of violence, those of Daesh (ISIL), but also against the murderous bombardments of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad.”

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said this month that France was launching strikes in Syria to prevent ISIL from mounting terrorist attacks in France, and because the group had advanced more than expected in Syria.      Read more:


Republican Meltdown Feared

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is warning Republicans to act wisely following the impending departure of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), which he fears could lead to a party "meltdown" in 2016.

“It’s a fresh start, and what’s the goal here? The goal here is to move the needle,” the presidential contender told reporters at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, ABC News reported.

“I hope we can have a relationship with the new Speaker that will allow us not to shut down the government, keep the conservative agenda alive, and focus on winning in 2016."

Graham characterized the worst-case scenario as GOP lawmakers taking actions that "hurt our brand even further."

“I hope that we’ll look at winning the presidency in 2016," he said, which would depend on "our actions in the House and the Senate."

Boehner shocked Washington on Friday by announcing he would leave Congress at the end of October. 

The Speaker had clashed with conservative members of his conference and some had floated trying to oust him in a fight over funding for Planned Parenthood.

Graham praised Boehner's tenure as Speaker.

"I don't know what's going to happen. One, I think him for his service. I think he's been a good friend for over twenty years. I think he did a good job as Speaker to build a strong majority," he said, according to NBC News.

"Now we've got to keep it."

Putin Says US Support for Syria Illegal

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday branded U.S. support for rebel forces in Syria as illegal and ineffective, saying U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join Islamic State with weapons supplied by Washington.

In an interview with U.S. networks recorded ahead of a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Putin said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deserved international support as he was fighting terrorist organizations.

Obama and Putin are scheduled to talk on Monday after Putin addresses the United Nations, although White House and Kremlin officials have disagreed on what the two leaders will discuss and even who initiated the meeting.

"In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter," he said in an excerpt of an interview with U.S. television networks CBS and PBS released by the Kremlin.

Russia has stepped up its military involvement in Syria in recent weeks, with U.S. officials accusing Moscow of sending combat aircraft, tanks and other equipment to help the Syrian army.

Russia's sudden military build-up this month in support of Assad and a refugee crisis that has spilled over from the region into Europe have lent new urgency to attempts to resolve the Syria conflict.   Read More: