I remember the first time I went to the airport with my guide dog Corky. She was on the job, guiding me through throngs of harried passengers, head up, tail wagging, relishing her job. I knew shed be focused, after all, in training wed worked together in Midtown Manhattan and shed been alert and focused. Shed be just the same in the United terminal at JFK. Suddenly a man approached us. By his accent he seemed German. Excuse me, he said, but Ive been so much missing my dog.
If you go everywhere with a guide dog, as I do, you soon find youre more than just a blind traveler: often youre an impromptu provider of animal comfort to strangers. After twenty plus years of working with my guide dogs around the world Ive come to understand how deprived of animal contact millions of people really are.
Human beings are meant to have animals in their lives, and while pet ownership in the US is at an all-time high, Im often approached by strangerson sidewalks, in airportswho say roughly the same thing: I wish I could have a dog but my landlord wont allow it. Or: I have to travel for my livelihood and I cant have an animal. Or: Can I pet your dog?
Now, as a public service I will tell you that a guide dog mustnt be petted or distracted when its working and it is always working while wearing its recognizable harness. But when that harness comes off? The dog knows its love time. And I shouldnt admit this: but I sometimes take off my guide dogs harness just to let these folks pet her.
Its a funny thing, two complete strangers standing beside an airport Starbucks, while unexpected gentleness and affection tumbles out.
Whats a dog for? Its estimated that dogs entered the human circle as far back as 30,000 years ago. Did they come for our garbage? Maybe they came because we had fire? Sometimes I like to joke that they liked our singing. Ill make a stab and say they came to us because, frankly, they liked us more than we liked ourselves.
As for science, we know dogs, like humans, possess mirror neuronstheir brains understand gestures and even seek to imitate them just as we do. When we yawn our friends yawn. A babys first word is often the word shes heard most. Many dogs know immediately how were feeling and interact with us accordingly.
My first guide dog was a big yellow Labrador girl named Corky. I received her at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, one of the nations premier guide dog training schools. When I went there I thought Id be handed a smart dog who knew some commands and that would be it. I had no idea I was about to be changed by hertransformed really, so that the old me would be eclipsed entirely.
I discovered with Corky and her trainers that I knew nothing about admiration. High school and college hadnt taught me a thing about appreciation and regards. Linda, one of Corkys trainers explained to our class of new guide dog users that guide dogs need praise.
Our new dogs require praiselots of praise, said Linda. Its all in the voice. Nowadays a guide dog loves it when you say, Good dog with a tone of true joy. Try it! And we all said, Good dog, just as Linda had shown us.
In that moment, Corky raised her face to look at me, her big yellow snout pointing straight up. And every dog in the room looked up at their respective human. Something palpable went around our circlethe star of praise that only dogs can see was released by our voices. Good dog! We said it again and again. Our overdramatized tones were like stylized laughter in an opera. All tails were wagging.
We say, Good dog because Guiding Eyes dogs really want to work, said Linda. They have been through many months of training. These dogs enjoy their jobs. But just like you, they require praise. From this moment on you will be saying Good dog as much as a hundred times a day.
Who affirms good things even a dozen times a day? Who makes talking goodness a habit of her or his minutes? I sat with my Corkys head on my shoe and thought about the talking bluesas a poet Id studied vocal sorrowbut never had I considered a running, day long practice of spoken good. Good dog would become my hourly practice and over time (though I didnt yet know it), dog-praise would change many of my habits of thought.
So there I am with my guide dog in an airport. A man or woman approaches and he or she says I used to have a dog but I cant have one these days. Sometimes theyll say I had to put my dog down just last month. The pain is palpable.
In my view praise also means admitting others into our own circle. It doesnt cost a thing to affirm others. My dog is always mirroring. She wants to praise me right back. And where strangers are concerned thats easy. So the harness comes off and there in the staid and arid terminal a handsome, genuine, far reaching, simple moment of shared love occurs.
My father died about five years ago. Sometimes I am just hit with the overwhelming smell of his cologne.
There’s no “logical” reason for it – I always used those ridiculous, artificial coconut air fresheners in my car and my apartment never really smells like anything – but it’s always kinda nice when it happens.
I like hearing that other people have had similar experiences – it makes me feel like less of a weirdo haha. –c0ldethyl
I still think about this sometimes and remind myself it was just my imagination.
I was going through a rough time a few years ago, and I was asleep one night and dreaming that I was laying in my bed crying and my mom was sitting next to me rubbing my back telling me everything was going to be ok.
It was sooo real, so real that in my dream I remembered that my mom had died several years earlier, and I woke up, but I could still feel someone rubbing my back.
I was home alone, I’m a grown man, and I was scared sh*tless.
I couldn’t move I was so scared, so I just laid there until the sun came up and jumped out of bed.
I’m not a big believer in spirits, but that makes me want to believe she was there that night. –epmoya
“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”
Really hit home for me, since I grew up trying to mediate my parents’ issues and had multiple friends in and out of the ER for mental health crises during my teen years, among other things.
As someone who spent the majority of her life feeling like she had to take care of others at all costs, it was kinda a shock to the system to hear that I was allowed to have my limits even with people who truly needed help. –maeEast
The long read: No language in history has dominated the world quite like English does today. Is there any point in resisting?
On 16 May, a lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg was in a New York cafe when he heard several members of staff speaking Spanish. He reacted with immediate fury, threatening to call US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and telling one employee: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English This is America. A video of the incident quickly went viral, drawing widespread scorn. The Yelp page for his law firm was flooded with one-star reviews, and Schlossberg was soon confronted with a fiesta protest in front of his Manhattan apartment building, which included a crowd-funded taco truck and mariachi band to serenade him on the way to work.
As the Trump administration intensifies its crackdown on migrants, speaking any language besides English has taken on a certain charge. In some cases, it can even be dangerous. But if something has changed around the politics of English since Donald Trump took office, the anger Schlossberg voiced taps into deeper nativist roots. Elevating English while denigrating all other languages has been a pillar of English and American nationalism for well over a hundred years. Its a strain of linguistic exclusionism heard in Theodore Roosevelts 1919 address to the American Defense Society, in which he proclaimed that we have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boardinghouse.
As it turned out, Roosevelt had things almost perfectly backwards. A century of immigration has done little to dislodge the status of English in North America. If anything, its position is stronger than it was a hundred years ago. Yet from a global perspective,it is not America that is threatened by foreign languages. It is the world that is threatened by English.
Behemoth, bully, loudmouth, thief: English is everywhere, and everywhere, English dominates. From inauspicious beginnings on the edge of a minor European archipelago, it has grown to vast size and astonishing influence. Almost 400m people speak it as their first language; a billion more know it as a secondary tongue. It is an official language in at least 59 countries, the unofficial lingua franca of dozens more. No language in history has been used by so many people or spanned a greater portion of the globe. It is aspirational: the golden ticket to the worlds of education and international commerce, a parents dream and a students misery, winnower of the haves from the have-nots. It is inescapable: the language of global business, the internet, science, diplomacy, stellar navigation, avian pathology. And everywhere it goes, it leaves behind a trail of dead: dialects crushed, languages forgotten, literatures mangled.
One straightforward way to trace the growing influence of English is in the way its vocabulary has infiltrated so many other languages. For a millennium or more, English was a great importer of words, absorbing vocabulary from Latin, Greek, French, Hindi, Nahuatl and many others. During the 20th century, though, as the US became the dominant superpower and the world grew more connected, English became a net exporter of words. In 2001, Manfred Grlach, a German scholar who studies the dizzying number of regional variants of English he is the author of the collections Englishes, More Englishes, Still More Englishes, and Even More Englishes published the Dictionary of European Anglicisms, which gathers together English terms found in 16 European languages. A few of the most prevalent include last-minute, fitness, group sex, and a number of terms related to seagoing and train travel.
In some countries, such as France and Israel, special linguistic commissions have been working for decades to stem the English tide by creating new coinages of their own to little avail, for the most part. (As the journalist Lauren Collins has wryly noted: Does anyone really think that French teenagers, per the academys diktat, are going to trade out sexting for texto pornographique?) Thanks to the internet, the spread of English has almost certainly sped up.
The gravitational pull that English now exerts on other languages can also be seen in the world of fiction. The writer and translator Tim Parks has argued that European novels are increasingly being written in a kind of denatured, international vernacular, shorn of country-specific references and difficult-to-translate wordplay or grammar. Novels in this mode whether written in Dutch, Italian or Swiss German have not only assimilated the style of English, but perhaps more insidiously limit themselves to describing subjects in a way that would be easily digestible in an anglophone context.
Yet the influence of English now goes beyond simple lexical borrowing or literary influence. Researchers at the IULM University in Milan have noticed that, in the past 50 years, Italian syntax has shifted towards patterns that mimic English models, for instance in the use of possessives instead of reflexives to indicate body parts and the frequency with which adjectives are placed before nouns. German is also increasingly adopting English grammatical forms, while in Swedish its influence has been changing the rules governing word formation and phonology.
Within the anglophone world, that English should be the key to all the worlds knowledge and all the worlds places is rarely questioned. The hegemony of English is so natural as to be invisible. Protesting it feels like yelling at the moon. Outside the anglophone world, living with English is like drifting into the proximity of a supermassive black hole, whose gravity warps everything in its reach. Every day English spreads, the world becomes a little more homogenous and a little more bland.
Until recently, the story of English was broadly similar to that of other global languages: it spread through a combination of conquest, trade and colonisation. (Some languages, such as Arabic and Sanskrit, also caught on through their status as sacred tongues.) But then, at some point between the end of the second world war and the start of the new millenium, English made a jump in primacy that no amount of talk about it as a lingua franca or global language truly captures. It transformed from a dominant language to what the Dutch sociologist Abram de Swaan calls a hypercentral one.
De Swaan divides languages into four categories. Lowest on the pyramid are the peripheral languages, which make up 98% of all languages, but are spoken by less than 10% of mankind. These are largely oral, and rarely have any kind of official status. Next are the central languages, though a more apt term might be national languages. These are written, are taught in schools, and each has a territory to call its own: Lithuania for Lithuanian, North and South Korea for Korean, Paraguay for Guarani, and so on.
Following these are the 12 supercentral languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili each of which (except for Swahili) boast 100 million speakers or more. These are languages you can travel with. They connect people across nations. They are commonly spoken as second languages, often (but not exclusively) as a result of their parent nations colonial past.
Then, finally, we come to the top of the pyramid, to the languages that connect the supercentral ones. There is only one: English, which De Swaan calls the hypercentral language that holds the entire world language system together. The Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura similarly describes English as a universal language . For Mizumura, what makes it universal is not that it has many native speakers Mandarin and Spanish have more but that it is used by the greatest number of non-native speakers in the world. She compares it to a currency used by more and more people until its utility hits a critical mass and it becomes a world currency. The literary critic Jonathan Arac is even more blunt, noting, in a critique of what he calls Anglo-Globalism, that English in culture, like the dollar in economics, serves as the medium through which knowledge may be translated from the local to the global.
In the last few decades, as globalisation has accelerated and the US has remained the worlds most powerful country, the advance of English has taken on a new momentum. In 2008, Rwanda switched its education system from French to English, having already made English an official language in 14 years earlier. Officially, this was part of the governments effort to make Rwanda the tech hub of Africa. Unofficially, its widely believed to be an expression of disgust at Frances role in propping-up the pre-1994 Hutu-dominant government, as well as a reflection that the countrys ruling elite mostly speaks English, having grown up as exiles in anglophone east Africa. When South Sudan became independent in 2011, it made English its official language despite having very few resources or qualified personnel with which to teach it in schools. The Minister of higher education at the time justified the move as being aimed at making the country different and modern, while the news director of South Sudan Radio added that with English, South Sudan could become one nation and communicate with the rest of the world understandable goals in a country home to more than 50 local languages.
You’d think people would stop calling the cops on young black kids who aren’t actually affecting their lives in the slightest, but here we are. At least this time the end of the story is a bit more heart-warming.
Jaequan Faulkner, 13, set up a little food stand outside of his home in Minnesota to help raise money for school clothes, and some heartless (read: racist) person called the police on him because he didn’t have a permit to run a business. Instead of shutting Faulkner down, the Minneapolis Police Department came out in support of him and teamed up with the local health department to get him the permit he needed to keep running, the Associate Press reported earlier in the week.
The story gained steam throughout the week, garnering more national attention and becoming a popular Twitter moment Friday night. People who learned about the story sympathized with Faulkner and praised the police for encouraging his entrepreneurial spirit rather than stifling it.
We first met Jaequan Faulkner and his summer hot dog stand in June. Someone complained to the city. Instead of shutting his stand down, the city of Minneapolis stepped up to help the 13-year-old get his permit. Next on @kare11. pic.twitter.com/WYKA8rqzEz
According to KARE 11, Faulkner started his hot dog and snack stand in 2016 with the help of his uncle, and he returned this summer after taking a break last year. Shortly after getting up and running, a complaint was made to the Minneapolis Department of Health about his food stand, AP reported.
Instead of attempting to shut Faulkner down, the city pitched in and took care of his $87 permit so he could keep selling his food and making money for school. Not only that, the health department contacted a local organization to give him some tips on keeping his business thriving and making sure everything is as clean as it can be.
Stories about individuals calling the police on black people who aren’t doing anything illegal at all or black kids who are just trying to make some money have been blowing up on the internet recently, with callers like Allison Ettel and Jennifer Schulte getting publicly roasted for their prejudiced behavior.
Although we don’t know for sure who called in the complaint on Faulkner, it’s nice to see local authorities being reasonable and helpful rather than antagonistic.
“First the woman smiles at her admirer and lifts her eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms.
“This sequential flirting gesture is so distinctive that [German ethologist Irenaus] Eibl-Eibesfeldt was convinced it is innate, a human female courtship ploy that evolved eons ago to signal sexual interest.”
Look for someone ‘in your league’
Men – and women – are attracted to people who are as attractive as they are.
In one study, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley looked at the behavior of 60 heterosexual male and 60 heterosexual female users on an online dating site. While the majority of users were inclined to reach out to highly attractive people, they were most likely to get a response if that person was about as attractive as they were (as judged by independent raters).
“If you go for someone roughly [equal] to you in attractiveness, it avoids two things,” Nottingham Trent University psychologist Mark Sergeant, who was not involved with the study, told The Independent. “If they are much better-looking than you, you are worried about them going off and having affairs. If they are much less attractive, you are worried that you could do better.”
Present yourself as high status
A 2010 study from the University of Wales Institute found that men pictured with a Silver Bentley Continental GT were perceived as way more attractive than those pictures with a Red Ford Fiesta ST.
And a 2014 study from Cardiff Metropolitan University found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated more attractive than those in a control group.
Interestingly, men don’t seem to be more attracted to women when they’re pictured in a high-status context.
“We think this suggests greater financial independence gives women more confidence in partner choices, and attracts them to powerful, attractive older men,” lead author and University of Dundee psychologist Fhionna Moore said in a statement.
Evolutionary psychologists say that younger women and older men often pair up because while fertility only lasts from puberty to menopause in women, it can extend long into midlife for many men. Society also gives men greater opportunity to accumulate status and resources as they age.
Grow a light beard
In a 2013 study from researchers at the University of New South Wales, researchers had 177 heterosexual men and 351 heterosexual women look at images of 10 men in one of four conditions: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, or full beard. Participants rated the men pictured on several traits, including attractiveness.
That women said the most attractive beard length was heavy stubble.
Results showed that women were more likely to want short-term relationships with the guys who had big muscles.
The evolutionary signal that might be at work here?
Characteristics like muscularity are “cues of genes that increase offspring viability or reproductive success,” say authors David A. Frederick and Martie G. Haselton.
But Frederick and Haselton took away another telling finding: Less-muscular men were thought to be a better fit for long-term relationships. So if you want to catch a woman’s eye and hold her attention, you may be better off not going overboard.
One of the best documented findings in psychology is the halo effect, a bias where you unconsciously take one aspect of somebody as a proxy for their overall character. It’s why we think beautiful people are good at their jobs, even when they aren’t necessarily.
In a 2014 Chinese study, more than 100 young people looked at images of men and women’s faces and rated them on attractiveness. Each face pictured was paired with a word that described either a positive personality trait – like kindness or honesty – or a negative personality trait, like being evil or mean.
Results showed that the people described with positive traits were rated more attractive.
“Even though beauty is an assessment of fitness value, there is no reason why assessment of fitness needs to be purely physical,” Kaufman writes, meaning that acting kind can make you appear more attractive.
A 2010 cross-cultural study – with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US – found that women are most attracted to men wearing red.
In one experiment from the study, 55 female undergrads looked at a color photo of a man in either a red or green shirt, and then rated the man’s attractiveness.
Sure enough, the man was rated significantly more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt. The results were similar when researchers compared the red shirt to other color shirts as well.
Interestingly, participants generally weren’t aware that the man’s clothing color was influencing their perceptions of his attractiveness.
Make your partner laugh
Multiple studiesindicate that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. Interestingly though, men generally aren’t more attracted to women who can make them laugh.
In one 2006 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers asked undergraduate students (they didn’t indicate their sexual orientation) to indicate how much they valued a partner’s ability to make them laugh and their own ability to make their partner laugh.
Results showed that women valued both their partner’s sense of humor and their own ability to make their partner laugh; men valued only their own ability to make their partner laugh.
Walk a dog
In a 2014 experiment from the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel and the University of Michigan, 100 Israeli women read vignettes about men.
Some of the men were described as “cads”: They would cheat on their partner and get into fights. The other men were described as stereotypical “dads”: They would work hard at their job and take good care of their kids.
Whenever the story featured a cad who owned a dog, women rated that man as a more suitable long-term partner than a cad who didn’t own a dog. Cads with dogs were even rated slightly more attractive than dads with dogs.
The researchers concluded that owning a pet signals that you’re nurturing and capable of making long-term commitments. It can also help you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy.
Play good music
In a 2014 study, researchers at the University of Sussex asked about 1,500 women (whose average age was 28) to listen to simple and complex pieces of music and rate the attractiveness of the composer.
The results showed that women preferred the more complex music, and said they would choose the composer of the more complex music as a long-term partner.
Australian researchers recently studied undergrads participating in a speed-dating session, and found that mindful men tended to receive higher attractiveness ratings from women.
Before the session began, 91 students were asked to fill out a mindfulness questionnaire in which they indicated how much they agreed with statements like:
“I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them.”
“I notice changes in my body, such as whether my breathing slows down or speeds up.”
“I’m good at finding the words to describe my feelings.”
After each interaction with an opposite-sex partner, students privately indicated how “sexy” they found their partner and how much they’d like to date that person.
Results showed that men were generally more drawn to physically attractive women. (Independent coders had rated the students’ attractiveness beforehand.) But women were generally more attracted to mindful men.
Play extreme sports (carefully)
A 2014 study led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call “hunter-gatherer risks.”
More than 230 undergrads filled out questionnaires about how attractive they would find a partner who engaged in certain risky behaviors, as opposed to a partner who engaged in low- or no-risk behaviors.
Hunter-gatherer risks included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. “Modern” risks included plagiarizing an academic paper, casually handling chemicals in a lab, and not updating the virus-protection software on your computer.
Low- and no-risk behaviors included biking along paved paths and carefully handling chemicals in a chemistry-lab class.
Results showed that women said they would be more attracted to men who engaged in hunter-gatherer risks – the kinds that were similar to risks faced by ancestral humans. Women said they would be less attracted to men who engaged in modern risks, which might seem just plain dumb.
Wear a scented deodorant
Simply knowing that you’re wearing a new fragrance can make you act more confident, and even make you seem more attractive to other people.
In a small 2009 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers gave one group of male undergraduates a spray with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oil, and provided another group with an unscented spray that didn’t contain antimicrobial ingredients. Over the next few days, the men who used the scented spray reported higher self-confidence and felt more attractive.
The strange part? When a group of women were shown silent videos of the men, they found those who were wearing scented spray more attractive, even though they obviously couldn’t smell them. The researchers determined that the men using the scented spray displayed more confident behavior, which in turn made them more attractive.
Chow down on garlic
The smell of garlic on your breath is generally regarded as an instant romance killer. But a recent series of studies, from researchers at Charles University and the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom, suggests a different story when it comes to body odor.
In one study, eight men ate a slice of bread with cheese and 12 grams of fresh garlic; another eight ate bread and cheese without any garlic. For the next 12 hours, the men wore cotton pads under their armpits and were instructed not to use any deodorants or fragrances.
The following day, all the men returned to the lab, where 40 women sniffed the pads and rated the odor on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. Results showed that the garlic group was rated more pleasant and attractive and less masculine and intense.
About 30 women looked at a picture of a man with a brief description of his hobbies, which sometimes included volunteer work. The same procedure was repeated with about 30 men looking at a picture of a woman. Everyone rated how attractive they found the person pictured for a short- and long-term relationship.
Both genders rated the person pictured as more attractive for a long-term relationship when they were described as a volunteer – but the effect was stronger for women rating men.
Show off your scars
That scar on your chin from when you fell off a bike could help you attract a mate.
In a 2009 study, researchers at the University of Liverpool and the University of Stirling took photos of 24 male and 24 female undergrads. They digitally manipulated half of the images so the subjects appeared to have facial scars – for example, a line on the person’s forehead that looked like the result of an injury.
Then the researchers recruited another group of about 200 heterosexual male and female undergrads to rate all the people pictured based on attractiveness for both short- and long-term relationships.
Results showed that men with scars appeared slightly more attractive for short-term relationships than men without scars. Women, on the other hand, were perceived as equally attractive regardless of whether they had scarred faces.
Use open body language in your online dating photo
A 2016 study – from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Northwestern University – suggests that we’re more attracted to people who display expansive body language.
In one experiment included in the study, the researchers created profiles for three men and three women on a GPS-based dating app.
In one set of profiles, the men and women were pictured in contractive positions – for example, by crossing their arms or hunching their shoulders.
In the other set of profiles, the same men and women were pictured in expansive positions, like holding their arms upward in a “V” or reaching out to grab something.
Results showed that people in expansive postures were selected as potential dates more often than those in contractive postures. This effect was slightly larger for women selecting men.
In one experiment included in the study, researchers had nearly 900 North American adults look at photos of opposite-sex individuals online.
The researchers were specifically comparing people’s perceptions of expressions of pride, happiness, shame, and neutrality (other people had already identified the emotion behind the expression in the photo). For women evaluating men, the most appealing expression was pride, and the least appealing was happiness.
Even weirder, an expression of shame was relatively attractive on both men and women.
Washington (CNN)Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the top law enforcement officer in the country, repeated the words “lock her up” Tuesday that were being chanted, a rallying cry from Donald Trump campaign events calling to jail Hillary Clinton, and then laughed.
Sessions criticized universities for “coddling our young people” and “actively preventing them from scrutinizing the validity of their beliefs.”
“After the 2016 election, for example, they held a ‘cry-in’ at Cornell. I hope they had plenty of tissues for ’em to cry on,” he said. “They had therapy dogs at the University of Kansas. Play-Doh and coloring books at the University of Michigan for heaven’s sakes. You know, give me a break. Students at Tufts were encouraged to ‘draw about their feelings.'”
“Well I can tell this group isn’t going to have to have Play-Doh when you get attacked in college and you get involved in a debate,” Sessions told the crowd attending Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University. “I like this bunch, I gotta tell you. You’re not going to be backing down. Go get ’em. Go get ’em.”
Then chants of “Lock her up” broke out.
“Lock her up,” Sessions said, chuckling at the brief interruption from the audience as the chant then grew louder.
“I heard that a long time over the last campaign,” he said before continuing with his prepared speech.
“Lock her up” was a staple heard at Trump 2016 campaign rallies in reference to Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and Trump’s insistence that she be jailed for the offense.
Concluding an investigation into Clinton’s email server, then-FBI James Comey recommended in 2016 that no charges be filed against Clinton, and the US Attorney General at the time, Loretta Lynch, decided not to pursue charges.
Trump has pestered Sessions for not looking into Clinton’s deleted emails and publicly slammed him for being “very weak” on Clinton’s “crimes.” Sessions has assigned a federal prosecutor to look into various matters surrounding Clinton, but stopped short of formally appointing a special counsel earlier this year.
CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
During his confirmation hearing last January, Sessions was asked if he ever uttered that chant during the campaign.
“No I did not. I don’t think. I heard it in rallies and so forth, sometimes I think humorously done,” he replied.
When we called the ACLU’s Amazon’s Rekognition press release an “attention-grabbing stunt” when we wrote about it earlier today, well, consider that attention grabbed. Several Democratic members of Congress have responded with a strongly worded letter to founder Jeff Bezos.
Reps. Jimmy Gomezand John Lewis issued a letter to Bezos, after the ACLU noted that the facial recognition software falsely associated 28 images of Congress members with mugshots in a criminal database. Lewis, a pivotal figure in America’s civil rights moment, was among those falsely matched in the ACLU’s testing — particularly notable as the testing appeared to have a particular bias against people of color.
“The results of the ACLU’s test of Amazon’s ‘Rekognition’ software are deeply troubling,” Lewis wrote in a statement. “As a society, we need technology to help resolve human problems, not to add to the mountain of injustices presently facing people of color in this country. Black and brown people are already unjustly targeted through a discriminatory sentencing system that has led to mass incarceration and devastated millions of families.”
A trio of Congress members (Sen. Ed Markey and Reps. Luis Gutiérrez and Mark DeSaulnier), meanwhile, wrote a letter addressed to Bezos with a series of questions about the technology:
While facial recognition services might provide a valuable law enforcement tool, the efficacy and impact of the technology are not yet fully understood. In particular, serious concerns have been raised about the dangers facial recognition can pose to privacy and civil rights, especially when it is used as a tool of government surveillance, as well as the accuracy of the technology and its disproportionate impact on communities of color.
Amazon for its part, both defended Rekognition and disputed the ACLU’s methods. “We remain excited about how image and video analysis can be a driver for good in the world, including in the public sector and law enforcement,” the company wrote in a statement provided to TechCrunch.
With regard to testing, it says:
[W]e think that the results could probably be improved by following best practices around setting the confidence thresholds (this is the percentage likelihood that Rekognition found a match) used in the test. While 80% confidence is an acceptable threshold for photos of hot dogs, chairs, animals, or other social media use cases, it wouldn’t be appropriate for identifying individuals with a reasonable level of certainty. When using facial recognition for law enforcement activities, we guide customers to set a threshold of at least 95% or higher.
The company also reiterated an earlier statement that the results are intended to be used to narrow down results, rather than lead directly to arrests.
Regardless, the ACLU’s stunt certainly got the attention the organization was seeking, both with regard to the aforementioned biases and broader security implications of facial scanning for law enforcement.