File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

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George Washington’s Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport Set an Admirable Example for America and the World Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, November 16 2023
Just as Washington laid the cornerstone for the United States Capitol building in September 1793, his letter to the Hebrew Congregation set an ideological and cultural cornerstone of tolerance toward the Jewish people all too rare in the world.

Whatever one’s religious views, human history demonstrates unequivocally how nations that persecute Jews and cultivate anti-Semitism self-destructively suffer, whereas nations more welcoming and tolerant prosper.  

Eminent historian Paul Johnson, whom we lost this past January at age 94, labeled anti-Semitism an “intellectual disease” distinct from other generalized forms of racism.  “In my view as a historian,” he wrote in 2005, “it is so peculiar that it deserves to be placed in a quite different category.”  Surveying thousands of years of human history, Johnson judged it a “historical law” that anti-Semitism self-destructively boomerangs against nations practicing it, consigning them to a fate of decline and failure.  

“In their flight from reason,” Johnson wrote, “they have failed to modernize or civilize their societies, to introduce democracy, or to consolidate the rule of law.”  

As wide swaths of the world descend once again into an anti-Semitic abyss following Hamas’s grisly October 7 attack into Israel, bizarrely rallying in support of the perpetrators rather than the victims, it’s important to highlight how America charted a different course, starting with our first president.  

Although America has imperfectly practiced its founding principles, George Washington advocated a civic norm that welcomed Jews as equal citizens, rather than eternal outsiders.  Over the ensuing two centuries, America became the most hospitable nation for the Jewish people beyond Israel itself following its 1948 founding.  

In his August 1790 letter following a visit to Newport, Rhode Island, President Washington wrote the Hebrew Congregation of Newport to express his gratitude and aspirations of religious freedom and tolerance in the new nation:  

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.  

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.  

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy – a policy worthy of imitation.  All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.  

Contextually, the Jewish community of Newport was primarily of Sephardic descent, and had faced persecution and discrimination in other nations across the world from which they had fled. Washington accordingly described American Jews not as guests or strangers, but as fellow citizens enjoying the same liberty as other citizens of different faiths. That amounted to a revolutionary assertion at a time in which Jews suffered strict social and professional exclusion and antagonism across so many nations of the world.  

In this way, Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport amounted to a resounding rejection of anti-Semitism, confirming their role in the fabric of the new American nation. That challenged the prevailing global sentiment of anti-Semitism, providing hope for a new form of societal and governmental tolerance and inclusivity rather than permanent exclusion.   

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land,” Washington concluded, “continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while everyone shall sit safely under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”  

As with many other aspects of his legacy, Washington’s letter set a precedent for subsequent domestic leaders, which in turn set a better example to the rest of the world.  And consistent with Paul Johnson’s aforementioned historical law, America proceeded to become the most prosperous, powerful and inventive nation in human history, with no close rival.  

Just as Washington laid the cornerstone for the United States Capitol building in September 1793, his letter to the Hebrew Congregation set an ideological and cultural cornerstone of tolerance toward the Jewish people all too rare in the world.  

As Israel faces another test amid inexplicable and indefensible anti-Semitic hostility across the globe, it’s important that America continue the course set by President Washington and ensure that it endures.

Notable Quote   
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
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