31 May, 2012

A Brave Catholic Pastor Defends Nuns, Blasts Vatican Crackdown | Faith in Public Life

A Brave Catholic Pastor Defends Nuns, Blasts Vatican Crackdown | Faith in Public Life: The Vatican is hypocritical and duplicitous. Their belief is always that someone else needs to clean up their act; the divorced, the gays, the media, the US nuns, the Americans who were using the wrong words to pray, the seminaries, etc. It never occurs to the powers that be that the source of the problem is the structure itself.

US nuns work side by side with the person on the street. They are involved in their everyday lives. Most cardinals spent less than five years in a parish, were never pastors, are frequently career diplomats. Religious women in the US refuse to be controlled by abusive authority that seeks to control out of fear. They realize that Jesus taught no doctrines, but that the church, over time, developed what Jesus taught in a systematic way.

This investigation is not about wayward US nuns. It is the last gasp for control by a dying breed, wrapped in its own self-importance. It is a struggle for the very nature of the church; who we are, how we pray, where we live, who belongs, why we believe. The early church endured a similar struggle. The old order died. The Holy Spirit won.


Mitt Romney's Ads: Still Wrong on the Stimulus | Swampland | TIME.com: It was a line near the end of Romney’s ad that caught my attention: “The Inspector General said contracts were steered to ‘friends and family.’” That sounded like news. I’ve spent two years in stimulus-world, and I had no idea an inspector general had said that. I asked the Romney campaign for documentation, and it produced a Newsweek article asserting that Energy Department inspector general Gregory Friedman “has testified that contracts have been steered to ‘friends and family.’”

Except that Newsweek article was an excerpt from the book “Throw Them All Out,” written by Peter Schweizer, a right-winger who has served as an adviser to Sarah Palin’s PAC, edited one of Andrew Breitbart’s websites, and written a slew of books portraying liberals as pond scum. Not exactly a disinterested source. And it turns out that the inspector general never testified that stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. He said his office was investigating whether stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. So far, it hasn’t confirmed that any were.

Warming gas levels hit 'troubling milestone' | World news | The Guardian

Warming gas levels hit 'troubling milestone' | World news | The Guardian: Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. Some carbon dioxide is natural, mainly from decomposing dead plants and animals. Before the Industrial Age, levels were around 275 parts per million.

For more than 60 years, readings have been in the 300s, except in urban areas, where levels are skewed. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air, scientists say.

It's been at least 800,000 years — probably more — since Earth saw carbon dioxide levels in the 400s, Butler and other climate scientists said.

Until now.

'Lo' And Behold: A Communication Revolution : NPR

'Lo' And Behold: A Communication Revolution : NPR: "We should have prepared a wonderful message," says Kleinrock, who headed UCLA's computer lab then. "Certainly Samuel Morse did, when he prepared 'What hath God wrought,' a beautiful Biblical quotation. Or Alexander Graham Bell: 'Come here, Watson. I need you.' Or Armstrong up in the moon — 'a giant leap for mankind.' These guys were smart. They understood public relations. They had quotes ready for history."

On Oct. 29, Kleinrock says, "All we wanted to do ... was to send a simple login capability from UCLA to SRI. We just wanted to log into the SRI machine from UCLA."

And so the first computer network communication was — well, it was supposed to be the word "login."

"The first thing I typed was an L," Kline says. Over the phone, Duvall told Kline he had gotten it. "I typed the O, and he got the O."

Then Kline typed the G. "And he had a bug and it crashed."

And that was it. The first-ever communication over a computer network was "lo." The ARPANET was born.

30 May, 2012

The President's Kill List : The New Yorker

The President's Kill List : The New Yorker: The Obama Administration has sought and killed American citizens, notably Anwar al-Awlaki. As the Times noted, “The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” In other words, it’s due process if the President thinks about it. One wonders how low the standard for “internal deliberations” are—if it might be enough if Obama mulled it over while walking his dog. And if an American whom the President decides is a threat can be assassinated in Yemen, where Awlaki was hit, why not in London, or Toronto, or Los Angeles? (Awlaki’s teen-age son, an American citizen who had not been accused of anything, died in a separate strike.)

37 billion / year

An Engineer’s Cost Analysis of Video Screening on YouTube � Craig's Thawts: YouTube has just broken a whopping 72 hours of uploaded video per minute. Think about that. Every minute, three days of new video is added to, arguably, the largest such centralized repository of freely available video content. That is HUGE. That also brings up a few questions given the strenuous legal climate over the past decade. How such a monument to human creativity and curiosity will continue to survive without imploding under the strain of opposing human drives is largely a guessing game at this point

Noise and Signal — Nassim Taleb | Farnam Street

Noise and Signal — Nassim Taleb | Farnam Street: There was even more noise coming from the media and its glorification of the anecdote. Thanks to it, we are living more and more in virtual reality, separated from the real world, a little bit more every day, while realizing it less and less. Consider that every day, 6,200 persons die in the United States, many of preventable causes. But the media only reports the most anecdotal and sensational cases (hurricanes, freak incidents, small plane crashes) giving us a more and more distorted map of real risks. In an ancestral environment, the anecdote, the “interesting” is information; no longer today. Likewise, by presenting us with explanations and theories the media induces an illusion of understanding the world.

Why Is Memory So Good and So Bad?: Scientific American

Why Is Memory So Good and So Bad?: Scientific American: In a recent review, researchers at Harvard and MIT argue that the critical factor is how meaningful the remembered images are—whether the content of the images you see connects to pre-existing knowledge about them. In the Zhang & Luck experiment, you try to remember meaningless, unrelated colors, and so no connection with stored knowledge is made; it’s as if the white board is scrubbed clean before you get a chance to copy the scribbles into your notebook. But in the Konkle et al. experiment, you see images of recognizable scenes that you already have meaningful knowledge about—such as where the roller coaster is likely to be located relative to the ground. This prior knowledge changes how these images are processed, allowing thousands of them to be transferred from the whiteboard of short-term memory into the bank vault of long-term memory, where they are stored with remarkable detail.

Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite - The Washington Post

Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite - The Washington Post: Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw.

Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

29 May, 2012

American growth: The Facebook economy | The Economist

American growth: The Facebook economy | The Economist: Which brings me to a second point: the web is a general-purpose technology, like electricity. Maybe some people imagined that the arrival of the web would launch an internet economy in which we all worked for internet companies producing internet. That's akin to a belief that the development of electricity should have given rise to an electricity era in which we all worked for electrical companies making electricity. Of course, there were big, successful electrical companies, just as there are big, successful internet companies; Google, the best example, is a hugely profitable, enormously valuable firm that employs tens of thousands of people. But the web, like electricity, is mostly a means to make the rest of the economy vastly more productive.

Roger Ailes falsely accuses NY Times - POLITICO.com

Roger Ailes falsely accuses NY Times - POLITICO.com: Last week, Fox News president Roger Ailes called the New York Times "a bunch of lying scum." But the example he used as proof of that assertion was, unfortunately, a lie.

The reality behind Obama and Bush’s ‘spending binge’ - The Washington Post

The reality behind Obama and Bush’s ‘spending binge’ - The Washington Post: But Republicans don’t want to admit that they bear substantial responsibility for the economic policy of the last few years. If they did, then it would be hard to argue that the economy’s performance in 2010 and 2011 is all Obama’s fault. And the Obama administration doesn’t want to clearly say that we should have been spending more in recent years, even if that’s what they believe, and what they proposed, because it polls poorly. And so here we are.

How Obama Can Win (Dish)

Here's how I'd summarize the argument I think works best for Obama:

"I inherited a financial and economic disaster and two wars that did not end in victory. I have prevented a second Great Depression, restored job growth, saved our auto industry, restored financial stability, ended one war and wound down another, but we need more. We need investments in infrastructure, reform of immigration, and continuation of my education reforms. And we need a sensible approach to debt elimination. My policy is to cut entitlements, cut defense and slash tax loopholes and deductions so we can get higher revenues from those who have done extremely well these past three decades. My opponent refuses to tax the extremely wealthy at the same rates as ordinary folk, and wants to cut the debt solely by cutting entitlements for the old and sick, while increasing defense spending and cutting taxes even further. We all know we are going to have to retrench. Would you rather do it with me guarding the core of the welfare state or with Romney-Ryan who want to end it with a solution that Newt Gingrich called 'right wing social engineering'"?

28 May, 2012

Medal of Honor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Medal of Honor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress, and is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."[1] Due to the nature of its selection criteria, it is often awarded posthumously, with more than half of all awards since 1941 given to individuals who were deceased.[5]

TV critic Todd Vanderwerff's awesome response to a misogynistic comment on his review of last night's episode of Girls : TwoXChromosomes

TV critic Todd Vanderwerff's awesome response to a misogynistic comment on his review of last night's episode of Girls : TwoXChromosomes: Commenter drewogatory posted:

"If you're sporting a mug like Lena Dunham, you'd better be really,really fucking funny. Unfortunately..."

Vanderwerff responded:

I've been trying to think of a way to respond to this comment, and I just can't. Everything I want to say just would sound too angry, and I'm not angry. I'm... defeated.

Why We Lie - WSJ.com

Why We Lie - WSJ.com: Not too long ago, one of my students, named Peter, told me a story that captures rather nicely our society's misguided efforts to deal with dishonesty. One day, Peter locked himself out of his house. After a spell, the locksmith pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.

"I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door," Peter said. The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won't do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to. The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.

Freakonomics � Are Voters Just Rooting for Clothes?

Freakonomics � Are Voters Just Rooting for Clothes?: Let me close with one more observation. If people are just rooting for parties, then efforts to “reach across the aisle” may be quite difficult. Again, think about sports. When LeBron left Cleveland, fans of the Cavaliers suddenly hated LeBron. He was still the same player, but his clothes had changed. The same story seems true in politics.

Regardless of the policies he pursues, many Republicans are not going to be happy with Obama because he plays for “team Democrat.” And the same may be true if Mitt Romney becomes President in November. As long as he persists in playing for “team Republican,” Democrats will not be happy with Romney.

If this is true, then “reaching across the aisle” may be pointless. Fans of the opposite party are not against the President because he doesn’t agree with them on the issue. They are against the President because he plays for the “wrong” team. And unless he is willing to change teams (i.e. change clothes), he can try to “reach across the aisle” all day and he will never make the other team’s fans happy.


3:AM Magazine � Questioning willusionism: If incompatibilism is right, then our having free will makes certain demands on the universe - it’d have to be indeterministic and, given what most incompatibilists say, it’d also have to be such that the indeterministic “gaps” happen at the right time and place in the brain and perhaps also that we have particular causal powers that can “fill these gaps” to cause one intention rather than another (e.g., “agent causation”). The more you demand from free will, the more possibilities there are for us to lack it. And that’s fine: I don’t want to preserve free will only by watering it down. But these demanding conditions need to be motivated, especially if we assume, as I think we should, that free will marks off the control conditions to be morally responsible - to deserve praise and blame, reward and punishment for actions. What might motivate such conditions?

30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die 'in traffic accidents' - Telegraph

30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die 'in traffic accidents' - Telegraph: In its annual study, Amnesty International claimed that in addition to the 30 who died in purges last year, a further 200 were rounded up in January this year by the State Security Agency as Pyongyang carried out the transfer of power from Kim Jong-il, who died of an apparent heart attack in December, and his 29-year-old son, Kim Jong-un.

Of those 200, Amnesty said, some were apparently executed and the remainder were sent to political prison camps. The gulag system presently contains an estimated 200,000 people in "horrific conditions," the group said.

Romney’s Big Fat Wet Kiss to Keynesian Economics -- Daily Intel

Romney’s Big Fat Wet Kiss to Keynesian Economics -- Daily Intel:

Halperin: You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office? Why not do it more quickly?

Romney: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.


A perfect word - assertive. Anything Obama does may well be called "aggressive" if it produces a bad outcome, and it implies that Obama isn't currently "asserting" anything. I wish politicos wouldn't comment in this way - policies are good, but emotionally charged words are foolish.

Grace in Broken Arrow | This Land Press

Grace in Broken Arrow | This Land Press: Grace’s leader, Bob Yandian—“Pastor Bob” as everyone calls him—wasn’t there: no need, he had people for this kind of thing. Pastor Bob’s time was better spent sequestered in his study, writing books and radio broadcasts. His lieutenant, Associate Pastor Chip Olin, was a hardnosed guy, “ornery as heck,” people said. Olin brought a USA Today article on the characteristics of child molesters to the meeting. At age 24, Olin explained, Aaron was acting immature and unprofessional, and someone might get the wrong idea.

Obama and Roberts: The View From 2005

Obama and Roberts: The View From 2005: Here are two quotes from two 40-ish Harvard Law School graduates back in 2005. They make for a very interesting comparison now.

I mention this mainly because of the apposite pairing. We have two men who now sit atop two of the three branches of the government. They both laid down markers seven years ago on how one of those men was likely to perform once in office. One of the predictions seems a lot more prescient than the other.

First Lt. Joseph Dennis Helton, 24, of Monroe, dies in Iraq �| ajc.com

First Lt. Joseph Dennis Helton, 24, of Monroe, dies in Iraq �| ajc.com: Survivors include his parents, Jennifer Helton of Monroe and Joseph D. Helton of Kingston, Wash.; three sisters, Jeanne Rhea of Athens; Jessica Helton of Monroe and Jordanne Helton of Valdosta; and two grandfathers, Victor Holden of Monroe and Dennis Helton Jr. of Pensacola.

24 May, 2012

My break with the extreme right - Politics - Salon.com

My break with the extreme right - Politics - Salon.com: The right didn’t create this reservoir of fear, anger and hate. But it has both tapped into it and roiled it. Indeed, the right-wing mass hysteria is what sociologists call a “moral panic.” It occurs when a society is undergoing a wrenching transformation. Somebody then comes along and creates a “folk devil” both to provide an explanation for bad conditions, real or imagined, and a target. Kill the devil; eliminate the bad conditions. But the right has no serious incentive to help solve or ameliorate these problems. Indeed, as with the reelection of Obama, it will benefit from their continuation or worsening.

So animosity has now reached levels both hysterical and historical. The last time anything like this occurred was during World War II, when at least it was aimed outward. Before that? Just before the Civil War.

Back then a tall bearded Republican declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Just another one of those idiot, moron, “duplicitous bastard” RINOs.

23 May, 2012

That's ironic.

Will.I.Am attends climate change talk in helicoper - Telegraph: The Voice judge had been meeting climate change experts at Oxford University as part of a guest speaking role.

Despite his environmentally-conscious stance on green issues, the Black Eyed Peas rapper, 37, chose to take a private helicopter to the venue.

It is understood the journey, which is a 286 mile round-trip from London, used 71.5 gallons of fuel and released three-quarters of a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere.

He even tweeted pictures of the so-called “hip.hop.copter” for fans to admire, after landing at the Oxford's University Parks.

From there, the singer used a pedal cycle to travel the remaining few hundred yards to the Radcliffe Observatory Weather Centre.

Have good ideas? Don't be a terrorist. Idiot.

The Unabomber's Pen Pal - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education: The paper "Industrial Society and Its Future" makes the case that modern technology has restricted freedom, ruined the environment, and caused untold human suffering. People have become overstressed and oversocialized. Humanity, the author writes, is at a crossroads, and we can either turn the clock back to a happier, more primitive time or face destruction.

The author has occasionally been praised for understanding the unforeseen consequences of technology in modern life. Kevin Kelly, a co-founder of Wired magazine who, even though he disagrees with the author's conclusion, devotes a section of his latest book to these ideas, calling the paper "one of the most astute analyses" of technological systems he has ever read.

But for the most part the 35,000-word manifesto, first published in September 1995, has been dismissed as a rant.

The Facebook Fallacy - Technology Review

The Facebook Fallacy - Technology Review: On the other hand, Facebook is, everyone has come to agree, profoundly different from the Web. First of all, it exerts a new level of hegemonic control over users' experiences. And it has its vast scale: 900 million, soon a billion, eventually two billion (one of the problems with the logic of constant growth at this scale and speed, of course, is that eventually it runs out of humans with computers or smart phones). And then it is social. Facebook has, in some yet-to-be-defined way, redefined something. Relationships? Media? Communications? Communities? Something big, anyway.

BPS Research Digest: Total recall: The man who can remember every day of his life in detail

BPS Research Digest: Total recall: The man who can remember every day of his life in detail: For most of us, it's tricky enough to remember what we were doing this time last week, let alone on some random day years ago. But for a blind 20-year-old man referred to by researchers as HK, every day of his life since the age of about eleven is recorded in his memory in detail. HK has a rare condition known as hyperthymesia and his is only the second case ever documented in the scientific literature (the first, a woman known as AJ, was reported in 2006; pdf).

Darlingside Releases New Single | Just Off Mainstream

Darlingside Releases New Single | Just Off Mainstream: New England string-rock quintet Darlingside has released its newest single, "Sweet and Low." The band has also put out its final 7" vinyl record (and digital download) called The Edge of the Earth. Darlingside has a full-length record coming out in July, but has been periodically releasing a series of 7" vinyls as part of its subscription album, Pilot Machines. The latest single "Sweet and Low" is Darlingside at its finest, incorporating smart lyrics and beautiful harmonies with polished instrumentals. Check it out below:

22 May, 2012

MLive.com: Grand Rapids : Kenowa Hills seniors suspended after school calls bike ride a prank

MLive.com: Grand Rapids : Kenowa Hills seniors suspended after school calls bike ride a prank: WALKER, MI – Sabrena Hall and more than 60 other Kenowa Hills High School seniors are upset that a bike ride to school this morning got them suspended on the last day of school, and banned from the traditional senior walk.

Students say more than 100 classmates participated in a 3-mile bike ride to school that included escorts by a Walker Police cruiser and the mayor. It was supposed to be a fun twist on the types of things that typically happen on senior prank day.

But Principal Katie Pennington was not consulted and not happy about the organized event, suspending 64 of the students for the day. There are about 300 students in Kenowa's senior class.

“She was very upset,” said Hall, 17. “We did not consider this a prank at all, but an opportunity to celebrate our last day at school. We were singing the school fight song (while biking).”

But the principal was not pleased.

“I am glad they made it here safely. It was a safety risk,” said Pennington, who said the bikers caused a major traffic problem and disrupted the school day.

21 May, 2012

Soccer - Wilson Raj Perumal is the world's most prolific criminal match-fixer - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN

Soccer - Wilson Raj Perumal is the world's most prolific criminal match-fixer - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN: THE WORLD'S MOST popular game is also its most corrupt, with investigations into match fixing ongoing in more than 25 countries. Here's a mere sampling of events since the beginning of last year: Operation Last Bet rocked the Italian Football Federation, with 22 clubs and 52 players awaiting trial for fixing matches; the Zimbabwe Football Association banned 80 players from its national-team selection due to similar accusations; Lu Jun, the first Chinese referee of a World Cup match, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for taking more than $128,000 in bribes to fix outcomes in the Chinese Super League; prosecutors charged 57 people with match fixing in the South Korean K-League, four of whom later died in suspected suicides; the team director of second-division Hungarian club REAC Budapest jumped off a building after six of his players were arrested for fixing games; and in an under-21 friendly, Turkmenistan reportedly beat Maldives 3-2 in a "ghost match" -- neither country knew about the contest because it never actually happened, yet bookmakers still took action and fixers still profited.

Heavy Stuff on the mental costs of long-term care

A Life Worth Ending: Not long after visiting my insurance man those few weeks ago, I sent an “eyes wide open” e-mail to my children, all in their twenties, saying this was a decision, to buy long-term-care insurance or not, they should be in on: When push came to shove, my care would be their logistical and financial problem; they needed to think about what they wanted me to do and, too, what I wanted them to do. But none of them responded—I suppose it was that kind of e-mail.

Anyway, after due consideration, I decided on my own that I plainly would never want what LTC insurance buys, and, too, that this would be a bad deal. My bet is that, even in America, even as screwed up as our health care is, we baby-boomers watching our parents’ long and agonizing deaths won’t do this to ourselves. We will surely, we must surely, find a better, cheaper, quicker, kinder way out.

Meanwhile, since, like my mother, I can’t count on someone putting a pillow over my head, I’ll be trying to work out the timing and details of a do-it-yourself exit strategy. As should we all.

In China, Fear at the Top - NYTimes.com

In China, Fear at the Top - NYTimes.com: Mao, who died in 1976, hand-picked his successor. Deng, who died in 1997, blessed Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao to follow him. Mr. Hu, not being a revolutionary hero like Mao or the godfather of economic reform like Deng, did not have the prestige to appoint his successor. The low-key Mr. Xi, a princeling like Mr. Bo, emerged as a result of jostling behind closed doors. Lacking institutional legitimacy and a laying of hands by an elder, he might have looked an easy target to an ambitious Mr. Bo.

In the months ahead, party leaders will use every propaganda tool to dissipate the damage inflicted on leadership unity, party discipline and national “harmony” by the Bo debacle. They might divert criticism from Bo by depicting his allegedly murderous wife as China’s Lady Macbeth. But members of China’s New Class will still worry that the revelations about elite corruption have exposed them to the danger of the Bolsheviks coming back.

Ezra Klein Explains the Fallacy of American Decline | Via Meadia

Ezra Klein Explains the Fallacy of American Decline | Via Meadia: The goal of American power isn’t to create a world in which we are rich and everyone else is poor, or in which we are strong and everyone else is weak. Rather, the goal of American power is a stable, fruitful global system that other countries like (or at least tolerate) because it works well for them.

Now, for this to happen, countries like China and India need to grow rich, which means growing faster than the United States. But this is a cause for celebration, not pronouncements about declinism. When Germany and Japan grew rich after World War II, their success did not make America weaker, even though its share of global wealth and GDP fell. Instead, as those countries grew and became more integrated into the world system, their success actually undergirded the development of the liberal democratic order that the United States wants.

Q. & A.: Ali Soufan : The New Yorker

Q. & A.: Ali Soufan : The New Yorker: On “60 Minutes,” Jose said he destroyed the evidence of the interrogations “to protect the people” who worked for him, from Al Qaeda going “after them and their families.” But that’s not the reason Mr. Rodriguez gave at the time, and it’s a shame he wasn’t challenged on it.

One declassified C.I.A. e-mail, dated November 10, 2005, and written by the deputy to Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, then executive director of the C.I.A., notes that Rodriguez thought that “if the tapes ever got into [the] public domain… they would make us look terrible.” It was about their reputation, not safety.

Yglesias Award Nominee

Yglesias Award Nominee:
"Despite repeated calls from other senators and myself, the Congress—both Democrat and Republican—could not bring itself to have a formal debate on whether the use of military force was appropriate in Libya. Meanwhile, the administration conducted month after month of combat operations in Libya, with no American interests directly threatened and no clear treaty provisions in play. The administration—which spent well over $1 billion of taxpayer funds, dropped thousands of bombs on the country, and operated our military offshore for months—claimed that “combat” was not occurring, and rejected the notion that the War Powers Act applied to the situation," - Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).

20 May, 2012

Israel in Peril by David Shulman | The New York Review of Books

Israel in Peril by David Shulman | The New York Review of Books: So again, it is worth stating the self-evident truths: at the core of this conflict there are two peoples with symmetrical claims to the land. Neither of the two has any monopoly on being “right,” and each has committed atrocities against the other. One of these two sides is, however, much stronger than the other. Until the national aspirations of the weaker, Palestinian side are addressed and some sort of workable compromise between the two parties is achieved—until the occupation as we know it today comes to an end—there will be no peace. It is impossible to keep millions of human beings disenfranchised for long and to systematically rob them of their dignity and their land.

Sketchy law seeks to reallow domestic propaganda

 POLITICO Playbook - POLITICO.com: The bill's supporters say the informational material used overseas to influence foreign audiences is too good to not use at home, and that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, a borderless enemy whose own propaganda reaches Americans online. The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. ‘It removes the protection for Americans,’ says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. ‘It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.’"

Sen. Tom Coburn, part one: Defusing the debt bomb - The Washington Post

Sen. Tom Coburn, part one: Defusing the debt bomb - The Washington Post:
EK: When Bowles-Simpson went before the House, it was rejected by a huge bipartisan majority. Do you see there as being any possibility that one outcome of the taxmageddon period could, be a grand bargain in the Gang of Six/Simpson-Bowles vein?
TC: I don’t know the answer to that, frankly. My hope would be we reach a grand compromise. But the vote in the House proves what I said in the book. You had a vote in the House on a plan that could solve our problems and the Democrats didn’t vote for it because it touches Social Security and Republicans vote against it because of revenues. Both sides accentuated their differences rather than sending a signal to the international community that we could get together and cut $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Which raises the question: Why are they here? If you’re here just to get reelected, you’re worthless to the country.

A reminder of the Cold War - and why the CIA sometimes has to break the law

The Most Dangerous Game: Fred Kovaleski and Yuri Rastvorov were secret agents, sworn enemies on opposite sides of the Cold War. When they finally came face to face, a mutual love of tennis spawned the beginning of a beautiful friendship

17 May, 2012

Mind-controlled robot arms show promise : Nature News & Comment

Mind-controlled robot arms show promise : Nature News & Comment: Two people who are unable to move their limbs have been able to guide a robot arm to reach and grasp objects using only their brain activity, a paper in Nature reports today1.

The study participants — known as Cathy and Bob — had had strokes that damaged their brain stems and left them with tetraplegia and unable to speak. Neurosurgeons implanted tiny recording devices containing almost 100 hair-thin electrodes in the motor cortex of their brains, to record the neuronal signals associated with intention to move.

Malcolm Bull reviews ‘A Perfect Moral Storm’ by Stephen Gardiner � LRB 24 May 2012

Malcolm Bull reviews ‘A Perfect Moral Storm’ by Stephen Gardiner � LRB 24 May 2012: Adam Smith once noted that we are less troubled by the prospect of a hundred million people dying as a result of an earthquake in some distant location than of losing our little finger, but would nevertheless be horrified by the idea we might allow them to die in order to save it. Climate change effectively transforms the former scenario into the latter, and so places unprecedented demands on our moral imagination. Almost every little thing we do contributes to our carbon footprint, which increases greenhouse gases, which could in turn ultimately threaten hundreds of millions of lives in some remote time and place – the uncertainty only adding to the sublime awfulness of our responsibilities.

Pompous Prevaricators of Power | Common Dreams

Pompous Prevaricators of Power | Common Dreams: Professor Hirschman, a very original political economist, found throughout American history the following three propositions were commonly used to counter social justice efforts:

The Perversity Thesis states government action only serves to exacerbate the problem being addressed;
The Futility Thesis holds that attempts at social policy will simply fail to solve the problem;
The Jeopardy Thesis argues that the cost of the proposed change or reform is too high and will lead to disaster.

The only people who know more about this sequential rhetoric than Mr. Hirschman are corporate lawyers and their corporate clients’ publicists. For over two hundred years they and their corporations have opposed virtually every advance for better and fairer lives of the American people using propaganda which fits into Hirschman’s frameworks. Whether it was the abolition of slavery, child labor, and the 70 hour week, or women’s right to vote, trade union rights, the progressive income tax, unemployment compensation, social security and, of course, the various regulatory standards protecting consumers, worker safety and the environment, the arguments against them have been pretty much the same.

16 May, 2012

How to win a culture war and lose a generation

Rachel Held Evans | How to win a culture war and lose a generation:

When I speak at Christian colleges, I often take time to chat with students in the cafeteria.  When I ask them what issues are most important to them, they consistently report that they are frustrated by how the Church has treated their gay and lesbian friends.  Some of these students would say they most identify with what groups like the Gay Christian Network term “Side A” (they believe homosexual relationships have the same value as heterosexual relations in the sight of God). Others better identify with “Side B” (they believe only male/female relationship in marriage is God’s intent for sexuality).  But every single student I have spoken with believes that the Church has mishandled its response to homosexuality.

Most have close gay and lesbian friends.

Most feel that the Church’s response to homosexuality is partly responsible for high rates of depression and suicide among their gay and lesbian friends, particularly those who are gay and Christian.

Most are highly suspicious of “ex-gay” ministries that encourage men and women with same-sex attractions to marry members of the opposite sex in spite of their feelings.

Most feel that the church is complicit, at least at some level, in anti-gay bullying.

And most...I daresay all...have expressed to me passionate opposition to legislative action against gays and lesbians.

Last Ones Left in Treece, Kan., a Toxic Town - NYTimes.com

Last Ones Left in Treece, Kan., a Toxic Town - NYTimes.com: One problem with Treece, Kan., is that the ground keeps caving in. It has happened more than a hundred times over the last century. On most occasions, the subsidences — that’s what the scientists call them — are small, like when a sofa-size crater opened up on 10th Street last year. Other times, they are much worse. In 1966, a 300-foot-wide, 200-foot-deep abyss swallowed up the road out on the edge of town. Somehow no one died.

Nicely done, Reagan

Letters of Note: Love, Dad: Some men feel their masculinity can only be proven if they play out in their own life all the locker-room stories, smugly confident that what a wife doesn't know won't hurt her. The truth is, somehow, way down inside, without her ever finding lipstick on the collar or catching a man in the flimsy excuse of where he was till three A.M., a wife does know, and with that knowing, some of the magic of this relationship disappears. There are more men griping about marriage who kicked the whole thing away themselves than there can ever be wives deserving of blame. There is an old law of physics that you can only get out of a thing as much as you put in it. The man who puts into the marriage only half of what he owns will get that out.

The "Arab Room" in Ben Gurion Airport - I've had friends sent there.

Randa Jarrar: Imagining Myself in Palestine | Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics: Holding my passport again on that almost-empty plane, I understood, in a way, how lucky I had been. The passport hadn’t been confiscated. I was not imprisoned. And yet, this was how Israel treated someone with a voice and American citizenship. There are today, held without charge in the Israeli military detention system, hundreds of Palestinians, including children. There are reports of a systematic pattern of ill treatment towards them. Silenced and oppressed, these prisoners have little recourse. In the news recently I saw that two thousand of these prisoners have resorted to the last form of protest left to them: they have collectively gone on hunger strike.

Joe Blogs: My Daughter's Favorite Sport

Joe Blogs: My Daughter's Favorite Sport: So, it was surprising to find that while I was absurdly busy and distracted doing other things, Elizabeth at age 10 became a sports fan.

And, have mercy on me, she’s not just any kind of sports fan either …

“Daddy,” she said to me. “Jimmie Johnson won at Darlington, I think he’s going to be hard to beat for the rest of the season.”

Salman Rushdie's PEN World Voices Lecture on Censorship : The New Yorker

Salman Rushdie's PEN World Voices Lecture on Censorship : The New Yorker: The creative act requires not only freedom but also this assumption of freedom. If the creative artist worries if he will still be free tomorrow, then he will not be free today. If he is afraid of the consequences of his choice of subject or of his manner of treatment of it, then his choices will not be determined by his talent, but by fear. If we are not confident of our freedom, then we are not free.

Photographer Lawrence Schiller on Shooting Marilyn Monroe Nude | Hollywood | Vanity Fair

Photographer Lawrence Schiller on Shooting Marilyn Monroe Nude | Hollywood | Vanity Fair: Marilyn, who had final photo approval of my images—an arrangement that is rather rare in modern-day Hollywood—saw me in the mirror and, without turning around, said, “That’s not the best angle for me. If you go over there”—tilting her head slightly, indicating a spot to the left—“the light will be better.”

I moved to where she suggested and at that moment she turned her head halfway in my direction. Looking over her left shoulder, she flashed a coy smile that told me all I needed to know about Marilyn Monroe: she knew who she was, she knew who I was, and she knew what to do. What’s more, she understood light.

Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, Sara Bareilles Campaign To Save ‘The Sing-Off’ | Reality Rocks (New) - Yahoo! Music

Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, Sara Bareilles Campaign To Save ‘The Sing-Off’ | Reality Rocks (New) - Yahoo! Music: NBC hosted its Upfronts presentation this Monday, and along with the network's fairly awesome announcement that "The Voice" will be returning for a third season in September came the quite un-awesome news that NBC's other, more underrated vocal competition, "The Sing-Off," has been cancelled. It was the day the a cappella music died.

But the show's cast members and diehard fans aren't going without a fight. Judges Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, and Sara Bareilles, along with host Nick Lachey, all took to their Twitter accounts this week to mobilize viewers to #SaveTheSingOff, and a grass-roots campaign, led by former contestants Street Corner Symphony, is now fully underway.


Obama Drops His Name Into the Other Presidential Biographies � Commentary Magazine: The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford). Here are a few examples:

The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

The Hobgoblin of Little Minds: ....there's no reason that changing your mind in and of itself should be seen as a failure or a betrayal. But it is. And personally, I blame the people. We get the politicians we deserve, just like we get the entertainment, literature, and religion we deserve. If you're reading this website, you're highly interested in and informed about politics. So: when was the last time a political ad or a particularly deft piece of spin changed the way you thought about an issue or led you to vote for a candidate you had previously rejected? Never, right? If every American was as smart as you, every political consulting firm would go out of business.

Ten Things I Learned During a Decade in D.C.: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ

Ten Things I Learned During a Decade in D.C.: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ: 6. The politico-media culture is obsessed with The Meta-Narrative, as if Baudrillard is enjoying a neo-American reconnaissance. When something happens, it is often much easier to place it into the context of a metaphor that captures something simpler to understand, often by applying a level of analysis that takes the thing out of its real context and Meta-izeses it. When Rush Limbaugh says something, the debate often turns on the people who have written about what he said; their motives and judgments are questioned more than his; somehow it becomes more important to ask "Why David Axelrod isn't slamming Bill Maher for calling Sarah Palin the C-word" than it is to keep Limbaugh's original action under a microscope. I think this happens because it's easier to question someone's motives by accusing them of tribal bias than it is to question their judgment, which treats them as the human beings they are.

How to Act Human: Advice for Mitt Romney From Inside the Actors Studio -- Daily Intel

How to Act Human: Advice for Mitt Romney From Inside the Actors Studio -- Daily Intel
As he’s taken to pointing out, there’s nothing wrong with being rich. But one wouldn’t cast Henry Fonda in Bringing Up Baby or Cary Grant in The Grapes of Wrath. Miscasting matters – in drama and politics – and absent a miraculous Brando-level acting performance, Mr. Romney’s going to continue to fall victim to self-consciousness, the actor’s worst enemy.

Ronald Reagan wasn’t an authentic common man either, but he was an authentic SAG-card-carrying actor. For one unforgettable afternoon, I directed him and Bob Hope in the Lincoln bedroom, and he acquitted himself with patently genuine warmth and skill – to the point of exchanging jokes so blue, during a break to relight for his exit, that none of them can be recorded here. He and Bob roared with laughter, and the laughs were real, unaffected, and authentic enough to merit the complimentary label “Reaganesque.”

The lesson of Reagan is that, whatever his politics and legacy, there was always only one of him.

15 May, 2012

Greece's far left is lyyying

Greece: Everyone's Bluffing: Well on the face of it, his policy makes no sense. He says he rejects the E.U.-imposed austerity program but wants to stay in the euro and in the European Union. But Greece has a large primary budget deficit and no source of market financing. The E.U. is insisting on an austerity program, but it's also giving them cold, hard cash in the interim. Reject the austerity program and you lose the E.U./IMF money and need to implement an even harsher austerity program. Tsipras is a bit like a guy standing in your living room threatening to blow his own brains out unless you pay him money, a proposition he offers on the theory that you'd rather not see your furniture ruined.

How Bo Xilai is more endemic than you think.

"The Myth of Chinese Meritocracy" by Minxin Pei | Project Syndicate: In many ways, Bo personified the Chinese concept of “meritocracy” – well-educated, intelligent, sophisticated, and charming (mainly to Western executives). But, after his fall, a very different picture emerged. Aside from his alleged involvement in assorted crimes, Bo was said to be a ruthless apparatchik, endowed with an outsize ego but no real talent. His record as a local administrator was mediocre.

Bo’s rise to power owed much to his pedigree (his father was a vice premier), his political patrons, and his manipulation of the rules of the game. For example, visitors to Chongqing marvel at the soaring skyscrapers and modern infrastructure built during Bo’s tenure there. But do they know that Bo’s administration borrowed the equivalent of more than 50% of local GDP to finance the construction binge, and that a large portion of the debt will go unpaid?

Unfortunately, Bo’s case is not the exception in China, but the rule. Contrary to the prevailing perception in the West (especially among business leaders), the current Chinese government is riddled with clever apparatchiks like Bo who have acquired their positions through cheating, corruption, patronage, and manipulation.

Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows. - The Plum Line - The Washington Post

Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows. - The Plum Line - The Washington Post: Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance.

It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all.

I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success.

Barack Obama, the Great Deceiver � naked capitalism

Barack Obama, the Great Deceiver � naked capitalism: Groups that have has a lasting impact on the social order – the Populists, the original Progressives, suffragettes, labor, blacks – organized outside the party system; indeed, when they were brought in the tent, they became less effective. The public has been told, again and again, the only choice is to hold your nose and select one of the two parties. It’s time we recognize that that myth no longer serves us.

Those of us who care about decency, the rule of law, constraints on corporate power, civil rights, and economic protections for the downtrodden have become complacent, and we are now reaping the bitter harvest of our neglect. Many of these protections seemed so fundamental that there has been a tremendous amount of denial over the speed at which they are being stripped from us. But these gains were not granted freely or easily by those in authority. They came about as a result of long, persistent, difficult campaigns. If we want to preserve the rights previous generations fought hard to win, we have to make this battle our own.

The wrong Carlos: how Texas sent an innocent man to his death | World news | The Guardian

The wrong Carlos: how Texas sent an innocent man to his death | World news | The Guardian:

A few years ago, Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred … the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops."

Scalia may have to eat his words. It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name – Carlos DeLuna – is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The august journal has cleared its entire spring edition, doubling its normal size to 436 pages, to carry an extraordinary investigation by a Columbia law school professor and his students.

The book sets out in precise and shocking detail how an innocent man was sent to his death on 8 December 1989, courtesy of the state of Texas. Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution, is based on six years of intensive detective work by Professor James Liebman and 12 students.

Jeff Flake’s plan to politicize the National Science Foundation - The Washington Post

Jeff Flake’s plan to politicize the National Science Foundation - The Washington Post: “My amendment does not reduce funding for the NSF,” he explained. Rather, “this amendment is simply oriented toward ensuring, at the least, that the NSF does not waste taxpayer dollars on a meritless program.” Well, what Flake considers a meritless program, anyway.

As Christopher Zorn writes, the NSF runs a widely respected peer-review program that decides what science to fund. If Flake wanted to reduce the funding available to the NSF in total, that would be one thing (and, to be fair to Flake, he has proposed that in the past). But what he’s doing here is telling the NSF what is and isn’t acceptable science to fund. That’s not how scientific decisions are supposed to work. And the effect could be chilling.

Sometimes it's ok to break the rules - responsibly.

Breaking the Rules: Doing Right Means Sometimes Ignoring the Law | Outdoor Adventure | OutsideOnline.com: Dare to live a moral life—and encourage your kids to do the same—but remember that moral decisions aren't always clear-cut

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet: The site that once had the best social tools, the most vibrant userbase, and toppest-notch storage is rapidly passing into the irrelevance of abandonment. Its once bustling community now feels like an exurban neighborhood rocked by a housing crisis. Yards gone to seed. Rusting bikes in the front yard. Tattered flags. At address, after address, after address, no one is home.

It is a case study of what can go wrong when a nimble, innovative startup gets gobbled up by a behemoth that doesn't share its values. What happened to Flickr? The same thing that happened to so many other nimble, innovative startups who sold out for dollars and bandwidth: Yahoo.

Here's how it all went bad.

14 May, 2012

Eddie's Attic Turns Twenty - Features - Atlanta Magazine

Eddie's Attic Turns Twenty - Features - Atlanta Magazine:

So why are we here? Why do we pay to be treated like children in church? Why do established artists agree to take the Decatur detour on their tour of theaters and arenas? And why does management discourage patrons from buying another round in the name of quiet, a business model that has kept this venue teetering for twenty years?

John Mayer, who started out at the Attic fourteen years ago and has since moved 20 million albums and sold out Madison Square Garden four times, explains why he comes back to the Attic for surprise shows: “When a room is making noise—let’s say on a scale of one to ten, it’s a four—you lose all the music you can make from one to four,” he says. “You lose so much touch and nuance. There’s so much beautiful music that happens between a pin dropping and the first bit of chatter. That’s where some of the best music in the world came from, and that’s why Eddie’s has that magic.”

Owen, a failed musician and lover of whiskey and baseball, lives for that ethereal space, the space between pin-drop and chatter, and his devotion has attracted like-minded acts such as Mayer, Shawn Mullins, Sugarland, and the Civil Wars, who launched their careers from this stage. It has also provided thousands of moments between listeners and artists you’ve never heard of, songwriters selected by Owen himself. Attic regulars show up without even knowing who’s on the calendar. “It’s like having someone picking your Netflix queue for you,” says Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, who played here on the Attic’s second night, twenty years ago. Owen’s ear for talent and his dedication to the idea of a listening room have enabled the Attic to celebrate two decades of national renown in Decatur this month, while music venues around the country sit shuttered and silent.

Colin Powell on the Bush Administration's Iraq War Mistakes - The Daily Beast

Colin Powell on the Bush Administration's Iraq War Mistakes - The Daily Beast: The plan the president had approved was not implemented. Instead, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, our man in charge in Iraq, disbanded the Army and fired Baath Party members down to teachers. We eliminated the very officials and institutions we should have been building on, and left thousands of the most highly skilled people in the country jobless and angry—prime recruits for insurgency. These actions surprised the president, National Security Adviser Condi Rice, and me, but once they had been set in motion, the president felt he had to support Secretary Rumsfeld and Ambassador Bremer.

We broke it, we owned it, but we didn’t take charge—at least until 2006, when President Bush ordered his now famous surge, and our troops, working with new Iraqi military and police forces, reversed the slide toward chaos.

Niall Ferguson: Will Europe Act to Avoid an Economic Cataclysm? - The Daily Beast

Niall Ferguson: Will Europe Act to Avoid an Economic Cataclysm? - The Daily Beast
The solution is available. Since November of last year the European Commission has been actively considering how to create “Stability Bonds” that would put the full faith and credit of the EU (i.e., Germany) behind at least part of the national debts of the member states. Taken individually, some of these debts are hopelessly high. Added together and compared with total euro-zone GDP, they are manageable.
What stands in the way is not French socialism or Greek populism. It is quite simply German complacency. Life in Berlin is good. In Munich, the capital of the German manufacturing machine, it is even better. You should try explaining to the average Bavarian beer drinker at the Stammtisch why he needs to get ready to finance an annual transfer to the Mediterranean countries of up to 8 percent of German GDP. I never get very far.
Here, then, is the twist in my tale of national character. For two generations, the Germans really did want to take over Europe—by force. But today, when they could do so peacefully, they can’t be bothered.

13 May, 2012

Our national shame - read this.

George W. Bush and torture: America’s highest officials are responsible for the “enhanced interrogation” of prisoners. - Slate Magazine: It began with one document.

On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush sent a 12-page Memorandum of Notification to his National Security Council. That memorandum, we know now, authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to set up and run secret prisons. We still don’t know exactly what it says: CIA attorneys have told a judge the document is so off-limits to the courts and the American people that even the font is classified. But we do know what it did: It literally opened a space for torture.

Truth or Consequences: Texas Monthly May 2012

Truth or Consequences: Texas Monthly May 2012: Eight years ago, Dan Rather broadcast an explosive report on the Air National Guard service of President George W. Bush. It was supposed to be the legendary newsman’s finest hour. Instead, it blew up in his face, tarnishing his career forever and casting a dark cloud of doubt and suspicion over his reporting—and that of every other journalist on the case. This month, as Rather returns with a new memoir, Joe Hagan finally gets to the bottom of the greatest untold story in modern Texas politics, with exclusive, never-before-seen details that shed fresh light on who was right, who was wrong, and what really happened.

Disagreement forever!

Einer Elhauge: If Health Insurance Mandates Are Unconstitutional, Why Did The Founding Fathers Back Them? | The New Republic: The founding fathers, it turns out, passed several mandates of their own. In 1790, the very first Congress—which incidentally included 20 framers—passed a law that included a mandate: namely, a requirement that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. This law was then signed by another framer: President George Washington. That’s right, the father of our country had no difficulty imposing a health insurance mandate.

That’s not all. In 1792, a Congress with 17 framers passed another statute that required all able-bodied men to buy firearms. Yes, we used to have not only a right to bear arms, but a federal duty to buy them. Four framers voted against this bill, but the others did not, and it was also signed by Washington. Some tried to repeal this gun purchase mandate on the grounds it was too onerous, but only one framer voted to repeal it.

BBC News - Little boy lost finds his mother using Google Earth

BBC News - Little boy lost finds his mother using Google Earth: An Indian boy who lost his mother in 1986 has found her 25 years later from his new home in Tasmania - using satellite images.

Next steps in Europe

Eurod�mmerung - NYTimes.com: Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

4b. End of the euro.

And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.

A negative take on Beinart

‘The Crisis of Zionism,’ by Peter Beinart - NYTimes.com: Like a majority of Israelis, Beinart believes that it is depleting, degrading and dangerous for Israel to oversee the lives of millions of stateless Palestinians, and also like a majority of Israelis, he thinks the solution is the creation of a Palestinian state. But because he minimizes the cataclysmic impact of the second Intifada; describes Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza not as a gut-wrenching act of desperation but as a cynical ploy to continue the occupation by other means; belittles those who harp on a Hamas charter that calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews the world over; and plays down the magnitude of the Palestinian demand for a right of return — not to a future Palestine but to Israel itself, which would destroy the Jewish state — he liberates his book from the practicalities of politics.

RedState on Gay Marraige

Where Is The Balance?:
In the past week, I’ve been called a bigot, a hater, had people wish I died, and had people wish Christians had died, been rounded up and killed, or experienced their own personal holocaust.
All this came from proponents of gay marriage. The media won’t cover most of this. The media sees most stories as victims versus victimizers and those who support gay marriage are the victims. They get the positive media coverage.
In reality, though, throughout this week I’ve seen a number of Christians engaged in as much hate filled rhetoric as gay marriage proponents, including the pastor in North Carolina who encouraged parents to beat up their gay acting sons.

The Future Will Be More Religious and Conservative Than You Think — The American Magazine

The Future Will Be More Religious and Conservative Than You Think — The American Magazine: Many of us believe the ethos of society in a century will more closely resemble the ideas of Christopher Hitchens than those of Jerry Falwell. Yet we forget that most people get their religion the old-fashioned way: through birth. Demography is not destiny, but it is the most predictable of the social sciences. As the population of the world peaks and begins to decline later in this century, the strongly religious will stand against the tide. In so doing, they will remake societies and wash away many of our certainties about secularization, Enlightenment, and the End of History.

Corruption much of the Olympics?

Can London Afford the $14.5 Billion Price Tag of the Summer 2012 Olympic Games? | Culture | Vanity Fair: The full stipulations of the Olympic contract, which were made public in December 2010 by an East London activist and researcher named Paul Charman, following two years of Freedom of Information requests, contain tens of thousands of binding commitments. To comply with its terms, London must designate 250 miles of dedicated traffic lanes for the exclusive use of athletes and “the Olympic Family,” including I.O.C. members, honorary members, and “such other persons as may be designated by the IOC.” (These traffic lanes are sometimes called “Zil lanes,” alluding to the Soviet-era express lanes in Moscow reserved for the politburo’s favorite limousines.) Members of the Olympic Family must also have at their disposal at least 500 air-conditioned limousines with chauffeurs wearing uniforms and caps. London must set aside, and pay for, 40,000 hotel rooms, including 1,800 four- and five-star rooms for the I.O.C. and its associates, for the entire period of the Games.

The Trouble with Profiling : A guest post by Bruce Schneier : Sam Harris

The Trouble with Profiling : A guest post by Bruce Schneier : Sam Harris: First, in the sheep’s case the profile is accurate, in that all wolves are out to eat sheep. Maybe a particular wolf isn’t hungry at the moment, but enough wolves are hungry enough of the time to justify the occasional false alarm. However, it isn’t true that almost all Muslims are out to blow up airplanes. In fact, almost none of them are. Post 9/11, we’ve had 2 Muslim terrorists on U.S airplanes: the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber. If you assume 0.8% (that’s one estimate of the percentage of Muslim Americans) of the 630 million annual airplane fliers are Muslim and triple it to account for others who look Semitic, then the chances any profiled flier will be a Muslim terrorist is 1 in 80 million. Add the 19 9/11 terrorists—arguably a singular event—that number drops to 1 in 8 million. Either way, because the number of actual terrorists is so low, almost everyone selected by the profile will be innocent. This is called the “base rate fallacy,” and dooms any type of broad terrorist profiling, including the TSA’s behavioral profiling.

The Breaking Winds: Somebody That I Used to Know - YouTube

Dan Ariely � Blog Archive Turning the Tables: FDR, Tom Sawyer, and me �

Dan Ariely � Blog Archive Turning the Tables: FDR, Tom Sawyer, and me �: So when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for governor of New York in 1928, his campaign manager had thousands of posters printed with Roosevelt looking at the viewer with serene confidence. There was just one problem. The campaign manager realized they didn’t have the rights to the photo from the small studio where it had been taken.

Using the posters could have gotten the campaign sued, which would have meant bad publicity and monetary loss. Not using the posters would have guaranteed equally bad results—no publicity and monetary loss. The race was extremely close, so what was he to do? He decided to reframe the issue. He called the owner of the studio (and the photograph) and told him that Roosevelt’s campaign was choosing a portrait from those taken by a number of fledgling artists and studios. “How much would you be willing to pay to see your work hung up all over New York?” he asked the owner. The owner thought for a minute and responded that he would be willing to pay $120 for the privilege of providing Roosevelt’s photo. He happily informed him that he accepted the offer and gave him the address to which he could send the check. With this small rearrangement of the facts, the crafty campaign manager was able to turn lose-lose into win-win.

Medvedev the Phony - By Lilia Shevtsova and David J. Kramer | Foreign Policy

Medvedev the Phony - By Lilia Shevtsova and David J. Kramer | Foreign Policy: The only silver lining of Putin's return to power may be how it reveals Medvedev's supposedly reformist presidency for the farce it really was.

Here is Medvedev's legacy in one sentence: He enabled Putin's personalized rule to continue unabated.

Medvedev played his role to a T. He guaranteed the regime's continuity and helped Putin avoid violating the constitutional ban on serving more than two consecutive terms. But he did more than that. For Putin's return, Medvedev lengthened the presidential term from four to six years, and should Putin eye a second term in 2018, he could wind up serving as president for 20 years (24 if you count the stint as prime minister when he was still really calling the shots).

12 May, 2012

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The other man on the podium

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The other man on the podium: When Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a gloved Black Power salute on the Olympic podium in October 1968 it sent a shockwave through sport. But what happened to the other man on the platform?

11 May, 2012

How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform | Politics News | Rolling Stone

How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform | Politics News | Rolling Stone: The fate of Dodd-Frank over the past two years is an object lesson in the government's inability to institute even the simplest and most obvious reforms, especially if those reforms happen to clash with powerful financial interests. From the moment it was signed into law, lobbyists and lawyers have fought regulators over every line in the rulemaking process. Congressmen and presidents may be able to get a law passed once in a while – but they can no longer make sure it stays passed. You win the modern financial-regulation game by filing the most motions, attending the most hearings, giving the most money to the most politicians and, above all, by keeping at it, day after day, year after fiscal year, until stealing is legal again. "It's like a scorched-earth policy," says Michael Greenberger, a former regulator who was heavily involved with the drafting of Dodd-Frank. "It requires constant combat. And it never, ever ends."

That the banks have just about succeeded in strangling Dodd-Frank is probably not news to most Americans – it's how they succeeded that's the scary part. The banks followed a five-point strategy that offers a dependable blueprint for defeating any regulation – and for guaranteeing that when it comes to the economy, might will always equal right.

The Senate just took a big step towards filibuster reform - The Washington Post

The Senate just took a big step towards filibuster reform - The Washington Post: In 2010, there was an effort -- led mostly by freshmen Democratic senators like Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley -- to reform the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid squelched their campaign. Last night, he apologized to them on the Senate floor:

If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight. These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate,and we didn’t. And they were right. The rest of us were wrong -- or most of us, anyway. What a shame...

Inside the Quidditch World Cup | Sports | OutsideOnline.com

Inside the Quidditch World Cup | Sports | OutsideOnline.com: The Quidditch World Cup sounds dorky, and make no mistake: it is. But these sorcery-loving Harry Potter fans play pretty rough, as ERIC HANSEN found out when he captained a bad-news team of ex-athletes, ultimate Frisbee studs, slobs, drunks, and some people he knows from Iceland. Brooms up, and may the best Muggles win.

The best take on the marriage politics

Chess — IGF Culture Watch: This is fine politics because it boxes Romney in with the worst part of his party. Karl Rove poisoned the well on this issue, and now Obama is making Romney drink, and drink deeply.

Which Romney promptly did, and from a bigger cup than Obama could have hoped for. Romney said he is not only opposed to same-sex marriage, but to any legal recognition of same-sex couples that approaches marriage equality — just what the worst part of North Carolina gave a big thumbs-up to.

How can Romney now appeal to the 2/3 of Americans who can no longer abide the complete exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from the law?

women juggling tables

North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea

End of story. Trolls.

Final salute : News : The Rocky Mountain News

Final salute : News : The Rocky Mountain News: Each door is different.

Some are ornately carved hardwood, some are hollow aluminum. Some are protected by elaborate security systems, some by loose screen doors.

During the past year, the 40-year-old Marine major in the white gloves has stood at the front doors of homes in three states, preparing to deliver the message no family wants to hear.

It is a job he never asked for and one for which he received no training. There are no set rules, only impersonal guidelines. It is a mission without weapons.

Steve Beck trained to fight as a Marine, winning accolades as the most accomplished marksman of his class - a man who later earned two master's degrees in a quest to become a leader on the battlefield. He had hoped to deploy during the Persian Gulf War and definitely thought he would get his chance this time.

Instead, he found himself faced with an assignment that starts with a long walk to a stranger's porch and an outstretched hand. It continues with a promise steeped in the history of the Corps that most people associate only with the battlefield:

Never leave a Marine behind.

Psychiatry's "Bible" Gets an Overhaul: Scientific American

Psychiatry's "Bible" Gets an Overhaul: Scientific American: Between 1969 and 1972 seven friends and students of Rosenhan, a psychology professor then at Swarthmore College, ended up in 11 other U.S. hospitals after claiming that they, too, heard voices—their sole complaint. Psychiatrists slapped them all with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and stuck them in psychiatric wards for between eight and 52 days. Doctors forced them to accept antipsychotic medication—2,100 pills in all, the vast majority of which they pocketed or tucked into their cheeks. Although the voices vanished once Rosenhan and the others entered the hospitals, no one realized that these individuals were healthy—and had been from the start. The voices had been a ruse.

The eight pseudopatients became the subject of a landmark 1973 paper in Science, “On Being Sane in Insane Places.” The conclusion: psychiatrists did not have a valid way to diagnose mental illness.


Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in controversial warning shot case - CNN.com: Saying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.

Best SSB ever?

ShuffStuff: Ladies and gentlemen, Williams College in a nutshell.

Is This the Most Boring Election Ever? | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

Is This the Most Boring Election Ever? | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone: In other words, Obama versus McCain actually felt like a clash of ideological opposites. But Obama and Romney feels like a contest between two calculating centrists, fighting for the right to serve as figurehead atop a bloated state apparatus that will operate according to the same demented imperial logic irrespective of who wins the White House. George Bush's reign highlighted the enormous power of the individual president to drive policy, which made the elections involving him compelling contests; Obama's first term has highlighted the timeless power of the intractable bureaucracy underneath the president, which is kind of a bummer, when you think about it.

Then there's one more thing – Obama versus Romney is the worst reality show on TV since the Tila Tequila days. The characters are terrible, there's no suspense, and the biggest thing is, it lacks both spontaneity and a gross-out factor.

Used to be that stores marketed pink to boys

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09 May, 2012

Legar's Farewell

Lugar unloads on 'unrelenting' partisanship - POLITICO.com: Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents. I believe I have offered that throughout my career. But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents. Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.

Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today – from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.

The Maturation of the Billionaire Boy-Man

The Maturation of the Billionaire Boy-Man: The letter that Zuckerberg included in Facebook’s IPO prospectus is even more direct about his priorities than Bezos’s was. Zuckerberg wrote this letter himself, a �Facebook source says, and it begins with the following sentence: “Facebook was not originally created to be a company.”

Rather, Zuckerberg explains, Facebook “was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.” Then Zuckerberg reveals why he’s telling us this: “We think it’s important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do.” Later, he spells out it out again. “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”

For short-term investors, the letter amounts to three-alarm klaxon: “Don’t buy this stock!” Because not only is Zuckerberg declaring that he considers Facebook’s social mission a higher priority than Facebook’s business and financial mission—a view many on Wall Street would consider treasonous—he also has complete control over the company. All shareholders will be able to do if they disagree with his decisions is complain. And Zuckerberg has long since demonstrated that he’s willing to withstand bitching while he executes his plan.

Why "OMG the TSA searched a kid" stories are bad, from a Dish reader

Every time there is one of these “Oh my God can you believe they searched a child/old woman/nun” stories, there seems to be the impression that other, more deserving (??) people are not being searched.  Everybody has to stand in line and be inconvenienced; terrorists waving AK-47s are not running past while a four year old is being frisked.  As anyone who has travelled has learned, TSA is not speeding up the process because of a crowd.  Yes, I can point to ten or so people I think I would search more thoroughly while I sit in line for an hour at LaGuardia, but that just makes me a little bigoted and likely somewhat dumb because none of those people blew up a plane.

08 May, 2012

Why Does Wall Street Hate Obama? Naivete | The New Republic

Why Does Wall Street Hate Obama? Naivete | The New Republic: Any honest discussion of Obama and populism arrives pretty quickly at two conclusions. The first is that Obama has become a more populist politician than anyone detected early in his presidency. The second is that, even so, there’s probably never been a less populist president who’s stirred up so much vitriol on Wall Street.

The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan - Caixin Online

The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan - Caixin Online: The events leading up to its ruin are complex – the British and French were invading China and some of their men, taken prisoner, died in captivity; they assumed their soldiers had been tortured to death, but in fact it seems the men were simply accorded the same (atrocious) treatment given Chinese prisoners.In any case, the decision was made to take Yuanmingyuan as punishment and revenge. To ensure neither side profited more than the other, British and French "prize agents" were appointed to oversee an orderly looting process – which greed soon overrode.

07 May, 2012

Jim Shepard (of Williams) on Mothers

Jim Shepard on Mothers - Track of the Storm - Oprah.com: And how’s this for an unexpectedly highbrow contribution that my mother made to my life: Maybe more than anyone I know, she’s demonstrated just how mysterious a thing identity really is. Who are we, really? Can we ever really know? My mother has had a hilariously hard time keeping names and faces straight, even within her own nuclear family. Over the years, she’s called me Guido, Mario, Johnny, Agnes, Jean and Hey You. But it wasn’t that it was she was distracted; it was that she was so excited about the things that other people take for granted. As in: "Oh, my God, Guido, come look: A MONKEY ON TV!"

Quote For The Day II, from the Dish

"Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet – the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people ... We don't look like people who have won a war. We look like scared, fearful, losers," - Fareed Zakaria.

Alec MacGillis: The Big Split: Why Hedge Fund Honchos Turned Against Obama | The New Republic

Alec MacGillis: The Big Split: Why Hedge Fund Honchos Turned Against Obama | The New Republic: “A lot of people’s love of Obama was not completely balanced, and their dislike of him now is not completely balanced,” he says. “Maybe that’s what happens when you fall in love.” Bill Daley, who served as Obama’s chief of staff last year, attributed the hedge funders’ change of heart to a failed “leap of faith.” “The 2008 campaign was something that a lot of people who had traditionally not been supportive of a Democratic candidate came to,” he told me. “They were tired of Bush and nobody was really enthusiastic about McCain, ... so they attached to the president. What he said in the campaign wasn’t that dramatically different than what he ended up doing, but they either didn’t listen, or they didn’t believe him.”


In Defense of Profiling : Sam Harris: We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?) But there are people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists, and TSA screeners can know this at a glance.

Needless to say, a devout Muslim should be free to show up at the airport dressed like Osama bin Laden, and his wives should be free to wear burqas. But if their goal is simply to travel safely and efficiently, wouldn’t they, too, want a system that notices people like themselves? At a minimum, wouldn’t they want a system that anti-profiles—applying the minimum of attention to people who obviously pose no threat?

Shaq is now Dr. O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal Earns Doctorate Degree - ABC News: The four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal donned a cap and bright red XXXL-sized gown to receive his doctorate degree from Barry University Saturday in Miami, Florida.

On stage, he showed his enthusiasm in a way only someone over seven feet tall can do, by lifting his professor into the air.

After leaving Louisiana State University early for the NBA, Shaq went back to school and earned his bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree and now, a doctorate in education.

06 May, 2012

The value of churches

Op-Ed: Good works - The Daily: Church professionals are front-line mental health care providers, usually intervening in family crises more quickly (and cheaply) than a therapist can. Churches are the major cultural institution for a lot of Americans, the only place we sing or play instruments or absorb something like a public lecture. They provide space for all kinds of hermit-crab community groups, from Alcoholics Anonymous to after-school tutoring. And they offer access to social capital to people whose schools and extended families aren’t as helpful as they could be. Churches are, for many people, the only place where they mingle on equal terms with those of different generations, economic classes or political ideologies (though we don’t mingle too much across racial lines, unfortunately).

2012 Olympics: Kabul. Baghdad. London. Three to avoid this summer | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian

2012 Olympics: Kabul. Baghdad. London. Three to avoid this summer | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian: The Olympics have become an Orwellian parody of what happens when a world agency blackmails a government aching for prestige into spending without limit. Not one defence spokesman has come up with a plausible scenario for the jets and missiles. The latter have a range of just three miles and are said to be usable "only at the express instruction of the prime minister". What will they shoot down, and on whose head will it crash?

Well done, geeks.

Marvel, With a Fan at the Helm, Steers Its Heroes to the Screen - NYTimes.com: “Kevin actually understands what we want,” said Jonah Weiland, executive producer of ComicBookResources.com, a news and commentary site. “Other studios that make superhero movies often ignore the essence of the character,” he said, “or they make odd choices,” as when the Man of Steel suddenly had a son in “Superman Returns.”

Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” who is directing “The Avengers,” Marvel’s next movie, puts it this way: “Kevin is just a huge nerd. Possibly more than I am.”

05 May, 2012

First Presidential Election Since 1944 With No Military Background Of Candidates | The Progressive Professor

First Presidential Election Since 1944 With No Military Background Of Candidates | The Progressive Professor: Since 1948, in every presidential election, at least one, if not both of the final candidates for the Presidency, has been in the military in some way.

Thomas E. Dewey and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 were the last combination of candidates who had not been, ironically in the midst of World War II.

WWII Deaths

How Much Would You Trust a Pane of Glass If It Was All That Was Separating Your Baby from a Hungry, Pissed-Off Lion?

How Much Would You Trust a Pane of Glass If It Was All That Was Separating Your Baby from a Hungry, Pissed-Off Lion?: If I were the parent, I wouldn’t be nearly as trusting as these guys were about the impenetrability of that glass. That lion looked pissed. I don’t think my heart could take it, and I certainly wouldn’t be all, like: “Look behind little kid. There’s a lion that wants to make a meal out of your face.”

Clayton High's principal resigns amid Facebook mystery

Clayton High's principal resigns amid Facebook mystery: Suzy Harriston wanted to be friends on Facebook.

The profile said she was from Clayton and had more than 300 friends, many of them from Clayton High School.

No one seemed to question who Harriston was. That is, until the night of April 5, when a 2011 grad and former Clayton quarterback posted a public accusation.

"Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal," wrote Chase Haslett.

And then, Suzy Harriston disappeared, say those who saw the profile.

Those who exploit capitalism

Charles Homans: The Operator | The New Republic: "...he made his first deal of any significance in 1956, when he met the owner of a local bank in La Vernia, a small town near San Antonio. The man was looking to retire, and Simmons convinced him to give him the option to purchase the bank with no money down. Simmons proceeded to place a notice in a trade publication offering the property for sale, for $7,000 more than the owner’s asking price. When he found a buyer, Simmons paid the owner and pocketed the difference. With barely a cent to his name, Simmons had sold a bank he didn’t own while clearing enough money on the transaction to buy his first house."

04 May, 2012

The Astonishing 'Avengers' - Christopher Orr - Entertainment - The Atlantic

The Astonishing 'Avengers' - Christopher Orr - Entertainment - The Atlantic: When news first broke that an Avengers movie was in the making, I thought there was no possible way it could work: too many supers, too many awkwardly intersecting storylines, too much everything. When news broke that Whedon would be helming the project, I thought, well, if there's one person who could conceivably make it work, it was him. I was wrong the first time and right the second. The Avengers is sharp, witty, intense, and at times even touching—easily among the best big-budget entertainments of the last few years.

First Read - Santorum: 'I don't think anybody understood how little money we had'

First Read - Santorum: 'I don't think anybody understood how little money we had': Perhaps more so than any other candidate, Santorum ran nearly every aspect of his campaign. He kept a watchful eye over finances and used the little money he had to build a candidacy perfectly fit for the grassroots-style politics of Iowa. But after winning the first-in-the-nation caucus, the difficulties associated with running for president without money or much of an organization became apparent. He wasn't able to get on the ballot in Virginia, couldn't go on air with ads in some of the states he hoped to compete in and his three-person press shop found themselves drowned each day by negative ads and opposition research from Mitt Romney's team.


PolitiFact | Ad says stimulus tax credits funded jobs in Finland: That U.S. loan program? It's the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program through the Energy Department. And it's not funded by Obama’s stimulus bill — otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is, in fact, a program signed into existence by President George W. Bush in 2007 and first funded by legislation Bush signed in 2008.

Obama's Composite Girlfriend: How Politico and Drudge Created Fake News - David A. Graham - Politics - The Atlantic

Obama's Composite Girlfriend: How Politico and Drudge Created Fake News - David A. Graham - Politics - The Atlantic: An inadequately fact-checked news item leads to a fabricated claim that the president fabricated and lied about parts of his memoir.

03 May, 2012

Just a guy, y'all

The Power of Good - The Nicholas Winton Story: Winton contacted the governments of nations he thought could take in the children. Only Sweden and his own government said yes. Great Britain promised to accept children under the age of 18 as long as he found homes and guarantors who could deposit �50 for each child to pay for their return home.

Because he wanted to save the lives of as many of the endangered children as possible, Winton returned to London and planned the transport of children to Great Britain. He worked at his regular job on the Stock Exchange by day, and then devoted late afternoons and evenings to his rescue efforts, often working far into the night. He made up an organization, calling it "The British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Children's Section." The committee consisted of himself, his mother, his secretary and a few volunteers.