More on the Obama administration’s war on transparency

One of the most hypocritical features of the Obama administration was its public claim to be strongly in favor of transparency, to the extent of proudly boasting that it was “the most transparent administration in history”, while constantly working behind the scenes to kill any attempts at greater transparency. Trevor Timm writes about what a new lawsuit has revealed.
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How good journalism should work

The long running controversy over what contacts Donald Trump and members of his campaign staff had with Russian government officials and the nature of those discussions have been going on for some time, with Trump vigorously denying any wrongdoing, though since he is a pathological liar, his assurances do not count for anything. Jon Schwarz says that Trump can easily settle this issue once and for all if he wanted to.
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Why the Obama-Clinton faction is supporting Perez over Ellison

UPDATE: Perez wins the election.

Today in Atlanta, the Democratic party will vote for a new party chair to replace the neoliberal party hack Donna Brazile who replaced another neoliberal party hack Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Glenn Greenwald addresses the question why Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton urged Tom Perez to challenge Keith Ellison to run for the chair of the Democratic National Committee even though both share broadly similar political positions. He points to a long article by Clio Chang in The New Republic that says that these two neoliberals want to prevent the Bernie Sanders wing of the party from taking control of the party organization.
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The great scientist you never heard of

The myth that Columbus proved that the world was round is not something that I encountered in my education in Sri Lanka. It seems to be a largely American creation, likely for all the reasons that cartomancer and jkrideau list. My first experience with hearing it was when one of the undergraduates in my class casually inserted it as an element in the argument he was making about something else, if it was the most obvious thing in the world. I stepped in to question him and was astounded in the ensuing discussion to find that quite a few members of the class believed the same thing. They said that they had learned it in elementary school.
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Why the Obama-Clinton axis is supporting Perez over Ellison

Today in Atlanta, the Democratic party will vote for a new party chair to replace the neoliberal party hack Donna Brazile who replaced another neoliberal party hack Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. One question is why Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton urged Tom Perez to challenge Keith Ellison to run for the chair of the Democratic National Committee even though Ellison had declared first, had garnered wide support, and he and Perez share broadly similar political positions.
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Measuring the circumference of the Earth, over 2000 years ago

One of the things that really annoy me is when some people say that it was Columbus who proved that the world was round. Not only did the peoples of the Mediterranean region know that it was round nearly two thousand years before that, one of them Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 BCE – c. 195/194 BCE) did a remarkably accurate job of calculating the circumference of the Earth.
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The McCarthy propaganda system is alive and well

I have written before about legendary journalist I. F. Stone who took on both the Washington establishment and its complicit media. In an essay, Glenn Greenwald says that there is much we can learn from perusing Stone’s writings, even though they were written over a half-century ago, because they illustrate that the Cold War McCarthyite tactics that Stone endeavored to counter are alive and well today.
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Things are looking up for atheists

A recent survey by the Pew finds that feelings towards atheists and Muslims are getting warmer, with younger people leading the way.

While Americans still feel coolest toward Muslims and atheists, mean ratings for these two groups increased from a somewhat chilly 40 and 41 degrees, respectively, to more neutral ratings of 48 and 50.

However, the mean ratings given to particular religious groups still vary widely depending on who is being asked. For example, young adults – those ages 18 to 29 – express warmer feelings toward Muslims than older Americans do. Moreover, young adults rate all of the groups in the study within a relatively tight range, from 54 degrees for Mormons to 66 for Buddhists. By contrast, older Americans (ages 65 and older) rate some religious groups, such as mainline Protestants (75) and Jews (74), very warmly, and others, such as Muslims and atheists (44 degrees each), much more coolly.

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What kind of person does something like this?

The random viciousness of some people never ceases to astound me. Take this story.

Pinnacle Park reopened Tuesday after being closed since the weekend for public safety. Nails were found hammered into tree roots along 2 miles of park trails.

The 1,100-acre forested park is owned by the town of Sylva, with a total of 18.5 miles of trails popular with hikers and trail runners. More than 60 spikes were found along a 2-mile section of trail, said town manager Paige Roberson Dowling.
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