Edward Snowden vs. Mitch McConnell

You may have been following the intricate and arcane maneuvering in the US senate where the fate of key data gathering provisions of the USA Patriot Act are due to expire on June 1 unless Congress takes action before then. Dan Froomkin gives us the current state of play on the debate over the NSA’s blanket collection of data. Froomkin says that currently there are just two options available:
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The false premise of the Iraq war question

As the presidential campaign picks up steam (even though the actual date is still 18 months away!), the merits of the Iraq war are being debated once again as the chaos in the region and the rise of groups like ISIS has made even many people on the conservative end of the political spectrum begin to wonder if that fateful decision to invade Iraq has not resulted in creating a much worse situation. Everyone is eager to avoid blame for the debacle that has pretty much destroyed a once modern nation.
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Relics of segregation

I am way out of touch with popular culture and so I had never heard of John Legend before the Oscars this year when the news reported that he and Common (another performer whom I had never heard of until recently) had given a boffo live performance of the song Glory from the film Selma during the Academy Awards show, where it won an award and where the two gave great acceptance speeches.
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“100 Words That All High School Graduates – And Their Parents – Should Know”

In clearing out some old files in my desk, I came across a single undated sheet that had the above title and the following text:

The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.

“The words we suggest,” says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, “are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language.”

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What the hell is wrong with these people?

Although I did not pay much attention to them, I had of course heard of the Duggar family, stars of a reality show called 19 Kids and Counting, referring to the number of children that the parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. You could not avoid reading about them. From the little bits of news that crossed my path, they seemed like a bunch of insufferable Christians who looked down on everyone who did not follow in their religious, home-schooled, sex-puritan ways. But they were feted by right wing Christian types, including politicians, as upholding true Christian values.
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