Social media aiding police investigations

While there has definitely been progress in acceptance of the idea that the LGBT community has the right to full and equal participation in society, we should not be too complacent either, because there are still pockets of vicious anti-gay sentiment out there, even in supposedly sophisticated urban cities of the northeast like Philadelphia (which translates as ‘brotherly love’), where just last week a gay couple on a street in the city center was viciously attacked by a group of men and women.
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What your metadata reveals about you

With a great deal of nervousness, Ton Siedsma agreed to an experiment. He would load an app on his smartphone that would send all its activity metadata for one week to Dimitri Tokmetzis who works on datajournalism projects and who would in turn forward it to the iMinds research team of Ghent University and Mike Moolenaar, owner of Risk and Security Experts. All three would analyze the metadata to see what they could learn about Siedsma.

The amount they learned was shocking.
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Busybodies messing up people’s lives

A Catholic girls school has fired two teachers after being tipped off that they were a lesbian couple.

[Olivia] Reichert said she and [Christina] Gambaro were asked to resign after the school said in late July it received a copy of a mortgage application with the couple’s names. The couple had married in New York over the summer and the school said they had violated the moral contract faculty are required to sign as part of employment.

Note that these teachers were not publicizing the fact that they were lesbians. Some busybody had sent the school authorities the mortgage document. The firings have caused anger among students and alumnae of the school.
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Front group for the US government exposed?

The US government and the CIA have long used front groups to covertly pursue its agenda. These groups have high-minded names that include words like ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ and ‘development’ and ‘aid’ but their goal is subversion of other countries. Using these fronts enables the government to deny any involvement and instead say that the things they instigate and finance secretly with puppet leaders are actually ‘popular’ or ‘grass roots’ or ‘local’ movements.
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More on the thrilla in Wasilla

During the 2008 election, when Sarah Palin burst on the scene and people wondered who the hell she was and what her background was, the site to visit was The Mudflats, an Alaska-based blog that provided the most informed coverage of her and her world. In the wake of the now infamous Palin family brawl, people have begged the founder of the site Jeanne Devon to dig up the details and she has finally, but reluctantly, obliged.
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Obamacare’s successes create problems for Republicans

The Republican party’s determination to repeal, or at least undermine, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) by throwing roadblocks in its path was obviously predicated on their fear, not that it would fail, but that it would succeed. They rightly guessed that despite its clunky structure and its pro-health care industry tilt, if it succeeded in providing health care access to large numbers of people at a reasonable cost, then it would become harder to get rid of the program. So it had to be stopped early.
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The vote for Scottish independence

Once again, John Oliver manages to give a tutorial that is both funny and informative on a serious topic. This time it is about the vote that is due to take place on Thursday in Scotland as to whether they will seek independence from the UK. The polls are predicting a close race though I suspect that the ‘no’ vote will ultimately prevail because of the last-minute pandering by the British government that even had the Queen getting into the act, and also because people tend to shy away from the unknown.
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The Thinking Housewife does not like Pope Francis

I decided to wander, as I periodically do, over to The Thinking Housewife to see what that homage site to the mores of the early twentieth century was up to, and found that they are very upset with Pope Francis, using language that is surprisingly harsh for such a genteel site. He is referred to as the ‘Argentine Bomber’, not a true pope (which they reinforce by putting “pope” in scare quotes), and even a ‘scandalous heretic’ because he did not use his trip to the Middle East to try and convert Jews and Muslims. The author has a truly novel view of religious freedom, saying “Religious freedom is no more a human right than walking down a street in the face of ongoing traffic is a human right. No one has the right to be wrong.”
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