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Jul 27 2014

US and Saudi Arabia cooperation

Saudi Arabia has one of the most brutal governments and repressive social practices. The terrible way it treats criminals and women and gays and indeed anyone who deviates from strict Islamic orthodoxy is legendary. Hence the US government’s close ties with that country and its reluctance to criticize its practices is noteworthy showing how the US’s concern for human rights is highly selective and largely driven by geopolitical interests.
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Jul 26 2014

Understanding Gaza

As the reports keep coming in about civilian casualties as schools and hospitals keep getting shelled by Israel, here is a more detailed map of Gaza so people can have some idea of where the deaths are occurring. The map also gives more details about the blockade by Israel and the few entry points in and out that has made Gaza into a prison camp.
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Jul 26 2014

Are films really longer now?

I have been railing about the fact that so many films that I have seen recently are too damn long and would benefit from much tighter editing. But is it in fact the case that films are actually longer than they used to be? I intuitively thought they were but the data don’t seem to back me up.
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Jul 25 2014

Kickstarter project to buy CNN

The Daily Show decides that with all the mergers and takeovers in the media industry, the time is ripe to bid for the cable news company. You can see all the rewards you will get for the differing pledge levels here.
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Jul 25 2014

Reports of Israeli attacks on schools and hospitals

Richard Engel of NBC News says that the school that was hit by Israeli artillery was a designated UN refugee shelter which people went to seeking shelter from the aerial barrage. He shows one man who said his six children were blown to bits like scraps of paper. The UN official was adamant that there were no militants in the building. Four such schools have been attacked so far.
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Jul 25 2014

A very moving interview

Actor George Takei was a guest on The Daily Show and Jon Stewart wisely decided not to make it a yuk-fest with Star Trek jokes but instead spent the time allowing Takei to describe the time during World War II when his family were herded into barbed-wire enclosed internment camps for the entire duration of the war purely because of their Japanese ethnicity or, as we say now, racial profiling.
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Jul 25 2014

Nursing home evangelism

When I was an undergraduate in Sri Lanka, I was a member of a student Christian group and as part of our activities we did various kinds of charitable work such as helping in anti-TB campaigns and the like. We did not talk about religion when we visited the homes of poor people in the slums to dispense supplies to help them control their illness.
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Jul 25 2014

War is not hell, it is worse

Some apologists for war try to casually dismiss the unwelcome fact that it results in the deaths of mostly innocent civilians with clich├ęs like ‘war is hell’, acting as if they are themselves veterans of wars who have seen the grimness up close and are thus can be excused for taking a hardened view. In actual reality, I have noticed that many of the people nowadays who say such things are those who have never seen war and death up close and their macho posturing is just that, posturing. This series of stills from the old TV show M*A*S*H better captures the reality of war.
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Jul 24 2014

Stewart challenges McCain to a wrong-off

John McCain is the latest person to attempt to criticize the way that Jon Stewart covers him and, as with all previous attempts, he gets the worst of it. These people never seem to learn that it is foolish to go up against a sharp comedian who has his own show and a panel of talented writers and researchers.
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Jul 24 2014

Exploiting the poor, then hiding them

New York City has allowed a real estate developer to construct an apartment building with two classes of tenants, rich and poor, but where the poorer people have to use a separate back entrance, like servants’ have in feudal societies.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development signed off on the application from Extell to build a 33-story building on the Upper West Side. The building will have 219 luxury condos that overlook the waterfront, according to the Post, and 55 “affordable” units that face the street. They will have separate entrances, which, as Gawker noted, sparked outrage last year when the plans were first revealed.

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