How can this make any sense?

People who attempt suicide are clearly having a very difficult time in their lives. The practice of extended solitary confinement has been known to create deep psychological trauma in prisoners. So how can it make sense to punish someone with solitary confinement when they try to commit suicide?

And yet Cory Doctorow tells us that this is what has happened to Chelsea Manning. Is the US military so determined to destroy her that they would go to such lengths?

Police do not have a duty to protect you

The sudden recurrence of a spate of police shootings of black people has once again raised the question of the relationship between the police and the public. The slogan of many police departments in the US consists of variations on “To Serve and Protect”. So you would think that if you were being threatened or attacked by someone and the police were called, they would be obliged to come to your defense. But I learned recently that that is not the case. The duty of the police is to protect only the public at large and that may or may not include protecting you as an individual.
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Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!

Jordan Klepper visits a rally for Donald Trump and encounters people who believe the weirdest things. Many of the people shown are Ohioans, my peeps.

(This clip aired on September 20, 2016. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

Curious views on astrology

Usually what we see in the news are stories about how local communities are riddled with superstitions and oppose efforts to combat popular form of it. Hence I was intrigued by this story about the opposition to a woman who wanted to teach a course on astrology in the town of Canyonville, Oregon. It turns out that there is a local ordinance dating back to 1982 that “prohibits fortunetelling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, mesmerism and spiritualism”.
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Calls for a pardon for Snowden

With the release of the film Snowden, there have been renewed calls for president Obama to pardon him or at least provide some means so that he can return to the US. Currently he faces draconian charges under the Espionage Act that could enable the Obama administration to immediately take him out of circulation and prevent him from any contact with the outside world and deny him all due process rights. Snowden himself has made a moral case for a pardon, saying that people had benefited from his actions.
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Film review: Snowden (2016)

I saw this Oliver Stone film a couple of days ago that tells the story of Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) over the period 2003 to 2013, ending with his trip to Moscow. The films starts on June 3, 2013 with Snowden holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong making contact with journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Ewan MacAskill for the first time and telling them his story, though he had already given them the encrypted documents that would explode into the world that week.
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