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Jul 18 2014

Interview with Snowden

The editor of the Guardian has an excerpt of an interview with Edward Snowden where he seems remarkably calm about his fate and says that he is even resigned to being sent to Guantanamo. He also says that the people working for the NSA routinely shared amongst themselves embarrassing photos that they found while snooping on people.

The full interview will be published later today.

Jul 18 2014

When governments inflame mob passions

Back in 1983 in Sri Lanka, a group of Tamil separatists were conducting a low-level guerilla war against the government that the government was, typically, trying to quell militarily without addressing the political issues. Since almost all members of the military belonged the majority Sinhala community, this conflict took on an overtly ethnic coloration. In July of that year, the guerillas pulled off their biggest attack, blowing up a convoy of army trucks and killing over twenty soldiers.
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Jul 17 2014

The carnage in Gaza continues-four children killed in Israeli airstrike

Glenn Greenwald reports on how NBC News has withdrawn from Gaza Ayman Mohyeldin, its reporter in the region who covered the killing by Israeli planes of four Gazan boys aged 9 to 11 as they played soccer on a beach in broad daylight. The reporter had been playing soccer with the boys just minutes before their deaths and posted chilling details.

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Update: Here is an NBC News report on the bombing.


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Jul 17 2014

Attacking the disabled

It looks like taking aim at women and minorities is not enough. It now looks like Republicans are going after the disabled.

Democrats are bracing for a new assault from Republicans on the safety net that could come as early as this month — in particular, on disability insurance. In response, Senator Sherrod Brown is urging Dems to go on offense, by calling for an expansion of Social Security, rather than getting into an argument over how much to cut it.
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Jul 17 2014

Another sign that atheists have arrived

On Monday evening, I got a phone call at home. It was a recording from the Rasmussen polling company conducting a survey. Usually, I just hang up but I was doing nothing important and so decided to participate. It asked me a lot of questions about whether I felt the country was on the right track and about president Obama’s performance. It also asked detailed questions about the economy and the immigration issue of children crossing the border. For each question, I was given a set of options to respond corresponding to a number that you enter on the phone.
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Jul 17 2014

How to parallel park perfectly each time

Some years ago, I attended a function at my daughter’s high school. These events are very well attended and parking is hard to get but I found a space and parked and was walking towards the building when a car came to a stop in the middle of the street where there was a parking space and a woman jumped out. I knew her because she was the mother of my daughter’s friend. She gave me her car keys and asked me if I would park her car for her in the space because she did not know how to parallel park.
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Jul 16 2014

Can you figure it out?

What is the number that is obscured by the car?

parking-riddle

Jul 16 2014

Film review: Her (2013)

I saw this film over the weekend and it was a huge disappointment. I was expecting big things because the central idea was interesting and it was critically acclaimed and won director Spike Jonze the 2014 Academy Award for best writing of an original screenplay. But I found that it really dragged.
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Jul 16 2014

At last, a sign!

God finally reveals the identity of his Earthly incarnation in a pasta pot. Can you guess who it is? (Hint: Think of the pasta as blue.)
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Jul 16 2014

Anonymity

Some years ago, I gave my views on the use of pseudonyms and on sockpuppetry but I want to briefly return to it to clarify a point.
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