Why the Saudis have the US over a barrel-and it’s not an oil barrel

That the Saudi government and its powerful figure crown prince Mohammed bin Salman are brazenly lying about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is now blindingly obvious. There is an unbridgeable gulf between their initial response that Khashoggi had left the consulate and they did not know where he was to their most recent grudging admission that he died after he got into a ‘fist fight’ with people inside the consulate. The body has still not been produced. What we are now seeing is careful maneuvering to decide what is the most they can concede that will enable their most ardent supporters, in this case Donald Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to continue their warm relationship with both the kingdom and bin Salman.
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Rihanna stands with Colin Kaepernick

Being invited to do the Super Bowl halftime show is considered a big coup for any pop star, given the huge audience it has. Some viewers even skip the game and tune in just for this show. So it was significant that pop star Rihanna turned down the invitation to do the 2019 show because she supports Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest and dislikes the NFL’s stance on it.

I hope other celebrities will also follow suit.

I will vote ‘Yes’ on Ohio Issue 1 on drug use

Election day in the US is on Tuesday, November 6 and in addition to the slew of people running for political office in Ohio, there are also a large number of candidates for judicial offices and various ballot issues. One of the ballot issues is Issue 1 that is a constitutional amendment that calls for major reforms in sentencing for drug possession. Basically it distinguishes users of drugs from dealers of drugs, and treats the former as people with a health problem that should be treated medically, socially, and psychologically and not punitively. Drug addiction is better treated as a disease, not as a choice that people can be frightened away from with the threat of harsh prison sentences.
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What people lie to themselves about

In a recent episode of Radiolab, they discussed the topic of deception and at the 48:51 minutes mark, they referred to work by two psychologists about how people lie to themselves by compartmentalizing two contradictory beliefs in their minds and allowing only one into consciousness. They mentioned the work of Harold Sackeim and Ruben Gur who had developed a list of 20 questions that they would ask people to respond on a 1-7 scale with 1 being ‘not at al;’ and 7 being ‘very much so’.
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The peculiar role of spectators in baseball

I have expressed before my dislike of the fact that cheating in baseball by tricking the umpires is not only not punished, but the players and media gloat over their success in duping on on-field officials. That strikes me as disgraceful. Another thing I dislike is not cheating but involves the fact that spectators can, in some instances, interfere with the action. This can happen because spectators can sit right behind the wall that designates the boundary. So if a ball is hit over the wall, you can have a situation where the fielder leaps to catch it before, or even after, it reaches the wall, while spectators, rather than moving away and giving the fielder room to make the play, also try to catch the ball and interfere.
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Brick wall? What brick wall?

An Air India pilot displays an incredible level of insouciance.

Boeing 737 flies into brick wall – and just keeps going

An Air India pilot flew a Boeing 737 through a brick wall Friday. Incredibly, that marked the beginning of its journey and not the end.

The jet not only clobbered the top of a five-foot perimeter wall but also destroyed a small landing guide tower as it climbed out of Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Tamil Nadu, India, shortly after midnight, the Times of India reported.

With 130 passengers on board, it was bound from the southern tip of India to Dubai across the ocean. And despite the audible and obvious collision, the pilot apparently saw no reason not to continue on.
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The complicated Turkey-Saudi Arabia relationship

I mentioned in an earlier post my puzzlement as to why Turkey and its president were taking such an aggressive role in revealing information about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. There has been a steady release of information from Turkish authorities saying that they had information that Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered by a hit squad that came from Saudi Arabia, and this had led to worldwide outrage.
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