Arming preschoolers? What a great idea!

Sacha Baron Cohen has a new TV series premiering on Showtime called Who Is America? in which he does his trademark shtick of pretending to be someone with views similar to the person he is interviewing and getting them to lower their guard and say what they really think. And what he reveals about gun rights advocates in the US in this 10—minute promotional video has to be seen to be believed.

It is always dangerous to take these kinds of videos at face value because by highly selective editing, one can make the target look ridiculous, appear to endorse views they do not hold, or look outright nuts. But I would like to see how the people shown on this video explain away or otherwise walk back the outrageous things they said.

Book review: The Heritage by Howard Bryant

The subtitle of this excellent new book by sportswriter Howard Bryan pretty much says what it is all about: Black athletes, a divided America, and the politics of patriotism. I am not a huge fan of American professional sports (as regular readers know, cricket is my thing) but this book is not about sports but the politics of sports, especially as it relates to the role that black athletes have played in advancing social justice. The book provides a much needed historical context for the recent movement started by Colin Kaepernick to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice. Bryant writes with anger and passion about the way that so many major black athletes have shirked the responsibility that they were entrusted with by their predecessors to use their celebrity power improve the conditions of the black community and fight police brutality and injustice.
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The problem with viral videos is that not everyone wants to be famous

The ubiquity of cameras and social media has resulted in ordinary people being able to record events in their surroundings and then posting them online. Occasionally the videos go viral and gain wide viewership, resulting in those appearing in them to achieve a temporary fame. Sometimes the people want the fame and go to great lengths to get it but at other times they may not. This raises the issue of the extent to which it is justified to post the actions of people who just happen to be in public.
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Prosecuting the prosecutors

The protestors who were acquitted of all charges for actions during Donald Trump’s inauguration are now pressing for action against the prosecutors. According to Sam Adler-Bell, they are turning the tables on the people who brought charges against them, accusing them of prosecutorial misconduct for the extraordinary lengths they went to expand the number and seriousness of charges, to the extent of including people who just happened to be there as being complicit in the actions, and also for withholding evidence that was in the defendants’ favor.
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Ohio is such a weird state

Ohio is not in the so-called Bible belt but nevertheless it shares with those states a highly puritanical mindset. Stormy Daniels, the actor at the center of a legal battle involving her relationship with Donald Trump, was briefly arrested and then released following a performance at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. That episode sheds light on what a reactionary and puritanical state Ohio is. She was accused of coming in contact with a customer during her act. Jeremy Pelzer writes about the history of the strange 2007 law that led to her brief arrest.
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Democrats need to abandon the idea that ‘centrism’ is the way to go

The Democratic party leadership prides itself on being ‘moderate’ and ‘centrist’, bland and soothing labels that do not really mean anything other than reassure people that they are only interested in incremental changes. The real reason they argue in favor of being ‘moderate’ and ‘centrist’ is likely because they get a lot of money from Wall Street, pro-business, pro-health insurance industry, pro-Israel lobby and other groups and do not want to do any thing that might risk that funding stream. But that message is too brutal for public consumption so the argument that they publicly trot out is that as the Republicans move steadily to the right, a move to the center will encompass a larger segment of the electorate who will have nowhere to go other than vote Democratic.
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Korean must be a very compact language

I do not speak Korean but was intrigued by this tweet from Donald Trump containing a note sent to him by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that contain the original Korean and its English translation. The Korean version takes up so much less space, only about 50% of the English.

How the Thai boys and coach were rescued

During the time when the boys and their coach were being rescued from their long stay in the caves, there was not much information about how the rescue was carried out. More details have now emerged of how they survived their ordeal in the cave and how the rescue endeavor that was much more harrowing and difficult than I had imagined. It was sad that a navy seal died in the rescue attempt.
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