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"Have you never been told never discuss politics or religion with strangers … wanna shag?"
Posted by Ben on 09.20.14

Surely the remarkable success the guy who polled (snerk) Grindr users in Edinburgh about the referendum met with has come up in comments already.

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Swimming post
Posted by Ben on 09.19.14

I have to admit, the video where she laps her competitors is pretty amazing.

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Guest Post: fictitious biographies
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.19.14

Minivet writes: I thought big publishers were better fact-checkers, or at least were during some Heymann's career, but I guess not. Maybe he was careful only to make up stuff non-tortiously.

I didn't know these books, but I'm curious if the various made-up salacious facts had lodged in popular memory.

Heebie's take: wow, that is one lying liar. It's a good read!

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Posted by Ogged on 09.18.14

--This guy looked at where Darren Wilson's police car was parked (next to a hydrant) and where Mike Brown's body fell (marked by a memorial) and physically measured the distance. It was 100 feet, not 35 feet. Huge scoop and big deal if he's right.

--This Matt Bai article on Gary Hart's downfall is good reading, even if he's unable to quite bring off the link between invading politician's private lives and substanceless campaigns. As I was getting to the end, I was thinking, "Damn, if Gary Hart becomes president, we never get W." And it turns out that's very much on Hart's mind.

"Well, at the very least, George W. Bush wouldn't have been president," Hart said ruefully. This sounded a little narcissistic, but it was, in fact, a hard premise to refute. Had Hart bested George H. W. Bush in 1988, as he was well on his way to doing, it's difficult to imagine that Bush's aimless eldest son would have somehow ascended from nowhere to become governor of Texas and then president within 12 years' time.

"And we wouldn't have invaded Iraq," Hart went on. "And a lot of people would be alive who are dead." A brief silence surrounded us. Hart sighed loudly, as if literally deflating. "You have to live with that, you know?"

--I'm fond of saying that school administrators are the worst people on earth, but any fair accounting has to consider insurance company executives.

"It seems that the plans are trying to find this wiggle room to design their benefits to prevent people who have high health needs from enrolling," said Wayne Turner, a staff lawyer at the National Health Law Program, which filed the complaint alongside the AIDS Institute of Tampa, Fla.

Turner said he feared a "race to the bottom," in which plans don't want to be seen as the most attractive for sick patients. "Plans do not want that reputation."

--Your tax dollars at work.

Among [Snowden's] most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.

Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 -- many still serving in the reserves -- accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for "political persecution." In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians' sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.

Not to mention,

It should also trouble Americans that the N.S.A. could head down a similar path in this country. Indeed, there is some indication, from a top-secret 2012 document from Mr. Snowden's leaked files that I saw last year, that it already is. The document, from Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then the director of the N.S.A., notes that the agency had been compiling records of visits to pornographic websites and proposes using that information to damage the reputations of people whom the agency considers "radicalizers" -- not necessarily terrorists, but those attempting, through the use of incendiary speech, to radicalize others.

Comments (200)

Guest Post - ISIS
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.18.14

Teofilo writes: Chelsea Manning speaks out from Ft. Leavenworth on ISIS, a subject on which she has some serious expertise, having been an intelligence analyst in Iraq when it was getting its start. She advocates "a very focused and consistent strategy of containment" and makes a strong case for, essentially, giving ISIS enough rope to hang itself. It sounds pretty convincing to me, and makes me even more pessimistic about the prospects for Obama's more aggressive and much less coherent strategy.

Heebie's take: oh what right do I have to have a take on foreign policy. Manning makes sense, but so does staying thousands of miles away. At the very least, I wish some other country would appoint themselves coalition builder and we would not.

Comments (49)

Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.18.14

1. There are some sort of ... seeds? sediments? turds? in my coffee, and I'm super repulsed but also want more coffee.

2. I read a blogger whose daughter died about a week before Hawaiian Punch was born. Today she revealed a particular detail about the actual moment of death that I find deeply upsetting, and I'm having trouble shaking it off and getting back into my regular scheduled brain.

3. I need a new TV show. One that Jammies doesn't have his heart set on watching. (Jammies' and my taste tends to intersect most during comedies.) The past two shows that I've watched on my own are Mad Men and Big Love, so I suppose I like fairly domestic dramas. Recommendations?

4. But It's like they know us made me laugh really hard. (Targeting new parents; I'm sorry greater commentariat.)

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The Scabbard Isle
Posted by Ogged on 09.18.14

When do we get results? Do they have math and computers over there? I've never been.

Comments (304)