Maiello: Where Your Tax Dollars Go
Doc Cleveland: Copyright vs. Truth
A little note - Dagblog has a code, Terms Of Service, that we all are obligated to follow as long as we are here. I realize I've passed those bounds myself and so have others. This is a very heated issue and it is wise for all of us to try to watch ourselves.
If you guys have the time, read this entire essay. It was sent to me by a friend from Florida and is written by a gentleman who obviously did not enjoy his experience working at a predominantly black school. If you can make it through, reading stuff like this is very important as it taps in to the mindset of many in our society: [Read more]
[copied in from a comment for further discussion re: the NSA]
We can skip the word "evil" and just take examples of what citizens might want to know.
While apparently the post office has been scanning envelopes a long time, the use of OCR means they have a huge searchable database of From, To and Date. The recent improvements in data analytics & Big Data means it's trivial to compile that into categories - especially if you link it to Facebook and collected phone metadata - who your friends are, where you work, where you bank, who you call, what organizations you're involved with. Depending on who's sending you mail, they can figure out if you're having credit problems, health issues, seeing a psychiatrist, getting a divorce. [Read more]
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." ~ Samuel Adams
One of the most startling things about the terrible events in Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood, the great-granddaddy of all Islamist movements, has blown its shot at governing the country, a chance the Brotherhood spent decades waiting and planning for. That does not excuse the military coup, and the Brotherhood isn't the only party to blame. But there's no point in pretending that Morsi and the Brotherhood have been defenders of constitutional democracy either, and their refusal to share power or respect civil process helped create the mess their country is in tonight. Those protesters in Tahrir Square are real, and their anger is real, and it's the Brotherhood that made them angry. [Read more]
It's been suggested here at Dagblog and elsewhere that focusing so much attention on Edward Snowden is distracting us from the important work of holding our government accountable for the misdeeds Snowden has helped to expose. And while I agree the narrowly framed hero/villain back and forth has some limits, I think it begs a broader, more thoughtful conversation about our evolving attitudes toward Patriotism, especially in the context of foreign policy, as we continue racing through the 21st Century. The eve of the 237th anniversary of the approval of the Declaration of Independence seems like as good a time as any to jump into the fray. [Read more]
I'm impressed and a bit surprised to see that The New York Times has become the most consistent progressive voice against the post 9/11 security state. Today, the Times very gently criticizes U.S. snooping on the private communications of our friends and fellow Earth inhabitants of the European Union, who are our collective largest trading partner and our strategic allies.
Two items in the op-ed most intrigue me. [Read more]
I have not been over to the Onion for sometime.
I come across this perverted 'news' from time to time.
I cannot find the link but the Onion article I caught spoke about the hazards of working in the subway.
It cited the 'fact' that some 25,000 workers die every year attempting to save mass transit in a particular area; NYC!
My reaction was (and still is) terrible.
Every time I read this faux news item, I found myself laughing uncontrollably. [Read more]
"I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."
Media References, June 9-30, 2013 [Read more]
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Once upon a time, I was a hardcore libertarian. I think you can still find my stuff - at websites like United Liberty and The Liberty Papers. During that really critical stage in development when you start to form ideas about the world, around eighteen and nineteen, I had worked for a Seattle rap magazine where the editor was (and he still is) a hardcore libertarian. Hip-hop is something I love and so I connected the two, even if that connection no longer makes any sense. [Read more]
So it turns out that New York University has bought its president a summer home on Fire Island (h/t Tenured Radical). Or rather, a special foundation associated with New York University has loaned the university president, John Sexton, around a million dollars to buy a beach house, and there seems a real possibility that much of that million-dollar mortgage will eventually be forgiven, so that Sexton won't have to pay it back. NYU has also made similar vacation-home loans to other top administrators and VIP faculty, at least some of them on the same forgive-over-time plan. This represents a brave new financial frontier in higher education. No other university buys its executives second houses. This seems like an obvious story of an out-of-control administration. But more importantly, it's the story of a board of trustees failing to do its job. [Read more]
[Read more]Sept. 1, 1948: Actor Robert Mitchum and starlet Lila Leeds were reportedly caught smoking marijuana during a police raid at the actress' Hollywood Hills home. Two others were also arrested.
Mitchum told police that he and another friend were in the neighborhood looking to buy a house when they stopped to visit Leeds and her roommate, dancer Vickie Evans.
Michael Gural-Maiello is an accomplished published author, as I will note in this interview, he has written for Esquire and Forbes and has encouraged Blood Is One in its growth and maturity as a website. He has just self published a book called Shuts and Failures, which is filled with material that apparently was rejected from the big publishers. Given his penchant for humor and pop culture and actively helping Blood Is One expanding its reach in the realm of pop culture coverage, it really seemed like a no brainer to do an interview with him. Maiello thought much the same thing so... Here goes!  [Read more]
I'm delighted about the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor. It's a triumph for human dignity, and also a triumph for federalism. The federal government should not be in the business of restricting the rights that individual states extend to citizens. If thirteen states see fit to recognize same-sex marriage, Washington should not interfere.
I admit it, my underdog leanings are with Edward Snowden. I'd like to see him avoid prosecution. Beyond that, I don't think it's necessary or important to prosecute him. Oddly enough, commodities trader and former fugitive villain Marc Rich died today. When I think about the U.S.'s real interest in Snowden, I can't help but thinkof Rich, safely snowed into Zug, Switzerland, making billions of dollars for years, out of reach of Rudy Giuliani, the man who had him indicted him for trading with Iran and for tax evasion. [Read more]
Last February, I wrote what columnists like to call a "think piece" about an alternative approach to gun control (with the implication that most punditry does not involve thinking).
My proposal was to tax gun manufacturers and retailers based on the lethality of their merchandise, as measured by crime statistics. The hope was to incentivize companies to create their own safeguards against misuse, in essence to financially discourage them from making weapons that appeal to criminals and from selling to customers who are likely to use the guns for crime.
Public debates over affirmative action in college admissions, such as all the hubbub about Fisher v. Texas (in which a not-so-qualified white student named Abigail Fisher sued before the Supreme Court to end affirmative action at the University of Texas), usually run into basic confusion about how college admission works in the first place. Opponents of affirmative action often call, loudly, for American colleges to "go back" to an admissions system that has never existed.
For fuck's sake.
The comments on some of these blogs are unbelievable. I'm specifically referring to a news item at TPM announcing that what's-his-face has made the move from China to Russia and will soon be traveling to Cuba with the intention of settling in Venezuela. Hero? America as a fascist dystopia? Obama as the worst dictator in the world?
Newsflash. If Obama is the worst dictator in the world, every single idiot claiming that to be true in yelling, hysterical, incredibly public fashion would not be here tomorrow.  [Read more]
Where I live, at the 46th Parallel in Michigan, the sun rose this morning at 5:44. It will set at 9:29 tonight. We will have close to 16 hours of daylight today. It’s the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and up here, where we endure long dark winters, this is a day to celebrate.
Tomorrow our day will shorten by 12 seconds, which means little by little the daylight hours will dwindle, until December 21, when we’ll be able to see clearly without artificial aids for only about eight hours. The sun won’t rise until 8:09 AM on the day of the Winter Solstice and will be setting at 4:55 PM. So up here the longest day of the year is a big deal. [Read more]
It warmed my heart, just a little bit, to see the recent traffic spike at search engine DuckDuckGo. Apparently people are worried about the NSA seeing their Google search queries, or are moving off Google in protest. Whatever the reason, the spike just won't last. Even as a guy who wants an alternative search engine to capture some of Google's market, I can't help but admit that DDG falls short of usability. Those people who want to nobly move away from Google will be back before long. Google has made quality search results the rule.
Well, quality search results if you share the mindset of the masses. In truth Google's search results are like America's largest beer brands. Miller-Coors wants to reach as many people as possible, and so they produce beer that is inoffensive, rather than good, to the greatest number of people. Similarly, Google's results can't offend people, or else they'll seek an alternative. The problem is that the way Google approaches this just decimates small businesses.  [Read more]