Monday, June 24, 2013

Bill Keller: Sentence First, Strategy Afterwards!

Bill Keller of the New York Times, who advocated the 2003 attack on Iraq and now tells us that Syria is not like Iraq but we should intervene anyway, today crows about how happy Obama's latest announcement has made the Syrian rebels while holding tightly to his credentials as a hard-bitten reporter:
When I set out to meet with Syrian rebel operatives in the wake of Obama’s halfhearted shift, I expected a reaction of rolled eyes, too-little-too-late and thanks-for-nothing. 
What caught my eye was the teaser on the Times's Opinion page:

It reminded me of the trial in Alice in Wonderland:
`No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'
And now we return you to The Travels of Edward Snowden.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bits and Pieces - June 20, 2013

The solstice is near! I seldom keep track of the silly "Solstice is at 09:23:32 today" announcements, just enjoy the long days and hate to see them start to decrease.

In case you missed it, Cap'n Crunch may have violated the Stolen Valor Act. Another scandal!

150 Years of Misunderstanding the Civil War. Nothing noble about it.

I started out very skeptical of Twitter, but have come around to finding it very helpful in thinking things out. Perhaps that's because, like Thomas Beller, I don't know what I think until I say it.

Russian Space Center in Kazakhstan Counts Down Its Days of Glory. I haven't been to Baikonur, but some of this is familiar from my other travels. Although I can't say the markets I've been in have been plagued by flies - instead very clean and pleasant. And the dried fruits and nuts in Central Asian markets are to die for, not to mention the melons!

Another leaker! In the Manhattan Project.

“We have socialised the risk of innovation but privatised the rewards.” Why not, along with so much else?

William Perry: My Personal Journey at the Nuclear Brink.

Something new for knitters.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isn't It Time To Change How We Do Primaries? Or Isn't It Time For The Republicans Who Have Some Sense To Stand Up To Their Base?

The reality of the House is that sometimes a majority of House Republicans want a bill to pass even if they don't want to vote for it.

Thanks to Ezra Klein for clearing this up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bits and Pieces - June 13, 2013

Godwin's Law or not - the idea that few pregnancies result from rape really does come from the Nazis. And Emily Bazelon raises a good question in that article: why do those male Republican legislators feel it so necessary to keep repeating that?

If you're going to Europe, bring lots of cash. Your credit card probably won't work. Kevin Drum seems to be the only financial columnist that finds this stupid and backward on the part of the US banking industry.

What did Thomas Kuhn really mean by "scientific paradigms"?

Is Edward Snowden trying to make a case for sanctuary in China, or is he trying to sow further distrust between China and the US?

I've been writing about the Snowden affair over at Nuclear Diner. I've contemplated what makes a whistleblower, what Snowden has told us so far (not much), and constructed a timeline for his life and recent actions, which I'm updating as more information comes out.

Snowden's interview with the South China News.

If journalists covered the US the way US journalists cover the world.

Academic freedom and indentured students.

Why right-wing wannabe terrorists use ricin.

Still More Questions Than Answers on Nerve Gas in Syria. One of the better articles on the subject. But it's not gas...

Friday, June 07, 2013

NSA, Reporters, Whistleblowers, and Classified Material

I was working on a much longer post having to do with the press, whistleblowers, and classified information when the business about the FBI’s and NSA’s data collection broke. So I will continue to work on that longer piece over the weekend.

Meanwhile, here is some other material.

Some background:

I am finding that on this issue, I have a large area of agreement with Joshua Foust, which is not always the case. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuafoust.
We Are To Blame

Stephen Walt has some wise things to say here and here.

I’m thinking that the press is overdoing their insistence on their “right” to access classified information. Information isn’t newsworthy just because it’s classified, and some of what reporters are saying sounds like they want easy disclosures rather than working on hard stories. Whistleblowers are not unambiguously figures of virtue. Some do it for motives like office politics or fame. But does a disclosure that helps the public make those motives purer? And yes, far too much material is classified.

Now to flesh that out.

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Woman's Place in Iran and Protests in Turkey

Saeed Jalili sounded like Stokely Carmichael the other day:
Based on the interpretations of the supreme leader, the presence of women in society must be combatant and revolutionary in the various fields, and the most important act of cultural resistance for a woman takes place at the home.
Carmichael was a bit cruder on women's place in revolution:
The only place for women in the movement is prone.
And here are a great many photos from the protests in Istanbul.