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Finally someone is gathering the information necessary to the debate about police killings and it is not the Federal government. The Washington Post has an excellent article "Fatal police shootings in 2015 approaching 400 nationwide" documenting all shootings by police departments across the country they could get information on. Some of the findings:

About half the victims were white, half minority. But the demographics shifted sharply among the unarmed victims, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
Forty-nine people had no weapon, while the guns wielded by 13 others turned out to be toys. In all, 16 percent were either carrying a toy or were unarmed.

Ninety-two victims — nearly a quarter of those killed — were identified by police or family members as mentally ill.

It is fantastic to see actual journalism being committed, go read the whole thing.

Fri May 29, 2015 at 05:34 PM PDT

Congress: this is a blackout.

by Athenian

We are blocking your access until you end mass surveillance laws

You have conducted mass surveillance of everyone illegally and are now on record for trying to enact those programs into law. You have presented Americans with the false dichotomy of reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act or passing the USA Freedom Act. The real answer is to end all authorities used to conduct mass surveillance. Until you do, thousands of web sites have blocked your access, and more are joining every day.

How it works

Participating web sites embed a small snippet of code on their pages that detects the IP address of Congress' computers, redirecting anyone from Congress to this blackout page. To join with your site, simply embed this code on your page before the closing
< / HEAD > tag:

< script type="text/javascript" src="">< / script >
You can optionally send Congress to your own blackout page or disable #ifeelnaked photos. Learn more

Congress should be ashamed of NSA mass spying.
It's like a strip search, online. We should never, ever have to worry the government is watching our private moments. Congress should be ashamed that they want to see our naked photos, so we're putting up plenty of them to make sure they are! Join the protest with your photos:

Just came across this on twitter. 14,250 sites and counting have joined what seems like a wonderful method of protest. By the way, the #ifeelnaked pics that the congresscritters get sent to are pretty tame.

When I checked I found that this had been diaried a couple of times over the last two days but it still seemed worth bringing up again. The numbers are certainly climbing. If the porn sites get into the act, Congress will definitely notice.


Oh my! Apparently an actual living person actually said this on the record, anonymously of course:

Instead of the Jews, it's the hedge fund managers
I was following the link from the Bernie Sanders gives 'em hell on CNBC diary which led me to the actual CNBC site where I followed another link that led me to me the incredibly lovely quote above.

Apparently the feelings of the hedge fund managers are ruffled because nasty Obama and even nastier and more useless Hillary 'Jawbones'* Clinton noted that the top 25 of them made quite a bit more than all the kindergarden teachers in the country combined.

Go read the article, it's priceless. My apologies for not giving this the in-depth or the Hunter treatment it so clearly deserves but it is already horribly late where I am and I have to get up early. I'm sure you'll do it justice in the comments which I am eagerly anticipating in the morning.

* "What does Hillary do? She jawbones. You can't tell me her speeches are creating any value." Actual quote.

We all remember those first words spoken by an astronaut on the surface of Mars: "That's one small step fo- HOLY SHIT LOOK OUT IT'S GOT SOME KIND OF DRILL! Get back to the ... [unintelligible] ... [signal lost]"
XKCD 27/3/2015

Perhaps the scenario depicted above has actually scared some people drafting the Administration's budget request for NASA because otherwise it really makes no sense. According to dailyKos user Zaq's diary and this article, both the incredible rover that could (which has just completed a full marathon on Mars) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are to be defunded in fiscal 2016.

This incredibly foolish decision is being taken just as the rover is about to explore exciting new clay-rich regions on Mars and the orbiter is well on the way to providing us with the first full high-res map of the moon, as well as potentially finding the amount and location of Lunar polar ice. That last will be wonderfully useful information to future colonists.

"If we can continue to operate LRO for the next few years, we may eventually obtain a global high-resolution map of the entire moon," Spudis said. This data set will be used for decades to come and will allow the identification of new sites for exploration, utilization and, eventually, habitation, he [Paul Spudis, a space scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston] said.
"The rover is in excellent health, and is poised now just outside Marathon Valley, where orbital data indicate significant concentrations of clay minerals that could provide evidence for past habitable environments. The prospects for important discoveries there and beyond are good," Squyres [Opportunity principal investigator at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York] said.
So, I echo Zaq's call to petition your Congressional representatives to save these two valuable missions that are providing a great deal of science value for a relative pittance:
...the more people we get making noise about this, the more likely it is that we'll get the funding restored. Tell your friends, too—this is important!

Should funding be maintained for the Opportunity rover and the LRO

90%10 votes
9%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 11 votes | Vote | Results

Brady Kiesling (former US diplomat who resigned in opposition to the Iraq war and the lies of the Bush administration) posted a seemingly innocuous graph from an official website with the comment:
Pondering the Israeli elections and the major discrepancy of the results with the exit polls, I found the following official graph. When I used to monitor elections in Armenia, the OSCE observer team correctly saw massive late-evening jumps in voter turnout as evidence of fraud. Our faith in the integrity of the democratic process should never be blind, anywhere on earth but certainly not in the Middle East...
My emphasis.

Looking back over similar figures for previous elections, an 18% jump in the last four hours is not unprecedented. Indeed, both the jump and the participation rate seem to be a reversion to a pattern last seen in the '90s. So, perhaps nothing nefarious.

What say you?

Disclaimer: Brady did publish his comment on FB publicly but I have not consulted him about reposting his musings here. Please direct any ire at me rather than him. He is a thoughtful and gentle man whose main interest these days is in the history of Greek urban guerrillas (he's recently published a book on the subject) and is NOT an expert on Israel. Like him I'm interested in the abject failure of the exit polls and I do actually doubt that election fraud could be perpetrated in Israel.  


As the finance ministers of the Eurozone gather for a crucial meeting on the future of Greece, thousands of citizens are braving freezing temperatures (yes, it's been snowing in Athens too) to show their opposition to destructive austerity policies. Here are some representative tweets. Just follow the hashtag mazi for more.

One of the symbolic perhaps but still important changes wrought by the brand new government is how it handles demonstrations. Admittedly these are PRO-government demos but still, no riot police, no provocative police presence even in other situations that were not in their favor.

The first image is from the eurogroup, the rest are from the demos that are still growing in size and spreading across the EU.

"despite the snow the biggest since 12/2/12"

Continue Reading

Over the last 24 hours I've been trying to fit into my head a statement from the new PM of Greece who said, and I paraphrase, 'I'm going to try to something innovative, to keep my pre-election promises.' As I was still trying to digest that, I came across this new poll that suggests even Republicans are tired of climate change phonies:

Most surprisingly, given the public statements of their party’s figureheads, 48 percent of Republicans surveyed said they would likely back a candidate interested in fighting global warming. The same percentage of Republicans also said they were less likely to vote for someone who dismissed manmade climate change as “a hoax,” even though 47 percent said they think climate-change-fighting policies will negatively impact the economy.
Could this possibly signal a sea-change in popular attitudes?

This guy might self-identify as an 'independent' but surely he is the kind of voter the GOP has its sights on:

“I don’t think it’s the number one hot issue in the world,” said Jason Becker, a stay-at-home father from Florida who identified himself as an independent. “If someone feels it’s a hoax, they are denying the evidence out there. Many arguments can be made on both sides of the fence. But to ignore it completely indicates a closed-minded individual, and I don’t want a closed-minded individual in a seat of political power.”
Excuse me while I gather bits of my brain from around the room. This could be fantastically good news.

PS. I'll have an update from inside the Great People's Republic of Hellas soon, comrades.


Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 04:25 PM PDT

Harsh mellows

by Athenian

I recommend reading the fairly short links and not relying on the quotes if you want the full hilarity of it all.

A few days ago I clicked on a Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times, by mistake, and found that she had written the following immortal lines:

The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.
Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.
What could go wrong with a bite or two?
I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
This prompted some initial mockery on twitter but the apotheosis was the following.
sarah jeong ‏@sarahjeong  Jun 3
Thomas Friedman eats brownies with his daughter’s roommate at Yale
Expand      Reply  Retweet  Favorite   More
 sarah jeong ‏@sarahjeong  Jun 3
Reminds me of the last time I visited Thailand. What a country! What a place! Full of life, and moisture, like this brownie
 View conversation      Reply  Retweet  Favorite   More
 sarah jeong ‏@sarahjeong  Jun 3
Kids these days don’t eat brownies like we used to in the old days. The brownies of our time were unicycles. These brownies are tricycles
 View conversation      Reply  Retweet  Favorite   More
 sarah jeong ‏@sarahjeong  Jun 3
But tricycles are obsolete. Or are they? One thing I’ve learned from my many travels that obsolete is the new cutting edge.
 View conversation      Reply  Retweet  Favorite   More
I nearly cried laughing but considered the episode closed. Then today I was reading Paul Krugman and came across this:
JUN 5 4:09 AM     23
Libelous (Trivial)
But funny.

The Guardian riffs off Maureen Dowd’s high in Colorado column, and does the rest of the team.

But I would never, ever snort Aderall. True, I was tempted to try the snuff offered at All Souls last night over claret, but in the end I didn’t inhale.

The twitter collection above seems to have been Sarah Jeong's first draft of her piece today in the Guardian that Paul Krugman refers to above:

Ross Douthat is on psilocybin mushrooms when he first sees pictures of Rihanna at the CFDA Fashion Awards

When a country loses its moral compass, an unbearable vertigo plagues our every step. Can you feel that? The newspapers and television stations remain fixated on the tawdry, glittering spectacle of this Rihanna – a songstress who has likely never even heard of St Augustine – even as the gravitational pull of the universe warps around me like a pulsating cocoon entirely absent of light.

Two things got me in all this. One was seeing the joke play out in real time and the
other was the apprehension I felt about reading whatever the NYT might say about the incredibly important experiment taking place in Colorado.

OK, it was the first. Poetry in motion, internet!


Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM PDT

Do the rich have a plan?

by Athenian

We've been told that Plutistan (those worth more than a million) increased its population by one million last year, bringing it to 12 million, with a combined worth of over 50 trillion. To put that in perspective, Plutistan could easily pay for the US military out of its income  and NASA out of the change it found behind the cushions.

I was talking to a friend tonight, who is generally off the grid, very law abiding (yes, I know that may seem like a non sequitur, especially since since she is Greek) who asked the very simple question.

What do they want?

Continue Reading
So far relatively peaceful. All pics from Twitter.

A year ago the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate won the presidential election in Egypt. The contest was initially a fourway and went down to a runoff between Morsi (the eventual winner) and the Armed Forces candidate. Those opposed to the choice of Islamist or Army rule sat the election out. Morsi since then has gathered power to himself and his party, virtually freezing out the young who had led the Revolution and imposing more and more authoritarianism.

Morsi has failed to unify the country or to revive the moribund economy and today's protests are bringing together a coalition vastly larger than his just his political opponents.

Here is a link to a video from the Tamarod (Rebels) detailing what they think it is all about):


Turkish anti-riot police are brutally trying to suppress protests in Istanbul, Turkey against the destruction of the city's last remaining green space in order to build yet another mall. They are specifically targeting journalists. From around the web, twitter and FB:

We Need Help #occupygezi
An appeal to my international friends. We need your help.

Here is why: International and local media is either ignoring or downplaying the excessive police force used on the peaceful demonstrators opposing the cutting of trees in ‘Taksim Gezi Parki’ in order to build a shopping mall. People sitting there with there books to protest cutting trees are teargassed, shot with plastic bullets and watered down.World needs to know that this is no small incident caused by two idiotic protesters: However, people from all walks of life regardless of religious or political beliefs are in ‘Taksim Gezi Park.’

Here is how you can help:

1- If you are on twitter please use #DirenGezi to draw more media attention to what is happening in ‘Taksim Gezi Park.’
2- You can share this post on your Facebook status to your community and raise awareness to what is escalating here. Maybe it will draw some media attention.
3- You can email this message to your friends and ask them to do the same thing. Maybe some news agency will hear of it… (if you have contacts in media all the better)
4- You can call the Turkish embassy in your country and ask why police is gassing people in Taksim and ask if the country is safe? contact numbers can be found at Maybe some government official will be embarrassed.

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul, injuring scores in the latest violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.
More outrageous police violence against the same Reuters photographer who took the iconic image of the protester in summer dress being sprayed on first day of demos: Gezi Parkı'ndaki direnişin sembolü olan "Kırmızılı Kadın" fotoğrafını çeken Reuters muhabiri Osman Orsal gaz bombası ile başından vurulduktan hemen sonra foto: @selsnmez
Please help get this more noticed.
Continue Reading

Changed title and edited to correct a misapprehension.

Good Moorrrniiing America. The latest Associated Press-GfK poll has Obama up 52 to 37 among all adults and an approval rating also over fifty. Their likely voter screen makes the race a statistical heat, giving Obama just a one point lead, so the importance of GOTV cannot be overstated.

Still, 10% among registered voters? Wow! And this was before the famous video.

Buoyed by good mojo coming out of last month's national political conventions, Obama's approval rating is back above 50 percent for the first time since May, and the share of Americans who think the country is moving in the right direction is at its highest level since just after the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.


The poll results vividly underscore the importance that turnout will play in determining the victor in Campaign 2012: Among all adults, Obama has a commanding lead, favored by 52 percent of Americans to just 37 percent for Romney. Yet among those most likely to vote, the race is drum tight.

Do you think it is reasonable to have a 10 point lead among RVs and only a 1 point among LVs?

In any case, good news to wake up to.


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