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If you're a regular reader of Glenn Greenwald's like I am, you may have occasionally come across some rather vicious lies about his character - that he's a right-wing libertarian and that he supported the Iraq War, among others. I don't know where these claims originated, but I've read plenty of blog posts and comments propagating them during the past few years - both on Daily Kos and elsewhere - and I had hoped for a long time that he would write a comprehensive post debunking them.

On Saturday, Glenn responded to each of these lies and others. You may have missed it since he didn't post it in his regular Guardian column, so I obtained his written permission to reprint his response here in its entirety. It's a bit lengthy, and while I think it is more valuable to discuss the actual issues about which Glenn writes on a daily basis (civil liberties, war, government secrecy, the surveillance state, the state of journalism and the mainstream media) rather than attacks on his personal character, I still believe it's well worth reading why particular claims circulated about him are false. I've added a couple of thoughts of my own at the end of the diary.

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It's time for another edition of Name That Kossack, the picture riddle game where a username is worth a thousand words.  You can follow the new Name That Kossack group here.

Here's how it works: I will give you a series of Photoshopped pictures, and based on what you see, you guess the Daily Kos username of the Kossack the picture is referring to.  For example, this:

would be LaughingPlanet.  That's all there is to it: Look at the picture, guess who it is.  The game might make for some good DK4 avatars -- in fact, at least two users seem to think so!

There are 12 picture riddles in this edition.  

Here are the rules:

1. Leave your answers in the body of the comment section.  Do NOT leave them in the subject line.
2. Obviously, you need to be able to view the pictures to play.

Also, here are some helpful hints:

1. The riddles will generally get trickier as you go.
2. Use whatever tools at your disposal (Google, Daily Kos search engine, Wikipedia, Photoshop, etc) to figure the riddles out.
3. This game is first a test of your familiarity with other Daily Kos usernames.  But it's also a test of visual reasoning.  Some pictures may test your knowledge of history, music, popular culture, and other topics.  Again, Google is your friend.
4. Some pictures are designed to be sneaky.  For example, if you see a picture of a bee, that may refer to either the word "bee" or the letter B.
5. When in doubt, spell out what you see and go from there.
6. All pictures were selected to refer to active Daily Kos users who are at least fairly frequent commenters/diarists.  I didn't pick anyone who signed up yesterday or hasn't posted any comments/diaries in five years.
7. Finally, what you don't see in the picture may be just as important as what you do see.

I will update the diary by providing links to the first user(s) who answer each riddle correctly.

Got all that?  Good luck, and have fun!

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It's a simple question, Kossacks: What is the best diary you've ever written?

Okay, I lied.  It's not necessarily a simple question, especially if you've written a lot of diaries.  Or rather, it's perhaps a simple question with a not-so-simple answer.  If you're like me or thousands of other users here, you've spent countless hours writing, editing, crafting, proofreading, and polishing your diaries, and then spent another measure of countless hours responding to others in the comment section.  There are many reasons why a person would apply this kind of time and effort participating on Daily Kos, but if you're like me, I suspect that it's because you enjoy it on some level, or think it's important, or both.  So after all this time on this website, how do you pick which one single diary is the one you believe is your best?  Isn't that a little complicated, like choosing which band you think is the best of all time?

Your best diary -- the one you consider to be better than all others that you've written -- may be the one which garnered the most tips and recs.  Or, it may be related to the political topic that you consider to be the most important.  Or, it may be related to several interconnected political topics.  Or, it may be the one that you feel had the best and most thoughtful responses from the comment section.  Or, it may be the one where you were the first to report on a major story, or broke new information that was not previously discussed.  Or, it may be the one where you felt you made best use of research or historical documents to make a larger point about today.  Or, maybe it was a personal story with which others could identify with your experience.  Or, maybe it had nothing to do with politics at all.

I don't want to complicate things too much -- maybe your answer today is very different from what you would have said three months ago or what you will say three months from now -- so I'll just state that there isn't really a right or wrong answer.  The point is that it's your answer.  Others may disagree with your choice, and that's fine, but there's no one who can really know what you consider to be your best diary except you.

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"We have put Al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done." --President Barack Obama, June 22, 2011

For the past several years, I had often wondered -- as I imagine many others have -- what we might consider "winning" the War in Afghanistan.  The answer has changed depending on whom was asked and when the question was raised.

Was it to defeat Al Qaeda, as the President seems to suggest in the quotation above?  That goal may have been part of the original motivation to invade Afghanistan in the first place, but considering that U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Al Qaeda's presence there was extremely limited even before the escalation of troops in December 2009, it seems far-fetched to believe that Al Qaeda serves as anything except a pretext for our continued use of combat forces, currently slated to withdraw completely by the end of 2014.  Was it to thwart the Taliban's ability to retake control of the central government?  That was one of President Obama's stated objectives in his speech earlier tonight.  But the Taliban has re-established itself in rural areas of the country and, only two years ago, was believed to control up to 80 percent of Afghanistan.

Was it to secure a stable Afghanistan government that could ensure security and democracy for its citizens?  President Hamid Karzai's government has been steeped in corruption, whether by fixing elections or running interference for financial criminals.  Was it to eliminate the threat of terrorism and ensure the safety of Americans?  More than 1,600 U.S. soldiers have died since the war began; thousands more suffered life-altering injuries; and while the United States government is still funding billions of dollars to fight the War on Drugs both at home and in Afghanistan, thousands upon thousands of Americans continue to be locked up in prison and see their rights stripped away for drug crimes.

The answer that is offered to the question of victory in Afghanistan usually involves some or all of those elements listed above.  Such is the nature of an incredibly complex foreign policy problem that has been boiling for a long time.  I've come to the conclusion that "winning" in Afghanistan is not a nebulous concept with many different answers, but a question without an answer.  I no longer ask what is the definition of victory in Afghanistan because it has no definition.

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It's time for another edition of Name That Kossack, the picture riddle game where a username is worth a thousand words.

Here's how it works: I will give you a series of Photoshopped pictures, and based on what you see, you guess the Daily Kos username of the Kossack the picture is referring to.  For example, this:

would be LaughingPlanet.  That's all there is to it: Look at the picture, guess who it is.  The game might make for some good DK4 avatars -- in fact, at least two users seem to think so!

There are 12 picture riddles in this edition (with a bonus riddle by someone other than yours truly!).  

Here are the rules:

1. Leave your answers in the body of the comment section.  Do NOT leave them in the subject line.
2. Obviously, you need to be able to view the pictures to play.

Also, here are some helpful hints:

1. The riddles will generally get trickier as you go.
2. Use whatever tools at your disposal (Google, Daily Kos search engine, Wikipedia, Photoshop, etc) to figure the riddles out.
3. This game is first a test of your familiarity with other Daily Kos usernames.  But it's also a test of visual reasoning.  Some pictures may test your knowledge of history, music, popular culture, and other topics.  Again, Google is your friend.
4. Some pictures are designed to be sneaky.  For example, if you see a picture of a bee, that may refer to either the word "bee" or the letter B.
5. When in doubt, spell out what you see and go from there.
6. All pictures were selected to refer to active Daily Kos users who are at least fairly frequent commenters/diarists.  I didn't pick anyone who signed up yesterday or hasn't posted any comments/diaries in five years.
7. Finally, what you don't see in the picture may be just as important as what you do see.

I will update the diary by providing links to the first user(s) who answer each riddle correctly.

Got all that?  Good luck, and have fun!

************************************

Continue Reading

It's time for another edition of Name That Kossack, the picture riddle game where a username is worth a thousand words.

Here's how it works: I will give you a series of Photoshopped pictures, and based on what you see, you guess the Daily Kos username of the Kossack the picture is referring to.  For example, this:

would be LaughingPlanet.  That's all there is to it: Look at the picture, guess who it is.  The game might make for some good DK4 avatars -- in fact, at least two users seem to think so!

There are 12 picture riddles in this edition.  

Here are the rules:

1. Leave your answers in the body of the comment section.  Do NOT leave them in the subject line.
2. Obviously, you need to be able to view the pictures to play.

Also, here are some helpful hints:

a) The riddles will generally get trickier as you go.
b) Use whatever tools at your disposal (Google, Daily Kos search engine, Photoshop, etc) to figure the riddles out.
c) Some pictures may test your knowledge of history, music, popular culture, and other topics.  Again, Google is your friend.
d) Some pictures are designed to be sneaky.  For example, if you see a picture of a bee, that may refer to either the word "bee" or simply the letter B.
e) When in doubt, spell out what you see and go from there.
f) All pictures were selected to refer to active Daily Kos users who are at least fairly frequent commenters/diarists.  I didn't pick anyone who signed up yesterday or hasn't posted any comments/diaries in 5 years.  You don't have to be familiar with the users in question to solve the riddles, but it helps.
g) Finally, what you don't see in the picture may be just as important as what you do see.

I will update the diary by providing links to the first user(s) who answer each riddle correctly.

You can play a previous edition of this game here.

Got all that?  Good luck, and have fun!

************************************

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If you've ever sat down to watch one YouTube video, you've no doubt spent a lot of time watching several.  Ever since it launched, YouTube has grown into a monolith of the digital media and social networking age.  ComScore estimates that between August 2009 and August 2010, the average web surfer spent approximately four to four-and-a-half hours watching YouTube videos each month, or eight to nine minutes every single day (Website Monitoring estimates the average at 15 minutes a day).  But have you ever wondered just how big the YouTube space really is?

I thought it might be a fun little exercise to contemplate the theoretical boundaries and mathematical possibilities of YouTube.   A brief review of YouTube's impact on the internet since its inception in 2005 is a fascinating glimpse into a gigantic and as yet undiscovered universe.

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Welcome to Meta Monday, a forum where I like to complain about some of my least favorite Daily Kos trends and functions.

Today's edition will be something for DK4's Cranky Users, where I focus on one of my newest and greatest enemies on this website to date: The DK4 Save & Preview Button!

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Last Thursday, I decided to highlight a few diaries related to civil liberties and human rights that I thought were quite good but didn't receive that much discussion following publication.  I've decided to provide another edition this week, particularly because the topic of torture has resurfaced amid the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Once again, I've picked out a few key passages from these diaries that cogently describe the human rights challenges in American domestic and foreign policy, but I encourage you to read each of them in their entirety.

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When I was in high school, there was a group of guys who used to torment me mercilessly.  I never once got into a physical altercation with them, but they did just about everything else that could make an adolescent's life miserable -- verbal abuse, crank calls late at night, threats, and constant ridicule about my appearance to my athletic ability to my group of friends to my teenage crushes.  They were so persistent in their attitude and I grew so fed up with it that one day I exploded at them in a rage, stopping short of actually throwing a fist but scaring just about everyone in class.  Save for the meeting in the principal's office where I offered a rather tepid apology for that episode, I have not had any interaction with them since.

A few months ago, I found out that one of them died.  He was 28.

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I have a fun little story to share with you: Someone very special in the Daily Kos community has been mentioned in today's New York Times, but it's not in the way you might think.  In fact, it's in the coolest little way possible.

Today's NYT crossword puzzle has this clue:

18-Across.  Event held on January 26, 1986 (11 letters)

I'll give you a hint: The answer really speaks to me, but really, the answer is speaking to you.

Take your time.

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Give up?

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There were a few excellent diaries written this past week that I wanted to highlight for their incisive and informative analysis of issues pertaining to civil liberties and human rights abuses.  Judging by the small number of comments in each of them, these diaries have received only a small amount of attention by the community to date, but I think they're very much worth reading.  I've picked out a few key passages that illustrate the challenges surrounding the war on terror and our government's response to it, but I strongly recommend reading each of them in their entirety.

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