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Longwood Gardens. Photos by joanneleon. January, 2013







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Algeria crisis: 'Captors and hostages die in assault'

Algerian troops have ended a siege at a gas facility in the Sahara desert killing 11 Islamist militants after they killed seven hostages, Algerian state news agency APS has said.

The hostages were summarily killed as the troops tried to free them, it said.

A memorial service for Aaron Swartz will be held today at 4pm in New York City.  It will be livestreamed at the memorial web site and at DemocracyNow.
Democracy Now! Livestream of Aaron Swartz Public Memorial Service at Cooper Union

This Saturday Democracy Now! will provide a special livestream as family and friends of Aaron Swartz gather at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in New York City to celebrate his life and remember their beloved friend, sibling, child, and partner.

Speakers include Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, David Segal, Ben Wikler, Roy Singham, Doc Searls, Edward Tufte, David Isenberg, Holden Karnofsky and Tom Chiarella and other friends.  OK Go’s Damian Kush will be performing at the service

About The Great Hall at Cooper Union

The Great Hall of The Cooper Union has stood for more than a century as a bastion of free speech and a witness to the flow of American History and ideas. When the hall opened in 1858, more than a year in advance of the completion of the institution, it quickly became a mecca for all interested in serious discussion and debate of the vital issues of the day.

The Great Hall was the platform for some of the earliest workers' rights campaigns and for the birth of the NAACP, the women's suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. To the Great Hall's podium has come a pageant of famous Americans — rebels and reformers, poets and presidents. Before they were elected, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama all spoke there. Besides Woodrow Wilson, only one incumbent president has spoken in the Great Hall: William Jefferson Clinton, who, on May 12, 1993, delivered a major economic address on reducing the federal deficit. And, during the past century's times of tremendous upheaval, it was through meetings in Cooper's famous auditorium that the politics and legislation necessary to build a humane city took shape.

The Great Hall is located in The Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues.

Aaron Swartz's father on U.S. attorneys: 'They destroyed my son'

When Aaron Swartz was 3, he taught himself to read. When he was 4 or 5, he could read the New York Times, his father says.

When Aaron was 14, he invented the software behind RSS, the information distribution service. Five years later, he started a project that would turn into Web news and entertainment behemoth Reddit.

And in an interview with the Los Angeles Times from Chicago on Thursday, Bob Swartz said his son "was hounded to his death by a system and a set of attorneys that still don’t understand the nature of what they did. And they destroyed my son by their callousness and inflexibility.”

RFK, Jr. and Sam Seder: Drone Strikes, Torture Unequivocally Un-American

The following is a transcript of an upcoming discussion between Sam Seder and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the un-American use of torture and drone strikes by American forces.  The full discussion will be aired this weekend on Ring of Fire.

The Philadelphia School District is moving to a lottery-based kindergarten registration system for Penn Alexander School in West Philadelphia, one of the city's most sought-after neighborhood schools.

Officials made the decision Friday after 70 parents - with tents, chairs, takeout food, and an RV, and with one erecting a temporary structure complete with plywood floors and insulation - were ready to camp out for four cold days before registration was to begin Tuesday morning.


Liza Law was at her desk at Penn's Wharton School, where she is IT director, Friday morning when she heard rumors the line was forming.

She ran out the door, taking the rest of the day off. She had formulated an extensive plan, involving food and phones and tents and child-care handoffs. Trading places in line throughout the weekend would be her parents, who live nearby, her sister and brother-in-law, who live in New York, and her husband.

Law was No. 62 in line, a spot she said might not guarantee her child a place. There were 72 kindergarten spaces this year, but children with special education plans and those in Head Start programs get first dibs.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

Evening Blues

Defending our existence

John Cornyn Asks Eric Holder if Aaron Swartz Prosecuted because of FOIA Requests

Was Aaron Swartz’ Effort to FOIA Bradley Manning’s Treatment Why DOJ Treated Him So Harshly?

The Six Week Delay in the Swartz Investigation

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Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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