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This Day in History


Breakfast News


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Vladimir Putin must be called to account on surveillance just like Obama

On Thursday, I questioned Russia's involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: "Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals' communications?"

I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.

The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden's question and mine here.)

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Police: Vice principal rescued from Korean ferry found hanged

The vice principal rescued from the doomed South Korean ferry has been found hanged, Korean police said Friday.

Out of the ferry's 475 passengers, 325 had been second year high school students from Danwon High School in Ansan, about 20 miles south of Seoul. They were on a four-day trip to the island of Jeju, a popular South Korean tourist destination.

The vice principal was identified only by his surname, Kang. He was on the island of Jindo, where rescued passengers had taken shelter. A police officer said he was hanging from a tree.

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Pope Francis washes the feet of disabled people as part of Easter celebrations

he washing of feet was a radical act in Jesus' time. It is no less radical in the modern era, with Pope Francis' decision to break with the long-standing papal tradition of washing only priests' feet, to include women and non-Christians in the symbolic ceremony.

The controversy began on Holy Thursday last year when Pope Francis washed the feet of two women and two Muslims at a juvenile detention center in Rome. Before this, modern Popes had only ever washed the feet of 12 priests at the Vatican, during the Mass for the Last Supper.

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Opposition cries fraud in Algerian election

The main opposition candidate in Algeria's presidential elections cried foul late Thursday night hours after voting ended, alleging massive fraud and vowing to reject any results announced.

Ali Benflis told supporters at his headquarters that preliminary information indicated fraud on a grand scale with grave irregularities across the country.

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Iran mother spares son’s killer from hanging on gallows

When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Minutes earlier, crowds had watched as guards pushed him towards the gallows for what was meant to be yet another public execution in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran. In a literal application of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim’s family were to participate in Balal’s punishment by pushing away the chair on which he stood.

But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China. The victim’s mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son’s killer. The victim’s father removed the noose and Balal’s life was spared.

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Guantánamo trial judge orders CIA to account for treatment of detainee
A judge overseeing the trials of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay has ordered the CIA to turn over details of its treatment of a detainee in one of its secret prisons, a watershed ruling that sets the stage for the military commissions to learn much more than the US public about the agency’s brutal interrogations.

While the ruling is still sealed, Judge James Pohl, an army colonel, issued the order on Monday for the CIA to produce a detailed account of its detention and interrogation of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is charged with orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 US sailors.

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Appeals court hears challenge to Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage

A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

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Who, What, Why: Why is Good Friday called Good Friday?

According to the Bible, the son of God was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death. It's difficult to see what is "good" about it.

Some sources suggest that the day is "good" in that it is holy, or that the phrase is a corruption of "God's Friday".

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Kittens Packed Into Cardboard Box, Shipped to Cable Company

Two newborn kittens are recovering at a Humane Society facility after they were accidentally packed into a cardboard box in Los Angeles and shipped to a cable company in San Diego.

A veteran warehouse employee at a Cox Communications office in San Diego discovered the vagrant kittens April 4 after opening up a fiberglass delivery from Hollywood, Calif., according to Kelli Schry, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Humane Society.

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Newly discovered Earth-like planet holds 'possibility'

Scientists have discovered the most Earth-like planet ever found in another solar system, which may potentially hold liquid water.

The rocky planet is named Kepler 186f and is part of a five-planet system nestled in the Milky Way.

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Child bullying victims still suffering at 50 - study

Children who are bullied can still experience negative effects on their physical and mental health more than 40 years later, say researchers from King's College London.

Their study tracked 7,771 children born in 1958 from the age of seven until 50.

Those bullied frequently as children were at an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and more likely to report a lower quality of life at 50.

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Must Read Blog Posts


It is the right of every human being to choose their gender

Matt Taibbi on Democracy Now

Will Illegality of Nashiri Torture Get Exposed?
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The Daily Wiki



Oligarchy

Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning "few", and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning "to rule or to command")[1][2][3] is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.

Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich,[4] for which the exact term is plutocracy. However, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.

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Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac


"I would faint."

Gov. Ann Richards, when asked by a reporter: 'But what would you do if the Legislature passed a bill repealing the death penalty?'

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Breakfast Tunes



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Stupid Shit by LaEscapee

The President can catch a Softball

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