Chart of the day– Radiation

Got this link via Ezra Klein.  So cool.  Just click to go to the large version.  Basically, tells you the radiation dosage for various things.  Who knew living in Colorado was like getting an arm x-ray everyday.

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Life in George Bush’s America

To Obama’s great shame, he has done woefully little to walk back the worst national security excesses of the Bush administration.  This is a great/depressing example:

Abe Mashal, a 31-year-old dog trainer from St. Charles, says FBI agents told him he ended up on the government’s no-fly list because he exchanged e-mails with a Muslim cleric they were monitoring.

The topic: How to raise his children in an interfaith household.

Mashal said he has never had any links to terror or terrorists and is a “patriotic,” honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran.

He found out he’d been flagged last April, when he tried to board a flight to Spokane, Wash., to train dogs for a client. Since then, his family members and friends have been questioned, and he said he has lost business because he isn’t allowed to fly.

Mashal is one of 17 plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union over the list.

FBI agents questioned him at Midway Airport, then at his home. Finally, he was summoned to a hotel in Schaumburg, where more FBI agents told him he’d been placed on the no-fly list because of an e-mail he had sent to an imam — a Muslim cleric — whom they’d been watching.

Mashal said he had sought the imam’s advice about raising children in a mixed-religion household. Mashal is Muslim; his wife is Christian.

He said the agents offered to get him off the list — if he would become an undercover informant at mosques. He refused and said he feels he was being blackmailed.

“I feel like I’m living in communist Russia, not the United States of America, for someone to jump into my life like that,” he said.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces the no-fly list, wouldn’t comment. In October, Homeland Security sent Mashal a letter saying that it had reviewed his file and that “it has been determined that no changes or corrections are warranted at this time.”

Assuming this man is telling the truth, and from what we know about these things, there’s no reason to believe he’s not, this is just sad and pathetic.

 

Times paywall

So, you probably heard that heavy users of the New York Times on-line are going to need to start paying at least $15/month for a digital subscription soon (nice summary in the Guardian).  Count me in.  Whatever its flaws, and they are many, the Times produces the greatest depth and breadth of any journalistic organization in America.  The Post is just as solid on domestic politics, but for the entire package, nothing comes close.  It’s not clear to me why that should be free.  It’s not like on-line ads come anywhere close to generating the kind of revenue needed to support this kind of journalism.   I’ll happily cough up the $15, because the truth is, Times coverage is worth more than all the sources you can get for free.  Not to mention, as much as I love the Post– the paper I grew up on– I have to say I hate their recent re-design.  It’s definitely caused me to head to the Times homepage more often of late.

Survey says… no.

Story about haley Barbour in the Post today is about how despite all his liabilities, just maybe he could become president.  The headline reads: “Could Barbour break the mold?”  Ummm… No.  I guess all the Republican candidates deserve their profile, but let’s not pretend Barbour really has a chance.  Heck, the author certainly seems to understand why he doesn’t:

Say you were a political party on the upswing, looking for the ideal candidate to defeat a president who had been elected on hope, change and the chance to make history.

Probably not high on your list would be: 1) a former lobbyist who made millions carrying water for tobacco companies, the oil industry and foreign governments; 2) the governor of a state ranked at or near the bottom in pretty much every measure of its residents’ well-being; and 3) a beefy southerner who kept a confederate flag autographed by Jefferson Davis in his office and who has a Delta drawl as thick as Karo syrup.

The article goes on to list his many strengths– connections, experience, the weakness of the field, etc.– but that preceding paragraph really tells you all you need to know.  This man does not get elected president in any U.S. that I recognize.

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