We support VA chief Shinseki He may be an easy target but he is not the source of current Veterans Affairs problems. As stated by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, “He is determined, focused and wants to factually understand a problem so he can get a sensible solution.” He is a soft-spoken soldier who does not pound the table or raise his voice. In 2003 he stood up to Rumsfeld when he said thousands more troops would be needed to secure postwar Iraq. For that he lost his job but not his integrity. We do not want a competent and honest man to be replaced with a glad-hand politician.
We're shocked that 275 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by militants. We realize politics there are extremely turbulent, but it's unconscionable for children to be used as bargaining chips. We support the protesting >Nigerians that demand more government and military attention in this matter!
It's cool large websites are ignoring gag requests on government subpoenas. However, we realize they only do so because not appearing to collude with government overreach happens to benefit their marketability (particularly overseas). Furthermore, this doesn't affect the most opaque of government requests: court-ordered FISA requests and executive NSLs. That's why we, private citizens, will continue pressing for Congress to remedy this.
RIP Al Feldstein The activists of the 60’s got their early exposure to satire and inept government from the pages of Mad Magazine. Al cared about humor, kids and country and he made a difference.
We believe in the budding and coming revolution of the sharing economy. "This collaborative rather than capitalistic approach is about shared access rather than private ownership...Millions of people are using social media sites, redistribution networks, rentals and cooperatives to share not only cars but also homes, clothes, tools, toys and other items at low or near zero marginal cost."
We're 100% for personal expression. That said, if anyone's gonna call Obama un-Presidential for his Two Ferns interview, they better be calling Dubya's amateur painting exhibition downright anti-Presidential! 50 more years down this road and ex-Presidents will be showcasing their coloring book work!
We’re gonna miss you Dave! You've kept us entertained for years and we wish you the best in your retirement. We agree with Mayor Garcetti and >Los-Angelenos that CBS should create the next iteration of the Late Show in Los Angeles.
America's congress, a sad but true April Fool (from Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader)
We need to stop long-term solitary confinement. As Americans, we're above torturing prisoners in this brutal way. It just feeds a cycle of violent behavior and a culture of punitive destruction that ends up making its way onto streets and local precincts. It's just another way being tough on crime has not only backfired, but turned us from the values this country is founded upon.
The 'Girls' finale was a great way to end a great season! (And we're still hoping to find Marnie's entire 'What I Am' video somewhere.)
Obama's termination of the NSA's bulk phone metadata collection is a significant step forward! We're relieved to see it happen. However, the greater problem goes on: that there is little transparency or oversight of the FISC and other secret powers granted by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Fixing that is how we repair our damaged democracy.
Season 1 finale of True Detective was a let down. We want answers, not philosophy! For that, we can just re-watch Season 7 of LOST.
Putin's aggression against >Ukrainians continues to undermine his oft-repeated claim that >Russians play by the international rules. Which just validates our own sidestepping of treaty and protocol. All of which concerns us because it may be setting the region up for a destructive confrontation. Hopefully Ukrainians can find a middle ground between Western and Russian alignment.
Good job, kids! Keep it up!
Programming languages are not foreign languages, just as mathematics, sheet music, and art are not foreign languages. Specifically, programming languages don't have anywhere near the expressive power of natural languages, nor are they formed by thousands of years of cultural history. Kids need to become computer literate, no question about that. But this shouldn't come at the expense of exposure to foreign cultures. In fact, we need to ensure our kids are getting more exposure to other cultures, as the globe becomes smaller and smaller.
We must not ignore the >North-Koreans.
Nothing on Earth compares to the horrifying scale of inhumanity there, and the extent of oppression and despair that render them incapable of revolution. We must not mistake their inaction for satisfaction with their condition. As free people in the most powerful country on Earth, it is *our* duty to come to their aid.
Michael Kirby of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in DPRK, summed up the imperative: "At the end of the second world war, so many people said, 'If only we had known. If only we had known the wrongs that were done...' Well now, the international community does know. There will be no excusing a failure of action."
For starters, let's pressure our government to hold the >Chinese accountable for abetting this regime. Let's support NGOs, such as LibertyInNorthKo
Jimmy Fallon’s debut as host of “The Tonight Show.” We love his energy. His talent comes from the heart. What an opening night! Congratulations Jimmy!
House of Cards keeps getting better. Smart, thrilling, takes no shortcuts--or prisioners! Thanks for the binge, Netflix.
"We are, after all, connected."
We're dismayed by Justin Cater's prosecution. It's another example of disproportionate prosecution of online activity in the tradition of Aaron Schwartz as well as online bullies who face no consequences whatsoever. Sure his remarks were crude when taken out of context, but that's not a requirement of the First Amendment. DA's need to familiarize themselves with digital rights and culture to properly calibrate their charges, or we'll be voting them out of office!
We wholeheartedly support this day of action against NSA surveillance. https://thedaywe
NBC, keep The Michael J Fox Show on the air! It has a great mix of comedy, from the smart and subtle to the wacky and offbeat, while also managing to endear. It's worth taking a chance on and is so much better than that spastic caricature-driven melo-comedy on other networks.
It was an impressively beautiful opening ceremony, projecting the high culture and artistry of Russia more than their international power (risked life of 11-year-old notwithstanding). On a stage like this, it's understandable that they presented Soviet-era brutality in very abstract terms. But even in those terms, some of the scenes were very utilitarian, cold and almost unhuman, making them some of the darkest in recent Olympics opening ceremony performances. Overall, fine job, >Russians.
We find the treatment of gays in Russia horrifying. (See attached video.) This is not a civil society. This is a backward-looking society that refuses to accept reality of any kind. It doesn't look like this will change anytime soon. The struggle for equality continues in America, and the gains currently achieved were hard-won. But with proactive government opposition, it seems the struggle will be much harder in Russia. The only recourse may unfortunately be to wait for the culture of the >Russians that champions conformity and nationalism to reach some self-destructive extreme, after which the pendulum of civility can swing back the other way.
Farewell (again) to Jay Leno! We'll remember him fondly as somewhat conniving and somewhat funny. Until next time (we say farewell) Jay!
This is going to be one *interesting* Olympics.
We call for Coca-Cola, General Electric, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa, all sponsors of the International Olympic Committee, to take a stand against Russian anti-LGBT law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” We praise AT&T for acknowledging that "Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society."
Start of the 3rd and the only interesting, exciting thing so far has been Bruno Mars and RHCP def...original
The game itself was lopsided. The halftime show might have saved the whole event after all.
And those who don't vaccinate are freeloaders! They selfishly benefit from the effort of othe...original
Non-vaccinators should pay an annual penalty. This issue should be treated the same way healthcare coverage is treated. When individuals choose not to buy healthcare coverage, the odds increase that the public will have to pick up the tab for any healthcare costs they incur (e.g. ER visits) which are usually much higher than if they had preventative care. (This accountability principle was upheld by the right-leaning SCOTUS, so let's not devolve this vox into a conversation about Obamacare.) Along those lines, parents who opt-out of child vaccination would be required to pay a hefty annual penalty approximately equal to the healthcare costs they place on the public. It's only fair and responsible.
We're a day away from the greatest event in sports. This is going to be one of those match ups that could go down in Super Bowl history. The Broncos' high scoring offense vs. the Seahawks' top rated defense. Throw in a little Peyton Manning and Richard Seymour in the mix. All this hype and hoopla sandwiched between a Bruno Mars halftime show. Really? C'mon man!
SNAP! Christie (that Obama-lover) ain't gonna weasel his way out of this one. Someone buy Wildstein a beer--he's wild and deserves a stein!
Any >san-francisco-49ers hurt that they lost to the >seattle-seahawks better get over it real soon, because the >denver-broncos are definitely going to get steam-rolled at the Super Bowl. Top defense wins. Statistics don't lie. Also, Seattle has better doctors, apparently. Which just further proves... something about doctors.
Obama's speech was a joke! He just rattles off a lot of agreeable sounding empty promises that he has no intention of meeting. Somehow, ignorant >liberals find that nonsense eloquent. We think it's just part of his smoke and mirrors campaign to placate the country while he shreds the Constitution. He has no respect for America and he needs to be impeached!
We hope Super Bowl tourists check out all the great activities going on in New Jersey! Forget Manhattan, Broadway, yada-yada, we have hospitality coming out of our ears! Check out the New Jersey Hall of Fame in Newark! And catch some rays on our world famous shores! Go Jersey!
We're ready for the SOTU!
"Flipped learning" is an interesting teaching idea that warrants more attention. Making videos available for home study will help in situations where the textbook is too dry or doesn't provide the broader context the teacher desires. This can also justify the tablet investment that administrators seem obsessed with making (mentioned recently by the >parents). While we don't think it can replace in-person lessons, we applaud creative experimentation like this.
We're disturbed by the weekend's violence in Egypt, as documented by many reports of military and mob violence targeted at >egyptians protesting the government, as well as at foreign reporters. It seems to us like the pro-military camp prefers absolute social order to a democratic republic, and we can't help but feel that's a short-term solution with severe long-term costs. We hope trust can be rebuilt so a new democratic attempt can be undertaken.
Should we believe what the chairman of the House of Intelligence Committee is saying? Did Snowden actually end up in the "loving arms of an FSB agent in Moscow?" I don't think so. I smell diversion.
We welcome Obama's remarks but more must be done. His speech struck us, mainly throughout the first half, as cluttered with rhetoric, deflection, and rationalization. Eventually, he rattled off a slew of Presidential directives and orders (more internal oversight and restrictions, annual internal reviews to declassify information and address private and foreign interests, and time limits on NSL gag orders and storage of foreign citizen data). We give him some credit for these executive orders, but they're flimsy. They can be rescinded at any time, by Obama or successive Presidents. So we demand Congress resolve this permanently, and affirm a commitment to prevent similar crises in the future. Our trust in government rests largely on our ability to hold Congress accountable, so we take any action that inhibits accountability as a manipulative, abusive affront to democracy. We want oversight, because oversight motivates restraint. And as technology continues to amplify the effects of these transgressions, in questionable cases we prefer our government errs on the side of transparency rather than secrecy, as we accept that a free and open society fundamentally entails risks to our physical safety. So Obama's most important statements were in this very spirit. We look forward to the replacement metadata collection program he intends to take to Congress, and on his call for them to create an independent civilian panel to argue significant cases in FISC. We expect Congress to go further, not only to strengthen oversight and other checks on existing programs, but also to institute a general oversight framework for *any* secret powers granted now or in the future (we cannot know that all such secrecy has already been made public). An American once wisely said, "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Today, five years later, he outlined a few steps his administration is taking to uphold that.
We're absolutely disgusted by Ohio's execution experiment that led to what can only be described as cruel and unusual punishment. "According to a pool report from journalists who witnessed the execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, McGuire took more than 15 minutes to die and made 'several loud snorting or snoring sounds.”
We >americans all must be tired of hearing revelations about the N.S.A. spying tactics. But, what will it take for us as americans to deny these shadow powers unfettered access with virtual impunity from the public, and the world at large? "The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target."
Senators, you need-a calm down. We all remain skeptical of Iran, particularly because it's not clear why, after 30 years of provocation and sanctions, they suddenly want to negotiate. (We'd love from the >iranians about this.) How could things have changed so significantly in the last six months? Their election of a new president would not seem to account for this, since he's still subject to the same Supreme Leader who's been in power for the last 25 years. That said, the diplomatic path is far better than the military path. The threat by most Senators right now to increase sanctions portends violent repercussions. It amounts to spanking a child right after he cleaned up his room. We do not want to see what a nuclear-armed temper tantrum looks like. So, Senators, we appreciate the skepticism but cool your jets. And, President, you must convince us (during your State of the Union?) that you and Kerry understand our deep skepticism and are negotiating with vigilance.
What do you guys think of iPad's in the classroom? Does it really improve or hinder teaching?...original
Classroom iPads will do more harm than good. While we think that it's important to keep pace with technology and to provide a "test bed" for educational software developers, large-scale iPad rollouts are bound to carry impossible expectations and create headaches for educators and students. As a "magical" piece of technology, it would seem the iPad could be the panacea that cures all educational ills. This naive impression can justify enormous capital outlay. But the fact is, they are simply electrified books and pencils. It's on teachers to creatively weave them into lessons, which seems problematic since many teachers barely understand tablets or computers themselves. Students, on the other hand, will never cease to devise ways to break any restrictions on the devices. This will lead to lackluster results and mobs of taxpayers with pitchforks roaming the streets. Physical books and pencils will likely be displaced by electronic devices in the future, so it's important that we consider them in education today. But the magic is in careful, even restrained, integration of their capabilities into the classroom. And much more research into this needs to be done before much can be expected from them. Small experimental classroom rollouts, overseen very closely by teams of educational technology specialists, seem to us to be the appropriate next step.