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us_drones_no_waterboarding_we_only_kill_them_cartoonHow in Jeebus’ name can you write an article that refers to drone strikes and completely fail to mention civilian casualties??

The CIA is believed to have conducted more than 350 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, killing hundreds of al-Qaida-aligned fighters. [……]

Well, heck, nothing wrong with killing all those scary brown terrorists…  Nothing to see here…

For those of you who are actually interested in the full picture, instead of a sanitized passing reference that protects military leaders from (gasp) getting the vapors:

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a pair of reports in October fiercely criticizing the secrecy that shrouds the administration’s drone program, and calling for investigations into the deaths of drone victims with no apparent connection to terrorism. In Pakistan alone, [The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit,] estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed.

But it’s ok, because Obama is totally, seriously, put out of sorts by all those pesky civilians getting killed:

Barack Obama

This is my “disturbed” face.

Obama recently told The New Yorker that he “wrestle[s]” with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has “a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.”

So… The message is “we’re just doing the same evil shit that they do, so it’s ok”…?
Oh, and Obama also gets  ever-so-“disturbed” when told about the hellfire we accidentally rain down on children.

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions.  … Reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.

Later that day, the CIA attacked again – and levelled another house. It proved another mistake, this time one that killed between five and ten people, all civilians.

Obama was briefed on the civilian casualties almost immediately and was ‘understandably disturbed’.


But don’t worry, if you’re a nice, pleasant, white, Christian, real American, you’re totally safe.  Pinky swear.

In April 2013 a leaked Department of Justice memo outlined the administration’s legal justification for such killings: the US has the right to kill US citizens if they pose an imminent threat, it said. It added that determining a citizen poses an imminent threat ‘does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future’. Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described the memo as a ‘chilling document’.

U – S – A !!

Ezra Klein and I are on the same page:
 I’m a climate pessimist. I don’t believe the United States — or the world — will do nearly enough, nearly fast enough, to hold the rise in temperatures to safe levels. I think we’re fucked. Or, at the least, I think our grandchildren are fucked.

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Journalists can be really cavalier about the words they use:
Neil deGrasse Tyson and the producers of “Cosmos” have been under constant fire from creationists since the very first episode shared the beauty and wonder of our universe without crediting a higher power for any of it.

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I shit you not:

[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is trying to block [a dating] site from being named Mormon Match amid accusations that the term “Mormon” breaches the church’s intellectual property rights.

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cooking-dogI’ve finally found the perfect encapsulation of why I’ve never learned to cook anything.  It captures my myriad overanalytical geek neuroses nicely:

Here is a simple recipe for cooking ground beef. I plucked it randomly out of Google because it looked easy. But right away, it’s filled with things that either require you to already be familiar with cooking or that will send you down endless rabbit holes of additional research. The recipe’s introduction talks about how to pick fresh beef and how you may or may not want slightly fatty beef. But how do you know? What effect does that have on flavor? Is it important? Can it be quantified? How do you make an informed choice about what you want your food to taste like based on these kinds of squiggly, soft parameters? Further, there are steps in the recipe labeled as “optional.” How do you know whether or not you need those steps? What are the parameters defining optional, and what effects on the outcome of the recipe will they have?

Step one says to “film the pan with a little” oil. How much is a little? It says “film,” so does “a little” in conjunction with “film” mean to ensure the entire bottom of the pan is covered in oil? If so, to what depth, exactly? Or does “a little” semantically override “film” and you really only need a few millilitres? If so, how many?

Step two says to “warm the pan over medium to medium-high heat.” Which one is it? What set of initial conditions are we attempting to achieve? “Medium” isn’t a temperature, so exactly how hot should the pan be? How do we know when it’s hot enough? Should we get a thermometer and attempt to measure when the pan has reached thermal equilibrium with the burner beneath it?

Steps three and four are even more problematic. Step three says to break the meat into “several” pieces, but then step four says to “continue breaking the ground meat into smaller and smaller pieces.” Why are these two discrete steps? Is there supposed to be a delay between steps three and four? What constitutes “several” pieces? How do we know when the beef is sufficiently broken up?

And then, worst of all, we have to “sprinkle with salt and any spices”—how much salt? Is there a preferred ratio of salt to beef? And what kind of spices? There’s a tremendous variety available—how are we supposed to know, based on this recipe, which ones to use and in what quantity?

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This strikes me as a very odd thing to say:
Symantec Corp. invented commercial antivirus software… Now the company says such tactics are doomed to failure. Antivirus “is dead,” says Brian Dye, Symantec’s senior vice president for information security. “We don’t think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way.” … That puts Symantec in a pickle. Antivirus and other products that run on individual devices still account for more than 40% of the company’s revenue.

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One thing that always jumps out and bites me every time I see it is the conservative sine qua non: Taxes Are Evil!
There are lots of laws I don’t like — most notably paying taxes — but I follow them because I don’t want to go to jail.
Look, you stupid twit.

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