When Paul launched his political career three years ago, he was viewed in much the same way as his father, or, as Senator John McCain once called him, a “wacko bird.” He was identified with the same marginal issues (drug legalization, neo-isolationism) and the same marginal constituencies (anarchists, goldbugs). But this year, Paul has emerged as a serious candidate. He has started actively campaigning for the nomination earlier than any of the other Republicans mulling a run. Already, he has racked up multiple meet-and-greets, dinners, and coffee gatherings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. While his father may have been an also-ran, national polls show Rand Paul as one of the top contenders for the GOP nomination.
In private, Paul has been meeting with key GOP power brokers, including the Koch brothers, and he has courted techies at Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, and eBay.
I’m getting a strong feeling of “Germany” looking at this photo. That blue road sign with an arrow closely resembles examples of German road signs I found online. I suppose it could be France or Estonia, but the architecture keeps me leaning towards Germany – as does the graffiti in the lower-right corner of the frame. I have no idea where in Germany, though, so I’m going to guess somewhere outside Hanover.
My sister had surgery in the Stanford University hospital ten years ago and when I looked at this week’s contest the red tile roofs and adobe colored buildings yelled out to me that this must be somewhere on the Stanford campus. Maybe student housing – lots of small buildings without too many cars. If I wasn’t six hours away I might even go drive around and try to find the exact location, but I’ll leave Google street view for someone who likes computer time more than I do and go back out to my garden.
I’m just shooting in the dark, but the architecture seems prosperously Eastern European, as does the signage. Lubljana, Slovenia?
First off, I was on vacation the first time you had a Luxembourg location, in Differdange (or was it Dudelange?), the famous one that nobody was even close to guessing. Since I had driven down the very street where that picture was taken just a day before leaving on that vacation, it was a bit agonizing to find out about missing the contest that week.
Analysis this week: First, Luxembourg is a tricky location because there is no Google street view, for whatever reason. But the geography and the lush, almost temperate-rain-forest vegetation makes this clearly in the Ardennes region. The EU standard street signs are a somewhat helpful confirmation. The architecture, being a mix of Belgian and French styles, both modern (20th century) and traditional, points strongly to southern Luxembourg. The lack of dominating large 20th century apartment blocks rule out northern Lux, which was heavily rebuilt after WWII, and neighboring areas of France and Belgium, where there are enough large public housing projects that you would not get this scene of predominantly small houses in the traditional red-tile roof style. Also, the southern towns in Lux have working-class neighborhoods like this, with relatively few slate roofs, just seen here on public buildings and those, like the French-style house on the right, with a bit of pretension to them.
There are a lot of American students at the University of Miami campus at Differdange, and I suspect this photo comes from one of them. My guess is of Rodange, looking south toward the hill to Titelberg, a Gallo-Roman site built on a bronze age settlement dating to 2000 BC.
I’m guessing Bucharest, Romania. I have no idea why, the photo sort of screams Eastern European. It could by Riga as well, who knows. There’s this time sinkhole called “The View from Your Window” and I got to finish my financial household analysis and don’t have time to root round Google Earth. I’m going to be very impressed if this is gotten by someone who has NEVER, EVER visited this area, wherever the hell it is.
Another gets close:
Based on street signs and the cars’ license plates, I think we’re in France. I couldn’t detect other clues (no May fest brochure visible this time), so I have to make a determination on general grounds. The hills and buildings remind me of the Ardennes region. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fortress or castle was lurking just outside the picture. Sedan being one of the major towns in the area, so that’s my guess.
“‘Hey, we’re sick of getting caught doing crimes. Could you do us a favor and criminalize catching us?’” – Amanda Hitt of the Government Accountability Project on Big Ag’s legislative efforts to prevent any whistle-blowing by employees on animal cruelty.
The kind of horrifying abuse of pigs we’re talking about is shown in a PETA secret video after the jump. It is one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen done to animals who are, one should remember, as intelligent and as feeling as dogs. The idea that these companies are seeking not to end the torture but to cover it up is so callous it boggles the mind:
Translated: 44 percent of polled millennial readers are outraged over the NSA program while only 38 percent of older readers are outraged. There are similar results to the question, “Should PRISM be shut down immediately?” – 43 percent of millennials said yes, compared to only 37 percent of non-millennials. Read all of the results here. Our results – obviously not scientific as to millennials as a whole – are nonetheless backed up the latest CNN poll on Obama. The younger generation appears to be among the angriest about the surveillance state and the president has seen his approval drop like a coastal shelf:
Last month, nearly two-thirds of those in the 18-29 age group gave the president a thumbs up. His approval rating among that bracket fell 17 points in Monday’s poll and now stands at 48%.
One outraged millennial writes:
I do give a damn about PRISM. I’m not as concerned with the government tracking my moves. I get ads related to everything I visit on the web – some helpful, some annoying. I have accounts with sites I use for a day, and then move on. I can deal with that.
What I am most worried about is not the actions of the government, but rather, the cloak of secrecy surrounding it. If the government decides it is in our best interests to hack our computers, that’s fine – just tell me. The PATRIOT Act was conceived before I was of voting age. I have never had a chance to truly “vote” on it. It was done without my consent. Yet it is the millennial age that lives our lives online. Now that I can vote, and now that millions of millennials can now vote, we deserve a say. If the people decide that they are willing to be hacked so that attacks can be prevented, I will live with that. But as government becomes even more secretive, even more of the same old ‘just trust us’ then millennials will start to get frustrated.
Let us have a say.
I always imagined that personal information was something you compartmentalized among different places. Your doctor had your medical information, your accountant knew something about your finances, and your friends knew your daily adventures. This seems like a pretty common thing: we disperse information about ourselves in a way that a complete picture can’t be drawn, or at least some sensitive information stays hidden.
This is what is so disturbing about this surveillance program..
Once again, you have put me in the awkward position of defending the President. Though I wanted to laugh out loud when he said this wasn’t a new policy and “consistent with the policy I have had all along,” I have to say that he came off to me as principled. His principles are not my own. His stated objectives are a winged unicorn. He is for me far too cautious and far too existential about unforeseen ramifications; yes it’s complicated. We have to do it anyway, so says me. Because, in the words of Clarence Darrow “If you want to predict the future, you need to have a hand it its creation.”
But it is just as clear that for him the US to enter into a Sunni war with Shi’ism is not in the US interest. Period. He doesn’t see it as helping allies or not helping them – he is perfectly willing to shore up Jordan for instance – but he’s not going to yoke himself to Qatar-Saudi plowshares. His manner and body language on “another war in the Middle East” was quite telling – it is clearly the last thing he is going to let happen – he is going to fight escalation tooth and nail and is signaling that to his public, his liberal interventionists (Rice, Power,) and his generals exactly that. This is all frankly quite presidential. He is showing his own decided pattern of measured, thoughtful, leadership-from-behind.
Not what I want personally – I voted for Romney – but it’s a perfectly valid and reasoned response, even courageous when seen in the light of what I am sure he’s getting from all sides.
From Socrates through Thoreau, Gandhi, and King, the great theorists and practitioners of this form of resistance to law have told us in words and actions that civil disobedience requires the disobedient citizen to suffer the legal consequences of his or her unlawful act. In Socrates’s case, the consequence was death at the hands of the Athenian authorities. For Thoreau, Ghandi, and King, the consequence was jail. Through their suffering and example, they sought to undermine the moral position of law they found objectionable. Because unless the disobedient citizen takes the legal consequences of his unlawful action – he’s nothing but a criminal or a rebel.
Snowden has fled the country. And where has he gone? To Hong Kong, a Chinese dependency that is far from being a bastion of free expression he foolishly says it is, and as people who know it better than he does will tell you, a place whose security apparatus is controlled by the People’s Republic of China. … You tell me, dear reader, how young Mr. Snowden measures up to Socrates, Thoreau, Ghandi, and King.
Noah Millman attempts to make sense of Drezner’s view that Obama’s wading into Syria is a realist calculus:
Longstanding conflicts don’t weaken extremist groups, they add to their resources – even as they drain the overall resources of the society. A prolonged civil war will certainly weaken Syria, but I don’t see how it will materially weaken Hezbollah in Lebanon. And I’d be curious to see numbers on just how much of a drain the Syrian conflict is on Iran, even in monetary terms. Most importantly, what about the radicalizing effect of a prolonged civil war on Sunnis in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, etc? I was under the impression that preventing that radicalization was a really big foreign policy objective. And last, there’s Daniel Larison’s point that if the goal is to prolong the civil war, it’s counter-productive to put American credibility on the line by publicly choosing sides. It would be far more sensible for us to covertly support the rebels while publicly advocating a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Drezner’s argument feels like an attempt to impose coherence on a policy that is driven by other factors.
I cannot see any sane realism here – just improvised weakness. Obama’s foreign policy seems, at this point, to be going in two directions at once. It both seeks to create the change we wanted – away from neo-imperialism and entanglement in places where our core national interests are not at stake – and yet simultaneously clings to Clinton-Bush remnants, i.e. obsessive paranoia about Iran, and impulsive humanitarian interventions like Libya. It feels like a transitional administration rather than one that has the courage of its own post-imperial convictions. Larison contends that the Ben Rhodes’ defense of the move is simply delusional:
I read your piece on providing antiretrovirals to at-risk groups and was struck by the exclusion of a significantly large group who literally share your pain: African Americans, especially African-American women. There’s a legitimate argument that sexually active African-American women should be prescribed antiretros by their physicians too. New infection estimates for 2010 by the CDC put that group in about the same position as Hispanic men who engage in sex with other men [see above]. The infection rate for black women is 20 times that of white women. African-Americans are 14% of the US population and make up 44% of all current people living with HIV and 44% of all new infections (pdf). As with other social, medical, and economic ills, African-Americans are being hit the hardest.
My reader is right. I didn’t mean to exclude African-American women, for whom this could be a godsend. Another looks abroad:
The study demonstrating prophylactic effects of HIV medications is unquestionable good news, but your response was a bit off-putting. It’s very true that “AIDS and HIV are no longer terrifying for young gay men”, and that’s fantastic, but about 68% of all HIV cases are in Sub-Saharan Africa (pdf). Prevalence in adults is as high as 30% in places like Swaziland and Botswana – is everyone a gay man there? I thought relegating HIV as a “gay” disease was a thing of the past.
I was discussing the US and, as the graph above shows, gay men are still the likeliest group to get infected. But yes, prophylaxis in those countries could be part of a multi-pronged HIV prevention campaign. Just because you address one sub-group doesn’t mean you are actively excluding any other.
Alec McGillis encourages conservatives to fight against discrimination based on criminal records:
If conservatives are serious about prison reform–and the actual progress being made in states such as Texas suggests they are–then it’s not a stretch to see how they could also get behind efforts to rein in criminal background checks in hiring. Again, there are both fiscal and philosophical arguments for doing so. Ex-prisoners who find jobs are far more likely not to commit additional crimes and wind up back behind bars on the taxpayer dime. And a belief in personal redemption would seem to be in conflict with policies that, without any room for assessing individual character and circumstance, hold actions from years past against people who are trying to find a livelihood on the straight and narrow.
Is there a difference? Blogger burrsettles believes the terms “are related, but capture different dimensions of an intense dedication to a subject”:
geek – An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
nerd – A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.
After running some statistical analysis based on Twitter data, he reaches a conclusion about the language each group tends to use:
In broad strokes, it seems to me that geeky words are more about stuff (e.g., “#stuff”), while nerdy words are more about ideas (e.g., “hypothesis”). Geeks are fans, and fans collect stuff; nerds are practitioners, and practitioners play with ideas.
I think bisexuals are not out as much as gay people because we can pass. Somewhere in this NPR segment is some data that most bisexuals eventually marry a person of the opposite gender. Like the previous reader said, my sexual experiences with women are not exactly fodder for Christmas dinner family discussion, and as I’ve not had a relationship with another woman, there’s not much to say. My husband knows I also like women, but I’m not technically out to my family.
I don’t tell anyone because whom I fuck and how is my own business and nobody else’s. I don’t need support. I don’t want to be part of a sexual community. I just want to do what I want to do and not get any shit about it, which is 100% possible if I just keep it to myself.
That’s what all the closeted guys say. At least the kid in Arkansas terrified of his father has a good reason. The reader admits he identifies as straight because it’s more convenient. Those of us who are mostly or exclusively homosexual don’t have that luxury, which is why we come out. And coming out is the moral thing to do because it might help that kid in Arkansas knows he’s not a freak.
Last week, advocacy groups Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze released a study that claims to have detected traces of weedkillers in the urine of volunteers throughout Europe. Kara Moses considers the role that such “non-scientific” studies should play in the policy process:
The study was basic, the sample size was small, the report was unpublished. But could it point to an important issue for further investigation? Academics denounced the findings as “not scientific”, saying the results could not be taken seriously and that campaign groups should submit their work to peer-reviewed journals to provide a “genuine contribution to the debate”. Other scientists refused to comment on the study, saying that without it having gone through the review process there was simply no way of commenting on the findings. …
But charities and NGOs often don’t have the resources or expertise to undertake full scientific studies and publish them in journals. Is it even their role to do so? By producing snapshot studies that simply point to an issue, as long they don’t make any grand claims based on their findings, aren’t they simply doing their job of raising awareness of issues that affect society and the environment?
Chris Tackett agrees, distinguishing between the scientific and commercial realms:
It is important for science to maintain standards when it comes to experiment design and statistically significant sample size. But consumers, whether individuals or municipalities, shouldn’t feel the need to wait till there is overwhelming scientific consensus to decide that spraying toxic chemicals all over their lawns or town or crops is not the best idea. Similarly, we didn’t need to wait till there was overwhelming scientific proof to take action on climate change, yet here we are.
The point here is that scientific proof matters in science, but it shouldn’t necessarily be what determines our actions. We can intuit that some things are unwise or dangerous or against our values without needing reams of scientific data to back up our concerns.
Mark Hoofnagle, discussing a study that claimed a link between GMOs and cancer, worries that such thinking leaves environmental groups open to comparisons to climate skeptics:
Why nary a mention of the anti-government protests going on in Brazil? Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating in cities throughout the world’s sixth largest economy – certainly big news and something of this scale not seen in South America since the ’80s. Granted it’s not the Middle East. However, it’s a significant event worthy of some coverage/analysis on the Dish, IMO.
The IMO is admittedly biased. I just returned from marching with protestors along Av. Faria Lima in São Paulo. Things were quite peaceful, one could even say festive, as clowns trounced about, a man on stilts danced around (dusted them off before Carnaval it seems), and groups of drummers played classic samba rhythms. Much of this is simply indicative of Brazilian culture – the whole enjoying life and trying to have a good time part of it.
Nonetheless, the general message of the protests was not festive: “We deserve better from our government.”
These dumb questions aren’t intended to actually see whether you’re smart or not. Miss Utah USA might be smart and she might not be, but the last thing I’d use to guess at whether she’s smart is whether she can answer this kind of question “correctly.” Because “correctly” here just means smoothly, expertly, without hesitation or stammering. Had she said, “What it says is that we live in the greatest country in the world, and every day I get up and thank my lucky stars that I live in the United States of America,” she would not be in the news, despite having given just as irrelevant a non-answer. Had she said, “What it says is that family is the most important thing in the world, and we need to figure out how to help all families be happy families because it’s the most important thing in the world,” she would not be in the news. … She’s not a dumb person; she’s bad at public speaking. And if she were good at it, nobody would have ever heard of her.
PZ Myers agrees. Laura Bennett laments that “pageant shaming has become a part of our viral culture”:
Today, the full impact of Iran’s election began to sink in. The dumb decision to get involved in the Syrian civil war didn’t look any less dumb a few days later, although some were actually hoping for mission creep. The New Yorker was caught doing sponsored content … in 1941.
If you’re a pop musician, luck plays a huge part in whether you can make a living and, as with so many other industries, the higher and higher rewards are increasingly going to fewer and fewer artists. If you’re a Syrian Christian, you’re probably rooting for Assad to hang in. If you’re Sarah Palin, you get to praise your own speech on Fox News as a host of a morning show. And if you’re Donald Trump, you can get Bill Clinton to show up for your third wedding. Oh, and welcome to the next Antarctica.
The most popular posts of the day were your reactions to Obama’s decision to join a new Middle East war; and my observation of how resilient the Christianist grip still is on the GOP, whatever the wonks are trying to tell you.
I spent a large part of the day at my old high school, debating with students, getting misty-eyed at sudden memories, and catching up with former teachers – of Latin and French. I’m a little too bewildered to write anything about it today …
It took four years but I finally got it. A rotating supercell. And not just a rotating supercell, but one with insane structure and amazing movement. I’ve been visiting the Central Plains since 2010. Usually it’s just for a day, or three, or two … but it took until the fourth attempt to actually find what I’d been looking for. And boy did we find it.
We chased this storm from the wrong side (north) and it took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side. And when we did … this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters.
Update from a reader:
Other than awe? Fear and dread. Those storms can take their beautifully ominous selves elsewhere, thank you very much.
Larry Alex Taunton, who has engaged college students for years on matters of faith, delves into the reasons the self-proclaimed atheists among them embrace unbelief. Some aspects of the “composite sketch” he’s gleaned from countless conversations:
They had attended church
Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity. …
They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions
When our participants were asked what they found unconvincing about the Christian faith, they spoke of evolution vs. creation, sexuality, the reliability of the biblical text, Jesus as the only way, etc. Some had gone to church hoping to find answers to these questions. Others hoped to find answers to questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant. As Ben, an engineering major at the University of Texas, so bluntly put it: “I really started to get bored with church.” …
The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one
With few exceptions, students would begin by telling us that they had become atheists for exclusively rational reasons. But as we listened it became clear that, for most, this was a deeply emotional transition as well. This phenomenon was most powerfully exhibited in Meredith. She explained in detail how her study of anthropology had led her to atheism. When the conversation turned to her family, however, she spoke of an emotionally abusive father: ”It was when he died that I became an atheist,” she said.