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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters -
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:54 pm EDT, Jul 29, 2013

This geography appears to play a major role in making Atlanta one of the metropolitan areas where it is most difficult for lower-income households to rise into the middle class...

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters -

Why Libertarianism is Something of a Sham
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:04 am EDT, Jul 28, 2013

The linked post on Reason's blog provides a perfect example of why I've become disenchanted with Libertarianism as a political movement in the United States and why I think that it actually undermines the purpose that it supposedly serves.

Ostensibly, Libertarianism is concerned with individual liberty. Individual liberty is not a partisan issue. The Republican party is associated with small government and low taxes, values that Libertarians share. It is also associated with efforts to curtail first and fourth amendment rights, the criminalization of recreational drug use, restrictive immigration policies, and a variety of other policy positions that Libertarians abhor. Real Libertarians cannot, therefore, call themselves partisan Republicans. The Democratic party is associated with defense of individual rights and civil liberties, values that Libertarians share. It is also associated with regulation of economic activity and redistributive social engineering, policy positions that Libertarians abhor. Real Libertarians cannot, therefore, call themselves partisan Democrats. In fact, the famous Nolan chart presents libertarianism as exactly orthogonal to the left-right divide.

A Libertarian political movement, insofar as it is unable to successfully promote its own candidates for office, would be most effective at achieving it's goals if was politically independent, and willing to lend its support to any politician, on the left or the right, whose policies are consistent with its values. Both parties might court this Libertarian voting block by putting policies on the table that are attractive to it and which further the interest of individual liberty, and by avoiding policies that Libertarians abhor. Both mainstream political parties have something to offer Libertarians in this respect, and individual liberty would benefit from providing an incentive for both parties to move in that direction.

Instead, the Libertarian movement is consistently partisan conservative. Libertarian writers and bloggers regularly devote column space to reenforcing the idea that conservatism is good and that liberals are bad. This messaging echos the partisan messaging of the Republican party, and serves to reenforce the idea that members of the Libertarian movement should, first, be loyal Republicans.

The linked post provides an example, which starts out as a diatribe about misinformation in the news media regarding the Zimmerman trial, but reveals its true agenda in it's conclusion, arguing that all criticisms of conservatives for promulgating misinformation must be set aside in light of the misinformation that liberals are promulgating about George Zimmerman.

Liberals and disenchanted conservatives who decry fact-free ideological narratives, true-believer hysteria and willful reality-denial on the right should take a good look at the left’s Zimmerman Derangement Syndrome. Some far-right blogs have trafficked in b... [ Read More (0.6k in body) ]

Why Libertarianism is Something of a Sham

U.S. cloud firms face backlash from NSA spy programs -
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:39 pm EDT, Jul 25, 2013

A Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) survey found that 10% of 207 officials at non-U.S. companies have canceled contracts with U.S. service providers following the revelation of the NSA spy program last month. The alliance, a non-profit organization with over 48,000 individual members, said the survey also found that 56% of non-U.S. respondents are now hesitant to work with any U.S.-based cloud service providers.

U.S. cloud firms face backlash from NSA spy programs -

APOD: 2013 July 24 - A Year of Sky on Earth
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:59 pm EDT, Jul 25, 2013

Each panel shows one day. With 360 movie panels, the sky over (almost) an entire year is shown in time lapse format as recorded by a video camera on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, California. The camera recorded an image every 10 seconds from before sunrise to after sunset and from mid-2009 to mid-2010.

APOD: 2013 July 24 - A Year of Sky on Earth

Request to Censor MemeStreams
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:59 am EDT, Jul 24, 2013

A corporation has been asking me to delete a blog post from MemeStreams. They claim that the post is an "unnatural or paid for" link to their site and that Google is penalizing their page rank as a result of the post. The post actually isn't "unnatural or paid for" and the evidence that Google is penalizing them for it, it turns out, is dubious at best. I informed them that the post in question is a legitimate post on a real person's blog, and therefore I cannot delete it. Their response:

I do agree that this is crazy but google is google, he have to play according to their rules. Unlinking will be much appreciated.

Update: The corporation that sent me the email above claims that the link in question was flagged as "unnatural or paid for" in a report that they received from a service called I contacted linkdetox and informed them about the false positive, and they responded that if I'd like to know why they are calling for the censorship of this website I will need to pay them:

Hello Tom,

Thank you for your message.

If you cannot get access to this information why this backlink was evaluated as harmful then i suggest you buy Link Detox and run a report on [ED: the corporation that sent me the original complaint] so you can see exactly what he see's this way you will be able to the information on why this link that is pointing to the website is harmful.

You can signup for a Link Detox here

Keep in mind that we use very common spam link rules to identify bad links, but can still be wrong in certain edge cases.
We always recommend to our clients to double check and/or manually review all links you'd like to disavow, because if you ignore good links, it might hurt your sites rankings.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best Regards...

REVIEW: The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:22 pm EDT, Jul 23, 2013

Few books are more famous for what subsequent forgers do with them than for their original contents. Maurice Joly’s The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, first published in Brussels in 1864, is indeed a very strange book. And its strangeness is multiple.

REVIEW: The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu

Wyden Speech on NSA Domestic Surveillance at Center for American Progress
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:27 pm EDT, Jul 23, 2013

Wyden's remarks at the Center for American Progress.

Wyden Speech on NSA Domestic Surveillance at Center for American Progress

APOD: 2013 July 23 - Two Views of Earth
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:25 am EDT, Jul 23, 2013

In a cross-Solar System interplanetary first, our Earth was photographed during the same day from both Mercury and Saturn. Pictured on the left, Earth is the pale blue dot just below the rings of Saturn, as captured by the robotic Cassini spacecraft now the gas giant. Pictured on the right, the Earth-Moon system is seen against a dark background, as captured by the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft now orbiting Mercury. In the MESSENGER image, the Earth (left) and Moon (right) shine brightly with reflected sunlight. MESSENGER took the overexposed image last Friday as part of a search for small natural satellites of the innermost planet, moons that would be expected to be quite dim. During this same day, humans across planet Earth snapped many of their own pictures of Saturn.

APOD: 2013 July 23 - Two Views of Earth

Twitter / _decius_: Service Provider Meta-Data Retention
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:48 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2013

Service Provider Meta-Data Retention - US: … (years) EU: … (months)

Twitter / _decius_: Service Provider Meta-Data Retention

Mood shifting, Congress may move to limit NSA spying | McClatchy
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:44 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2013

Congress is growing increasingly wary of controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance programs, a concern likely to erupt during legislative debate _ and perhaps prod legislative action _ as early as next week.

Mood shifting, Congress may move to limit NSA spying | McClatchy

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