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With the news of of the Sony hack, and the alleged cyber-counterattack of the North Korean internet, I have a proposal...in the future all wars should be like this.

I dream of a future where wars begin with fart jokes, move on to revealing embarrasments, and conclude with a few days of internet blackout.

I am willing to volunteer my internet browsing history to this cause.  All can know about the time I spend looking up confusing sexual terrms i've never heard of, nor think I have the flexability to accomplish.

I am willing to volunteer that, despite my public veneer of cynacism, I do in fact seek out LOLcats.

I will even be humiliated by the revelation that sexy robots turn my crank.

Cause, y'know, all of this is better than killing people.  

Whoever did the hack against North Korea, it would have been 100 times better with a Rickroll..

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What internet secrets will you reveal for world peace?

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| 11 votes | Vote | Results

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When I was a senior in high school, I ran over a raccoon on a dark, rural road in Vermont.  I was driving too fast, carving my way through corners on a twisty road from my house to town.  The trees were whipping past, as my crappy little Subaru dipped and rose through the s-curves and roller-coaster hills.  Just after I crested a hill and started down, I saw a raccoon and almost immediately heard the thump as its body was crushed by my bumper.  In my rear view mirror I saw the raccoon tumbling and twisting across the road.

I pulled over and turned around, using my headlights to illuminate the road until I saw the raccoon clawing at the yellow center-line.  The back half of the raccoon was still and lifeless, and its intestines were slipping out of its belly.  It was clawing the pavement, trying to pull itself to the side. It was shrieking.  

I pulled over, letting my headlights light the road.  I got a tire iron out of the wheel well.  As I walked to the dying raccoon, I could see it looking at me with pain and fear.  This was an animal used to running, used to hiding under porches.  But it couldn't run, and the only thing it felt was the burning of its wounds and broken body.  I struck its head with the tire iron.  It took several swings to silence it.  Using the tire iron as a lever, I threw its body off the road into the bushes.

I am not proud of what I did, though I am not embarrassed either.  I did what was necessary.  I relieved the raccoon's pain.  In the months that followed, I often dreamt of the raccoon shrieking and clawing.  While I regret that I ran over the raccoon, I have never regretted putting it out of its misery once I had.  It was the right thing to do--it was my responsibility to do--however much it pained me to do it, however much I remember the sound of its skull being crushed by steel.  It was the lesser of two evils, it was a kindness.

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With the recent release and discussion of the video showing the catcalls a woman received in New York, some men are asking what is the appropriate way to express their appreciation of a woman in public.  Many of these men deplore the disgusting comments that are directed towards women, but feel that if they smile at a woman on the street, or tell a woman on the subway she is beautiful, it should not be considered a problem.

There are several ways that we can talk about this.  First, and most obviously, many women are perfectly happy to not be appreciated for their looks by strangers.  Funnily enough, most women, even lovely women, would rather be appreciated for their skills, smarts, acumen...almost anything else other than their looks.

But going beyond that, there is also another basic reason why men should refrain from the smiles and compliments...women have no idea of what your intention is.  Follow me below the fold to see what I am talking about.

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There have been some recent claims here at DKos that the voices of white, male, middle-class, healthy, Christian, heterosexuals are being stifled at the expense of black, Latino, Native American, female, LGBT, disabled voices.  For me, this begged a simple question.

What percentage of Americans are white, male, middle-class, healthy, Christian, heterosexuals?

Seriously, if we want to know if these folks' voices are being stifled, we need to know how many we should be seeing here on DKos.

So, relying mostly on Wikipedia, this is what I have figured out.

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Yesterday, Kos announced that Daily Kos would not be participating in Netroots Nation 2015 that will be held in July in Phoenix, Arizona.  Kos explained his reasoning thus

I made very clear in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB 1070 that I would not be setting foot in the state, nor spending a dime in it until the law was revoked. The law, however gutted by the courts, remains on the books, as does systemic harassment of Latinos, so my pledge still stands.
I cannot argue with this statement.  SB 1070 was gutted by the courts, but has not been revoked by the legislature.  If revocation is the standard, not actual implementation, then Kos is completely right.  And I hope he will stand by that standard for all states that have not revoked laws that were gutted by the courts (e.g., that he will honor the boycott against California until such time as the voters revoke proposition 8 that was passed by voter referendum in 2008).

All that said, I want to make one issue clear.  Kos is standing mostly alone in his boycott of Arizona.  And by this I mean that national groups and latino politicians that champion immigrant and Hispanic justice do not currently support a boycott against Arizona.

Poll

Will you continue to boycott Arizona?

56%111 votes
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| 197 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:10 AM PDT

Dear Men, STFU

by Empty Vessel

Since the shooting in California last week, the issue of violence against women has been much discussed and debated here at DKos.  Many women have shared the sexism, sexual harassment and sexual violence they have received at the hands of men.  These have been difficult diaries to read, full of the pain and anguish that these women have had to face.  While statistics are hard to come by, most current estimates suggest that between 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 women will be raped during their lifetimes.  Far more will face other forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment, and general sexism.  It’s common, it happens every day.  More importantly it warps the very fabric of our culture, making women reasonably fearful, even if they have never themselves been a victim of sexual violence or intimidation.

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Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 09:23 AM PST

Chris Christie: Follow the Money

by Empty Vessel

I am not a lawyer, so I am not sure what this means, but I thought I would get it out there.  

As all now know, there is now email proof that a Christie's deputy conspired to close traffic in Fort Lee for 4 days based upon a bogus "traffic study."  What I want to add is this, it was not simply a "traffic study," it was a "$60,000 dollar traffic study."  If this whole lane closure thing is more than just dickish, but rather illegal, my guess that it will center on the question of what the hell happened with the $60,000.  That is, since we know, based on the emails, that this had nothing to do with a "traffic study," it may very well turn out that it is a misappropriation of funds.  People had to sign off on spending the money.  In theory, the conclusions of the "study" needed to be turned in somewhere.  All of these leave paper trails.  At some point, we might even find the signature of Christie himself (but don't bet on that).  Whatever else, follow the money.  Below the squiggle is the email exchange that prompted my questions about the money.

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This will be a short diary.  But I just wanted to note that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders just voted for the budget bill, the one that does not extend UI benefits...the one that Pelosi urged house Democrats to vote for by saying "embrace the suck."

My point here is not to criticize Warren and Sanders.  They are both excellent Senators, and I even had the privilege to vote for Sanders many years ago.  Its one of the few times I have actually had the opportunity to vote for someone almost as liberal as I am (the other was Raul Grijalva, who voted against the Budget bill in the House).

I bring this up because I am tired of hearing people talk about the "Elizabeth Warren Wing" of the democratic party, or people who proffer Sanders as an antidote to the Democrats.  The Elizabeth Warren Wing of the democratic party is pretty much the heart of the Democratic party, and Sanders isn't too far to the left of her.

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With the end of the filibuster for administration and judicial (non-supreme court) appointees, Mark Pryor(D-AR) just became a more important person.  The reason for this is simple.  Where previously federal and judicial appointees had to get the 60th most progressive senator to vote for them, now all that is required is that the 50th most progressive senator vote for them.  According to Progressive Punch rankings, the 60th most progressive senator is Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).  Mark Pryor is the 50th most progressive senator (with Kay Hagan at 49 and Mary Landrieu at 51).

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-The rich are different than you and me.

-Yes, they have more money.

Likely apocryphal conversation between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Heningway

I have long been on Hemngway's side on what the rich are actually like.  I went to school with future banksters, wall street hacks, and wannabe corporate titans.  When I read the Wall Street Journal and the New York times, I recognize former drinking buddies and lovers in the bylines.  I know these people, and for the most part they are unremarkably bright, but in no way brilliant, and in no way smarter than many of the other bright people I have met in my life.  What they shared, however, was the conviction of their own brilliance and the lack of humility to act on it.  These are the latter day "best and brightest" that led us into Vietnam...utterly unaware of the practicalities of guerilla war, colonialism and death.

But there is one way that the rich are different from you and me...they have access to the highest levels of government.  They can call representatives, senators, and cabinet members to find out what's coming down the road, adjusting their investing, business and lobbying plans accordingly.  They don't need to be brilliant to make money hand over fist when they have insider information and influence. And that is where I get confused.

If a credit default is likely to be coming, why haven't the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 crashed yet?

Poll

So why hasn't the market collapsed yet?

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I oppose intervention Syria.  I oppose intervention because of the lack of any good options in Syria, the fractured nature of the opposition, and the very real chance that spillover will happen to neighboring states.  More than anything, I oppose US intervention in Syria because I think it will increase the the number of atrocities and war crimes committed by both the Syrian regime and the rebels.

But there is one argument on the anti-intervention side that does not sway me, one that I even consider morally bankrupt.  That the US cannot intervene in Syria because the US has itself committed war crimes.

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Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:52 AM PDT

"Bodies in the Desert" NYT

by Empty Vessel

For several reasons, I will keep this short.  But I wanted to draw people's attention to a video on the New York Times website, "Bodies in the Desert", detailing the identification of undocumented immigrants who have died along the border trying to enter the US.  There is much in the video that, I believe, everyone should learn.

5 years ago I moved to Tucson.  I have learned many things since then.  First, the border will never be secured.  Second, all attempts to secure the border are merely attempts to manage the border.  Third, the current management system is designed to push migrants further into the deserts, into the wastelands. Finally, the deaths of migrants are a direct result of that management system.

Please watch the video.  It is not easy to watch.  

You might also want to read the comments attached to the article.  There is much wonderful in those comments, but also carelessly hateful comments that, I think, deny even the most basic empathy that any human should have for another.

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