a blog full of magic

Sprawling explanatory post from Barton Gellman

Here. An amusing, small section:

Tech support from Langley
The CIA opened a Twitter account last month and has used cheeky humor to win a large following in a short time. On Monday, the account sent out this announcement: “No, we don’t know your password, so we can’t send it to you.” It went viral, with more than 12,000 retweets.

As it happens, the NSA files we examined included 1,152 “minimized U.S. passwords,” meaning passwords to American e-mail and chat accounts intercepted from U.S. data links. Don’t expect tech support from Langley, but the CIA does have access to that raw traffic.

Rwandan genocide documents

Here is a piece at the blog of George Washington University’s National Security Archive about difficulties obtaining documents on the Rwandan genocide from the U.S. government.

Dean Baker on North Carolina job numbers

One of my favorite economists*, Dean Baker, responds to a piece in the Wall Street Journal on purported effects of cutting unemployment benefits.

*While, due partly to independent credibility, Dean Baker is one of my favorite economists,** Ha-Joon Chang is probably my favorite economist, due to his book Bad Samaritans.

**Of course, the fact that I have favorite economists isn’t especially interesting, since I have neither the training nor knowledge to thoroughly compare economists…

Gov’t claims re: Snowden’s access to surveillance intercepts

One really enjoyable feature of the Snowden story is the unusually quick turnaround when it comes to government claims and evidence undermining them. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones comments on the latest example due to a (pretty incredible) piece from the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, Julie Tate, and Ashkan Soltani.

Proper channels

As Kevin Drum notes at Mother Jones, this Washington Post piece helps illustrate by example what is likely entailed by the claim that Edward Snowden should have gone through “proper channels” rather than work with investigative journalists.

Thomas Nagel’s birthday

Evidently Thomas Nagel’s birthday is today. What’s less evident is why he’s an honorable mention in an article listing “Great American Capitalists” born today.

“Top DHS checkpoint refusals”

I’m probably unreasonably thrilled by watching this video (posted by someone whose Youtube videos suggest he is evidently a catch-all conspiracy theorist!):

Chomsky on (and against) BDS

Liberals are often surprised to discover that Chomsky is not in line with the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” movement among critics of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. Here is a fairly extended (three page) discussion of that issue by Chomsky in The Nation.

Update: the piece was noted by Haaretz.

Blackwater’s top manager in Iraq threatens to kill State Department investigator

The incredibly cute story about the beloved private security contractor is here. And Freedom of the Press Foundation‘s Trevor Timm tweets, “How many millions of readers will miss this insane Blackwater story because of @NYTimes’ incredibly boring headline?” Gawker‘s headline is much better. I hope my headline is also better, and will accordingly attract many millions of readers.

[For the record in case it gets changed, the weird NYT headline is "Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater."]

The United Nations on water in the City of Detroit



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