Obama administration has secured 526 months of jail time for leakers


Up until Obama's "most transparent administration", and throughout the entire history of the USA, national security leakers had received a total of 24 months of jail time. There are many more cases pending.

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Former NSA spook resigns from Naval War College in dick-pic scandal

John Schindler was a prof at the College; he slammed Snowden as a traitor and compared Greenwald to Hitler, and was generally dismissive about concerns about network surveillance; he also sent pictures of his dick to a woman who wasn't his wife. He also co-wrote the report that stated that Sadam Hussein had WMDs, and helped send America to war. That was a lot worse than dick pics.

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Rupert Murdoch wants to buy Time Warner

The kingmaking evil billionaire offered $75B, and said he'd sell off CNN to avoid competition inquiries.

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News audiences are liars; here's why

"An unidentified video editor operates an editing system during a large red-shirt rally on the Royal Plaza on Jan 29, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand." [Shutterstock]


"An unidentified video editor operates an editing system during a large red-shirt rally on the Royal Plaza on Jan 29, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand." [Shutterstock]

Al Jazeera America thought tens of millions of people were starved for serious, hard-hitting, longform journalism. Now the numbers don't seem to be panning out. At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson explores the psychology of why we ask for broccoli and then eat jelly beans.

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Toy movie "anti-business", says Fox News

Fox News claims that the Lego movie is "anti-business", despite the fact that it exists to sell toys. Sean O'Neal, at A.V. Club:

the network has lashed out at the film for attempting to indoctrinate the naïve with simpleminded messages about capitalism, only for the wrong team, blasting a movie based on a global, multibillion-dollar toy manufacturer—and the reinvigoration of its branding through movie-generated merchandising—as being “anti-business.” ... As Dergarabedian goes on to suggest implicitly that calling a major studio’s marketing synergy-based movie franchise “anti-business” might be overreaching, Payne replies that it at least sounds like “hypocrisy” to him. A hypocrisy that may result in the children who see it developing antagonistic attitudes toward business, even as they demand their parents buy them more Lego bricks.

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Behind the hashtag

The Great Velveeta Shortage story began when an editor at Ad Age couldn't make queso.

Notebooks "went missing" during phone hacking investigation

Prosecutors allege that Murdoch lieutenant Rebekah Brooks "hid evidence as police probed claims at the paper."

The true story about the woman who sued McDonald's over hot coffee

The story of a woman who spilled coffee on her lap and ended up being awarded $2.9 million in a lawsuit against McDonald's is often cited as THE example of frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries. The real story, though, is different from the version you've probably heard. For one thing, the woman suffered burns to 16% of her body, some of which were 3rd degree. For another, at the time, McDonald's served their coffee at a temperature 30 degrees hotter than the stuff that comes out of home coffeemakers. Also the $2.9 million was only the jury-recommended award, based on just two days worth of McDonald's coffee sales. This New York Times video is an interesting look at the nuance that gets lost when media, pop culture, and politicians twist an event to better serve their own narratives and ends.

If you see something, say something: Liveblogging from a lecture about terrorism, security, and visual narratives

When bombs explode in a crowded city street, individuals and governments naturally ask themselves, "Could we have prevented this if we had been paying better attention to people and things that were out of place?" Trouble is, that question leads to a whole cascade of other questions — covering everything from personal privacy to racism.

M. Neelika Jayawardane is associate professor of English at SUNY-Oswego. She's giving a talk this afternoon on "If you see something, say something" and other campaigns aimed at getting average people involved in public security. I happened to be here on campus for a separate speaking engagement and thought this was something that BoingBoing readers would be interested in "sitting in" on, given the recent tragedy in Boston.

I'll be liveblogging this, updating regularly with key points and ideas from Jayawardane's talk. It's worth noting that her perspective is not the only way to think about these issues. I'm posting this in hopes that it will present some interesting information and spark good conversations. If you're interested in engaging with Jayawardane afterwards, she said that you can reach her via Twitter. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing what she has to say — and what you all have to say about that.

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This American Life's report on kids and disability claims riddled with factual errors


A couple weeks ago, I listened to Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America an interesting program on the supposed rise in disability claims produced by Planet Money and aired on This American Life (where I heard it). The program raised some interesting points about the inaccessibility of certain kinds of less-physical jobs to large numbers of people, but it also aired a lot of supposed facts about the way that parents and teachers conspired to create and perpetuate disability classifications for kids.

Many of the claims in the report are debatable, and many, many more and simply not true. A Media Matters report called This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children systematically debunks many of the claims in the story, which NPR has modified slightly since posting online (though NPR and Ira Glass continue to stand behind the story).

FACT: Medical Evidence From Qualified Professionals Is Required To Determine Eligibility

Government Accountability Office: "Examiners Rely On A Combination Of Key Medical And Nonmedical Information Sources." A Government Accountability Office report found that disability determination services (DDS) examiners determined a child's medical eligibility for benefits based on a combination of school records and medical records, and that if medical records in particular were not available, they were able to order consultative exams to review medical evidence:

DDS examiners rely on a combination of key medical and nonmedical information sources -- such as medical records, effects of prescribed medications, school records, and teacher and parent assessments -- in determining a child's medical eligibility for benefits. Several DDS officials we interviewed said that when making a determination, they consider the totality of information related to the child's impairments, rather than one piece of information in isolation. Based on our case file review, we estimate that examiners generally cited four to five information sources as support for their decisions in fiscal year 2010 for the three most prevalent mental impairments.

[...]

If such evidence is not available or is inconclusive, DDS examiners may purchase a consultative exam to provide additional medical evidence and help them establish the severity of a child's impairment. [Government Accountability Office, 6/26/12]

The Media Matters report cites high-quality sources like the GAO throughout, and makes an excellent case for a general retraction of this report by NPR. I hope that they, and Glass, will reconsider their endorsement of this report.

This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children (via Naked Capitalism)

Fox's talking heads bear uncanny resemblance to Kids in the Hall


From Backdrops R Us, a grid of Fox News talking heads alongside classic shots of scenes from Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall (particularly members of the troupe in drag). The resemblances are uncanny.

FOX News Figures Strangely Resemble Kids In The Hall Characters (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

A helpful reminder: Video game consumption is not correlated with gun violence

The focus on video games as a source of American gun violence is driving me a bit crazy, so I just wanted to toss some evidence out there. Even though most of you have likely long suspected the two things were not related, you'll be happy to know that science agrees with you. Consider this a helpful kit for forwarding to concerned relatives. Here's a 10-country comparison that found no correlation between video game consumption and gun violence. Here's a Harvard Medical School summary that explains why some people claim video games cause violence, and why the studies behind those claims aren't actually telling us that. And here's a PBS FAQ explaining a lot of the same issues. With violent video games (as with everything else) context matters.

Tim Heidecker takes over Rolling Stone, shows off excellent dream covers

Here is something you should know is happening: Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric and the Cain Train) has taken over Rolling Stone magazine. At least that's what he's telling us, and why he's posting his "dream covers" and holding meetings with Matt Taibbi. Does it need to be real? Is Wikipedia the final word on this? No, you just have to bear witness, then form your own conclusion. Don't overthink Tim Heidecker, just enjoy him and his arguments with Jann Wenner. (via Tim Heidecker on Twitter)

Social media gurus nailed in Onion parody

"Social media eliminates the need to provide value to your clients."

Deconstructing Sandy

Yesterday, I got to have a great conversation on Minnesota Public Radio's The Daily Circuit. Host Tom Webber and I spent a good 45 minutes talking about Hurricane Sandy, climate change, and why it's so hard to talk about the connections between the two in an easily digestible, sound-bite format. In the meantime, he might have gotten some good sound bites out of me.