Boing Boing 

Listen to Marc Maron's WTF interview with President Obama

Marc Maron and President Obama had a relaxed and fascinating one-hour conversation in Maron's Pasadena, California garage, where Maron produces his popular WTF Podcast. Obama used the "N" word (in talking about racism), gave his thoughts on voters' expectations for rapid Hope and Change, discussed his interest in improving police-community relations, and much more.

I learned more about how Obama thinks in this interview than any TV interview I've listened to.

Vanity Fair ran an article about how Maron prepared for the interview, and the security precautions undertaken by the Secret Service.

“A few days before the interview, the Secret Service started coming up, looking around the house, seeing what the perimeter was, figuring out how they can secure the house. They set up the isolated phone lines that are necessary for the president to have wherever he is. . . . They had to figure out how to do it in my garage, where [to place] the Secret Service. They had to have an archivist here recording it. They tried to put a sniper on the garage but it was too noisy. So they had to go on my neighbor’s house. They wanted everything out of the garage that was going to be in the path of the president—the boxes of books and piles of stuff that I had in here. They wanted anything that could be dangerous in the garage taken out.”

The President forgot his coffee.

A photo posted by @marcmaron on

Maron did not even have to worry about providing coffee.

“The president actually traveled with White House catering,” Maron explained. “They travel with this huge motorcade that includes restroom facilities. It included a person in charge of the food. He left a cup here, a to-go cup. The president of the United States uses a to-go cup, with the presidential shield on it and a coaster napkin that they brought in for him.”

Op-ed in PA paper calls for Obama's execution, then apologizes when readers complain

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It wasn't until readers showed outrage that a Pennsylvania newspaper realized its wrongdoing.

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Copyfighting, jailbreaking legend Ed Felten is the White House's new deputy CTO


He'll serve under the brilliant Megan Smith, the CTO.

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Cecily Strong crushes it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Not since Colbert's roast of GWB in 2006 has a comedian's Nerd Prom monologue been so outrageously funny. Obama's bit was pretty awesome, too.

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Jeb Bush loves Obama('s NSA surveillance)

Who says bipartisanship is dead?

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Ron Wyden to Eric Holder: before you go, how about all those requests for information?


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has written a letter to outgoing Attorney General Eric "Too Big to Jail" Holder about all those other letters the senator has sent to the AG asking why, exactly, the DoJ thinks that mass spying is legal.

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Obama administration: North Koreans probably not responsible for Sony Hack, but hey, let's sanction them anyway

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) uses a pair of binoculars to look towards the South during his visit to the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment on the front, near the border with South Korea, southwest of Pyongyang March 7, 2013 in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) uses a pair of binoculars to look towards the South during his visit to the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment on the front, near the border with South Korea, southwest of Pyongyang March 7, 2013 in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang.

In what looks to many in the information security community like a bizarre face-saving gesture with little basis in reality, the Obama administration today announced new sanctions on 10 senior North Korean officials and several organizations.

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Obama’s Justice Department secretly helped kill FOIA transparency bill

U.S. President Barack Obama looks toward Attorney General Eric Holder. Justice Department investigators have engaged in aggressive tactics against journalists in recent months. [Reuters]


U.S. President Barack Obama looks toward Attorney General Eric Holder. Justice Department investigators have engaged in aggressive tactics against journalists in recent months. [Reuters]

We’ve long known the Justice Department’s stance on transparency has been hypocritical and disingenuous. But they’ve really outdone themselves this time.

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Obama tells the FCC to class the Internet (including mobile!) as a "utility"

It's a surprise move in the net neutrality debate, coming on the heels of a sellout proposal from cable-lobbyist-turned-cable-regulator Chairman Tom Wheeler that would have let the carriers continue to screw Americans out of access to the services they want to use if those services hadn't paid large-enough bribes for "premium carriage."

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Dissecting the arguments of liberal apologists for Obama's surveillance and secret war

Democratic party partisans like Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley spent the Bush years condemning the tactics they now defend under Obama -- apart from sheer intellectual dishonesty, how can this be explained?

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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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Eric Holder: creator of the "Too Big to Jail" bankster


While you contemplate Eric Holder's track record of surveilling, intimidating and indicting journalists, remember that he also invented the Too Big to Jail doctrine, the failed idea that the answer to breathtaking criminal activity by gigantic banks is big fines, not criminal prosecutions.

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Anti-NSA messages projected on US embassy in Berlin

Oliver Bienkowski, a guerrilla "light-graffiti" artist, splashed a projection of a caricature of Barack Obama's face on the side of the US embassy in Berlin, along with the phrase, "NSA IN DA HOUSE."

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CIA spied on Senate committee writing damning torture report and Obama knew about it

The CIA's Inspector General has asked the Justice Department to consider criminally charging CIA agents who spied on a senate committee that was engaged in writing a report that was highly critical of the CIA's use of torture. Senator Mark Udall, who sits on a CIA oversight committee and whose staff was spied on by the CIA alleges that the CIA surveilled overseeing senators and their staff with Obama's knowledge and consent.

In a recent hearing, Senator Ron Wyden asked the CIA director repeatedly whether the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, America's major anti-hacking statute, applied to the CIA, and whether the CIA spied domestically. CIA director John Brennan replied "yes" and "no," respectively. If Udall's allegations are correct, this means that Brennan lied to Congress (in the second instance) and committed a felony (in the first instance).

The report that caused some CIA agents to spy on their bosses was about how the CIA was wasting time, getting nowhere and doing something illegal and cruel when it kidnapped terror suspects and tortured the shit out of them.

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The second-best headline of all time

With "Obama's pot dealer beaten to death for farting in gay lover's face", I think The Daily Mail may reasonably claim to have created the second-best newspaper headline in human history.

Scoring Obama's NSA reforms (spoiler: it's not good)


Earlier this week, EFF published a scorecard for rating Obama's NSA reforms. Now that the reforms have been announced, it's time to measure them up. They don't fare well, I'm afraid. Here's a roundup of commentary from privacy leaders around the world, expressing disappointment (if not surprise) at Obama's half-hearted reining in of the surveillance state.

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Scorecard for Obama's NSA reforms


Tomorrow, Obama will announce his long-awaited reforms to the NSA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced a score-card (with detailed commentary) describing the minimum set of reforms that would be compatible with the rule of law and a free and fair democracy. It makes a handy crib-sheet to use while you're watching the press-conference -- you can print out one for each of your friends and discuss it around the TV during your NSA press-conference party:

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