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arely staircase

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Member since: Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:54 PM
Number of posts: 12,482

Journal Archives

Syria is not Iraq

Here's what you need to know about the constantly evolving situation there, and the best of our no-good options

Great powers have the option and leeway to behave in contradictory and hypocritical fashion. It’s actually in their job description. We can intervene in Libya and not in Syria; we support an Arab Spring in Egypt but not in Saudi Arabia without blinking an eye.

Libya was low-hanging fruit; it had no allies, air defenses or WMD. And America could act with the support of a Security Council resolution and with NATO as the implementing arm. Syria is fundamentally different. It’s far more important than Libya, to be sure. But it’s also far more difficult to manage. And there’s no compelling case that has yet been made – neither moral nor strategic — that trumps the risks and uncertainties for military intervention, certainly not for the U.S. playing the lead role in doing so...

How it will end, other than badly, is not clear. But Obama is right to be risk-averse, not risk-ready, on Syria, and very disciplined about avoiding a slippery slope toward military action. I still believe in my former boss Colin Powell’s notion that if you break it you own it. In this case, Syria is already broken. But at the end of the day, I believe Barack Obama is smart enough not to be stuck with the check.

Posted by arely staircase | Tue May 7, 2013, 07:15 PM (0 replies)

German police arrest 93-year-old suspected of being Auschwitz guard

The suspect had served as a guard at the camp in Poland from the autumn of 1941 until its liberation in early 1945, the prosecutor's office said in the statement.


I do not believe that the advanced age of people such as this should have any effect on whether they are brought to justice. If anything, every year they escaped justice is an insult to those they murdered.
Posted by arely staircase | Mon May 6, 2013, 08:17 PM (1 replies)

march on DC with loaded guns (holy shit)

A gun activist is planning a massive march on D.C., with participants' rifles illegally slung over their shoulders

Libertarian activist and radio host Adam Kokesh is hoping to get 1,000 people to march on Washington on July 4 — armed with loaded rifles. The plan, launched with a Facebook group today, is to gather on the Virginia side of the Potomac, where gun laws are lax, and then march across the bridge with loaded rifles slung over their shoulders into the District, where openly carrying weapons is generally prohibited.

“This will be a non-violent event,” the Facebook group warns, “unless the government chooses to make it violent.” Already, over 200 people have said they’ll attend the march. Here’s the message:

On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

Kokesh is a former Marine who was discharged in 2007 after violating the military’s code against engaging in political activity while in uniform. Kokesh was highly active in the antiwar movement after serving in Iraq, participating in numerous protests and getting arrested on occasion.

Posted by arely staircase | Fri May 3, 2013, 06:50 PM (80 replies)

Solid job gains reported in April; US unemployment rate down to 4-year low of 7.5 percent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy showed in April that it’s healthier than many had feared, adding a solid 165,000 jobs and driving the unemployment rate down a notch to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

Not only that, but many more people were hired in February and March than previously thought, the Labor Department said Friday. The job gains came despite a global slowdown, Social Security tax increases and federal spending cuts, which some thought would drag on the economy.

The stock market soared on the news. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 142 points, or nearly 1 percent, after briefly breaking 15,000 for the first time in history.

Posted by arely staircase | Fri May 3, 2013, 06:17 PM (0 replies)

How conspiracists think

New research helps explain why some see elaborate government plots behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombings

Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax? And what about the Boston Marathon bombing…an “inside job” perhaps?

These findings are alarming because they show that conspiracy theories sow public mistrust and undermine democratic debate by diverting attention away from important scientific, political and societal issues. There is no question as to whether the public should actively demand truthful and transparent information from their governments and proposed explanations should be met with a healthy amount of scepticism, yet, this is not what conspiracy theories offer. A conspiracy theory is usually defined as an attempt to explain the ultimate cause of an important societal event as part of some sinister plot conjured up by a secret alliance of powerful individuals and organizations. The great philosopher Karl Popper argued that the fallacy of conspiracy theories lies in their tendency to describe every event as ‘intentional’ and ‘planned’ thereby seriously underestimating the random nature and unintended consequences of many political and social actions. In fact, Popper was describing a cognitive bias that psychologists now commonly refer to as the “fundamental attribution error”: the tendency to overestimate the actions of others as being intentional rather than the product of (random) situational circumstances.


Since a number of studies have shown that belief in conspiracy theories is associated with feelings of powerlessness, uncertainty and a general lack of agency and control, a likely purpose of this bias is to help people “make sense of the world” by providing simple explanations for complex societal events — restoring a sense of control and predictability. A good example is that of climate change: while the most recent international scientific assessment report (receiving input from over 2500 independent scientists from more than a 100 countries) concluded with 90 percent certainty that human-induced global warming is occurring, the severe consequences and implications of climate change are often too distressing and overwhelming for people to deal with, both cognitively as well as emotionally. Resorting to easier explanations that simply discount global warming as a hoax is then of course much more comforting and convenient psychologically. Yet, as Al Gore famously pointed out, unfortunately, the truth is not always convenient.

Posted by arely staircase | Thu May 2, 2013, 08:09 PM (164 replies)

3 pals of Boston Marathon bombing suspect charged with coverup

The three friends, who are all 19-years-old, allegedly went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the FBI photos came out April 18 and left with a backpack that contained fireworks tubes that had been emptied of their explosive powder, according to the documents....

...They then "collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get in trouble," Kadyrbayev told agents, according to the complaint.

Posted by arely staircase | Wed May 1, 2013, 07:45 PM (70 replies)

Happy Anniversary, Al-Quaeda

Two years ago President Obama brought to fruition his shift in priorities to focus on capturing or killing bin Laden. Did he make the right choice?

Posted by arely staircase | Wed May 1, 2013, 07:24 PM (1 replies)

over reliance on standardized testing is counter productive; reason #1

had a parent-teacher conference today about a kid who never turns in his homework and the mom asked me "the tests are over with, why are you making them do homework?"
Posted by arely staircase | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 11:02 PM (0 replies)

I am old enough to remember when kids were allowed to actually bring guns to school

and I am only 40 something. deer rifles in the back windows of pick ups in the high school parking lot were not uncommon in rural East Texas in the 1970s and even 80s. Of course that is also back when seat belts weren't required and it was legal to drive down the road drinking a beer if you were at least 18.

I wouldn't support returning to such policies, I'm just making a my-how-times-have changed and I guess I'm getting old observation.
Posted by arely staircase | Mon Apr 29, 2013, 03:39 PM (95 replies)

has the youtube comments section always been full of holocaust deniers and straight-up Nazis?

And I am not using the word as a hyperbolic substitute for conservatives, but actual Nazis. I was watching some pretty good documentaries on WWII from the BBC and other reputable, mainstream broadcasters and I mean, jeez.

And are there more of these people than I thought, or is this just the internet artificially magnifying things?
Posted by arely staircase | Mon Apr 29, 2013, 09:01 AM (33 replies)
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