In 1971, Ellsberg released a series of documents that came to be known as The Pentagon Papers. He had spent two years gathering classified materials on the Vietnam War and secretly photocopying them, back when that technology still seemed reasonably miraculous.
Ellsberg showed the documents to a number of people, including a few sympathetic U.S. Senators. He tried to convince them to reveal the documents on the floor of the Senate, where they would be immune from prosecution. But none of them were willing, so Ellsberg risked all by offering the documents to the New York Times.
The Old Gray Lady began publishing and reporting on The Pentagon Papers in June. They contained a host of damning revelations, including:
- U.S. officials knew early on that the United States would probably lose the Vietnam War. Read more »
Last week a woman named Stephanie Strayer took a train out of Philadelphia. She had the unfortunate experience of sitting near a “loser.” Strayer claims the guy and his friends spent two hours bragging about their many extramarital affairs, and how their wives were too dumb to find out.
So Strayer took a picture of the “loser,” posted it to her Facebook page with a brief explanation, and asked people to re-post.
A quick peak at Strayer’s Facebook timeline suggests nothing unusual. Photos of cats, waterfalls, and rainbows. She’s got fifty-nine Friends, she Likes eleven pages, and her typical posts garner a few thumbs up and maybe a couple of shares. The photo of the Amtrak Philanderer got seven Likes and four comments from her FB friends.
But then something happened. The post made it out of her small circle and went viral. It’s now been shared more than a quarter-million times on Facebook. NPR even mentioned it in a story about what George Orwell and Franz Kafka might think the recent NSA spying scandal were they still alive. Read more »
Deacon Jones. It just doesn’t get much cooler than that.
His real name was David, but that wasn’t enough to adequately describe the man who put the fear of God into so many opponents. He needed something bigger, something that announced his arrival.
And arrive, he did. Jones came out of virtually nowhere to become arguably the greatest defensive end in NFL history. A couple of hundred players had already gone ahead of him when the Los Angeles Rams picked Jones out of little Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State University) in the 14th round of the 1961 draft. The only reason the Rams knew anything about him is because, while studying film of a different player on an opposing team, they noticed Jones was the fastest man on the field despite being over 270s lbs.
An all around-force, Jones terrorized NFL quarterbacks, running backs, and offensive linemen from 1961-74. And like so many NFL greats past and present, he held toughness and machismo to be unquestioned virtues. Read more »
Ann Coulter is not funny. And I say this only with the deepest respect for comedy.
The question is Why? Why is Coulter, despite all her insistence and protestations to the contrary, not funny?
Perhaps the biggest problem is that Coulter’s sense humor, like much of her politics, is anachronistic. A lot of what she thinks is funny, and why, is just out of date.
Comedy is a part of culture, which is why jokes are often lost in translation. And since culture is always changing, comedy changes with it. Humor is of the here and now.
But too many of Coulter’s jokes are mired in the past. Not their topicality of course. It’s not like she’s making jokes about what a thick-headed Liberal Woodrow Wilson is. Rather, her ideas about how to be funny are often out of date by a generation or two. Take this example from 2007:
I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot. Read more »
As reported in The Baltimore Sun on May 24th, two Maryland lobbyists, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone, were married the prior weekend in Las Vegas. The lobbyists had already joined forces professionally years ago, and are the principals of Harris Jones & Malone, an Annapolis-based lobbying firm with offices in Baltimore. They represent well over a hundred clients including McDonald’s, Constellation Energy, Wal-Mart, Verizon, and bio-tech giant Genentech.
That Harris Jones and Malone decided to marry in Las Vegas is not the public’s business, and merely news only for the society pages. Besides, as a frequent visitor to America’s Playground, I can certainly endorse the choice.
However, what did make these nuptials newsworthy was the presence of numerous and prominent Maryland politicians who were in Las Vegas on the taxpayer’s dime. That would seem to warrant more coverage by The Baltimore Sun than just a Saturday, page 2 article.
But The Sun did not even break the story. Initially, the wedding really was relegated to the society pages. It was first reported on May 22 by Afro.com, the web site of the Afro-American Newspapers chain, which publishes in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Afro.com reported none other than Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake presided over the ceremony, while Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway was a maid of honor.
Could anything better illustrate the unseemly intimate relationship between politicians and lobbyists? Read more »
Now, normally I don’t use this space to take cheap shots at respectable intellectuals. But Coulter is neither an intellectual nor respectable. She’s merely an ideological provocateur, a cross between Joseph Goebbels and Lindsay Lohan. That much I was able to gather without even reading her work. Simply watching her perform on television, making grisly attempts to simultaneously push her venomous ideology and groping sexuality, was enough.
And then I actually read something she wrote: a brief article entitled “When Did We Vote to Become Mexico?”
It made me realize she’s even worse than I thought. Read more »