Currently viewing the tag: "Conor Friedersdorf"
  • Obama pardoned 46 drug offenders, and will continue to do the right thing — albeit excruciatingly slowly — on this American human rights disaster.
  • Conor Friedersdorf raises some fair concerns, but he had to be wrong about something. That something is legal polygamy. 
  • One time I tweet-asked Jon Ronson if I should stop trolling Bill Kristol and he responded “haha.” So I feel like I have his permission to keep being an asshole there. Generally speaking, Ronson continues to advocate for nuance and humanity in our dealings with other humans and is therefore awesome. And he had a really good conversation with Joe Rogan recently, in which they discuss THEM and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. Watch it! It’s really long, though, and I am not done yet. In general, though, it’s really depressing that so many people responding to Ronson seem to be personally offended that he wants us to have empathy and information before we turn another person into the number one trending topic.
  • Tavi Gevinson definitely gets why old poetry is embarrassing. 
  • If you’re somehow not tired of Donald Trump yet, Matt Welch and Jesse Walker wrote some delightfully damning pieces about him and his Freedom Fest speech debacle. Welch in particularly pulls out some of that too-often-hidden disdain. 
  • S.E. Cupp is a dope while writing about criminal justice issues. Yes, a felon who had a gun is NOT inherently a violent criminal. Let Familie Against Mandatory Minimums help you with that.
  • Martha Gellhorn. Margaret Bourke-White. My old adviser who worked for CNN. None of these women are manly enough for this author to bemoan that their day has ended. (Oh, and journalism-wise: Gellhorn>Hemingway. Even if fiction-wise it is a different story.)
  • Rand Paul disappointingly opposed to the Iran weapons deal.

Today’s video: The summer, 2003 ABC Family show The Brendan Leonard Show gave us many great moments. This is just one of them:

I realize now that I tolerate slapstick when it comes from Buster Keaton, and when it happened on this show. Deadpan is a necessary part of slapstack, otherwise it just makes me cringe into a tiny ball of sadness. Anyway, this show actually airing on cable news was a beautiful moment in early aughts history.

This is a new weekly feature by Steigerwald Post creator, and snappy dresser, Joseph Steigerwald, chronicling the best 3 and bottom 2 movers and shakers of whatever category I see fit — plus one bonus subject that is, at best, barely related to the current subject.

Today’s topic: Edward Snowden and his magic Power Point presentation. In the last week, details of both the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program, and Verizon’s (and other telecoms’) collusion with the NSA-led government spying program were leaked by former CIA anylist Edward Snowden. These cast an ugly light on the Obama administration, and the government in general. Here are three heroes, and three villains of this story, plus one wildcard.


#3: Bipartisanship:

For once bipartisanship is working in America. Pundits on the left and the right are flocking to Edward Snowden’s defense. In The New Yorker, John Cassidy writes a brilliant piece praising Snowden. Glenn Beck and Michael Moore agree that he’s a “hero”. Sen. Rand Paul is seeking to launch a class action lawsuit against the NSA programs. Lefty magazine The Nation leads off its website with a story devoted to the “passion of Edward Snowden.” Even Al Gore:

and John Cusack!

#2. Glenn Greenwald:

Leave it to those limey Brits to do the dirty work the American press doesn’t want to. The Washington Post may have broken the PRISM story shortly before The Guardian got their version up, but it seems the mastermind behind the entire press operation was Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald. According to Greenwald, an anonymous source first contacted him back in February, months before The Washington Post got their information. It was Greenwald and documentary film maker Laura Poitras who directed Snowden, with his leak of the PRISM program to former Washington Post writer Barton Gellman. Because the Post was dragging its feet on publishing the story, Snowden decided to share the PRISM story with Greenwald as he had already broken the Verizon story, which was derived from a different leak of Snowden’s. Greenwald, already a hero in the libertarian community for his tireless work attacking the Obama administration’s drone program, scores again with this monumental scoop. 

#1. Edward Snowden:

Our new libertarian hero. Anyone with the guts to give up his entire life, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to expose the inner workings of our mostly-evil government deserves our applause.  Maybe he is a narcissist (Jeffery Toobin and Richard Simon think so), and he only leaked the information because he knew it would get him his 15 minutes of infamy. WHO CARES?! His reasons are irrelevant and as the great Conor Friedersdorf points out at The Atlantic, ¨The 29-year-old’s law-breaking undermines the American system far less than what Barack Obama and Congress have done.¨ If Snowden had leaked the information because Satan himself appeared to him in a dream and told him to do it, I would be okay with it.  Anything that exposes secret government information is fine by me. And if it embarrasses the entire Obama administration, and makes the U.S. government look stupid in the eyes of the citizenry, that´s a double bonus. Now if only the citizenry could remember all this next election day.


#2. The Statists:

Leaks of secret government files are usually very revealing in the way that they bring out passions on all sides of the debate. This particular leak allows us to shine a light on the big government cheerleaders, the ¨statists.¨

Conservative statists:

Speaker of the House John Boehner: ¨NSA leaker a traitor¨.

Ralph Peters, Fox News contributor and former Army Lt. Col., wants the death penalty for Snowden.

Liberal statists:

David Simon, creator of The Wirerah-rah-ing the police state:

Sam ¨The terrorists are gonna get us¨Harris (and Glenn Greenwald foil,) eagerly handing over an indeterminate percentage of freedoms for an imaginary reduction in the likelihood of a terrorist attack:

Andrew Sullivan is not impressed:

Sen. Diane Feinstein: “I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,”

And finally, David Brooks trying to write something more intelligent than he has the intelligence to write.

#1. Bu-Oba-Sh-Ma

Now, I´m not specifically comparing George W. Bush to the alien life form in John Carpenter´s The Thing, nor am I saying that there’s a good chance that said life form has somehow taken over the body of Barrack Obama, but if someone wants to take a small amount of Obama´s blood and hold a heated piece of copper wire to it to see if it is actually alive, I wouldn´’t object.

Obama promised transparency if elected, he even wrote a memorandum that states, with tongue not even close to cheek that:

¨My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.¨

Of course he probably wrote that before he became Bu-Oba-Sh-Ma.

1 wild.

#1. Snowden and Catch-22:

Coincidentally, (but not ironically, at least not yet,) Edward Snowden shares the same name as the doomed gunner in Joseph Heller´s influential anti-war novel Catch-22. If Edward Snowden somehow disappears or gets killed by the government, the irony meter will go off the page, (figuratively).

When the government becomes so large that there are no longer checks on its power, we are all Yossarian.

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