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Walter White Not Dead?

Bryan Cranston Drops Crazy ‘Breaking Bad’ Hint In CNN Interview

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Why Mass Killers Are Always Male

From http://time.com/114128/elliott-rodgers-ucsb-santa-barbara-shooter

@jeffreykluger

Declaration of Independance (Extract)

On some level, I believe Thomas Jefferson was writing this for future generations, and not just those of America. The words of this document resonate even today, and I feel the reality of the atrocities described as I read every word. Jefferson and his contemporaries were given the unique opportunity to overthrow an Old World regime and establish something new and lasting. I believe they succeeded, and many nations have adopted similar governments.

Recent world events, including those in Crimea and the Middle East, speak volumes to the necessity and benefits of independent states. Citizens of all nations must consider if we truly appreciate freedom and what we plan to do with it or how to achieve it.

Declaration of Independance (Extract)

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes….

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world…. He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries…. He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power…. For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: For imposing taxes on us without our consent: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury….

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people…. We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

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On balance, the Iraq war was worth it

The scene at Iraq’s crossed swords monument has changed since US soldiers were photographed at the site in 2008. Iraqi officials had started tearing down the archway in 2007 but quickly halted those plans and began restoring the monument tw o years ago.

Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press

The scene at Iraq’s crossed swords monument has changed since US soldiers were photographed at the site in 2008. Iraqi officials had started tearing down the archway in 2007 but halted those plans and began restoring the monument two years ago.

On balance, the Iraq war was worth it

By Jeff Jacoby | Globe Columnist   March 20, 2013

Ten years ago this week, the United States led an invasion of Iraq with the explicit purpose of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The preceding months had been filled with vehement protests against the impending war, expressed in editorials, in advertisements, and in rallies so vast that some of them made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. With so many people against the invasion, who supported it?

Well, if you were like the great majority of Americans — you did. In February and March 2003, Newsweek’s polls showed 70 percent of the public in favor of military action against Iraq; Gallup and Pew Research Center surveys showed the same thing. Congress had authorized the invasion a few months earlier with strong bipartisan majorities; among the many Democrats voting for the war were Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden.

Though the Iraq war later became a favorite Democratic club for bashing George W. Bush, Republicans and Democrats alike had long understood that Hussein was a deadly menace who had to be forcibly eradicated. In 1998 President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, making Hussein’s removal from power a matter of US policy.

But bipartisan harmony was an early casualty of the war. Once it became clear that Hussein didn’t have the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that were a major justification for the invasion, unity gave way to recrimination. It didn’t matter that virtually everyone — Republicans and Democrats, UN inspectors and CIA analysts, coalition allies, even Hussein’s own military officers — had been sure the WMD would be found. Nor did it matter that Hussein had previously used WMD to exterminate thousands of men, women, and children. The temptation to spin an intelligence failure as a deliberate “lie” was politically irresistible.

When the relatively quick toppling of Hussein was followed by a long and bloody insurgency, opposition to the war intensified. But then came Bush’s “surge,” and the course of the war shifted dramatically for the better. By the time Bush left office, the insurgency was crippled, violence was down 90 percent, and Iraqis were being governed by politicians they had voted for. It was far from perfect, but “something that looks an awful lot like democracy is beginning to take hold in Iraq,” reported Newsweek in early 2010. On its cover the magazine proclaimed: “Victory at Last.”

And so it might have been, if America’s new commander-in-chief hadn’t been so insistent on pulling the plug.

In October 2011, President Obama — overriding his military commanders, who had recommended keeping 18,000 troops on the ground — announced that all remaining US servicemen would be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Politically, it was a popular decision; most Americans were understandably weary of Iraq. But abandoning Iraqis and their frail, fledgling democracy was reckless.

“It freed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to be more of a Shiite sectarian than he could have been with the US looking over his shoulder,” as military historian Max Boot observed this week. As Maliki moves against his Sunni opponents, some of them “are making common cause once again with Al Qaeda in Iraq, [which] has recovered from its near-death experience” during the surge, Boot declared. It is cold comfort that so many warned of such an outcome in 2011.

So was the Iraq war worth it? On that, Americans are a long way from a consensus. It is never clear in the immediate aftermath of any war what history’s judgment will be. But this much we do know: The invasion of Iraq 10 years ago ended the reign of a genocidal tyrant, and ensured that his monstrous sons could never succeed him. It struck a shaft of fear into other dictators, leading Libya’s Moammar Khadafy, for example, to relinquish his WMD. It let Iraqis find out how much better their lives could be under democratic self-government. Like all wars, even wars of liberation, it took an awful toll. The status quo ante was worse.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at jacoby@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby.

the pain of comedy — 5/1/14

Today’s encore selection — from Comedy at the Edge by Richard Zoglin. The lives of superstar comedians George Carlin and Richard Pryor bear witness to the pain beneath so much of our humor:

George Carlin

“[George Carlin’s] father, an ad salesman, was a drinker prone to violent outbursts, and when George was only two, his mother grabbed him and his older brother, fled down the fire escape, and left for good. Mary Carlin and her boys spent two years shuttling among friends and relatives, before finally getting an apartment of their own — with George’s father stalking them all the way. ‘He hounded her,’ says Carlin. ‘And he frightened her. When we lived on One Hundred Fortieth Street, we would come back from downtown, get off the subway, and the procedure was, my mother would go to the call box, get the local precinct, and say, ‘Hi, it’s Mary and the kids. I’m at One Hundred and Forty-fifth Street. Come and get us.’ And they would drive us home and see us into the house. Sometimes, he’d be across the street, just looking.’ Even when they finally moved into an apartment that his father didn’t know the whereabouts of, his mother was still on edge. If they got an unexpected knock, she’d tell George to peek under the door. If he saw a lady’s shoes, he could open it. A man’s shoes, and they would stay quiet until the visitor went away. This family drama ended only when his father died. George was eight. …

Richard Pryor

“He was born Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor, on December 1, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois. His mother, who appears to have been a prostitute, and his father married when Richard was three and split up when he was ten. He then went to live with his grandmother, who ran a chain of whorehouses in town. In his autobiography, Pryor Convictions, Pryor describes learning about sex by peeking through keyholes to watch the prostitutes at work, and soaking up neighborhood lore at a bar called the Famous Door, where ‘people came in to exchange news, blow steam or have their say.’ He was kicked out of Catholic school when they found out about the family business, and he moved into an integrated elementary school. There he got an early taste of racism, when he gave a scratch pad as a gift to a little white girl he had a crush on. The next day, as Pryor tells it, the girl’s angry father came to school and berated him in front of the class: ‘Nigger, don’t you ever give my daughter anything.’ “