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We’ve known for years that the Bush administration ignored and broke the law repeatedly in the name of national security. It is now clear that many of those programs could have been conducted just as easily within the law — perhaps more effectively and certainly with far less damage to the justice system and to Americans’ faith in their government. That is the inescapable conclusion from a devastating report by the inspectors general of the intelligence and law-enforcement community on President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. The report shows that the longstanding requirement that the government obtain a warrant was not hindering efforts to gather intelligence on terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the argument that the law was an impediment was concocted by White House and Justice Department lawyers after Mr. Bush authorized spying on Americans’ international communications.–“Illegal, and Pointless,” The New York Times
More and more Hispanics in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado are uncovering a secret Jewish ancestry, and a hidden health risk that sometimes comes with it. “Nothing survives but a name, a blood line, and curiously enough a tendency to contract certain auto-immune diseases,” said University of New Mexico adjunct professor Stanley Hordes – author of the book “To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico”. “It’s absolutely fascinating to see the intersection between the historical and the cultural and the genetic and the genealogical,” Hordes said. Research shows Sephardic Jews held on to their religion in secret after leaving Spain and Portugal during the Spanish inquisition in the late 15th century, which eventually followed them into the New World. Many Hispanics are starting to find out there is more to their history than they thought. “Our family had been in the Pojoaque Valley forever and ever and ever,” said Albuquerque resident Bernadette Martinez. “We thought that we were just the descendants of Spaniards that came into New Mexico.” Martinez confirmed she has Jewish blood, through DNA testing three years ago. Father Bill Sanchez, a priest at the St. Edwin Catholic Parish in southwest Albuquerque, discovered his Jewish ancestry through DNA testing in 2001.”That’s when it was verified through science,” Sanchez said. “I say my ancestry is Jewish.”–“Hidden heritage exposes cancer risk,” Tim Maestas, KRQE.com
It’s a big-city big-game reserve for the lions, gazelles and jackals of the urban veldt. That proud, roaring figure in one of the prime circular red booths — isn’t that Vernon Jordan? And that band of underfed creatures with such hungry, all-knowing miens: that must be a herd of Vogue editors. They’ve come because Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair and one of the principal architects of this experience, summoned them. On top of everything else the Monkey Bar is his social pulpit, affirming his ordination as the high priest of a certain fame-focused, power-obsessed sect of Manhattan society. With his magazine sanctum doubling as a reservations office, Mr. Carter, the raconteur-cum-restaurateur, decrees who gets in and which table they occupy. And he fashions a fantasy New York where arrivistes bask in mutual recognition and reciprocal adoration, each mirroring the others’ sense of triumph, the unruly city edited down to one preposterously romantic room for the most unromantic of pursuits: back scratching and social climbing.–“Laws of the Jungle Apply,” Frank Bruni The New York Times
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”