Archive for February, 2009

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Topalov pulls ahead of Kamsky in sixth game

February 27, 2009

029_02001_topalov_veselin2Bulgarian whiz Veselin Topalov kept the pressure on against American Gata Kamsky in Sofia. The winner of this eight game match will go on to challenge the current World Champion, Viswanathan Anand. Kamsky played the French against Topalov, which seems an odd choice, but given that Topalov is a theory marvel, maybe Kamsky was trying to take him out of the more travelled openings of the past five years. It worked for Magnus Carlsen earlier last year. Anyhow, for better chess coverage, check out the New York Times’ Gambit blog.

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Jane Mayer on the Al-Marri indictment

February 27, 2009

Over at the New Yorker.

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Putin faces military discontent

February 26, 2009

Small item here.

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When newspapers wither, corruption increases

February 26, 2009

negggwspapers2I have a close friend who has been in the newspaper business longer than I have actively pursued journalism. This point, that when a community newspaper dies, inevitably corruption increases, is one she makes time and again. I trust her because she’s worked at a number of community newspapers in my home state, several in small towns and rural areas—areas she would often visit after one had lost its paper.

This New Republic piece elaborates further on the consequences of losing our watchdogs.

A graf:

One danger of reduced news coverage is to the integrity of government. It is not just a speculative proposition that corruption is more likely to flourish when those in power have less reason to fear exposure. The World Bank produces an annual index of political corruption around the world, based on surveys of people who do business in each country. In a study published in 2003 in The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Alicia Adsera, Carles Boix, and Mark Payne examine the relationship between corruption and “free circulation of daily newspapers per person” (a measure of both news circulation and freedom of the press). … Using different measures, they also find a similar relationship across states within the United States: the lower the news circulation, the greater the corruption

Overall it’s a lengthy piece, so will take some time.  For someone in the blogosphere who’s particularly adept at dismantling arguments about who, precisely, is at fault for all this, you should regularly read Athenae over at First Draft.

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Revisionists or dolts?

February 25, 2009

Scott Horton’s blog No Comment, part of Harper’s online presence, is a treasure chest. Today Horton laments the dumbing down of the GOP.

A graf:

The Stupid Party may have appointed Michael Steele as its chairman, but it’s still represented by aging white southern men who seem to have a hankering for re-fighting the Civil War and who emit an unending stream of idiocies when they connect with the media. They lecture us about history and prove in the process that they are schooled on prejudice and venom. They believe that opposing the president in a time of crisis without proposing any credible alternatives of their own is a virtue and that debate is best conducted with fear and superstition and not reason and facts, yet every time they raise their voices they raise the same question: “How did the country come to the domestic and foreign policy mess it now faces?” We don’t have to look far.

Or just read the full post here.

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More on Kyrgyzstan’s volte-face

February 20, 2009

This, over at Wired’s Danger Room

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So long Kyrgyzstan, hello Iran?

February 19, 2009

Spencer Ackerman offers this notable tidbit from his perch at Firedoglake.