Posts by: Mark Follman

“The White House Wants to Get Him”

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I’m still stunned from reading this story on the front page of yesterday ’s New York Times. Officials in George W. Bush’s White House, James Risen reports, directed the Central Intelligence Agency to dig up damaging personal information on Juan Cole, an American university professor, Middle East expert and zealous critic of the Iraq war. […]

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Bookending bin Laden

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Mother Jones’s Michael Mechanic has pulled together how eight newspapers captured the defining moments of Osama bin Laden’s mortal entanglement with America. From the Gray Lady to the tabloids, it’s interesting to look through these juxtaposed front pages and reflect on all that transpired in the decade between:

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Vancouver’s Bold War on Drugs

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For many years Vancouver has had a serious heroin addiction. So it’s heartening to see that one of the city’s boldest strategies for confronting the problem, launched eight years ago, is continuing to meet with serious success: Vancouver’s government-backed “supervised injection site” — the first of its kind in North America — has helped reduce […]

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How USA Today Tiptoed Away From the GE Tax Hoax

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Last Wednesday, USA Today editor Doug Stanglin reported about the Associated Press’s hugely embarrassing misfire-of-a-story on General Electric. In a blog post headlined “AP falls for prank report that GE is giving back a $3.2B tax refund,” Stanglin quoted from AP’s correction, included the full text of the retracted AP story on GE, and cited […]

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Hacking the Middle East

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Simplistic pronouncements about the role of social media in stirring uprisings and toppling dictators have by now, thankfully, seemed to die down. That Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other digital tools have been important to the historic upheaval in the Middle East is an unimpeachable fact. And a closer look at how those tools played a […]

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Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s War on Labor

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The showdown continues in Wisconsin pitting public-sector labor unions against Republican governor Scott Walker, who aims to eviscerate collective bargaining rights. As of this writing the state’s Democratic lawmakers apparently are still MIA. Days of large protests in Madison and even the involvement of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers have indicated the high […]

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Love in the Time of Terror Babies

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“My parents, with admirable foresight, had their first child while they were on fellowships in the United States. My mother was in public health, and my father in a library-science program. Having an American baby was, my mother once said, like putting money in the bank.” So begins Daniel Alarcón (who is reading at the […]

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The Rise of WikiLeaks

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No matter where you come down on the veracity, morality or impact of WikiLeaks’ mountainous Afghan “war diary,” its release has been a fascinating event. It prompted me to reread Raffi Khatchadourian’s first-rate New Yorker profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, where several passages have fresh resonance in the wake of the latest document dump. […]

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The Deep Dark Shades of BP’s Gulf Oil Spill

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The oil-drenched marine life preparing to testify on Barry Blitt’s June 7 New Yorker cover did not make me smile in the slightest. (I doubt humor, even the dark kind, was Blitt’s core intent.) It’s an effectively painful riff on the slow-motion horror story continuing to seep from the Gulf region. Like so many others […]

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Mark Bowden Battles The Bloggers

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The esteemed journalist Mark Bowden is back with another thought-provoking article on the digital media revolution. It is at once deeply reported, crisply written — and strangely myopic in its conclusions.

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The spirit of Haida Gwaii

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(Editor’s note, all photos in this post are the author’s and are copyrighted) In late August I returned to the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, a place whose ancient, complex culture and astonishing natural beauty are inextricable. Earlier this week, in the village of Old Massett, the renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson hosted an epic two-day […]

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Iran’s Twitter revolution goes global

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It’s been amazing to watch it spread. “As the embattled government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be trying to limit Internet access and communications in Iran, new kinds of social media are challenging those traditional levers of state media control and allowing Iranians to find novel ways around the restrictions,” reports the New York […]

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A Titanic for these times

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The June issue of the Atlantic has a look at the mind-blowing “Oasis of the Seas,” a gargantuan ocean liner forthcoming from cruise company Royal Caribbean International. Its unprecedented scale of apparent luxury surely required feats of engineering. But any awe that inspires would seem to wash away with apprehension of the massive ship’s untold […]

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Daphne Merkin’s literary depression

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There is a peculiar quality to “A Journey Through Darkness,” Daphne Merkin’s memoir of chronic depression published this week in the Times Magazine. Her intimate account of lifelong struggle with the disease, centered on her latest stint in a Manhattan psychiatric facility in 2008, evokes the perspective of a highly intelligent, sensitive, deeply troubled soul. […]

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Google, Kindle, and The Library of Babel

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Technological innovation seems almost strangely commonplace these days, from say, contact lenses that could layer data directly onto your view of the world to robots fighting far-flung wars to computer systems perhaps smart enough to compete on “Jeopardy!” All astonishing developments in their own right, and yet the most profound change of our times may […]

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