Mossack Fonseca’s wimpy response to the Panama Papers

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Carlos Sousa is the PR Director for Mossack Fonseca & Co. This has to be the most thrilling week of his career, since someone leaked 11 million of his firm’s documents — the “Panama Papers” — implicating prominent world figures in corruption. But when you parse Sousa’s statements, you realize that his main message to clients is “don’t … Continued

Donald Trump’s mistake: telling the truth about abortion bans

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Hectored by Chris Mathews of MSNBC, Donald Trump said that after abortion becomes illegal, women who get abortions should be punished. After a huge outcry, a few hours later he took it it back. His problem is that what he said originally makes too much sense to be politically effective. The logical case for punishing pregnant women … Continued

We’re living in an April Fool’s joke

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To comprehend the absurdity of 2016, just think how it would appear to an observer from 2000. I remember 2000 — it was an intense five years into my tenure as an analyst. We could see where things were going. The Web had vanquished walled gardens like AOL and was about to become universal. People were … Continued

When infographics pass the point of diminishing returns

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Infographics are supposed to have two related qualities: they’re useful and you want to spread them. Putting a whole bunch of stuff together in a graphic, no matter how cleverly, doesn’t necessarily qualify. When people do this, I’m left scratching my head. For example, Scott Brinker made this graphic that attempts to show all the vendors … Continued

How is North Carolina’s Roy Cooper different from Kentucky’s Kim Davis?

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North Carolina’s new law enables and protects people who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The state attorney general, Roy Cooper, has refused to defend the law in court. Should he? This is an uncomfortable question because it’s so similar to another recent case. Read both of the descriptions below and … Continued

A browser extension for truth: Verytas

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Lies masquerading as truth on the Web are a real problem.  Now Sam Mallikarjunan is going to try to solve the problem. Mallikarjunan and his partner Andrei Oprisan are creating a browser extension called Verytas that changes the background color of stories you read: green for true, red for false, purple for satire. How does Verytas know? The … Continued

Interpreting non-answers from Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren

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Politicians (and other people) often can’t or won’t answer a question. How they respond says a lot about who they are. If they were honest, they would say “I won’t answer that” and then say why. But instead, they just take the airtime and answer some other question they’d rather talk about. For example, Mediaite recently … Continued

The passive blame game: “mistakes were made” in Brussels

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Now that the bombing stories are done, it’s time for the blame stories — and the passive voice that inevitably accompanies them. Like the LA Times story titled: ” ‘Mistakes were probably made,’ Belgian official acknowledges after Brussels attacks.” Ya think? People performed these acts. Belgian and European police and intelligence agencies, obviously, missed something. That’s … Continued