Armchair road trips

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geoguessr_thumbAlready counting the days before your next three-day weekend? While you’re plotting your escape, you can take seemingly limitless virtual road trips thanks to GeoGuessr, the latest, greatest time-waster on the Internet.

A mash-up of Google street views and The Dish’s View From Your Window, GeoGuessr teases you with idyllic seashores, winding forest roads and desolate, dry landscapes that look more Martian than terrestrial. (That’s the Outback, not a crater on the Red Planet.)  Continue reading

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IRS timeline – the short form

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May 19: Dan Pfeiffer holds a royal flush of Sunday talk shows — making the rounds on ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday” —  to repeat that President Obama only learned that the IRS had targeted conservative groups “when it came out in the news.”

May 10-11: During an American Bar Association Q&A, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, airs the  IRS’ dirty laundry and the inspector general’s report is leaked to the press.

Week of April 22, 2013: The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, citing a senior White House official, report today that the counsel to the president, Kathryn Ruemmler, was informed of the IRS audit of conservative groups.

March 2013: Treasury secretary is told IG’s report is on the way.

October 2012: The IRS discloses on its website that the investigation is on its agenda. Jonathan Weisman in his Times report notes that the IG report wasn’t exactly a secret. Well, if you know how to read IRS-speak, it wasn’t a secret — the Annual Audit Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 isn’t exactly Hemingway.

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Putin, the puddy tat

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130425_PutinCat10

The British prime minister proclaimed today that “real progress” had been made with Russia on solving the Syrian crisis, the Daily Telegraph reported. “We have a common interest in putting an immediate end to violence,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters.

As David Cameron trekked to Sochi, Putin’s summer residence in the Black Sea, Russia’s foreign minister announced that Moscow would not deliver a missile defense system to Syria, as reports in Russia had suggested.

Is Putin turning into a pussy cat? Foreign Policy recently had fun with Putin.

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The lost continent

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Buried in ancient dialogues of Plato is found the story of Atlantis, an “island larger than Libya and Asia put together” in the Atlantic Ocean. The “great and wonderful empire,” Plato says, ruled the Mediterranean as far as Egypt and Europe as far as Naples. “Violent earthquakes and floods” devastated its civilization 9,000 years ago, the philosopher wrote circa 360 BC., and Atlantis disappeared “in the depths of the sea.” All that’s left of a once mighty empire is a “shoal of mud” making “the sea in those parts … impassable and impenetrable.”

From that mud spawned a thousand tales, by Jules Verne and JRR Tolkein among many others. But could there be a grain of truth in the legend? Continue reading

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Benghazi whistleblower

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There were two attacks on U.S. posts in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11 and early morning of Sept. 12. The attacks were hours apart.

According to excerpts released Monday from private testimony given to congressional investigators, the deputy of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the first attack, said that Special Forces in Tripoli were told they didn’t have the authority for a rescue mission. Continue reading

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