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More Thoughts on the Facebook Borg

I'm a heavy Facebook user in my personal life, with friends and family, as I'm sure many of you are too. It's also a very key part of our distribution and reader recruitment strategy at TPM. I say that to be clear that we and I are deeply invested in the Facebook ecosystem. But one of things I find fascinating about Facebook's efforts to assimilate much of the news publishing industry is the mix of genuine newness and benign unfamiliarity with the business and trade practices of journalism on the one hand combined with a realistically confident assumption whatever they don't figure out at first doesn't really matter all that much because they're still Facebook and you have to do what we want you to do.

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I sometimes think those who warn of creeping Sharia just don't have enough confidence in its inevitability. I like to think of it as the political world's kudzu or wisteria. Ignore it for too long and pretty soon it takes over everything in sight. It even sounds botanical: I have a terra cotta pot of Creeping Sharia over there next to that lush Wandering Jew.

But those most fervently on-guard for creeping Sharia lack the assuredness you'd expect from diehards. They're always on the look out for creeping Sharia where you'd least expect it, and they find evidence of it in the most amazing places.

Here's the best example I've heard in a while: Obama is going to use the thwarted attack on Pam Geller's anti-Islam Muhammad cartoon contest as a pretext for bringing the First Amendment in compliance with Sharia's anti-blasphemy restrictions. "Imagine, a nation founded on Judeo-Christian ethics changing the rules for a Muslim prophet!” Jeanine Pirro warned on Fox News.


Images from Tonight's Amtrak Derailment

These pictures from tonight's fatal Amtrak crash in Philadelphia are harrowing and sobering, especially if you spend a lot of time going back and forth between DC and New York on this train. Just filed photos of the rescue efforts after the jump.

So far at least five people are confirmed dead and 49 more people injured, six in critical condition.

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Introducing Bright Shiny Instant Articles

Something like a year ago I had conversations - entirely independent of each other - with very high level publishing executives at two of Facebook's newly announced partners for Instant Articles. They came from two of the more venerable names on the list. And this was when Facebook was first pitching them on the idea of this co-publishing project, deep under the veil of tightly woven NDAs. As they related it to me, in these initial conversations with the traveling Facebook execs, their first reactions to their faces was some variant of "you've got to be f-cking kidding."

To which the Facebookers replied with a mix of genuine surprise and restrained indifference.

Not Pretty

Bush follows up on 'based on what we know now' ...

"I interpreted the question wrong, I guess. I was talking about given what people knew then, would you have done it? Rather than knowing what we know now. And knowing what we know now, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead up to the war and the lack of focus on security. My brother's admitted this. And we have to learn from that ... Yeah, I don't know what that decision would've been. That's a hypothetical but the simple fact was mistakes were made, as they always are in life and foreign policy. So we need to learn from the past to make sure we're strong and secure going forward."

I've compressed the answers together here, taking out cross talk with Hannity. But it captures the gist of the floundering. Click here to see a more detailed rendition of the exchange. The upshot is he didn't understand the question but still isn't willing to answer it now that he does.


I'm here!