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Some Pictures Say a Lot

We can only infer so much from photographs. There's clearly been looting and an element of crowd violence in Ferguson, Missouri. But there are quite a few photos and videos of heavily armed and armored police facing clearly unarmed civilians who often have their hands in the air to show they are not armed.

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Does 'Iron Dome' Actually Work?

We've been inundated with reports about the almost miraculous success of Israel's 'Iron Dome' missile defense system. To my Israeli relatives, its success is an absolute article of faith. But does it actually work? A very credible ballistics expert - who played a big role debunking the early reports about the success of the Patriot Missile - says the success rate is around 5% rather than the 85% claimed by the IDF (the Israeli military). We don't come to a definitive conclusion. But this is a must-read because what we've been told may be totally wrong.

Maliki Stands Down?

You're pretty isolated as a Shia Prime Minister of Iraq if the Iraqi Kurds, the Iraqi Sunni Arabs, the US and Iran all say you're done. There's been extreme concern that former-kinda-still Prime Minister Maliki might try to use the military to hold on to power. Now he's telling the army to keep out of politics and let the parliamentary crisis find a political endgame.

Dangerous Games, Pt 2

Last night I noted the perilous game Hillary Clinton was playing, attempting to put distance between herself and President Obama's foreign policy at a time when his foreign policy is under attack. Now David Axelrod is swiping back about Clinton's Iraq War vote in 2002.

I'm not interested in litigating the ins and outs of this. But suffice to say that this is an example that once you starting seeding these memes you are not in control of where they go.

Recipe For Trouble

Like many of you, I've been watching as the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, has spiraled out of control, from the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager to a mix of peaceful protests and looting from the local population to what looks like an extremely heavy-handed response from the city police. Pictures aren't always representative. But what has stuck out to me is that that protestors seem almost all black and the cops seem to be almost all white.

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Hillary's Delicate, Dangerous Game

Let's start by affirming a few points. After a bruising and devastating defeat to Barack Obama in 2008, Hillary Clinton went on to serve his administration ably, loyally and well for four years. It's also true that it's entirely natural for a future presidential aspirant to find ways to separate herself from the current president, especially one with flagging popularity. Indeed, it is incumbent on a would-be president to make clear what she would have done differently and what she would do if she were elected. As President Clinton has said many times, elections are always about the future.

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President Obama on Robin Williams

Statement by the President on the Passing of Robin Williams

"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."

Robin Williams, Dead at 63

Depression is something so profound it transcends being a comedian (or even happiness itself). It may even be correlated with the profession. But hearing that a Robin Williams took his own life does make you step back for a moment and ponder the entirety of the human enterprise.