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Weekly Link Round-Up

Note: There has been reporting of another shooting at Texas A&M University yesterday. I am not ignoring it, but I am waiting for further reporting before talking about it.

1. Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his VP. Ezra Klein breaks down that choice. I have about 20 other good links on this that I’ll write into a separate round-up that the non-wonks in my readership can just skip.

+ I should mention that this is a guy who can wax poetic about being “pro-life” without mentioning the word “woman”, once. Why would he? They’re just carriers for the womb.

+ But it’s really not going to matter, since the GOP will just suppress the votes of 5 Million Americans who would otherwise disproportionately vote Democrat and steal the election.

+ Here are 5 of the 196 people who have donated 80% of all SuperPAC money so far. The land of opportunity, as long as you can buy the election.

+ Think those rich people would believe in transparency of governance and release tax returns? Nope.

2. Why has the horrific Oak Creek Temple Shooting received so little media coverage? Because terrorism is different when it’s committed by a white guy.

+ Top ten differences between white terrorists and others.

+ Speaking of, this retired Michigan police-man was pretty terrified of two Canadians who tried to talk to him on the street in Calgary, and lamented that he did not have a gun on-hand to protect himself and his family.

+ From the people who were trying to give him free tickets to the Calgary Stampede. As a friend said on Twitter…if he had had his hand-guns, would this be a story of a senseless murder of two young men instead? Isn’t this a picture-perfect argument for why we don’t give guns to everyone, so that paranoid trigger-happy entitled pricks like this don’t get to shoot up everyone they don’t like?

3. These Olympic Games were the first games in which all participating countries sent female representatives. The female athletes from Saudi Arabia, however, have been completely ignored by their home country…or worse.

+ Not that so-called developed countries are much better about not being sexist pigs or comparing women to animals.

+ Ye Shiwen is a 16-year-old Chinese swimmer who set a world record in the 400 IM. So of course the first thing anyone asks is – “did she dope”? The confluence of sexism, racism, and swimming at the London Olympics.

4. A public school in Louisiana is kicking out teenagers who are pregnant (illegal) and forcing girls that it “suspects” of being pregnant of taking pregnancy tests (illegal) or else face suspension (illegal).

+ Meet the 24-year-old fundamentalist who’s willing to die for the anti-abortion movement. Chilling.

+ Bet you didn’t know that Christian Fundamentalist hate the blasphemy that is mathematics. Since they hate set theory so much, maybe they should also reject computers and the internet.

5. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that patients who were diagnosed as “mentally retarded” could not be subjected to the death penalty, under the 8th Amendment. In 2012, Texas said “fuck it”, and decided to execute a man with an IQ of 61 who has trouble dressing himself. Their criteria? Of Mice and Men. “Anyone less impaired than Steinbeck’s fictional migrant ranch worker should have no constitutional protection.”

+ Speaking of the “best country in the world” that still has the death penalty and lacks nationalized health care: what was that about unnecessary heart surgery on patients who don’t need it because their insurance payouts would be good?

6. The Atlantic has an interesting article about the ways in which the so-called meritocracy of the US is basically a perfect storm for anxiety and depression.

+ And the recession certainly isn’t helping anyone get laid, either: Love in the time of Layoffs. (Thanks, Alex!)

7. A fun interview with someone who works surveillance in a casino about their job.

8. The Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars last Monday. The public domain footage that NASA uploaded to YouTube were promptly hit by a DMCA take-down notice. Because reasons.

+ Two of the unexpected darlings of the Mars landing were two engineers whose hairstyle and rock-and-roll looks have won them the hearts of geeks around the world. What’s the best way to reward them? Competing on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, of course.

9. Starbucks announced last week that it was going to partner with mobile payment provider Square. Here’s a good write-up of what that means and how that’s important.

+ Remember the guy who got hacked through social engineering of Apple and Amazon service reps? His misery has led to actual policy changes at Apple and Amazon.

10. I’ve pretty much let the Olympics pass me by, as usual, but this men’s highbar routine was kind of mind-blowing.

+ You know who’s having the most fun with his Olympic fame? Usain Bolt, who is kind of hilarious. And who also takes the best photos: