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Democrats dodge their Ted Cruz moment

It's official: Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not speak at the Democratic convention. She's still nominally chairwoman of the DNC, though Hillary was forced to strip her of all actual power as down payment toward winning Bernie's endorsement. The issue for the convention was not whether Debbie would be booed by Sanders delegates if she took the podium, it was whether she would be booed off the stage a la Ted Cruz. The question became pretty much moot Friday, after Wikileaks released 20,000 hacked DNC emails, some of which detailed how she and her staffers basically colluded with the Clinton campaign to sabotage Bernie's run. Then yesterday, Robert Reich called for her to be fired immediately, rather than just demoted out of the way.

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Can we finally call it a coup?

Egypt's democratic revolution is effectively over. The army has decided to roll back things back further than they stood when Mubarak fell. For several election cycles, the Muslim Brotherhood had been illegal but tolerated, even electing legislators as long as they ran as independents. That won't happen again.

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The sky is falling!

The cosmos put on quite a show yesterday, sending two massive asteroids (one a total surprise) Earth's way within hours of each other.

A good thing, all in all. Nobody died, but the astronomic coincidence -- and especially the stunning dash-cam images out of Chelyabinsk -- focused a lot of minds on a real threat our civilization faces.

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Morsi makes his move

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stunned the country today by firing the military leaders who were his chief rivals for power, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and chief of staff Sami Anan:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19234763

I think Morsi has pulled it off.

For one thing, he's named a bunch of other SCAFers to succeed Tantawi and Anan, and those guys aren't whining about his right to do so.

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DEMONIZING IRAN: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

In 2006, I witnessed close-up one of the most shameful events in Canadian journalism. The conservative National Post had received a column by Iranian-born writer Amir Taheri stating that Iran’s parliament had passed a law requiring distinctive clothing (possibly colored badges or stripes) for each of the country’s religious minorities. The Post ran the story, along with its own incendiary commentary, atop Page 1. And illustrated it with photos of Jews wearing stars of David in Nazi death camps.

The story went viral; other right-wing rags and blogs elaborated on it. The next day, the Post retracted and apologized, after receiving a point-by-point rebuttal from Iran’s lone Jewish legislator (the community has been guaranteed one constitutionally for more than a century). No such law had been proposed, much less passed. And it turned out one of the sources Taheri cited didn’t exist. He claimed his words had been taken out of context. They hadn’t. Taheri’s credibility was ruined, or so I assumed.

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Weighing whether to wait a second, scientists put off decision for three years

I’m sure you are all as relieved as I am that Thursday’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union postponed its scheduled vote on whether to drop the leap second:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16625614

The next planned one-second adjustment to Universal Time, at the end of June, will go ahead. And delegates will return home for consultations before the issue arises again at the World Radio Conference in 2015.

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Egypt’s Islamists in driver’s seat

It will be more than a month before we get final, official results of elections to Egypt’s lower house. But even partial results from the first round (runoff voting is still taking place) tell the story: Islamists have won a stunning mandate.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s coalition collected 37 per cent or so of votes, close to what many had predicted. The shocker is that the next-biggest bloc, with a quarter of the votes so far, is that of the Salafists – religious fundamentalists who back a rigid application of sharia.

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HOME, HOME ON LAGRANGE: EARTH FINDS ITS TRUE COMPANION?

Meanwhile, in non-debtpocalypse news, I read today that a Canadian-led team of astronomers has discovered Earth's "First Asteroid Companion," the as-yet-unnamed 2010 TK7.

Fascinating -- except that the headline is totally wrong. None of the articles I scanned today mention it, but we've known about another "asteroid companion" for nearly a quarter-century. It's called Cruithne (pronounced KROOeee-nyuh), and it orbits the sun in a somewhat more elliptical version of Earth's path.

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MAN BITES DOG, SCANDAL-PLAGUED SCANDAL SHEET BITES DUST

Wow! If you care about the media, and specifically the dangers of media concentration, today's news that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is shutting down its News of the World is huge news. The fact I had to use the word "news" four times in a single sentence tells you just how huge.

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Canada's Conservatives craft a cabinet

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, newly re-elected and with his party finally holding a majority of seats in Parliament, announced his new cabinet today. Underlying message: “What were all you voters so scared of?”

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