Tasneem Raja, Interactive Editor

Tasneem Raja

Interactive Editor

Tasneem Raja is MoJo's Interactive Editor. She specializes in web app production, interactive graphics, and user interface design. Before joining Mother Jones, she was an interactive producer at The Bay Citizen. Before crossing over to the dark side, she was a features reporter and copyeditor at The Chicago Reader.

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NSA Mad Libs: Choose Your Own [Redacted]

| Thu Aug. 22, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a 2011 FISA Court ruling striking down a top-secret National Security Agency online-surveillance program. The court, whose opinions are normally classified, found that the agency had accessed as many as 56,000 electronic communications (such as emails) from American citizens and foreign nationals over a three-year period by tapping into fiber-optic cables.

The ruling is 86 pages long, but don't expect to read all of it: It's so heavily redacted that large portions of the text look like some sort of cubist Rorschach test. As a result, much of the declassified ruling's contents will still be unknown to the general public.

But don't let that stop you! Below, you can take your best guess at what the redacted opinions should say with our NSA Choose-Your-Own-[Redacted] Mad Libs:

Think the results of your NSA Mad Lib looked crazy? Check out some of the actual redactions on the newly released FISA rulings:

Page 1
The black marker was definitely working on page 1. Behold, a nearly perfect square, redacting the entire opening paragraph.

 

Page 4
Page 4 informs us that something is limited to the "the targeting of non-United States persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States." And that's about it.

 

Page 12
Hoping to find the bibliography information for citation No. 11 on page 12? Fuhgeddaboudit.

 

Page 27
Page 27 might not tell you much about the new provision, but this redaction does kind of resemble an American flag. So at least it's patriotic.

 

Page 58
It appears one lucky word on page 58 was not redacted for a brief, shining moment. But eventually, the black marker won. What do you think that word was? Leave your comments below.

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Bachmann's Right: The Founders Would "Hardly Even Recognize" America Today

| Wed May 29, 2013 6:45 PM EDT

Michele Bachmann has said some crazy things over the years. When her goodbye speech today warned that America is "becoming a nation our founders would hardly even recognize today," we had to agree.

The Man in the Cowboy Hat: Meet Carlos Arredondo, a Hero of the Boston Bombings

| Tue Apr. 16, 2013 2:17 AM EDT

One of Monday's most gripping—and graphic—images was a picture of a young man who appears to have lost both of his legs, being frantically wheeled to an ambulance by responders. On Twitter, there's been a lot of discussion about the ethics of running the picture without blurring the young man's face, as The Atlantic did for over an hour on its site before altering the image. The Washington Post chose to crop the image so the victim's legs are visible only above the knee.

One of the responders in the photograph—the man in the cowboy hat—has been identified as Carlos Arredondo, a Costa Rican immigrant (originally undocumented) whose Marine son died in action in Iraq in 2004. The day he learned of his son's death, Arredondo ​locked himself in a van with five gallons of gasoline and a propane torch and set the van on fire. He survived, became a peace activist, and was among the spectators who rushed toward the fumes after the explosion today. After tying a tourniquet onto the young man's legs and wheeling him past the finish line to emergency help, Arredondo, seen badly shaken and trembling in this video, gripping a small American flag drenched in blood, talks to some bystanders on the street about the explosion:

Arredondo was at the marathon to cheer for a runner who'd dedicated their race to his son. In 2011, Arredondo's other son, Brian, 24, committed suicide after suffering years of depression and drug addiction following his brother's death. You can see the 52-year-old, cowboy-hat-clad activist in the immediate aftermath of the attack at the 2:00 mark below, lifting pieces of broken fence and debris away from victims lying on the sidewalk:

Over on Reddit, there's a post from someone who says they're a friend of the victim in the wheelchair, and that he found a record of his friend—Jeff—through Google's Person Finder, an app for locating loved ones after an emergency. The app said Jeff "was in the Boston Medical Center ER as of 23:20 UTC." The thread also has a Facebook message from someone asking for prayers for his son, Jeff Jr., who was injured in the blast: 

Can everyone pray for my Son Jeff jr who was at the finish line today in Boston. He is in surgery right now with injuries to his legs. I just can't explain whats wrong with people today to do this to people. I'm really starting to lose faith in our country.

The Redditor added an update to say Jeff is in stable condition, and that "Carlos Arredondo should never have to buy a drink in this town again."

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