|Why does the eagle so seldom face left?|
So now I'm once again American, at least until the first time I try to vote in a general election after my voter card is stamped "Voted Democratic Primary" and I cold-cock the mofo who tries to stop me...
|Why does the eagle so seldom face left?|
This dilemma sprang immediately to my mind...
Should I shelve them with
- history, or
“We know the Obama Administration is spying on the American people’s phone calls and emails. Now they want some of their activity legalized,” declared D.S. Wright on FiredogLake. “It seems to be a two tracked system—if it’s illegal the government will do it in secret and if its legal they will do it openly.”It's like the old coin-flip joke: Heads, they win; tails, you lose.
NSA gathered thousands of Americans’ e-mails before court ordered it to revise its tactics[Note: to the best of my knowledge, Judge Bates is not related to me. - SB]
By Ellen Nakashima, Published: August 21 [Washington Post]
For several years, the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans as part of a now-revised collection method, according to a 2011 secret court opinion.
The redacted 85-page opinion, which was declassified by U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday, states that, based on NSA estimates, the spy agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 “wholly domestic” communications each year.
In a strongly worded opinion, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court expressed consternation at what he saw as a pattern of misleading statements by the government and hinted that the NSA possibly violated a criminal law against spying on Americans.
“For the first time, the government has now advised the court that the volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe,” John D. Bates, then the surveillance court’s chief judge, wrote in his Oct. 3, 2011, opinion.
Poll: Louisiana GOPers Unsure If Katrina Response Was Obama’s Fault[/rolls eyes]
Tom Kludt [TPM] 10:33 AM EDT, Wednesday August 21, 2013
A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren't sure who to blame.
|The typography alone|
should have been a clue
|Which finger, Ted?|
WASHINGTON — Born in Canada to an American mother, Ted Cruz became an instant U.S. citizen. But under Canadian law, he also became a citizen of that country the moment he was born.That's odd... when the same question arose over President Obama's birth, I don't recall any news sources printing the likes of the Dallas Morning News paragraph 1 above, saying that he was American because he was born to an American mother. I guess that only applies if you're a Republican.
Unless the Texas Republican senator formally renounces that citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries, legal experts say.
...Bolds mine. Be sure to tell your Republican coworkers so they can mock you for their ignorance. Your ignorance... I mean "mock you for your ignorance." ☺
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that voters are poorly informed about the deficit. But you may be surprised by just how misinformed.
In a well-known paper with a discouraging title, “It Feels Like We’re Thinking,” the political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels reported on a 1996 survey that asked voters whether the budget deficit had increased or decreased under President Clinton. In fact, the deficit was down sharply, but a plurality of voters — and a majority of Republicans — believed that it had gone up.
I wondered on my blog what a similar survey would show today, with the deficit falling even faster than it did in the 1990s. Ask and ye shall receive: Hal Varian, the chief economist of Google, offered to run a Google Consumer Survey — a service the company normally sells to market researchers — on the question. So we asked whether the deficit has gone up or down since January 2010. And the results were even worse than in 1996: A majority of those who replied said the deficit has gone up, with more than 40 percent saying that it has gone up a lot. Only 12 percent answered correctly that it has gone down a lot.
The NSA is Commandeering the InternetThey say a word to the wise is sufficient. I haven't found that to be true. Remember how you (well, many of you, including me) really thought Obama the candidate was the best thing since sliced bread, and really wanted to believe him? How's that working out for you? And the NSA has even less reason... like, ZERO accountability... not to put a sharp stick in your eye when it's convenient.
It turns out that the NSA's domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we've learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it's easier that way.
I have one message to the executives of those companies: fight.
Do you remember those old spy movies, when the higher ups in government decide that the mission is more important than the spy's life? It's going to be the same way with you. You might think that your friendly relationship with the government means that they're going to protect you, but they won't. The NSA doesn't care about you or your customers, and will burn you the moment it's convenient to do so.
We're already starting to see that. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are pleading with the government to allow them to explain details of what information they provided in response to National Security Letters and other government demands. They've lost the trust of their customers, and explaining what they do -- and don't do -- is how to get it back. The government has refused; they don't care.
It will be the same with you. There are lots more high-tech companies who have cooperated with the government. Most of those company names are somewhere in the thousands of documents that Edward Snowden took with him, and sooner or later they'll be released to the public. The NSA probably told you that your cooperation would forever remain secret, but they're sloppy. They'll put your company name on presentations delivered to thousands of people: government employees, contractors, probably even foreign nationals. If Snowden doesn't have a copy, the next whistleblower will.
NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds(Bolds mine. - SB) Please read the whole thing. It will provide you your morning dose of confidence in the competency and goodwill of this most important government agency. [/irony]
By Barton Gellman, Published: August 15
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans
or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
NSA vs, Us
The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.
In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.
(height over 6')
In case you haven’t heard, journalist Barrett Brown is facing over 100 years in jail for alleged crimes relating to his investigation into the world of private intelligence contractors for the US government.Please read the rest of ysd's post. It is sobering to contemplate what our government is doing to journalists to punish them for doing their jobs.
Forty-five years of that potential maximum jail sentence is for copying and pasting a link into a chat room. Along with valuable emails exposing the machinations inside the lair of private spies in the service of government, the link Barrett Brown posted also included private credit card information stored on contractor’s servers.
By contrast, LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond, accused of actually stealing the files from Stratfor (aided by government informer Sabu), faces only 10 years.
Government overreach on the charges against Brown apparently isn’t enough. In a motion filed August 7, the prosecution requested that the Judge order restrictions against parties contacting the media. The government is seeking a Gag Order to prevent Barrett Brown from speaking with reporters.
San Diego Hooters Refuse To Serve Mayor Bob Filner (PHOTO)Their use of "refuse" instead of "refuses" leads me to expect a subhead...
Fox News to Interview Right Breast at 9:00pm, Pics at MidnightActually, you can't persuade me the printed version was accidental...
The results of a Southern California man’s most recent routine physical revealed a few conditions that really did not surprise him: He has a B-12 deficiency, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
But it was another condition, identified as “chronic” on Matthew Moore’s patient plan, that blindsided him: His physician had listed “homosexual behavior” as a disease on his chart.
Moore, an openly gay man, was understandably shocked, as he told NBC News: “My jaw was on the floor. At first, I kind of laughed, I thought, ‘Here’s another way that gay people are lessened and made to feel less-than,’ and then as I thought about it and as I dealt with it, it angered me.”
When he returned to the office to discuss his doctor’s diagnosis, she defended it to him, explaining that it “is still up to debate” whether or not homosexuality is “thought of as a disease,” according to Moore. (Fact check: It is decidedly not “still up to debate.”)
The health association returned Moore’s money and included a note of apology distancing itself from his doctor’s actions. ...
“We would like to unequivocally state that the Torrance Memorial Physician Network does not view homosexuality as a disease or a chronic condition and we do not endorse or approve of the use of Code 302.0 as a diagnosis for homosexuality.” ...
A judge in Tennessee ordered that a 7-month-old baby's name be changed from "Messiah," prompting the mother to challenge the ruling.Well, that's mighty presumptuous of Judge Ballew... what's next? Will she rename all those Hispanic boys named Jesus and girls named Maria? Just how far does this go?
Jaleesa Martin and the father of the baby were attending a child support hearing Thursday in Cocke County, Tenn. to settle a dispute over Messiah's last name. It was there that Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew took the liberty to hand down a ruling on the boy's first name, too.
"The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ," Judge Ballew said, according to t.v. station WBIR. Ballew said the child could go by "Martin DeShawn McCullough," which includes both the mother and father's names.
As WBIR noted, "Messiah" was one of the five fastest growing male baby names between 2011 and 2012, according to the Social Security Administration.
Who Will Save Us? Not Fundamentalist Judges!
A judge who's holier than some
Decided that she wouldn't buy a
Charming little boy whose Mom
Saw fit to name the tyke MESSIAH.
Said Judge Ballew, "that name's reserved...
To call him that is bad behavior!"
"Well," the startled Mom observed;
"How 'bout instead we name him SAVIOR?"
The judge said she would brook no fooling:
"'Nuff of this, now; quit yer fartin'...
I proclaim my solemn ruling:
As of now, his name is MARTIN."
The Mom was ticked; her rage was blind;
"This is not over," said with feeling,
"'Nother judge will shortly find
This charming child to be... APPEALING!"
SB the YDD
Here's a parody I stole;Or, more to the point, don't allow your happiness to depend on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life in our Galaxy.
You might want to sing it whole—
Be worried... ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Not happy... ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
... The reasons why we are here form a chain so improbable that the chance of any other technological civilization existing in the Milky Way Galaxy at the present time is vanishingly small. We are alone, and we had better get used to the idea.So there. Take that, you romanticizing fool!
|I-45: Murder Alley?|
All | U.S. | World | GunsDoes anyone else think something is wrong here?
CNN, at least, had something to say about that:
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Monday called on both NBC and CNN to drop their planned film productions of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or face losing their partnerships with the RNC for 2016 presidential primary debates.
Try Ex-Lax, Reince!
A party whose national committee chair has a name reminiscent of European royalty really should think twice before behaving toward one or more of the major television networks as if the party were, in fact, royalty who could dictate to the networks what they could or could not broadcast. I mean, really: in the 2000 presidential selection, it was the CEO of ABC who called the election for GeeDubya Bush. I think the power of the networks to run the show on election night is well-established, whatever Republican royalty (or ordinary citizens) may think of that.
Puzzled over what they say would be a "premature" decision to pull several 2016 presidential primary debates should a documentary on Hillary Clinton go forward, CNN on Monday called on the RNC to "reserve judgment" before committing what they call the "ultimate disservice to voters."
When a party's policy agenda becomes wholly negative... "the policy of the GOP is to prevent President Obama from accomplishing anything whatsoever, especially anything having to do with social programs..." it leads that party to attempt things that rational people would know better than to attempt. My reaction is probably about like that of most long-time Democrats: part of me would love to see the GOP collapse; another part of me is afraid of what happens to the nation if any substantial portion of its government, whether personnel or policy, is irrational. Hope for the best? The best would be for the House GOP to experience a return to rationality, and I fear that will not happen.
But these aren’t normal times. Republicans have refused to negotiate away their budget differences with Democrats, and have instead instructed their appropriators to use the House GOP budget as a blueprint for funding the government beyond September.
Like all recent GOP budgets, this year’s proposes lots of spending on defense and security, at the expense of all other programs. Specifically, it sets the total pool of discretionary dollars at sequestration levels, then funnels money from thinly stretched domestic departments (like Transportation and HUD) to the Pentagon and a few other agencies. But that’s all the budget says. It doesn’t say how to allocate the dollars, nor does it grapple in any way with the possibility that cutting domestic spending so profoundly might be unworkable. It’s an abstraction.
In the short run the point is that Republican leaders are about to reap the whirlwind, because they haven’t had the courage to tell the base that Obamacare is here to stay, that the sequester is in fact intolerable, and that in general they have at least for now lost the war over the shape of American society. As a result, we’re looking at many drama-filled months, with a high probability of government shutdowns and even debt defaults.
Over the longer run the point is that one of America’s two major political parties has basically gone off the deep end; policy content aside, a sane party doesn’t hold dozens of votes declaring its intention to repeal a law that everyone knows will stay on the books regardless. And since that party continues to hold substantial blocking power, we are looking at a country that’s increasingly ungovernable.
|Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Austin, TX|
"At the Fork in the Road"