Do not make the Torah into a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, and don't use it as a spade with which to dig into them.
*Full disclosure, my great grandfather, Harry Goldman, and her grandfather, Sam Goldman were brothers.
Do not make the Torah into a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, and don't use it as a spade with which to dig into them.
I'm taking the bus and Metro to work today.
I'm doing out to see how it goes.
If this works for me, our will save some money, along with some wear and tear in my psyche.
There its a guy in the Metro car with me, and I cannot tell if he is having a conversation via a bluetooth equipped cell phone, our if he is mentally ill.
The joys of modem technology, neh?
No loss of signal underground, and the conversation continues, so, to paraphrase Cheap Trick, it's those men inside his brain.
Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.If you don't think this sort of stuff cannot be used against you, what happens if they decide that they to shut you up, and your little is stupid enough to sext their boy friend.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.
Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy".
Revelations about NSA monitoring activities over the last year show the potential for a police state mechanism, according to the former U.S. cybersecurity czar, but there is still time to avoid the dire consequences.This is also why security expert Bruce Schneier is suggesting that the National Security Agency be broken up:
At the 2014 Cloud Security Alliance Summit, unofficial RSA Conference opener Richard Clarke, chairman of Washington, D.C.-based Good Harbor Consulting LLC, spoke to a packed audience. The former cybersecurity advisor to President Barack Obama discussed his involvement in the December 2013 report reviewing the data collection and monitoring capabilities at the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Clarke said that the reaction to leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has perhaps been overblown, because he described the employees at the three-letter agencies as "incredibly intelligent people" who are focused on combating terrorism and punishing violations of human rights. As part of the review process, Clarke and his group were given what he called carte blanche security clearances to review all of the agencies' intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Those employees are not currently listening to random phone calls and reading email, Clarke said, but that doesn't mean U.S. citizens should ignore the agencies' growing capabilities.
"In terms of collecting intelligence, they are very good. Far better than you could imagine," Clarke said. "But they have created, with the growth of technologies, the potential for a police state."
Clarke said such concerns are hardly new, pointing to the government committee headed by Sen. Frank Church in the 1970s. Church warned at the time that the technologies at intelligence agencies were developing at such an alarming rate that, if they were all turned on, the U.S. would never be able to turn them off, effectively creating a permanent police state in which the entire popular would be under constant surveillance.
Though such warnings seem dire, Clarke noted that the seemingly endless scope of current government surveillance activities stemmed largely from a lack of strict guidance from policy makers. He said a major aspect of the report to the White House was simply prompting the questions that were previously unasked: What are our intelligence agencies collecting? What should they be collecting? If we should be collecting data, how do we safeguard it? If we're collecting data, how do we stay consistent with U.S. traditions of privacy and government oversight?
The NSA has become too big and too powerful. What was supposed to be a single agency with a dual mission -- protecting the security of U.S. communications and eavesdropping on the communications of our enemies -- has become unbalanced in the post-Cold War, all-terrorism-all-the-time era.The organization is out of control, and its actions do not properly serve our security needs, and it increasingly sees its mission as simply expanding its reach and power.
Putting the U.S. Cyber Command, the military's cyberwar wing, in the same location and under the same commander, expanded the NSA's power. The result is an agency that prioritizes intelligence gathering over security, and that's increasingly putting us all at risk. It's time we thought about breaking up the National Security Agency.
Broadly speaking, three types of NSA surveillance programs were exposed by the documents released by Edward Snowden. And while the media tends to lump them together, understanding their differences is critical to understanding how to divide up the NSA's missions.
Renewing its recent fascination with the kinds of inventions that can be patented, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to clarify when an analytical method implemented by a computer or by a link on the Internet is eligible for monopoly protection. This was the only new case granted. The Court will be reviewing a widely splintered decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in the case of Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International (docket 13-298). The en banc Federal Circuit found the method at issue ineligible for a patent, but a majority could not agree on a standard for making such decisions.Hopefully, this means that the Supreme Court is willing to overrule the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, aka "The Patent Court", which has ignored Supreme Court precedent for years:
The case will provide a new test of the Patent Act’s most basic provision — Section 101, which broadly outlines what kinds of inventions are patentable. One of the long-standing exceptions to the types of inventions mentioned in that section is that an abstract idea can never be patented. That issue arises frequently these days, especially with rapidly developing technology in computer software. The Justices have dealt with that issue several times in recent years.
Alice International, an Australian company that is half-owned by the National Australia Bank Ltd., obtained patent protection on a method invented by its founder, Ian Shepherd, for exchanging financial instruments, with the aim of assuring that, when two parties have agreed to an exchange of currency or other financial goods, they actually deliver on the deal. Because such agreements are often delayed at least a few days in implementation, there is a risk that one side won’t live up to the agreement. The invented program works out a settlement arrangement to determine which side is obliged to deliver. It generates instructions to the institutions involved to carry out their agreement.
This spring, the Supreme Court will weigh in on the patentability of software for the first time in a generation. In the 1970s, the high court placed strict rules on software-related patents. But since then, a lower court has effectively overruled the Supreme Court's precedents, allowing hundreds of thousands of legally dubious software patents to be approved.Anti-aliasing was a technique which had been known for decades, but the patent court ignored precedent, and allowed the patent, and opened up the floodgates, which later extended to business models and financial constructs.
The arguments in the software patent debate have barely changed since the 1970s, but the players in the debate have changed radically. In 1972, IBM was a leading software patent opponent. Today, Big Blue has become one of the concept's biggest supporters. In 1991, Bill Gates warned that patents could bring the software industry to a "standstill." Today, Microsoft is fighting to protect the tens of thousands of software patents in its portfolio.
During the 1970s, patent law was shaped by a Supreme Court that was skeptical of patents on software. Even its 1981 decision [which allowed for a computer controlled method of curing rubber involving a computer to constantly monitor temperature] emphasized that there were limits on software-related patents. In 1982, Congress made a seemingly innocuous change to the structure of the court system that had a profound impact on the legal status of software patents.
Most areas of the law are handled by generalist judges organized into a dozen geographically based appellate courts. But Congress, concerned that patent law had become too complex for generalist judges, created a new court called the Federal Circuit Appeals Court. The Federal Circuit was given jurisdiction over all patent appeals. And perhaps because its judges spend so much time rubbing elbows with patent attorneys, the new court would prove to have a strong pro-patent bias.
An important turning point came in a 1994 ruling involving a computer graphics technique called anti-aliasing. ………
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is threatening to boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade unless organizers allow a group of gay military veterans to march, joining New York’s mayor in protesting parade policies on gay groups.Let the bigots stew in their own hate alone.
Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, said Thursday he’s been trying to broker a deal with the city’s parade organizers to allow a gay veterans group sponsored by MassEquality to march in this year’s parade. He said allowing gay groups to participate is long overdue.
“It’s 2014 — it’s far beyond the time where we should be even having this discussion because they’re veterans who fought for this country just like any other veteran,” Walsh said.
“I made a commitment during the campaign ... that I would fight for equality and that’s what this is all about.”
But parade planners appeared unwilling to budge.
Lead parade organizer Philip Wuschke Jr. said gay people are not prohibited from marching with other groups. But he said organizers do not want the parade to turn into a demonstration for a particular group.
“The theme of the parade is St. Patrick’s Day. It is not a sexually oriented parade,” he said. “All we want to do is have a happy parade. The parade is a day of celebration, not demonstration.”
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will skip the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan because participants are not allowed to carry signs or banners identifying themselves as gay.
“I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city,” de Blasio said during a press conference earlier this month. “But I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.”
………So Mark Ames thesis is that the political culture of the Ukraine is largely one of corrupt politicians and oligarchs grasping for advantage.
Everyone looking for a proxy side to support or oppose in the Ukraine political dynamic will be disappointed. Ukraine politics go by their own rules. Today’s neoliberal ultranationalist could be tomorrow’s Kremlin ally, and visa-versa. Just look at what happened to the Orange Revolution—nothing. To wit:
a) One Orange Revolution leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, wound up turning against her partner Viktor Yushchenko and allying with Yanukovych to strip Yushchenko of presidential powers; later, Tymoshenko allied with the Kremlin against Yushchenko; now she’s free from jail and the presumptive leader of the anti-Yanukovych forces.
b) The other Orange leader—the pro-EU, anti-Kremlin Viktor Yushchenko—wound up allying with pro-Kremlin Yanukovych to jail Yulia Tymoshenko.
c) John McCain has been the big driving force for regime change against Yanukovych, but McCain’s 2008 campaign chief’s lobby firm, Davis Manafort, managed Yanukovych’s political campaigns and his lobbying efforts in the US.
d) Anthony Podesta, brother of President Obama’s senior advisor John Podesta, is another Yanukovych lobbyist; John Podesta was the chief of Obama’s 2008 transition team.
4. Yanukovych was not fighting neoliberalism, the World Bank, or oligarchy — nor was he merely a tool of the Kremlin.
There’s another false meme going around that because the World Bank and IMF are moving in to “reform” Ukraine’s economy — for the umpteenth time — that somehow this means that this was a fight between pro-neoliberal and anti-neoliberal forces. It wasn’t.
Yanukovych enthusiastically cooperated with the IMF and pledged to adhere to their demands. Six months after Yanukovych was elected president, the headline read “International Monetary Fund approves $15 billion loan to Ukraine”. ………
The point is this: Ukraine is not Venezuela. This is not a profoundly political or class fight, as it is in Venezuela. Yanukovych represents one faction of oligarchs; the opposition, unwittingly or otherwise, ultimately fronts for other factions. Many of those oligarchs have close business ties with Russia, but assets and bank accounts—and mansions—in Europe. Both forces are happy to work with the neoliberal global institutions.
In Ukraine, there is no populist left politics, even though the country’s deepest problem is inequality and oligarchy. Memories of the Soviet Union play a big role in turning people off to populist-left politics there, for understandable reasons.
The state of Georgia this week began offering a new version of its vehicle license plate featuring the Confederate battle flag. Sponsored by the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (to whom a portion of the purchase price and annual registration fees will go), the revised design has many people inside the state and out howling mad.Read the rest, it's brilliant, and if you know anyone in Georgia, have them petition for a vanity plate.
In response to the outcry, Georgia SCV commander Jack Bridwell asked, "What's the big deal?" Echoing Bridwell's explanation that "the design is just people trying to show who they are and trying to be proud of their heritage," Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesman Ray McBerry invited other groups to do the same:
"We believe that all people ought to be able to celebrate their history and their heritage, and that includes Southerners. We did anticipate that there could be some folks who would not like that, but we encourage them to go and make application for their own specialty plates."Now, a little known organization is taking him up on the offer. The group, calling itself The American People, is sponsoring a license plate to mark the 150th anniversary of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea.
After capturing the South's vital manufacturing center and rail hub at Atlanta, Sherman's troops marched southeast to Savannah leaving a swath of ruin in their wake. Between November 15th and December 21st, 1864, Sherman more than accomplished his objective to "create havoc and destruction of all resources that would be beneficial to the enemy." Sherman's brilliant campaign (or what the Sons of Confederate Veterans brand "atrocities and war crimes") hastened the end of the Confederacy and with it the enslavement of four million Americans.
Our drug penal/enforcement industry is a waste of resources, and people like Michael Pristoop should find honest productive work.
Testifying against bills proposed in Maryland to legalize and decriminalize marijuana, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop cited a hoax story that claimed 37 people died the first day marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
"The first day of legalization, that's when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana," Pristoop said in testimony at Tuesday's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. "I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths."
But Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, who has proposed a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax the drug, immediately fact-checked Pristoop.
"Unless you have some other source for this, I'm afraid I've got to spoil the party here," Raskin said. "Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website."
Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev's Jews to leave the city and even the country if possible, fearing that the city's Jews will be victimized in the chaos, Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday.It's a fact that a significant number of of the protesters had ties to right wing nationalists, most notably the Svoboda party.
"I told my congregation to leave the city center or the city all together and if possible the country too," Rabbi Azman told Maariv. "I don't want to tempt fate," he added, "but there are constant warnings concerning intentions to attack Jewish institutions."
According to the paper's report Azman closed the Jewish community's schools but still holds three daily prayers. He said the Israeli embassy told members of the Jewish community to avoid leaving their homes.
“Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man,” Burkman said in a statement. “That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Of course, your son is already showering with gay men in gym class, at the health club, in the US military, in the NFL, and in the US Congress. The only difference is that in some of those places, your son is simply not aware of who the gay guy is. The NFL being more welcoming to gays won’t change the simple fact that just because you don’t know who’s gay, doesn’t mean the gay men aren’t already there.
But this is not the kicker to this story.
OH MY GOD!! YOU COMCAST PEOPLE HAVE NO LIMITS! YOU’RE LIKE SOME GIANT, COAX-TENTACLED CTHULHU-BEAST THAT KEEPS PROMISING TO DEVOUR US ALL BETWEEN 8 A.M. AND NOON BUT DOESN’T ACTUALLY GET AROUND TO DEVOURING US UNTIL AFTER 3 P.M. BECAUSE YOU GOT ‘STUCK IN TRAFFIC’ AND A PREVIOUS DEVOURING RAN LONGER THAN EXPECTED . . . .Not only that, he raises one of the famous (infamous?) Taiwanese CGI news animations.
"This is one of those problems when people use religion as a way to sort of enforce discriminatory practices," he continued. "People used religion back in the 1860s when they defended slavery. They used religion to defend slavery."That first bit seems to me to be a subtle slam at the Southern Baptists, whose genesis was a schism with the American Baptists over the morality of slavery. (The Southern Baptists were on the wrong side of the argument.)
"We've used religion to go to war. People have criticized Islam because they use religion to fight people and kill people. This is the problem with that [bill]."
A draft put forward at the Internet Engineering Task Force has drawn the ire of prominent privacy activist Lauren Weinstein as “one of the most alarming Internet proposals” he's ever seen.Considering that AT&T proposed this, and that AT&T's record vis a vis illegal surveillance is pretty horrific, I do not see this as a positive proposal.
The document that's upset Weinstein is this one, out of the HTTPBis Working Group and posted as an Internet Draft on 14 February 2014.
Entitled Explicit Trusted Proxy in HTTP/2.0, the standard proposes a mechanism by which an upstream provider – say an ISP – could get permission to
snoop ondecrypt user traffic for the purposes of caching.
Using proxies to cache traffic in the service provider network is unremarkable and uncontroversial: it's been normal practice for a long time. The end user benefit is better performance; the service provider benefit is a reduction in traffic over their upstream transit network links.
From that point of view, encryption is a pain in the neck: the service provider can't see into the encrypted traffic, which reduces the effectiveness of its caching strategy.
The Internet Draft has this to say:
“To distinguish between an HTTP2 connection meant to transport "https" URIs resources and an HTTP2 connection meant to transport "http" URIs resource, the draft proposes to 'register a new value in the Application Layer Protocol negotiation (ALPN) Protocol IDs registry specific to signal the usage of HTTP2 to transport "http" URIs resources: h2clr.'”In essence, to try and protect their ability to cache, the authors of the standard propose that providers seek their customers' permission to decrypt their traffic (solely for the purposes of offering a better customer experience, naturally).
For some reason, Weinstein finds this proposal outrageous: “The proposal expects Internet users to provide 'informed consent' that they 'trust' intermediate sites (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, etc.) to decode their encrypted data, process it in some manner for 'presumably' innocent purposes, re-encrypt it, then pass the re-encrypted data along to its original destination,” he writes.
Today is my last day at Rolling Stone. As of this week, I’m leaving to work for First Look Media, the new organization that’s already home to reporters like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras.Read the whole thing.
I’ll have plenty of time to talk about the new job elsewhere. But in this space, I just want to talk about Rolling Stone, and express my thanks. Today is a very bittersweet day for me. As excited as I am about the new opportunity, I’m sad to be leaving this company.
More than 15 years ago, Rolling Stone sent a reporter, Brian Preston, to do a story on the eXile, the biweekly English-language newspaper I was editing in Moscow at the time with Mark Ames. We abused the polite Canadian Preston terribly – I think we thought we were being hospitable – and he promptly went home and wrote a story about us that was painful, funny and somewhat embarrassingly accurate. Looking back at that story now, in fact, I’m surprised that Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana gave me a call years later, after I’d returned to the States.
I remember when Will called, because it was such an important moment in my life. I was on the American side of Niagara Falls, walking with friends, when my cell phone rang. Night had just fallen and when Will invited me to write a few things in advance of the 2004 presidential election, I nearly walked into the river just above the Falls.
At the time, I was having a hard time re-acclimating to life in America and was a mess personally. I was broke and having anxiety attacks. I specifically remember buying three cans of corned beef hash with the last dollars of available credit on my last credit card somewhere during that period. Anyway I botched several early assignments for the magazine, but Will was patient and eventually brought me on to write on a regular basis.
It was my first real job and it changed my life. Had Rolling Stone not given me a chance that year, God knows where I’d be – one of the ideas I was considering most seriously at the time was going to Ukraine to enroll in medical school, of all things.
No journalist has ever been luckier than me. Thank you, Rolling Stone.
When is it considered legitimate to try and overthrow a democratically-elected government? In Washington, the answer has always been simple: when the US government says it is. Not surprisingly, that's not the way Latin American governments generally see it.The US has declared the Chavezista government to be our "Hitler of the week":
On Sunday, the Mercosur governments (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela) released a statement on the past week's demonstrations in Venezuela. They described "the recent violent acts" in Venezuela as "attempts to destabilize the democratic order". They made it abundantly clear where they stood.
The governments stated:
their firm commitment to the full observance of democratic institutions and, in this context, [they] reject the criminal actions of violent groups that want to spread intolerance and hatred in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as a political tool.We may recall that when much larger demonstrations rocked Brazil last year, there were no statements from Mercosur or neighboring governments. That's not because they didn't love President Dilma Rousseff; it's because these demonstrations did not seek to topple Brazil's democratically-elected government.
An anonymous State Department spokesman was even clearer last week, when he responded to the protests by expressing concern about the government's "weakening of democratic institutions in Venezuela", and said that there was an obligation for "government institutions [to] respond effectively to the legitimate economic and social needs of its citizens". He was joining the opposition's efforts to de-legitimize the government, a vital part of any "regime change" strategy.You can go to C&L for a more explicit critique of US foreign policy and our media's lapdog reporting:
Of course we all know who the US government supports in Venezuela. They don't really try to hide it: there's $5m in the 2014 US federal budget for funding opposition activities inside Venezuela, and this is almost certainly the tip of the iceberg – adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars of overt support over the past 15 years.
Would it help your perspective if I reminded you Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, that Hugo Chavez nationalizedNetfa Freeman is even less circumspect.
the oil industryeven more industries and that powerful interests have never stopped trying to take them back?
There's an alternate version, one in which the usual suspects (World Bank, IMF) manipulate the currency, drive hyperinflation, cause food shortages and subsequent unrest. Add the former ruling class, once made wealthy by oil industry corruption, whose now-grown children still harbor resentment and anger over what their families lost (much like the members of the Cuban ruling class who fled after Castro) and are leading the opposition.
Lopez played a key role instigating opposition demonstrators into taking an illegal march route towards the presidential palace, where snipers fired on protesters as part of the opposition’s plan to justify the coup.See also here for Max Blumenthal's take on Lopez.
For decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners.Translation: They fired Grace (founded by Billy Graham's grandson) because they found problems.
All of this happened until recently inside the confines of this insular university, according to former students and staff members who said they had high hopes that the Bob Jones brand of counseling would be exposed and reformed after the university hired a Christian consulting group in 2012 to investigate its handling of sexual assaults, many of which occurred long before the students arrived at the university.
Last week, Bob Jones dealt a blow to those hopes, acknowledging that with the investigation more than a year old and nearing completion, the university had fired the consulting group, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or Grace, without warning or explanation. The dismissal has drawn intense criticism from some people with ties to Bob Jones, and prompted some victims and their allies — including many who were interviewed by Grace investigators — to tell their stories publicly for the first time, attracting more attention than ever to the university’s methods.
On Friday, Stephen Jones, president of the university and great-grandson of its founder, addressed students and employees, saying, “We grew concerned that in the process, Grace had begun going beyond the originally outlined intentions,” but he would not elaborate. He said the university had not told Grace what its concerns were and wanted to discuss them with the consultant but could do so only face to face and felt compelled to fire the firm first.
Claire was not the first female student to leave PHC disillusioned with the administration she had trusted to protect her. Other female students who say they reported sexual assault or harassment to the administration also left feeling that school officials blamed them instead of holding the accused male students accountable. The administration, they say, seemed much more concerned with protecting Patrick Henry’s pristine public image.There is more at the link if you can stomach it.
“Basically, my issue was swept under the rug, and the assaulter received little else but a reprimand,” says a young woman who attended Patrick Henry between 2004 and 2008. The student fell asleep at an off-campus party where there had been drinking and was awoken by a male PHC student assaulting her. She says she reported the incident to Patrick Henry. “The administration encouraged me to not go to the police and said that, because alcohol was involved and I was violating the rules there, they hinted that I could be expelled if I brought light to the incident,” the student says. “The focus was the alcohol. I drank. I sinned. I deserved to be assaulted in the middle of the night.”
The first legal challenge to the New York police department’s blanket surveillance of Muslims in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been dismissed by a federal judge in New Jersey in a ruling that lawyers acting for the plaintiffs have described as preposterous and dangerous.So, it's OK to profile Muslims, and possibly entrap them, so long as you do not about it?
Judge William Martini, sitting in the US district court for the district of New Jersey, threw out a lawsuit brought by eight Muslim individuals and local businesses who alleged their constitutional rights were violated when the NYPD’s mass surveillance was based on religious affiliation alone. The legal action was the first of its type flowing from the secret NYPD project to map and monitor Muslim communities across the east coast that was exposed by a Pulitzer prize-winning series of articles in 2011 by the Associated Press.
In his judgment, released on Thursday, Martini dismisses the complaint made by the plaintiffs that they had been targeted for police monitoring solely because of their religion. He writes: “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was a desire to locate budding terrorist conspiracies. The most obvious reason for so concluding is that surveillance of the Muslim community began just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.”
The Martini decision absolves the NYPD of having caused distress or damage to Muslims caught by its mass surveillance on the unusual grounds that were it not for the Associated Press disclosure of the secret programme, those targeted by the monitoring would have been unaware that it was happening.
“The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization. Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the City,” Martini writes.
Later in the judgment, he adds: “Nowhere in the complaint do plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not ‘fairly traceable’ to any act of surveillance.”
Zimmerman taped an interview last Tuesday with Univision and Fusion, and then took his girlfriend, her kid and his brother to the beach. While they were catching some rays, people noticed him, started harassing him, and then someone shouted out George had a $10,000 bounty on his head.I am not feeling any sympathy, or empathy, for that racist murderer right now.
We’re told it freaked him out and they all retreated to the hotel, but the crowd followed them.
Security swept their room to make sure no one tampered with their stuff and then stood guard throughout the day and night. We’re told Zimmerman did his CNN interview early the next morning and then beat it … literally fleeing Miami.
The White House budget to be released early next month will propose $56 billion in new spending on domestic and defense priorities and drop a proposal that was included in last year's budget as a way to attract Republican support -- a plan that would have included less generous payouts of Social Security benefits.Make no mistake though, Obama and His Evil Minions™ REALLY wanted to do this:
The budget would aim to reduce the emphasis on austerity that has been the preoccupation of American politics for the past four years and also highlights top Democratic priorities in a year when Democrats hope to save their majority in the Senate.
A White House official said President Obama decided to release a budget that fully represents his "vision," rather than to continue to pursue a fiscal agreement, because Republicans have refused to engage in good-faith negotiations over the nation's top priorities. Obama is planning to pay for fresh spending by closing tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
………One of the White House’s most poorly kept secrets is that many of Obama’s economic advisers support Chained CPI on the merits………Because hurting the poors is a good thing, because ……… I can haz bipartisanship!
Google, in perhaps a tacit realization that it has spawned a small army of particularly insufferable cyborgs, has issued an etiquette manual for the first generation of Google Glass users (or “Glass Explorers” as they’re called).It appears that Google is beginning to realize that its early adopters have all the social skills of a toaster, (perhaps less than said kitchen appliance if one considers the toaster from Red Dwarf), and this does not make them good ambassadors for the technology.
With a list of unsolicited “Do’s” and “Dont’s” posted on Google’s Glass website, the tech giant highlights a number of central concerns around the subjectivities its wearable computing system is creating. High among them, the fear that “Glassholes” start living their lives as nonstop surveillance robots.
One “Do” and a corresponding “Don’t” advise “explorers” to not use Glass to record others in their vicinity without permission:
Dont: Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.
Volkswagen's top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized.Here's a thought: If you want to locate a plant in a 3rd world country, actually set it up in a real 3rd world country, as opposed to the 3rd world country wannabees in the south.
Workers at VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.
German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined "co-determination" principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.
Chattanooga is VW's only factory in the U.S. and one of the company's few in the world without a works council.
"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council.
"If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW's supervisory board, said.
The 20-member panel - evenly split between labor and management - has to approve any decision on closing plants or building new ones.
Rents collected on the collateral for the first U.S. rental-home securities declined by 7.6 percent from October to January, according to Morningstar Inc.They are claiming that this is going to improve, but these protestations of improving prospects sound awfully hollow.
Payments declined as expiring leases and early tenant departures left residences backing the bonds of Blackstone (BX) Group LP’s Invitation Homes vacant, Becky Cao and Brian Alan, analysts at Morningstar’s credit-ratings unit, said in a report. While 8.3 percent of the properties were vacant or occupied by delinquent renters in January, renewals on 78.5 percent of leases that expired the prior month exceeded the analysts’ expected rate of 66.7 percent.
The deal’s performance is being watched as Wall Street bankers and institutional property investors seek to follow Blackstone’s $479.1 million transaction in November with additional offerings. Initial lease expirations for the 3,207 homes are scheduled to peak from January through March, Morningstar said. To woo investors and rating firms in the new market, the transaction started with all of the units leased, unlike bonds backed by apartment-building loans.
Matt Taibbi, who made a name as a fierce critic of Wall Street at Rolling Stone magazine, has joined First Look Media, the latest big-name journalist to leave an established brand to enter the thriving and well-financed world of news start-ups.Taibbi, of course nailed Goldman Sachs, and enraged vampire squid aficionados everywhere, when he described them as, "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
Mr. Taibbi will start his own publication focusing on financial and political corruption, he said in an interview on Wednesday. First Look is financed by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Omidyar has pledged $250 million to the project.
“It’s obvious that we’re entering a new phase in the history of journalism,” Mr. Taibbi said. “This is clearly the future, and this was an opportunity for me to be part of helping to found something and create something that might carry us into the next generation.”
First Look began its first publication, The Intercept, with the national security reporters Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill. In recent weeks, the group has hired Lynn Oberlander, formerly of The New Yorker, as its general counsel, and the author and journalist Peter Maass, among others.
Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., have rejected the United Auto Workers, shooting down the union’s hopes of securing a foothold at a foreign-owned auto plant in the South.How the hell did they pull this off?
The vote was 712 to 626, said the UAW, which blamed the loss on “politicians and outside special interest groups.”
The vote, announced late Friday night after three days of balloting, is a devastating loss for the UAW, whose membership has plummeted from a high of 1.5 million in 1979 to around 400,000 today. Outgoing UAW President Bob King had staked his legacy on organizing a Southern auto plant for the first time.
But the decision is a triumph for Tennessee Republicans like Sen. Bob Corker, who lured Volkswagen to Chattanooga as mayor in the early 2000s. Corker and other Republicans warned workers that the UAW’s presence would irreparably harm the plant, and in recent days he claimed — with little evidence — that Volkswagen would choose not to expand the plant if workers unionized.
This is an unmitigated disaster for the American worker.
The UAW had advantages in organizing the Volkswagen plant it probably won’t find elsewhere. For starters, Volkswagen — under pressure from the powerful German steelworkers’ union, IG Metall, which holds seats on the company’s board — decided not to resist unionization. The union’s presence would have also allowed the company to set up a German-style “works council,” in which representatives of both workers and middle management offer advice to executives on how to best run the plant.
“I don’t think this is a bellwether for future success for the UAW,” said Donald Schroeder, a management-side labor lawyer at Mintz Levin, before the results were announced. “The UAW almost has had a free run at unionizing.”The UAW had advantages in organizing the Volkswagen plant it probably won’t find elsewhere. For starters, Volkswagen — under pressure from the powerful German steelworkers’ union, IG Metall, which holds seats on the company’s board — decided not to resist unionization. The union’s presence would have also allowed the company to set up a German-style “works council,” in which representatives of both workers and middle management offer advice to executives on how to best run the plant.
“I don’t think this is a bellwether for future success for the UAW,” said Donald Schroeder, a management-side labor lawyer at Mintz Levin, before the results were announced. “The UAW almost has had a free run at unionizing.”
Not only our flight, but our trip to the airport this evening are in doubt.
I still expect to make out in time to see Eugenia chant the Haftorah on Saturday, but we might not even be able to leave the house until tomorrow morning.
You already have all the money in the world. Why do you need awards after that? It is absolutely ridiculous. You're no longer the underdogs, it's very important that you realize that. You're not the scrappy people that people get behind. It used to be that people who worked in the tech industry were emotional shut-ins who you could root for. Now those days are gone. You're pissing off an entire city.He also goes off on Uber, Larry Ellison, the Kristalnacht 1%er, and Uber ……… and Uber.
This is only slightly less embarrassing than engaging with a rumor about Donald Trump, how do they say, “mulling a presidential bid,” so let’s start with an apology: I’m sorry. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the lowly business of the day. Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s wake-up chat show “Morning Joe,” is “mulling a presidential bid,” according to a couple of anonymous people and Mark McKinnon, who spoke to Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller website. What a world.Even without the inevitability of some Republican Karl Rove wannabee making an issue of Lori Klausutis, his candidacy would make the Freddie Dalton Thompson clown look like the Obama campaign.
North Carolina regulators’ penchant for seemingly protecting Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) former employers from repeated lawsuits over their environmental practices was only stopped following a devastatingly toxic spill, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on Monday.Talk about a cheap date. Even the Department of Justice requests a lie from the offenders to refrain from future wrongdoing.
On two prior occasions, Maddow said, officials at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) invoked a provision in the federal Clean Water Act allowing them to step in as plaintiffs against Duke Energy when Duke was being sued by environmental activists over the toxic coal ash ponds at its facilities. The state reached settlements worth a collective $99,000 for those incidents.
But Monday night, she explained, a third such settlement was delayed in the wake of a pond spill that produced up to 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water — the third-biggest spill of its’ kind in U.S. history.
And despite not making any statement about the Feb. 3 disaster until four days after it happened, McCrory — who worked with the company for 28 years — used the first two DENR settlements to boast that his administration took “legal action” against Duke Energy.
“Right,” Maddow said skeptically. “By stepping in and blocking other peoples’ lawsuits against the company, and then settling with the company for nearly no money, and, importantly, [requiring] no promise from Duke Energy that they would fix what they were doing wrong.”
For the second time in a year, the Obama administration is giving certain employers extra time before they must offer health insurance to almost all their full-time workers.Of course it's unfair.
Under new rules announced Monday by Treasury Department officials, employers with 50 to 99 workers will be given until 2016 — two years longer than originally envisioned under the Affordable Care Act — before they risk a federal penalty for not complying.
Companies with 100 workers or more are getting a different kind of one-year grace period. Instead of being required in 2015 to offer coverage to 95 percent of full-time workers, these bigger employers can avoid a fine by offering insurance to 70 percent of them next year.
How the administration would define employer requirements has been one of the biggest remaining questions about the way the 2010 health-care law will work in practice — and has sparked considerable lobbying. By providing the dual phase-ins for employers of different sizes, administration officials have sought to lighten the burden on the small share of affected employers that have not offered insurance in the past.
As word of the delays spread Monday, many across the ideological spectrum viewed them as an effort by the White House to defuse another health-care controversy before the fall midterm elections. The new postponements won over part, but not all, of the business community. And they caught consumer advocates, usually reliable White House allies, by surprise, particularly because administration officials had already announced in July that the employer requirements would be postponed from this year until 2015.
Congressional Republicans seized on the announcement as the latest justification for scrapping the health-care law. In particular, they renewed their opposition to the law’s requirement that most Americans have insurance, saying it is unfair to delay rules for businesses and not for individuals.
Just four blocks from the White House is the headquarters of the Employment Policies Institute, a widely quoted economic research center whose academic reports have repeatedly warned that increasing the minimum wage could be harmful, increasing poverty and unemployment.Those are the first 4 paragraphs.
But something fundamental goes unsaid in the institute’s reports: The nonprofit group is run by a public relations firm that also represents the restaurant industry, as part of a tightly coordinated effort to defeat the minimum wage increase that the White House and Democrats in Congress have pushed for.
“The vast majority of economic research shows there are serious consequences,” Michael Saltsman, the institute’s research director, said in an interview, before he declined to list the restaurant chains that were among its contributors.
The campaign illustrates how groups — conservative and liberal — are again working in opaque ways to shape hot-button political debates, like the one surrounding minimum wage, through organizations with benign-sounding names that can mask the intentions of their deep-pocketed patrons.
………I am not sure why the New York Times has decided to stop channeling Claude Rains, but it is a refreshing change for the "paper of record".
The Employment Policies Institute, founded two decades ago, is led by the advertising and public relations executive Richard B. Berman, who has made millions of dollars in Washington by taking up the causes of corporate America. He has repeatedly created official-sounding nonprofit groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom that have challenged limits like the ban on indoor smoking and the push to restrict calorie counts in fast foods.
The sign at the entrance is for Berman and Company, as the Employment Policies Institute has no employees of its own. Mr. Berman’s for-profit advertising firm, instead, “bills” the nonprofit institute for the services his employees provide to the institute. This arrangement effectively means that the nonprofit is a moneymaking venture for Mr. Berman, whose advertising firm was paid $1.1 million by the institute in 2012, according to its tax returns, or 44 percent of its total budget, with most of the rest of the money used to buy advertisements.
Disclosure reports filed by individual foundations show that its donors in recent years have included the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a longtime supporter of conservative causes. Mr. Berman and Mr. Saltsman would not identify other donors, but did say they included the restaurant industry. But its tax return shows that the $2.4 million in listed donations received in 2012 came from only 11 contributors, who wrote checks for as much as $500,000 apiece.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other U.S. trade relationships are outdated and need an "upgrade", U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said on Tuesday during a trade visit to Mexico.In the article, she is described as a, "a businesswoman and heiress to the Hyatt Hotel fortune who has been a prolific fundraiser for U.S. President Barack Obama," but that is a weak description of their relationship.
Attitudes toward labor and the environment as well as e-commerce and new technology have shifted trade concerns since NAFTA was signed, so the U.S. government is focusing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would establish a free-trade bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile, she said.
"NAFTA was a groundbreaking agreement 20 years ago and it has served all of the North American countries well," Pritzker said of the 1994 treaty between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. "But now it's time to be looking at how can we upgrade our trade relationships."
In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings. “The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,” he liked to say, “is to keep careful track of your persecutors.”The Supreme Court has said that corporations are people in the Citizens United case.
Three years earlier, Syngenta, one of the largest agribusinesses in the world, had asked Hayes to conduct experiments on the herbicide atrazine, which is applied to more than half the corn in the United States. Hayes was thirty-one, and he had already published twenty papers on the endocrinology of amphibians. David Wake, a professor in Hayes’s department, said that Hayes “may have had the greatest potential of anyone in the field.” But, when Hayes discovered that atrazine might impede the sexual development of frogs, his dealings with Syngenta became strained, and, in November, 2000, he ended his relationship with the company.
[Former student Roger] Liu and several other former students said that they had remained skeptical of Hayes’s accusations until last summer, when an article appeared in Environmental Health News (in partnership with 100Reporters)* that drew on Syngenta’s internal records. Hundreds of Syngenta’s memos, notes, and e-mails have been unsealed following the settlement, in 2012, of two class-action suits brought by twenty-three Midwestern cities and towns that accused Syngenta of “concealing atrazine’s true dangerous nature” and contaminating their drinking water. Stephen Tillery, the lawyer who argued the cases, said, “Tyrone’s work gave us the scientific basis for the lawsuit.”
Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, and during that time scientists around the world have expanded on his findings, suggesting that the herbicide is associated with birth defects in humans as well as in animals. The company documents show that, while Hayes was studying atrazine, Syngenta was studying him, as he had long suspected. Syngenta’s public-relations team had drafted a list of four goals. The first was “discredit Hayes.” In a spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta’s communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could “prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as noncredible.” He was a frequent topic of conversation at company meetings. Syngenta looked for ways to “exploit Hayes’ faults/problems.” “If TH involved in scandal, enviros will drop him,” Ford wrote. She observed that Hayes “grew up in world (S.C.) that wouldn’t accept him,” “needs adulation,” “doesn’t sleep,” was “scarred for life.” She wrote, “What’s motivating Hayes?—basic question.”
In January, 2001, Syngenta employees and members of the EcoRisk panel travelled to Berkeley to discuss Hayes’s new findings. Syngenta asked to meet with him privately, but Hayes insisted on the presence of his students, a few colleagues, and his wife. He had previously had an amiable relationship with the panel—he had enjoyed taking long runs with the scientist who supervised it—and he began the meeting, in a large room at Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, as if he were hosting an academic conference. He wore a new suit and brought in catered meals.
After lunch, Syngenta introduced a guest speaker, a statistical consultant, who listed numerous errors in Hayes’s report and concluded that the results were not statistically significant. Hayes’s wife, Katherine Kim, said that the consultant seemed to be trying to “make Tyrone look as foolish as possible.” Wake, the biology professor, said that the men on the EcoRisk panel looked increasingly uncomfortable. “They were experienced enough to know that the issues the statistical consultant was raising were routine and ridiculous,” he said. “A couple of glitches were presented as if they were the end of the world. I’ve been a scientist in academic settings for forty years, and I’ve never experienced anything like that. They were after Tyrone.”
Michelle Boone, a professor of aquatic ecology at Miami University, who served on the E.P.A.’s scientific advisory panel, said, “We all follow the Tyrone Hayes drama, and some people will say, ‘He should just do the science.’ But the science doesn’t speak for itself. Industry has unlimited resources and bully power. Tyrone is the only one calling them out on what they’re doing.………
I reserve the right to reprint any email correspondence on my blog.
If you want to keep your correspondence private, please tell me.A member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, and a fan of Bernie who thinks Neoliberal (DLC/New Dem) trickle down conomics sucks.
Mechanical Engineer with a background in defense, electronics packaging, medical & food equipment, transportation, and manufacturing.
In my spare time (Hah!), I am the developer of the Firefox addon, bbCode for Web Extensions (bbCodeWebEx).
I have two cats, a black cat, and a gray and white long hair cat, who keep me on my toes. (Because he keeps attacking my feet)
I am a Jew and a Zionist, who is married to a woman with exquisitely bad taste in men, and I have two remarkable children with her.
It's a posting ground for my more-or-less annual personal newsletter, 40 Years in the Desert.(PDF's available at link)
I find that if I wait until year's end I miss stuff from earlier in the year.
40 Years is put out the old fashioned way, it's printed out on ledger sized paper with 4 pages and mailed to people, total circulation of about 100.
I'm just not the holiday card kind of guy. A warning, if you comment here, I may use it in my paper publication.
You will get credit, and if I can get your addy, you will get at least the issue where you are quoted (probably a lot more, I rarely trim my list).
If someone actually wants to pay for an issue...I don't know, I guess a buck, but you can get the PDF's free.I intend to post at least a couple of times a week,