7.06.2013

Please no, no, no

Greenwald: Journalist, activist, media transparentist

Transparentist? Really? What is this, some kind of punishment?

So it's not Sports Illustrated, but still...

Slide Show: New Yorker Swimsuit Covers : The New Yorker

And how did that turn out?

An “ungodly stupid” get-rich scheme: The real border security story - Salon.com
Last week, John McCain gleefully announced that the Senate immigration bill would result in the “most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”


Just what kind of land do you need?

Montgomery seeks new crop of farmers - The Washington Post
Mills was one of 18 applicants who responded to the county’s so-you-want-to-be-a-farmer call-out last fall. After officials winnowed the proposals (a tilapia-farm scheme didn’t make the cut), he has become one of two participants to actually break ground. A third is finalizing her lease agreement, and a fourth is still finding it difficult to get the right land for his plan to raise kosher goats.


Wait, this is not a Big Ten sport?

Suzy Favor Hamilton, who admitted to being prostitute, has name removed from Big Ten award - The Washington Post

Why am I so confused?


Music at the Market

Music at the Market by Ted Compton
Music at the Market, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

A big splotch of mustard down the front of your shirt...

...is the official badge of summer, true, but it seems the hot dog guy doesn't work on Saturdays so I had to settle for melted chocolate chip instead. Still, today is the day I spent all winter dreaming about, 90 (or so) and sunny with just a hint of breeze. Another day or two like this and I'll finally get my bones thawed out.

Summer is fine.

Ray Bradbury, where are you?

How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear (and How Secondary Liability Rules Help Resurrect Old Songs) by Paul J. Heald :: SSRN
A random sample of new books for sale on Amazon.com shows three times more books initially published in the 1850’s are for sale than new books from the 1950’s. Why? This paper presents new data on how copyright seems to make works disappear.

Sure, that's transparency all right

Undernews: Justice Roberts has named all judges to unconstitutional secret court
Bloomberg - The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges don’t need confirmation -- by Congress or anyone else.

YA message from the past

Medway’s lost time capsule: Where was Instagram in 1963? - Editorials - The Boston Globe
In 1963, the leaders of the community decided to bury a time capsule to be opened on the town’s 300th anniversary, 50 years later. However, in a crucial misstep, no one at the ceremony thought to write down or photograph precisely where the capsule was buried....


The pipeline alternate

Train carrying petroleum derails, explodes in Canadian town | Reuters
"When you see the center of your town almost destroyed, you'll understand that we're asking ourselves how we are going to get through this event," a tearful town Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told a televised news briefing.

OK, so maybe the 70's weren't quite as much fun as you thought

Wedding photo, New Ulm, MN, 1974

Is this the ultimate definition of a bad day?

Gawker - Today's gossip is tomorrow's news
Happy four-day-weekend y'all. Six of eight drivers involved in an eight-car pileup in Atlanta this morning are being charged with DUIs after the crash. The first car struck a pedestrian (who is being charged with walking in a roadway)...

About the whole herbal thing

Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine : NPR
Medicinal plants are used by every culture around the world. Long [president and CEO of the New York Botanical Garden] says 25 percent of modern medicines are based on compounds that were originally derived from plants. Only about 1 percent of plants have actually been tested for medicinal properties they may contain.


7.05.2013

Sounds like a good solution to me

Nicaragua, Venezuela Offer Asylum to Snowden - ABC News
The presidents of Nicaragua and Venezuela offered Friday to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, one day after leftist South American leaders gathered to denounce the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe amid reports that the American was aboard.
Let Snowden go live in Nicaragua. Case closed.

Let's call the whole thing off

If Hillary Clinton Doesn't Run, How Screwed are Democrats? | New Republic
...Republicans are excited by the prospect of Clinton not running, and Democrats are horrified at the idea of having to choose someone else.

A little more practice and these guys could be good enough for Washington

Egypt’s coup: The military ousts Morsi in the name of democracy. - Slate Magazine
Egypt’s army has suspended the country’s constitution, surrounded the palace of its elected president, put him in military custody, cut him off from outside communications, arrested dozens of leaders of his party, and shut down its TV networks. It looks like a coup. But it isn’t, according to its supporters.

Good point

Who Will Be Our First Fake Latina President? : Code Switch : NPR
Just two decades earlier, a black president approaching the lame-duck portion of his second term as he was buffeted by scandals might have seemed like a plot detail in an overly precious piece of speculative fiction. Now we just call it Wednesday.

Stuff we hadn't started worrying about yet

How Sunscreen Can Burn You : Shots - Health News : NPR
We're not talking sunburn. We're talking people bursting into flames because they're wearing sunscreen.

Weather service says...

"... Heat advisory in effect from 11 am this morning to 8 PM EDT
this evening..."
What? It's going to be a hot day? In July? We are shocked!

Woohoo! Deep-fried SPAM in the clear at last

This Is The Most Unhealthy Meal in America | TIME.com
Long John Silver’s “Big Catch” has been deemed the most unhealthy meal in America, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)...


So that's where all the liberal politicians went

Costa Rica Accidentally Legalizes Gay Marriage
Conservative lawmakers were appalled when they found that the law they had voted on had language inserted into it by liberal politicians that expanded social rights for gay people as well as extending the benefits of a civil union to gay couple.

7.04.2013

It'll never happen but it is a fun idea

EU votes to support suspending U.S. data sharing agreements, including passenger flight data | ZDNet
Should the Commission decide it necessary to suspend the data sharing agreement of passenger details — including personal and sensitive individual data — it could ultimately lead to the grounding of flights between the EU and the U.S.


Oh well, if the French do it...

France has its own PRISM-like surveillance program, report suggests — Tech News and Analysis

Other French intelligence services apparently also have access to this data. The program may be illegal, as French surveillance laws require case-by-case warrants.

Light sculptures

Diet Wiegman:

7.03.2013

He's baaack

More on the Real Petraeus Scandal - Lawyers, Guns & Money 
You all know the double standards by now. A Chicago schoolteacher making $55K a year is living a life of unimaginable luxury; a Chicago law professor making $400k a year is living a hardscrabble existence...This is the context in which CUNY can offer a random recently disgraced famous person the same money per hour that it pays its adjuncts for a semester, and apparently didn’t anticipate that anyone would object."

Not so much like for State

State Department bureau shelled out $630K for Facebook 'likes' | Internet & Media - CNET News
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs spent $630,000 on two Facebook campaigns in 2011 and 2012 to generate "likes" for its Facebook Pages, according to an inspection report issued by the Office of the Inspector General and published by the Washington Examiner.
(No, I don't understand what it means either. And I don't like it.)


Maybe I can get them to sell my old socks too

AT&T prepping sale of customers' anonymous location information and Web, app usage data - FierceWireless
AT&T (NYSE:T) said it "may" begin selling anonymous information about its customers' wireless and Wi-Fi locations, U-verse usage, website browsing, mobile application usage and "other information" to other businesses. 

In time for your holiday weekend (or is it week?): The best worst beers

36 Cheap American Beers, Ranked:
This is the worst beer currently sold on American soil"...

But wait, won't that new border fence help?

As Wildfires Worsen, Firefighting Teams Are Cut From Federal Budget
The U.S. Forest Service’s $2 billion-a-year firefighting budget, which comprises the bulk of the federal effort, has been reduced by 5 percent, a cut that has meant 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer fire engines than last year, agency officials say. The Interior Department’s $37.5 million reduction has meant 100 fewer seasonal firefighter positions and other lost jobs as well, department officials say.

Suspected is a dangerous thing to be

US drone strike kills 16 suspected militants in northwest Pakistan - The Washington Post
Unmanned U.S. aircraft fired four missiles at a house in northwest Pakistan before dawn Wednesday, killing 16 suspected militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said."

Let's put it off until we're out of town

News from The Associated Press
On Tuesday, the administration unexpectedly announced a one-year delay, until after the 2014 elections, in a central requirement of the law that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines.

7.02.2013

But how's his fastball?

DNI Clapper Letter on Misunderstandings Arising from his March 12th Appearance Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Wasn't there some baseball player who got worked over for lying to Congress not so very long ago?

Too bad he didn't get grilled by these intelligence patsies.

Water guns? Giant marshmallows?

The Border Patrol Wants to Arm Drones - Philip Bump - The Atlantic Wire
Among the things the CBP might want to use in its unmanned aircraft: "non-lethal weapons designed to immobilize" targets.
I'm not sure about the "immobilizing" part. This kind of technology creeps. If they find one use for it they will soon find another. And another. Whatever it is, next thing you know they'll be using it to recover overdue library books.

Shame

Lawyers, Guns & Money:
In 2011, 62 percent of women in the United States covered by private plans that were not obtained through an employer lacked maternity coverage...

Pretty thin gruel

Six-month update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Shorter: We're still killing children and civilians but maybe not so many, so ain't that special?

7.01.2013

Wait til they read that in the Pentagon

Egyptian Military: Morsi Has 48 Hours To Reach Agreement With Protesters Before We Intervene
The military underlined it will “not be a party in politics or rule.” But it said it has a responsibility to act because Egypt’s national security is facing a “grave danger...


We can't wait

Hands-On With CE Week’s Hottest Wearable Tech | TechCrunch
We start by visiting Basis, the folks who’ve developed the Basis smartwatch with more sensors than any other smart watch on the market. The company has thrown a little style into the mix with new interchangeable “fashion bands.” Some are leather, some are colorful, and some are made by legit artists.
As opposed to Illegit artists, we presume.

So not such a done deal after all

Edward Snowden asking 15 countries for asylum, Russian official says - latimes.com

MOSCOW -- Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked U.S. security secrets and is now a fugitive, met Monday morning with Russian diplomatic officials and handed them an appeal to 15 countries for political asylum, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told The Times. 
“It was a desperate measure on his part after Ecuador disavowed his political protection credentials,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
But maybe the crack Wikileaks legal team is still on his case.

An attack of ancientness

10 Lost Symbols of New York | TIME.com

At least three of TIME's symbols of "old New York" hadn't even been invented yet when I lived there.

It all comes tumbling down

A General Gets Knifed - By Shane Harris and Noah Shachtman | Foreign Policy
The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is now allegedly a top target in the FBI's investigation of who leaked details about the Stuxnet cyberweapon that hit Iran's nuclear program. 
NBC News broke the story last night. (Who leaked word to them is unknown; the possibilities are vast.)

Don't worry!

Massive Protests Hit Egypt - WSJ.com
CAIRO—Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday for nationwide protests against President Mohammed Morsi, presenting a massive popular opposition that rivaled the size of demonstrations that toppled President Hosni Mubarak more than two years ago.
We can figure out a way to screw this one up too.

Finally it all makes sense

Will June 30 Be Midnight For Morsi's Cinderella Story? - By Nathan J. Brown | The Middle East Channel
There is only one aspect of Egyptian politics that all Egyptians seem to agree upon: the only people who have an accurate understanding of the current situation are those who are utterly confused. Anyone who claims an ability to lend clarity either to current events or likely outcomes disqualifies himself or herself by doing so.

We are shocked

Misinformation on classified NSA programs includes statements by senior U.S. officials - The Washington Post
“Are people deliberately misleading other people? I suppose it can happen...”

A bigger hit than Vista?

Windows 8 Now Up To 5.10% Market Share As It Finally Passes Windows Vista - Slashdot

You can almost hear the corks pop.

6.30.2013

Bad day on the Upper East Side

"Socialites Claim They Got Tricked into Paying $50k for Finger Painting"

http://feedly.com/k/118nA18

To the winners belong the spoils. Also, all your base*

Undernews: Ex-Stasi boss says NSA's spying efforts 'a dream come true"
The former head of the Stasi, which was East Germany's secret police force, betrayed a fair bit of envy about the powers enjoyed by his former Cold War nemesis in the aftermath of revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance powers.  
 "You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true," he said in a wide-ranging interview with McClatchy.

*Geek joke. Sorry.

Grumpy

Grumpy by Ted Compton
Grumpy, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

A question for the ages no more

Ouch, I'm suffering from a sprained head

Atheists unveil "first" monument on government property - CBS News
The New Jersey-based group American Atheists unveiled the 1,500-bound granite bench Saturday as a counter to the religious monument in what's called a free speech zone.
I'm OK with atheism but there's something about an atheist monument that's just plain weird.

And all that cheap African labor too

Why Is the Obama Administration Suddenly So Interested in African Farms? | Mother Jones
"[S]ome may see our work in Africa as philanthropy, but it's much more than that," said General Mills CEO Ken Powell at an event hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. "It's about creating shared value, and for our African partners, it is about unlocking opportunity—business opportunity—through knowledge-sharing."
But not philanthropy, at least. Whew.

A perfect solution!

Now we can just outsource the whole thing!

India’s new surveillance network will make the NSA green with envy - Quartz
"The government has so far played down fears of abuse."
I wonder what it's like to be listened to in an Indian accent.

What? Gambling at Rick's?

European officials slam US over bugging report
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said he was "deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices" made in a report published Sunday by German news weekly Der Spiegel.
Also: "Yes We Scan"

Wait, is that an oxymoron?

Nuclear Waste: How a huge U.S. nonproliferation program became a major proliferation concern | The Center for Public Integrity
Its aim is to eliminate 34 metric tons of U.S. plutonium — or 40 percent of the U.S. stockpile of military plutonium — in exchange for a similar destruction of 34 tons of plutonium in Russia.  
But that noble goal has slowly turned into a classic Washington disaster.

It's not easy keeping track.

But let's not quibble, OK?

The NSA Can't Tell the Difference Between an American and a Foreigner - By Shane Harris | Foreign Policy
""There is physically no way to ensure that you're only gathering U.S. person e-mails," said a telecommunications executive who has implemented U.S. government orders to collect data on foreign targets. "The system doesn't make any distinction about the nationality" of the individual who sent the message."