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Wednesday :: July 29, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

Another day yesterday spent on computer issues. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome, while I catch up.

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Windows 10 Upgrade Fever

I do not like upgrades, but there were so many positive things being said about the new Windows 10, and my 6 month old desktop was having so many problems and freezing so often, I decided to see if it would work.

Last night, it didn't work. It said "still working" but never went anywhere. 7 hours later, same thing. I asked Microsoft to call me, and they did, and were very nice, but they couldn't figure it out and "escalated my request" saying someone would call again tomorrow.

Finally, I found a possible solution, and I'm shocked, it worked. Not only that, it's is really a step up from Windows 7 in every way. With none of the bad features of Windows 8.

The Edge browser is really nice. Much faster and less cluttered than Chrome and Firefox. More later, I'm going to play around with it some.

Have any of you tried upgrading? Was it a success or are you stuck in failed update or error mode?

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Tuesday :: July 28, 2015

White House Rejects Pardon for Edward Snowden

The White House today released an official statement rejecting a "We the People" online pardon petition for Edward Snowden. The petition had 167,000 signatures.

Dan Froomkin at the Intercept has more.

The White House response was written by Lisa Monaco. She includes this:

“He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers.”

How can he be judged by a jury without an opportunity to explain his defense? According to Glenn Grennwald:

He’s barred under the Espionage Act even from arguing that his leaks were justified; he wouldn’t be permitted to utter a word about that.

[More...]

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Media Goes Off-Message on Donald Trump

Donald Trump has had an easy time of it in the media thus far. Yesterday, something he didn't expect popped up.

What actually happened is not up for discussion here. First, none of us were there, and more importantly, I have no interest in being sued by Donald Trump over readers' comments. (Be forewarned, comments opining on the substance of the allegation and personal attacks on either Trump or his ex-wife's character will be deleted as soon as I see them.)

What is of interest (at least at this site) is how he responds to this unexpected public relations mess, including his response to erroneous public comments by those who work for him. (His lawyer, who also serves as executive vice president at the Trump Organization) has acknowledged his erroneous statements about the law and apologized.

Many have said the test of leadership during a crisis is not the crisis itself, but one's behavior during it. How's Trump doing?

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John Oliver Takes on Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Great segment by John Oliver on mandatory minimum sentences.

Ridiculously long sentences are not a great deterrent to crime. Prison sentences are a lot like p*nises: if they're used correctly, even a short one can do the trick."

(Asterisk used to avoid inviting spam.) As he points out:

Everyone has agreed that mandatory minimum rules were a mistake, and we cannot have a system where people are continuing to pay for that mistake."

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Monday :: July 27, 2015

Monday Open Thread

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Rod Blagojevich: Appeals Court Tosses Some Counts

It took 17 months for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on former Gov. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appeal. The decision came down July 21, and the Court threw out a few counts. He will have to be resentenced. Here's the crux of the opinion:

A problem in the way the instructions told the jury to consider the evidence requires us to vacate the convictions on counts that concern Blagojevich’s proposal to appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate in exchange for an appointment to
the Cabinet.

[More...]

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Sunday :: July 26, 2015

Tsarnaev Moved from USP to Supermax

I missed the news earlier this week that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was moved from the USP at Florence to ADX (Supermax.)

Supermax has 9 units and 6 maximum security levels, but because Tsarnaev has Special Administrative Measures (SAMS), restricting his ability to communicate with the outside world, he's likely in the Special Security Unit -- the H Unit Here are the 2013 regulations for the H Unit.

Even the H Unit has phases, similar to the step down programs of the Supermax general population units. Supposedly, inmates can work their way down to more favorable conditions.

Like what? With really good behavior, after a period of time, they can get a job out of their cells for an hour a day as an orderly, cleaning or mopping floors. And an expanded commissary list. But no ice cream. You have to be in a general population unit for that. Here's the Commissary List for the H Unit. And here's the list for the USP (US Penitentiary, High Security, General Population) at Florence. [More...]

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Hillary to Issue Climate Change Plan

Here's the important news about Hillary Clinton this week:

Here's what desperate Republicans care about: emails and Benghazi.

Here's what the media cares about: Anything that portrays Hillary in a negative light. And the man with straw hair. The attention his every comment brings is absurd.

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Saturday :: July 25, 2015

About that "classified" info in the Clinton e-mails

In a statement released yesterday, the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) and the State Department IG claimed with regard to Hilary Clinton's emails while Secretary of State:

The IC IG found four emails containing classified IC-derived information [. .. ] The four emails, which have not been released through the State FOIA process, did not contain classification markings and/or dissemination controls. These emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today.

Now what does this mean? It means the Intelligence Community, represented here by the Ic IG, disagrees with the State Department's determination on the classification of certain information contained in the Clinton e-mails. In their opinion, the information should have been designated classified and should be so designated now. But State does not agree. A review of the memos (PDF) exchanged between State and the IGs illustrates this turf war:

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Friday :: July 24, 2015

About that NYT OIG-Clinton email story

Update [2015-7-24 12:30:17 by Big Tent Democrat]:

And BOOM:

David Nir writes about the NYT's dramatic walkback of its claim that two government Inspector Generals had made a referral to the Justice Department seeking a criminal inquiry of Hillary Clinton regarding her e-mails.

But the story gets worse for the New York Times. These memos (PDF) from OIG regarding the very same investigation demonstrate that in fact the issue is about how the State Department handled Clinton's e-mails AFTER she turned them over to State:

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Thursday :: July 23, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

Sorry everyone, but I'm swamped at work and will be working tonight.

This article in WIRED about hackers comandeering jeeps and other vehicles through their electronic system is very scary. Has anyone tried to download the software fix? I did last night, and it was so complicated, I can't imagine most drivers taking the time to figure it out. I haven't yet tried to install it.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: July 21, 2015

Counter-theories on El Chapo's Escape and Past Non-Accountability

Veteran journalist Ginger Thompson has an article in Pro Publica about the theories floating around that the Mexican Government had a deal with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and the escape through the tunnel story doesn't ring true.

She recounts a breakfast she had last week with "a senior Mexican intelligence official", a "veteran American counternarcotics agent" and a guy who was in Mexican cartels for 30 years. His last cartel was the Zetas.

No one in this deeply sourced group was surprised. Nor were they particularly interested in the logistical details of the escape, although they clearly didn’t believe the version they’d heard from the Mexican government.... They were convinced it was all a deal cut at some link in the system’s chain.

[More...]

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TX DPS Releases Video of Sandra Bland Traffic Stop

Here's the video of the Sandra Bland traffic stop released today on You Tube by the TX Dept of Public Safety.

CNN was all Sandra Bland all day in the car. I don't have anything to add, but I'm posting it for those who are interested.

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U.S. Kills Prominent AQ Operative in Drone Strike

The U.S. reports it has killed a long-sought AQ terrorist from "The Khorasan Group", Muhsin al-Fadhli, in a drone strike.

He was believed to have been killed in September, 2014, in the U.S. raid on Nusra and its members from Khorasan that killed sniper al Turki. But most denied it. Sometimes they fake their own death. Here's a long post I wrote about him back then.[More...]

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