Thursday Night Open Thread

I have been glued to the George Zimmerman jury selection for the past 10 hours and have to take a break from the computer.

Our "recent comments" section has now been fixed thanks to our webmaster Colin. The site crashed altogether around 2 am, and even though it is 2 hours later where he is, he got my text and immediately started fixing the problems that caused it, so the site was restored by morning. (Something got corrupted and had to be rebuilt on both TalkLeft and the Forums.) Major thanks to Colin.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    ACLU, June 20, 2013 (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:16:21 PM EST
    CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

    NEW YORK - The government is engaged in warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans' international communications, according to secret FISA Court documents released today by The Guardian. Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, made the following comments about the latest revelations:

    "After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, we worried that the NSA would use the new authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans' telephone calls and emails. These documents confirm many of our worst fears. The 'targeting' procedures indicate that the NSA is engaged in broad surveillance of Americans' international communications.

    "The 'minimization' procedures that supposedly protect Americans' constitutional rights turn out to be far weaker than we imagined they could be. For example, the NSA claims the authority to collect and disseminate attorney-client communications - and even, in some circumstances, to turn them over to Justice Department prosecutors.


    Marcy Wheeler writes in (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:08:22 PM EST
    The Nation:

    Government Spying: Why You Can't 'Just Trust Us'

    And at emptywheel, here.

    She makes this point:

    In other words, the DOJ IG counted -- because the law required him to -- the following:

        The number of US person-related communication that got disseminated in a first dissemination of intelligence

        The number of US persons whose identity identified in a follow-up on an original dissemination

        The number of targets originally believed to be foreign who end up being US persons (note, the NSA conveniently doesn't explain what the specific criteria are that would allow the government to keep these communications ... I wonder why?)

    But it did not count how many US persons' communications were reviewed but not disseminated, many of which may be retained under the relevance standard.

    In general, when the government chooses not to count things, there's a reason it doesn't want to.

    I'd strongly urge everyone to read her posts for a better understanding of what's going on.


    Marcy's good (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:14:11 PM EST
    Dylan was ok, too...

    They're selling postcards of the hanging
    They're painting the passports brown
    The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
    The circus is in town.....


    "Minimization" means they hand (none / 0) (#24)
    by MsAnnaNOLA on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:15:30 AM EST
    privileged attorney/client conversations/intercepts directly to Department of Justice. Is it just me or is it laughable that this makes it less likely that the Justice Department will not use this information to its advantage.  This is clearly outrageous and unconstitutional and perhaps it is why the federal prosecutors have a 95% (very high anyway from what I can recall) conviction/plea rate. If they know what you and your lawyer are thinking and saying to each other it would stand to reason they can make an offer you are unlikely to refuse.

    It's just you (none / 0) (#66)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:28:36 PM EST
    There are ethical considerations that lawyers are bound by - unless of course, you are suggesting that there's a whole swath of lawyers at the DOJ who are unethical. That's a pretty broad brush to paint, and I can't imagine any good lawyer risking their license to try and use privileged information to put a guy who knocked over an ATM in prison.  It could happen, I guess, but then again, I don't see this being prevalent.

    And while it may be "clearly" outrageous conduct, it is not, however, "clearly" unconstitutional, unless you are a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court and saying so.

    The conviction / plea rate for federal prosecutors is around 93%, and while that may not be a lot to you, it seems that if we are throwing numbers around, we should be accurate.


    Yes, jbindc, and... (none / 0) (#100)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:20:30 PM EST
    the conviction rate may have a bit to do with the high screening standards that DOJ applies when deciding to pursue a case.  The selection process is quite thorough.  

    As to your comment about "clearly+:  Yes, isn't it interesting how highly subjective, emotional comments get thrown around in certain legal matters of interpretation.  But, in the back & forth of issues that "hit a nerve" on all ends of the public spectrum, I guess that is how it should be...differentiating, of course, between what we may strongly prefer/disdain and the actual law.  

    'Appreciate your comments on this subject matter.


    Company that did Snowden's (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Teresa on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:30:41 PM EST
    reinvestigation in 2011 has itself been under investigation since 2011. Yet, they still do background investigations (some fabricated!) to determine who gets security clearances. That sounds like our gov't at work.

    Also BAH had "concerns" about his resume, but hired him anyway. They should lose their contract but we all know that won't happen due to their connections.

    The World's Most Profitable Spy Organization: (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:52:56 AM EST
    Booz Allen.  "In 2008 it split off its less lucrative commercial consulting arm--under the name Booz & Co. -- and became a pure government contractor, publicly traded and majority-owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group."

    Some may remember the Carlyle Group's star turn in Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 911.  George Bush 41 was a senior advisor, after serving as CIA Director and as U.S. president.


    I wonder (none / 0) (#102)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:26:55 PM EST
    if the Booz-Allen performance in this instance (& any other documented problems) might be at the level of automatic Listing for suspension or debarment as to future government contracts.  That happens from time to time--depending on the regulatory criteria for debarment.  For those who want to look into this, you might want to check into US government contractors+consequences for failure to perform (or similar.)  Believe me, the consequences do happen from time to time ... it is worth looking at alleged malfeasance areas.

    U.S. has charged Snowden with espionage in (none / 0) (#107)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:22:04 PM EST
    a sealed complaint. He was also charged with theft and conversion of government property.

    Now the ball moves to Hong Kong's court regarding extradition.

    By filing a criminal complaint, prosecutors have a legal basis to make the request of the authorities in Hong Kong. Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, probably also under seal, and can then move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial in the United States.

    Snowden, however, can fight the U.S. effort to have him extradited in the courts in Hong Kong. Any court battle is likely to reach Hong Kong's highest court, and could last many months, lawyers in the U.S. and Hong Kong said.

    The United States has an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and U.S. officials said cooperation with the Chinese territory, which enjoys some autonomy from Beijing, has been good in previous cases.

    The treaty, however, has an exception for political offenses, and espionage has traditionally been treated as a political offense. Snowden's defense team in Hong Kong is likely to invoke part of the extradition treaty with the United States, which states that suspects will not be turned over to face criminal trial for offenses of a "political character."

    I just saw Alan Dershowitz (none / 0) (#113)
    by Teresa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:20:09 PM EST
    on CNN. He said the US screwed up by charging Espionage and not just theft of gov't property. He said that opens up Hong Kong/China the possibility of saying it's political and not turning him over.

    He said the other charge alone would have gotten him here (eventually) and the sentence would have been just as long in his opinion. According to him, this will take years to get him home, if they even do.

    I don't know if he's right. I don't pay a lot of attention to him so I only know he's always on TV as an expert.


    Yes, Lie Some More... (none / 0) (#142)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:23:49 AM EST
    ...because the ends always justify the means, which in this case is getting someone who may be seeking political asylum, back to his home state.


    Then all rogue nations will simply lie to get their political prisoners back and the phrase 'political asylum' will loss all sensible meaning.

    Why not just send in the CIA and rendition him to some rule-less hell hole like Syria or Yemen, seems to be how our government is being run, without any rules or respect for law.  

    Plus the process is already in place.


    While I would be interested in what sort (none / 0) (#110)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:04:38 PM EST
    Of background check they did, I find that the fact this story has no specifics to be suspect.  I have mixed feelings about the usefulness of this story because do you know what you need to work in the NSA within the military?  All you need are the ASVABs.  And I know that to be fact.  I think they would almost prefer you to have no formal advanced education as well, only the raw talent.

    Should a contractor with less supervision meet a higher criteria for employees?  I don't know.  The NSA is not full of a bunch of liberal college educated analysts though who had to pass ethics courses. And the military grants all sorts of waivers when ASVABs indicate an enormous raw talent?


    Seems like there (none / 0) (#119)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:49:03 PM EST
    Might be a bigger problem with the background checks than originally thought.

    {OPM Inspector General}McFarland said that U.S. Investigative Services, a company that handles 45% of the federal government's contracted background checks, conducted the 2011 re-investigation into Snowden. Later that year, McFarland's office began investigating USIS for contract fraud. That investigation is still ongoing.

    In a statement, USIS said it received a subpoena for records from McFarland's office in January 2012, with which it complied. USIS said it has cooperated fully with the government's civil investigation, but said it has not been told it is under criminal investigation.

    USIS would not confirm or deny whether it had conducted any investigations into Snowden, saying those investigations are confidential.

    McFarland told the subcommittee that 18 background investigators and record searchers -- 11 federal employees and seven contractors -- have been convicted for falsifying background investigation reports since the IG began investigating so-called fabrication cases in 2006. The abuses included interviews that never occurred, answers to questions that were never asked, and record checks that were never conducted, McFarland said.

    A 19th investigator pled guilty last month, McFarland said, and a 20th is expected to plead guilty this week. Both investigators are contractors, he said.

    Which is why, despite the protestations and pearl-clutching of some ("Don't look over there at Snowden's credentials!  They aren't important to the story!"), it seems that this is a problem on a much larger scale that most definitely should be investigated further.

    And as far as what concerned (or should have concerned the investigators) about Snowden's background:

    According to sources familiar with the matter, Snowden, a high school dropout who later passed the high school equivalency test known as the GED, stated on his resume earlier this year he attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University, a Tokyo campus of the University of Maryland and the University of Liverpool in Britain.

    According to the sources, the resume stated that Snowden "estimated" he would receive a master's degree in computer security from Liverpool some time this year.

    Some of the educational information listed on the resume did not check out precisely, said the sources, who are not authorized to comment publicly.

    Now, do these discrepancies mean much? I don't know.  But this illustrates that this has been a pattern with OPM investigators and is most definitely "part of the story".


    I don't think I'm the one clutching pearls (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:18:15 AM EST
    Johns Hopkins was offering computer courses through an affiliate that no longer exists.  Japan has him listed as a student.  Liverpool has him listed as an inactive masters student like many masters students I know.

    If you want to highlight that it appears we have a background check problem for contractors fine, but it is not looking like Snowden was a case of background check fraud.  That portion of the story is a bit trumped.  There are always "questions" during background checks for security clearances.  A spouse with poor spending habits and bad divorces flags you too and they sit you down and ask some questions and if satisfied with your answers it's go.

    But if you leaked classified information and left the United States before you could be arrested apparently you had a faulty background check.  His last background check done for Booz Allen was for the renewal of his security clearance and not performed in acquiring a security clearance. He already had a security clearance. He may have had a security clearance since his  military service that they have used as the base for renewals.  I don't think there have been any issues with the military security clearance system, and they stopped doing all of them and private firms started doing contractors in 2005.


    Which was my point (none / 0) (#140)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:52:16 AM EST
    All those saying "Who cares if had a GED? That's not the story!!" Actually, yes, it is. It's definitely part of the story, one that shouldn't be ignored, but some people can't see the bigger picture.  Leaving aside the NSA collection of data - which is but one part of the story - the rest of this is about institutional competence. And as someone who is in the process of going through a basic background check for the lowest level of security clearance to get a job as a contractor, I would like more information about this process.

    That being said, I think there're more to Edward Snowden than what we know now, and I would like to find that out.


    A greater truth is that security clearances (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:28:01 AM EST
    Are given to human beings, with all their fragility and flaws.  So collecting all his massive information on all of us makes all of us forever and ever vulnerable to those flaws and frailties and human failings no matter what the Obama Administration says.

    Go Heat! (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:21:51 PM EST
    Keeping me up till midnite watching a basketball game. That's saying something.

    I don't watch much anymore....but this LeBron James kid might have a future.

    It's only 6:00 p.m. out here, and ... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:55:16 PM EST
    ... the sun's still out, so I guess the world didn't end when the Spurs lost.

    I don't watch much either... but did last night. (none / 0) (#80)
    by Cashmere on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:21:32 PM EST
    LeBron was on fire.  I was rooting for the Spurs, but didn't really care who won.  Good game.

    I'm only a casual fan (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:31:08 PM EST
    but was glad to see the Heat win. That was the longest I have ever watched LeBron - he seems so totally in control. I did not know that great jump shot was a recent acquisition.

    Gay therapy ministry shuts dowm ... (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:30:17 AM EST
    ... and issues an apology:

    The group's president, that he wanted to apologize to the gay community "for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the church as a whole."

    A gay-rights group, Truth Wins Out, said it welcomed Chambers' "integrity and authenticity."

    "It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organization's work, and to take real, concrete action to begin to repair that damage," the group's associate director, Evan Hurst, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

    Wow ... that's going to make some wingers very unhappy.

    I saw that too and wondered what precipitated (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:59:04 AM EST
    the change of heart.  Those are pretty rare.

    If anyone's interested, you can read (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:31:02 AM EST
    two documents describing the NSA's targeting and minimization procedures, here and here.

    From The Guardian:

    The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target "non-US persons" under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.

    The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.

    The procedures cover only part of the NSA's surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.


    The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.

    However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:

    • Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;

    • Retain and make use of "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;

    • Preserve "foreign intelligence information" contained within attorney-client communications;

    • Access the content of communications gathered from "U.S. based machine[s]" or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

    I can't quote the entire article - read the whole thing, and read the actual documents.

    But... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:07:59 AM EST
    It's only a little bit warmer than it was yesterday.

    Said one frog to the other....


    What I found interesting (none / 0) (#52)
    by vicndabx on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:21:09 PM EST
    provisions about when a US citizen; or someone believed to be in the US even if previously thought to be target, is to be excluded. As examples:

    Change in Target's Location or Status

    In the event the NSA determines that a person is reasonably believed to be located outside the United States and after targeting this person learns that the person is inside the United State, or if NSA concludes that a person who at the time of targeting was believed to be a non-United States person is in fact a United States person, the acquisition from that person will be terminated without delay.

    or this:

    Acquisition and Processing - Attorney-Client Communications

    As soon as it becomes apparent that a communication is between a person who is known to be under criminal indictment in the United States and an attorney who represents that individual in a matter under indictment (or someone acting on behalf of the attorney), monitoring of that communication will cease and the communication will be identified as an attorney-client communication in a log maintained for that purpose.

    Of course, none of that will get any reporting.  This whole affair bothers me on a fundamental level.  People it seems to me, have an idealistic view of self and worry about bogeymen from the past when real-life dangers that affect others are present now and we've been provided with ample evidence. It's like the gun debate all over again. I wish people would see the parallels.

    These real life dangers affect the rest of your citizens whereas the idealistic view of self generally affect one person.  To be so self-absorbed and not even consider the potential negative impact of this, is IMO, disgusting. What pisses me off even more is these MF's aren't even here at risk.  Haven't heard of any terrorist acts in Hong Kong or Brazil.


    Snowden needs to answer (1.00 / 3) (#95)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:34:24 PM EST
    whether he defends secretive Swiss banking laws.

    Why? (5.00 / 3) (#97)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:52:01 PM EST
    Because the revelations over the extent of these programs is giving the Swiss cold feet about  passing a law to require that info on possible tax evaders be turned over to the US?

    Are you joking? (5.00 / 4) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:05:14 PM EST
    Can't he just care about the democracy that he was born into burning to the ground?

    OMG. No, he does not. (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:43:16 PM EST
    Let the Swiss comment on Swiss laws and practices. Snowden, and the ret of us Americans, have plenty to concern ourselves with here at home.

    Congratulations to Abby Wambach. (none / 0) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:28:35 AM EST
    Tonight, in a game with South Korea, Abby broke Mia Hamm's record for goals in international games. Hamm's record was 158 goals in 275 games. The new record, held by Wambach, is 160 goals in 207 games.

    Mia Hamm was in attendance at the game and watched her record fall.

    Oh, and the U.S. team beat S. Korea 5-0.

    Profilers, The Murder Room, Richard Walter. (none / 0) (#8)
    by observed on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:46:19 AM EST
    A couple of years ago, I read Capuzzo's book, The Murder Room, about criminal profilers, the Vidocq Society. It's a good read, and has some fascinating true crime stories. The two main heroes of the book are the sculptor Frank Bender and the criminal profiler, Richard Walter. The latter is portrayed as brilliant, incisive, never wrong.

    I have a couple of questions.
    First, I've forgotten the name of that test for admissibility of expert testimony: my question is, according to the courts, how does this apply to the testimony of someone like Richard Walter, or criminal profilers in general? Profilers have had some spectacular successes, but some of the stuff I read in The Murder Room sounds like absolute crap.

    Second (and this is what motivated today's post), what about the charges against Walter that he provided false testimony about his credentials in the Drake case in 1982? What was the final result---did the charges against him stand? From the little excerpts I saw browsing while trying to cure insomnia last night, he puffed up his qualifications incredibly.

    Maybe this seems like a weird question. I brought up the topic because although I've seen many posts and comments about the unreliability of lie detectors and so on, I don't recall reading about criminal profilers and their testimony.
    And,  Walter is an interesting example.

    Sounds like (none / 0) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:40:47 AM EST
    you're trying to compare apples and oranges. I'm certainly no criminal expert, but I think the criteria between "criminal profilers" and "expert"  testimony are quite different.

    "Profilers, to the best of my knowledge, don't consider themselves to be "experts" in the same sense that a doctor, or astrophysicist, rightfully, consider themselves to be. Those two disciplines gain their status from long, science based  study in a recognized field, and which knowledge accumulated  is a continuum of that study. Also, I would presume, the result of that study should have some demonstrable, positive outcomes as a result of that accumulated study.

    In the criminal justice field a crime scene investigator would be an "expert" and would be a scientist.

    "Profilers," on the other hand, while they may also invest much time and study in their field wouldn't consider themselves scientists but, may be "experts" in their craft. "Profilers"  could be considered as architects while doctors would be the engineers. A doctor would use his/her empirically accumulated knowledge to be able to diagnose, and treat (fix) defective bodily conditions. A profiler uses statistics, and probability, to be able to predict certain behaviors and devises various strategies to isolate, and treat, those who need remedies.

    Jeez, sorry; I didn't mean to ramble on like this, but it's a beginning. Maybe others here can pick up from here and clarify what I' m trying to explain.


    Good point, but that makes admissibility (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:59:21 AM EST
    of testimony from profilers even more of an issue, right?

    Yes, it does. (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:51:04 PM EST
    But we could probably correct that, by allowing psychics and soothsayers as rebuttal witnesses.

    lol; "never wrong" sounds like absolute (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:54:41 AM EST
    er, something, too.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 43 (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:24:53 AM EST
    An arrest (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:43:13 AM EST
    warrant has been issued for Aaron Hernandez.

    For those who, like me, (none / 0) (#20)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:49:18 AM EST
    didn't recognize that name, Aaron Hernandez is apparently a professional football player in Boston.  The warrant is for obstruction of justice in relation to a fatal shooting that occurred on Monday.  From the linked story, Hernandez does not seem to be a suspect in the shooting.  Rather, this seems to be yet another cautionary tale about the risks of "cooperating" with police without first obtaining legal advice and assistance, when one finds oneself in the middle of suspicious circumstances.

    Shades of Ray Lewis... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:27:11 AM EST
    A football player who was initially arrested on two counts of homicide, who later plead guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, and the murder charges dropped. It's an event that has followed Lewis ever since, and will continue to follow him for the rest of his life - even though he's not been involved in anything else, has been a model citizen and an active and generous member of the community, you have only to check out the comment section of any article about Ray to see that people still refer to him as a murderer.

    With Lewis, it was thought that the arrest was part of an effort to get information - that they never had enough evidence to take him to trial.  With Hernandez, who knows?  He certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt, but his actions seem to indicate that he is protecting someone from something, and I guess only time will tell whether we ever know who or from what.  

    It's a shame all the way around.  Someone is dead, and Hernandez's career - regardless whether he is, in fact, innocent of any wrongdoing - will be haunted by this incident forever - just ask Ray Lewis.


    I Hope You Are Not Suggesting... (none / 0) (#44)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:02:23 PM EST
    ...Lewis was some kind of innocent police patsy.

    He negotiated the murder charge away by testifying against his friends.  He admitted to lying to the cops, destroyed evidence, and settled with the slain man's family.

    Model citizens don't lie to cops, destroy evidence, and throw their buddies under the bus.

    I don't know if he murdered anyone, but there is no doubt he was involved and has never been honest about what happened that night.  

    I really hope that Hernandez is not as innocent as ray Lewis.


    Oh, good - a Lewis-hater... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:17:15 PM EST
    I was suggesting, Scott, that there are some eerie similarities - was I not clear about that?

    But since you brought it up...if you think the Atlanta cops would have "negotiated" away the opportunity to convict an NFL football player if they had the evidence to do so, the bridges are for sale over in Aisle Three.  Pick out a nice one.

    Maybe "model citizens" don't do what Lewis did - but maybe scared ones do.  Maybe temporarily stupid ones do.

    Whatever stupid decisions Lewis made that night, he clearly learned from them, and left all of that behind him - you can damn him for being stupid one night over 13 years ago, but if you can't see what he has done with his life in the years since, and give him any credit for redeeming himself, I might have to put a couple bucks in the douche bag jar that has your name on it.


    Defensive Much... (none / 0) (#64)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:18:30 PM EST
    I am not a hater, search the posts.  I have never called Lewis a murderer.   And if I had to guess, I don't think he did it, but he's knows what happened that night.

    But when I see someone holding him as some beacon of integrity/morality, or the victim of some of police conspiracy, I am going to say something.

    I have no idea what Atlanta cops would do to a NFL player if they had the opportunity.  I guess you do, congratulations on knowing something that is impossible to know.

    Do scared citizens destroy the clothing they wore the night of a murder, does the blood of the murdered magically jump into Lewis' limo ?  I mean seriously.

    Redemption, should start with correcting past bad deeds, certainly owning up to them.  I know he does a ton of good deeds and lives a clean life.  I know that it was probably some drunk idiots getting into a fight and  things spiraling out of control.  That even if he did it, that's not who he is or was.

    I dislike the Lewis about as much as I dislike Jay Cutler, which is just enough to make me actively cheer against both on Sunday.  If Lewis could stop talking about god, I would not think twice about the guy.  But the god non-sense only reminds me that as much as he loves god, he just can't find it in himself to tell the truth about what happened that night.  And that, much like Jay Cutlers antics, rubs me the wrong way.  

    But I do not hate either in any real sense.  So while I don't know why you have a douche bag jar, or why you put money into with people's names on it, you can remove the few you marked for me.


    If you can point to where I said he (none / 0) (#65)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:26:59 PM EST
    was a "beacon of integrity," that would be helpful.

    Nor did I claim he was a victim of a police conspiracy - what I said was that arresting Lewis for murder was a means to an end, the end being information.

    Maybe now that I've pointed out to you how you've put words in my mouth you can understand the whole douche bag jar thing.

    Look, I'm not fond of all the god-talk, either - from him or anyone else.  But, I think it's possible that he doesn't think he has to answer to you for his actions or his mistakes.  I guess you think otherwise, and you're free to hold that against him.

    Knock yourself out.


    Lewis.. (none / 0) (#74)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:00:27 PM EST
    well, it's obvious that once you get into a certain tax bracket this country the chances lessen that you'll ever have to answer to anyone..Especially when your presence is vital to the success of your boss, and he's in an even higher bracket than you are..

    But, whatever Ray did, it all comes out in the wash. The wheel keeps turning, it don't stand still, if the thunder don't get you, the lighting will.


    If I got clean away (none / 0) (#75)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:02:19 PM EST
    from a rap like that, I'd thank God every day too.

    And if You Can Point... (none / 0) (#76)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:03:53 PM EST
    ...to where I said .'he has to answer to me for his actions/mistakes' you can keep those dollars where they are.

    You did call him a model citizen and inferred that the cops/DA only arrested/charged him for reasons other than the belief he did it.


    Converting mp4 to mp3 (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:01:58 AM EST
    Anyone know how to do this?  I currently have an iPhone, but I want to go back to an Android phone when my plan is up. (I had an Android phone last year, and accidentally threw it in the washing machine, so I ended up with iPhone a co-worker was selling).

    I have a bunch of music in iTunes, but I would like to convert them so I can go back to Google Play or whatever when I get a new phone.

    Thanks for any advice anyone has!

    Depends (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:51:34 AM EST
    If the issue is just converting it from MP4 to MP3, you can just use a converter as NYshooter suggests.  If, OTOH, you purchased the music through ITunes, it will have DRM restrictions which usually prevents you from converting it to a new format.  You can get around this this by burning the ITunes music to audio CDs, then ripping it into MP3s using ITunes.

    iTunes (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by vicndabx on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:05:17 AM EST
    those free converters usually drop a bunch of spyware and other bloatware on your PC so be wary.

    You can convert directly to MP3 in iTunes.  My version lets me convert purchases directly to either AAC or MP3.  Depends on the settings under General>Import Settings.  Only issue is you have to hold CTRL+left click on each song you want to convert.  Once the songs are selected, right-click on one of the selected songs and select Create MP3 Version.

    iTunes removed DRM some time ago.  I upgraded my purchases to DRM free a few years back, not sure if it's still available.  


    At your service (none / 0) (#19)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:46:43 AM EST
    "Anyone know how to do this?"

    Get a MP4 to MP3 Converter.

    Better yet, get a FREE converter.

    And, the MOST important thing of all, get it from a source that's legitimate, and won't jam you up with tons of their branded download crap i.e. browsers, burners, anti-this's & that's.

    I swear by the best site for this type of stuff, and have been using it for many, many years........CNET

    Just click link below (and your troubles are over)



    I Would Bet... (none / 0) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:14:31 PM EST
    ...that there is a app to play those files in the market.  But I think you are going to run into the DRM wall, even when converting music.

    I would suggest buying from an alternative source, the black-market.  You already own it so there is no copyright issue and you can get entire CD's for a buck depending on the bit rate you use.

    It will be infinitely quicker and all the meta data is already embedded.  Email me if you want a list of some of the sites I use.


    Thanks all! (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:59:44 PM EST
    I will try your suggestions!

    Are You Sure it's in MP4 format ? (none / 0) (#141)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    Apple is AAC and MP4 is video format that I don't believe stores DRM data normally.  Also, it can easily be changed to M4V, by changing the extension.  No conversion needed.

    There a lot players in the Android market that can play MP4, but they are video players.


    Howard Dean may run in 2016 (none / 0) (#22)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:38:52 AM EST
    Gonna make em earn it (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:21:08 AM EST
    That is as it should be

    Looks like today that the leftwing assault (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:43:20 AM EST
    on Greenwald is amping up.  Left bloggers on Facebook testing the waters for attack and getting mixed responses.

    Why are people so afraid of knowing the truth?  It won't kill us, it is only a momentary discomfort followed by frowning yes...but it isn't the end of the world.

    I don't think it's a fear of the truth... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:01:06 AM EST
    so much as making your horse look bad....nobody likes to be shown the horse they thought was Secretariat was really a lame nag.

    Remember, our political process is simple sport to many.


    It's just a horse though (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    I know this upsets PETA, that I might accept the fact that my horse is not perfect in every way and is sometimes a loser :).  If I can't accept my horse has weaknesses though, how can I come to train him better?

    Secretariat, will there ever be another?  I don't even look for Secretariat anymore.  If Secretariat II shows up we'll know, it will be obvious.  Until then there was only one, only one lightning strike.

    This is still an amazing horse though, it is stockpiling all of our info, crazy amounts, and if ever a warrant is issued on any of us after 10 or 20 years of unwitting collection, it will be Jeralyn's entire day for years attempting to defend one of us.  You could make anything you want out of that much data and a little spin, anything at all.  Does anyone think about that who is so busy discrediting Greenwald in any way they can?  Ten years or twenty years down this road, what will the terrain look like then and how will these NSA defenders look in that light?


    The million dollar question... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:35:43 AM EST
    right now imo is will defense attorneys like Jeralyn have access to this massive data collection that could possibly exonerate a client?

    Little test case brewing in FLA that I linked about the other day...here's another link with possible implications in local criminal, civil, and divorce cases.  

    Even I'm not so paranoid to think the NSA will deliver the dirt to local prosecutors in local cases and further blow up their spot, but I think the law is pretty settled that if the data exists the defense must have access.  Can the feds still claim catch-all "national security" with a straight face when a citizen's freedom is at stake?  I mean there is no "national security" when a citizen can sit in prison when the prrof of their inocence is collecting dust in a NSA database.  I'd love to hear Jeralyn or Peter G chime in on this aspect with their expertise.  It just might be the way to put a stop to it, or at least drown the feds in court defending their right to secrecy while invading our privacy.


    Gotta tell ya, I am shocked (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:48:41 AM EST
    At how easily so many have been willingly to submit to this intrusion.  And I am shocked at how many believe they will never be railroaded in that system.

    When you are military you give up many of your basic rights to privacy that civilians enjoy, you also get GREAT BENEFITS.  After X amount years though, have we seen people horribly railroaded by someone higher up gunning for them...YES!

    So everyone works very hard to dot and cross, you weigh out pissing anyone off, you serve your nation to the best of your ability and MOST get to not be railroaded.

    Soldiers get great benefits and retirements though and pride in service, they even get days every year where the soldier is specifically observed.  What is everyone else getting for giving up their basic rights?  They ask for so little it frightens me!  


    Seriously... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:55:28 AM EST
    surrendering your privacy for free email or the convenience of a cell phone, we are a cheap f8ckin' date;)

    Maybe my old friend the payphone will make a comeback and I can throw this damned celly in the garbage....it's the only reason I ever got one, outside of Manhattan the payphone is practically extinct.  

    Could be lots of business opportunities for entrepenuers who won't play footsie with the NSA...I can tell Google is nervous about their rep, trying to disclose more about what they;ve shared than the government will allow.


    At the risk of losing you.... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:14:34 PM EST
    I'm sure they probably have enough internet provider records to figure out exactly where you are every time you post on this blog.

    Might as well keep your celly.


    I know... (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:02:16 PM EST
    but I don't do Talkleft mobile like Oculus...the man has long known where I live and work from the good old fashioned paper I mail to the IRS every year.

    But I'd like to reserve the right to go on the lam in private, if push comes to shove;)


    I read that DuckDuckGo was seeing a surge (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by republicratitarian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:59:09 PM EST
    in activity.

    They don't retain any data on your searches, I haven't tried it yet myself but I've been searching for ways to minimize my digital footprint.


    Free Market Solutions... (none / 0) (#70)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:47:54 PM EST
    to suveillance state problems, I like it...crisis breeds innovation, and privacy is in crisis.

    I'll write the commercial..."Civil Disobedience Media Co...we'll stand up to this insane government so you don't have to."  ;)


    Exactly (none / 0) (#40)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:51:13 AM EST
    There are many aspects to the NSA data storage. Many are opposed to Greenwald and Snowden highlighting only one aspect of the issue and trying to manipulate public opinion to suit their agenda.
    Use of technology is always a mixed bag-it can help people or it can hurt people depending on the way it is used. More often than not it helps and hurts in different ways, at the same time. Data storage is simply usage of technology. There is a debate which needs to be had and the President said exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, there are many here who want to shut down any debate by labeling and dissenting opinion as a "diversionary" strategy.

    As I recall, there was some very (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:05:39 PM EST
    vigorous debate, back in 2008, when FISA came up for amendment and renewal - one of the loudest voices was that of Candidate Barack Obama, remember?

    What happened to that debate, to that voice?  


    If you honestly believe that Obama would even be breathing or thinking "honest debate" about this if not for Snowden's revelations, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

    The "diversion" will be a debate that takes the shape the president wants it to - kind of like the debate about health care and the deficit, wherein the president gathered a "cross-section" of people, a "bi-partisan" group/committee/board, and - Lord have mercy, who'd-a thunk it? - the debate was resolved to the president's satisfaction.

    But we were "heard," which was the important part, right?  

    I don't think Greenwald/Snowden have a nefarious agenda behind these revelations; far from manipulating public opinion, I think they are providing an opportunity for millions of Americans to be heard over the government's very skilled, very developed and very dangerous ability to have exclusive ownership of the information they use to shape and manipulate public opinion in service to their agenda.


    They are both taking so much heat (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    Who would sign up for this but someone who was truly concerned?  Snowden has destroyed his ability to live a normal life and he knew he was doing it going into this.  Greenwald obviously knew that some of his own peers were going to come after him with knives in hand, and they have, but he is ready and he has documents, not just he said she said, he has documents and if these documents are not causing anyone concern it has got to be because they have not read them or read about them.

    Who watches the watchers? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:55:13 AM EST
    They have already admitted that analysts have gotten themselves into trouble during divorces and breakups.  That doesn't bother you?  You still think this is all just fine?

    Who got in trouble?  What does that sort of "trouble" entail?  They have said that analysts have key stroke logging, but does someone pour over that every day and ask them why they were looking at this or listening to that?  Or is it only when they get a complaint about an analyst knowing things in personal situations that they should not know?


    Oops...pore over...sorry (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:59:00 AM EST
    I think that "left wing" is really (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:40:39 AM EST
    a shark fin, located squarely in the center - I think whatever there is of the real left wing is hidden away in an ICU somewhere on advanced life support - and the only visitors it gets are from those who come to stomp on it to make sure it never comes off the ventilator.

    I also think that some of the insider-media have circled the wagons to (1) make sure they retain their insider status and (2) keep people from asking why we've had to rely on the dirty fking blogger contingent for anything resembling truth these days.  News reports that I have seen are almost all just stenographic recitation of whatever their government sources have told them, and condensed versions of Congressional testimony that is all one-sided in defense of these programs.

    I said the other day that I feel like the media's ability to investigate anything stopped at the level of determining which politician served the best cocktail party food - and with a few exceptions, I think that's the state of things.

    I'm sure we can all agree that that's what's worth protecting, right?


    Good grief, I get tired (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:17:57 PM EST
    of all the ridiculous generalizing about the media. Of course, there are reporters across America who are still digging up political corruption and government wrongdoing.  I don't know where you live, but here in FL, the media has jumped with both feet on Gov. Scott. The Tampa Tribune has written about deals on a railroad and a new college. The Tampa Bay Times now has an investigative series going on the nation's worst charities. The Times also did an investigative project on the Stand Your Ground law.

    Here are some examples from the 2012 Pulitzers and the 2013 Pulitzers.

    Yes, there's plenty wrong with journalism, but how could I or anyone else have a reasonable discussion with you about that, if you speak in such hyperbole?

    There's also plenty wrong with blogs, many of which pick up the news from the media, without any attempt to verify it. One problem with blogs is that many don't have the money to risk a lawsuit. When I was a blogger, I decided not to write a couple of posts because of the risk that I would get the blog owner sued. When I was a reporter and editor, some of my stories had to go through our lawyers, and some wording might be changed, but nothing was ever killed because of the risk of a lawsuit.

    As far as I know, all major newspapers employ bloggers now. They hire bloggers, and some of their writers leave to become bloggers.

    I don't know why I even bothered to write this. It's like arguing with someone who says all lawyers are evil and corrupt, or all doctors are uncaring and greedy.


    For someone who claims to be (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:28:19 PM EST
    so concerned with getting things right, you sure have a habit of skimming over the parts of people's comments where they don't use words like "all" or "every."

    Which, speaking of being tired, is pretty tiresome.

    Aside from making it clear that I was not lumping every single member of the media in one ugly ball, I specifically referenced "insider-media."  I wrote about the insider-media's reliance on anonymous sources.  I specifically referenced that there were exceptions to the media's investigative capabilities.

    I'm well aware that there are many local reporters digging deep and hard and asking painful questions on local issues - but since that's not the way the bulk of the national media are reporting this story, I thought I should address what's happening on the national level.

    Before you go mistaking me for someone who has worn out the keys used to spell "all" and "every," do yourself a favor and make sure you have read ALL the words.


    Here's what you said (2.60 / 5) (#118)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:46:24 PM EST
    I said the other day that I feel like the media's ability to investigate anything stopped at the level of determining which politician served the best cocktail party food - and with a few exceptions, I think that's the state of things.

    You weren't just talking about the NSA story.


    There's a long list of stories the (5.00 / 3) (#120)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:12:44 PM EST
    national media has failed miserably at investigating.  Does the war with Iraq ring any bells?  How about the massive mortgage and foreclosure fraud?  What about the utter failure to educate the public on monetary policy, the deficit, and the debt because they were too busy happily reporting why the sky was going to fall and we must, must, must cut, cut cut?  Where were all the stories questioning the economic and budget ideas of one Alan Simpson?

    What about the national media's utter failure on the health care debacle?  See many in-depth stories on single-payer?  See much questioning of why it needed to come off the table?

    Didn't think so.

    If you truly believe there isn't a pattern with a SIGNIFICANT SEGMENT of the NATIONAL media of not ADEQUATELY investigating and questioning and challenging, I have to question just how much attention you've been paying to the state of "journalism."

    [I used the all-caps just in case you were tempted to accuse me of being too general in my comments]


    I suspect (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edger on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:08:04 AM EST
    that a lot of them are not "left" bloggers at all, but rather right winger Bush supporters who jumped ship when they saw the writing on the wall for the GOP back in 2007-08, and joined the Democratic Party so they could get another right winger into the Oval Office and keep on getting the kinds of policies they loved so much from Bush out of Obama.

    Bush and Cheney were amateurs compared to Obama.


    Nah, they are the soft left center (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:23:38 AM EST
    They were never GOP. I think kdog has pegged them correctly, having this going down when the Dems have the White House is too shaming for them, they can't stand the heat and light.  I have been very disappointed in a few of them with their choice of weighing going after Greenwald and putting silly sorts of status up about Snowden.

    It almost seems like some are feeling a little big game hunt thrill too, taking down Greenwald in a pack.  What a bunch of dummies......just my opinion of course, knock your stupid selves out with a gnat-like attack :)  An attack on what though?  What "source" has come to them based on their credentials and ethics?  NONE!


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Edger on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:40:36 AM EST
    But it appears that a lot of them really like the right wing stuff that pours non stop out of Obama. They push the war on terror scam with the best of any Bush supporters, they like gitmo, they actually like the drones, they like the wars, and they like the spying. Generally the right wing stuff gets them all excited. They don't seem so "left" at all...

    I did read that DKos gets few (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:51:09 AM EST
    Readers about drone issues.  Nobody clicks on the stories.  I think at this time Americans see drones as the way to not have their soldiers boots on the ground, which comes with its own set of problems.

    Excuse the piping up on my part (none / 0) (#105)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:52:08 PM EST
    But, in a strange turn of events not related at all to the subject of this conversation, the subject of a fascination "coffeehouse-type chat in central Denver that I stumbled upon today had to do with the word "truth."  Essentially, it was about the matter of the quandary that can be created when one more expressive than others presents "the truth."  That back & forth did not suggest that everyone should go off into oblivious la-la land ... only to say that in areas we all care about, "the truth" may be perceived differently.  Sort of like the "Alice in Wonderland" qualifier that "A Word is What I Say It Means, Nothing More & Nothing Less."

    We all have our favorite go-to writers, columnists, observers, thinkers.  We don't all agree on which, if any, carries "our truth."  For me, I do not like Greenwald ... for a number of earlier positional reasons, as well as my own perception that he steps on his own position with overplaying, disdain, attitude, uncompromising spirit.  But, that is just me.  The fact that I or others do not take to him does not make us wrong, evil, or lashing out or anything else.  As with a number of other people in a number of other disciplines, he may be one of those magnets that one loves or one responds with a collective "ugh."

    As for this situation:  I personally believe that he may have over-promised, got himself in a bind, & lost the sympathy of those who wanted to follow his outline.  That happens sometime.  For me, it has nothing to do with "discomfort" or whatever ... it has to do with intellectual honesty & ability to give-and-take on all sides.

    Thanks again for letting me jab in with my 2-cents worth.


    Kevin Drum on the NSA affair (none / 0) (#31)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:09:46 AM EST

    "So as scary as a surveillance state may be, it's not the worst thing that could happen. That's because the private sector spies on us too, and they do it so charmingly that not only don't we object, we practically beg them to do more."

    We are already the frogs getting used to (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:17:00 AM EST
    the boiling water....it's not as if the shock at being thrown into the pot is going to kill us!/snark

    I got that analogy from an old 'women who love too much' type self-help book....most of us are in very abusive relationships with our government/corporate overlords.


    A little push-back, ruffian (none / 0) (#106)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:01:54 PM EST
    The fact that people have different perceptions about the state of anything doe not mean that they resemble "frogs."  It is somewhat funny that arguing the "frog" analogy (which is cute & seems to have caught on here)could preclude further analysis & evaluation.  If one says:  "Oh this is bad, really bad, & if you don't believe me, then you are like a 'boiling frog' is almost hypnotic to the teller & the receiver.  Nice point when it was first uttered, but when it is used as analogy over & over...what does it become for all of us?  My point:  Lets think beyond the characature that someone intially threw out there ... doesn't that make sense.

    I know, it was a snarky glib paraphrase of what (none / 0) (#112)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:19:13 PM EST
    Marshall said.  But I've been realizing that he is right in that I and many others have lost our judgement about constitutes a dangerous level of data collection. Probably the odds that my information is going to be used against me in some way are very small- are they more or less than the odds I'll be hurt in a terrorist attack? Who can tell? If the information is never used against me in an overt way, is it hurting me that it is being gathered? I don't know. And it feels like it is way too late to even be asking the questions.

    Thank you ... those ARE the questions (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:34:08 PM EST
    I don't think that it is too late.  But then, I come from the view that most things in life & political structure can be adjusted & refined as necessary in a democratic system.  There are mistakes, wrong directions, and there are needed changes from time to time.  

    What leaves me with mouth agape is the "sky is falling" routine or the "system is burning to the ground" routine.  While you have not acted with such wailing & lamentation, a few others have ... as if to shut down any discussion.  Of course, when someone is consistently moaning & warning of inevitable demise, the sad thing is the "crying wolf" image ultimately can actually impede needed change because--after awhile & a pattern--the warnings become disregarded.  Better to put the hyperbole, etc. aside & deal with the particular situation one is confronting.


    Hyperbole serves no useful purpose (1.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:41:28 PM EST
    "The sky is falling" or "democracy is burning to the ground routine" has become quite stale. Even at the Guardian, Michael Cohen has written that link "Frankly, I don't see evidence of huge abuse of US liberties. But I do see our foreign policy distorted by a counter-terror obsession."
    One of the more interesting things that I have observed is the fact that some people who seem most vehement about distrusting the state on surveillance issues were also most vehement about the government taking even more control of our lives by providing national healthcare and banking. Go figure! The strident hyperbole which these people employ to shut down discussion is also mirrored by the people on the extreme right (eg: any discussion regarding oversight on gun issues is shot down as an "attack on the constitution").
    I am also of the opinion that this pattern of hyperbole causes most people to view such drama as a crying wolf phenomena.

    I always enjoy the "some people" (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by shoephone on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:55:23 PM EST
    criticisms. Reminds me of Katie Couric's interviewing style.

    By the way, "some people" who desire a single payer system of health care in this country are already well-acquainted with the risks of government and corporations having and sharing our personal medical information.

    But... socialized medicine or banking really has nothing to do with the crux your comment, now does it?


    I always enjoy the "1" rating (none / 0) (#124)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:04:37 PM EST
    that you, zorba and sj give me in an attempt to shut down dissenting opinion. It is like a "badhe of honor" for me.

    Not necessary to shut you down (5.00 / 3) (#125)
    by shoephone on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:28:01 PM EST
    Your arguments are simply empty distractions from the real issue, the one the government is scrambling to cover up: that the spying on American citizens is unconstitutional. Yes, I know how you hate when I make that the issue, but, guess what? That's the issue. You can keep trying to make Snowden's motivations and Greenwald's narcissism the issue, but they ain't it. And every time you do your level best to make them the issue, and try to convince us that they are not credible messengers, I'll just keep repeating myself about the 4th amendment, and about Russell Tice and Mark Kline and Tom Clemente, and all the other former spooks from the CIA and the NSA and the FBI who turned whistle blower and have been warning us about this stuff for years.

    Much to your dismay.


    Once again (none / 0) (#126)
    by sj on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:00:02 AM EST
    I give 1's for the following reasons:

    1. Being obstinate stupid (ignoring facts brought to one's attention so the same dead horse can be beaten).
    2. Really, really bad logic (where logical fallacies can be shown to be in use). Again, that's logic, not opinion. Your favorite appears to be the Two Wrongs fallacy ("FDR did it!!")
    3. Outright or passive agressive hostility
    4. Making up one's own "facts"

    Your 1 ratings are usually for exhibiting 2, 3 and 1 in that order. So enjoy your "badhe" of honor.

    I don't downrate for typos.


    You should rate your own posts (none / 0) (#133)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:13:03 AM EST
    "1" in that case!

    ::shrug:: (none / 0) (#134)
    by sj on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:34:08 PM EST
    Some people do.

    Jet is fueled and ready... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:05:02 PM EST
    to get Snowden to Iceland, just waiting on whether the Icelandic government will grant asylum.

    I'm thinking they will, they took Bobby Fischer in when he pissed off Uncle Sam and have a rep for defending internet freedom.

    Music for a guy named (none / 0) (#53)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:22:16 PM EST
    SNOWden to travel to ICEland to escape overlords by....

    Immigrant Song


    Well played Ruff!...n/t (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:04:53 PM EST
    Where's the Paula Deen thread? (none / 0) (#55)
    by observed on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:41:52 PM EST
    No comments? Pretty epic flame-out, IMO.

    Kim and Kanye West named their son (none / 0) (#56)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:55:58 PM EST

    Fans of Hitchcock movies? (none / 0) (#60)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:02:43 PM EST
    A nod to NorthWest Airlines? (none / 0) (#79)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:14:44 PM EST
    Daughter (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:05:28 PM EST
    And yes, they deserve to be slapped.

    Oops, yes, daughter. (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:33:58 PM EST
    But it was one of Josh's favorite movies (none / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:12:01 PM EST
    when he was much smaller.


    It is as if they anticipate that their child will eventually take them to court and demand to choose better parents for herself :)


    I think Kim and Kanye had a girl, not a boy. (none / 0) (#63)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:07:03 PM EST
    Still, the name North, if that is indeed the wee babe's name, is an odd choice, to say the least. Seriously, North West? Who does that to their child?

    Maybe they didn't want to carry on the (none / 0) (#68)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:35:04 PM EST
    whole "K" thing.

    Kind of funny to consider that her first husband was "K"ris, and now she's "K"anye West's baby momma.

    So, rather than do the too-cute-for-words, everyone-in-our-family-has-a-name-that-starts-with-"K" thing, and name their baby something normal like "Kristin" or "Kathleen," they decided to opt for the direction-that-signifies-"up:" "North."

    Please just don't let them have three more kids named, South, East and West. Good Lord, that would mean West West.

    Someone just shoot me now.


    My family's guilty as charged. (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:06:50 PM EST
    When it comes to the "everyone's name begins with the same letters" thing, for some obscure reason in my generation on my father's side of the family, all of us boys born between 1955 and 1965 have given names beginning with "D" or "J."

    I have an excuse because I was named after my father, but I have four cousins named David, Darryl, Del, and Daniel, while my female cousins are Jodi, Julia, Joan and Janet.

    I'm proud to say that none of us carried on that rather dubious tradition with our own children. As I was explaining the other day to my daughters Butterfly and Truth, and my nephew Sky Blue ...



    And if they have (none / 0) (#84)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:49:27 PM EST
    a fifth child, they can name him/her "Southbysouth" West.

    But of course they will spell it SXSW (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:54:54 PM EST
    Of course (none / 0) (#115)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:05:56 PM EST
    That's exactly what I was thinking.     ;-)

    My wife knew someone growing up (none / 0) (#69)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:39:57 PM EST
    who was named Lon Moore, which is clever. North West? Not so much. Still lame but more better, imo, would have been "Go" or "Wild" or "May." How about "Best?" ;-)

    A friend's of my sister's (none / 0) (#85)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:53:39 PM EST
    (well, her mother, actually) was a high school teacher in Detroit.  She had twin girls in one of her classes named Orangina and Tangerina.  (true story).

    As I was relating this story to a woman I worked with, she ended up topping me.  Her sister worked at some Human Services office in Detroit, and a woman came in with two girls named Tiajuana and Marijuana.

    Oh yes she did.


    Maybe the 2nd one went by her nickname (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:25:27 PM EST
    Mary Jane?

    Is Marijuana legal yet? (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:05:39 PM EST
    And if yes, got her digits? ;)

    otoh... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:54:19 PM EST
    as a kid I used to hate the very odd middle name bestowed upon me by my pops...as an adult I absolutely cherish it and wouldn't trade it for any name in the world.  It's Rumplestiltskin-esque, you'll never guess!

    Granted oddball first names are tougher for a kid to deal with.  Didn't some celeb name their kid Brooklyn?  And Frank Zappa was hard on his kids with the names.  


    is "Stryder" which I always thought was cool.

    I love the name Brooklyn! (none / 0) (#82)
    by Cashmere on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:34:02 PM EST
    What a great name for either sex.

    I was hoping for (none / 0) (#83)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:48:52 PM EST
    Kable Kardashian, especially if they were thinking of moving NorthWest to San Francisco.
     da da dum

    I Think... (none / 0) (#71)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:48:52 PM EST
    ...the world would have been shocked if they would have used a normal name.

    What big celebrity has named their kid a normal name lately?

    But have to admit I love Pilot Inspektor Lee & Seven Sirius Benjamin, but they are teenagers by now.


    I wonder (none / 0) (#86)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:55:11 PM EST
    How all these kids feel about their names as they get older?  I mean, really, I might well have shot my parents if they had named me Pilot Inspektor.  Or Apple.  Or Moon Unit.  Or any number of other weird celebrity names.
    OTOH, we have a neighbor, totally non-celebrity, and totally unlikely to ever become one, who named her daughter Cherokee.  And, no, there is no Native American heritage in their lineage.

    Famous people (none / 0) (#87)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:00:33 PM EST
    Can get a pass, I guess (even though I think all those names border on child abuse).

    But when "regular" people do it, you wonder if they every think about what that name is going to look like on a resume or job application.

    But then again, we got a president named Barack, so I guess that worked out ok for him.  :)


    I would exempt names that are just (none / 0) (#90)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:08:04 PM EST
    regular names from other cultures. Barack falls into that category. And he is named for his father, a pretty common practice.

    On what world is Pilot Inspector a common name?


    Zadfrack Zeezoso.. (none / 0) (#91)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:11:59 PM EST
    of course, when Mr and Mrs Goldberg adopted him, they changed his name to plain old "Jonah".

    Let's Hope He Never Wants... (none / 0) (#101)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:23:33 PM EST
    ...to get a job in aviation because the titles would scare the hell out of people.  Imagine this coming over the intercom:
    "Captain Pilot Inspector Lee at you service."

    I believe that I have mentioned this before (none / 0) (#96)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:34:25 PM EST
    But when my mother-in-law was young and worked in a hospital, apparently some woman named her daughter "Urethra," at the suggestion of an intern who had a totally warped sense of humor.
    And then there is "Big Jim" Hogg, one-time governor of Texas, who famously named his daughter "Ima."  (And no, she did not have a sister named "Ura.")

    According to my former spouse, who delivered (none / 0) (#128)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:20:40 AM EST
    the babies, newborns were stuck with the the Darvon and Demerol, painkillers used during labor "back in the day."

    Oy! (none / 0) (#136)
    by Zorba on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:51:17 PM EST
    Was it an intern who suggested these names?  A nurse?  Your ex?
    You would think that some kindly medical person would suggest to the parents that names like this (or "Urethra") might not be the best names for a baby.
    Although I guess I'd rather be Darvon than Urethra.      ;-)

    He was a "rotating" intern (none / 0) (#137)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:36:27 PM EST
    at a county general hospital pre-Medicaid. No attendings on the premises. I think the grateful moms chose the names.

    I guess this is one reason to latch onto (none / 0) (#88)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:05:12 PM EST
    nicknames like Chip and Skip and whatever else is less out there than one's given name.

    The very weird name thing strikes me as such narcissistic act. Clearly, there was no consideration of the good of the children when these names were chosen. Instead the naming seems more a reflection of the parents' striving to enhance their own  "cool" cred.


    I don't know Cap'n... (none / 0) (#111)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:05:54 PM EST
    I think the more narcissistic act is naming your child something like Thurston Howell III...a unique name bestows individuality, or at least that's what I think my dad was after.  He wanted my cool-arse middle name to be my first name but moms flat out refused, for which I was most grateful as a kid, but now I kinda wish she let the crazy bastard do it...it does fit me;)  

    I agree about giving a child someone (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:47:54 PM EST
    else's name as in Jr. or III, or any number. I think each person deserves their own name. Still, kdog, jr. strikes me as a much better moniker to carry through life than, say, Inspector Pilot.

    As to your middle name, why don't you just start using it as your name? There are people out there who go by their middle name. I realize that everyone knows you by your first name, and not everyone would be amenable to a change, especially family, but there is nothing that says you can't use that middle name.

    Your mom did you a solid by insisting that the unusual name go in the middle so that you were spared at least that childhood trauma. Now, the choice is yours.

    So, what is this amazing middle name?


    Thank you casey (none / 0) (#127)
    by sj on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:02:50 AM EST
    for asking that. I'm dying to know but was really trying to respect kdog's privacy :)

    My brother has always been (none / 0) (#129)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:22:50 AM EST
    called by his middle name. Even he does not know why.  

    Me, too - but I do know why... (none / 0) (#132)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:29:42 AM EST
    it was because my mother didn't want anyone to shorten my first name.

    So, I've spent many years, saying, "___ is my first name, but no one uses it; please call me "Anne," which is my middle name."

    Strangely enough, both my dad and his sister had the same situation - both known by their middle names.

    We did our kids a favor and gave them both first names we used!  Was not going to put them through all that nonsense I went through, especially the part where all the kids, on the first day of school, snicker and tease because the first name isn't the one they're familiar with!


    My son is called by his middle name (none / 0) (#135)
    by sj on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:39:09 PM EST
    I always knew what I wanted to call him, but his full sounds better with the "alternate" as his first name. He had the problem in first grade where his teacher was adamant about using his first name and after that I flatly refused to specify what the initial stood for at school registration time.

    One of my daughters we named (none / 0) (#138)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:40:12 PM EST
    "Elizabeth," and I wanted her nickname to be "Beth" but we always called her by her full first name. When she hit public school she became "Lizzie"!!!!

    I have an Elizabeth, too, and I (none / 0) (#139)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:58:01 PM EST
    swore I would never call her Lizzie - but she was such a little peanut when she was born that "Elizabeth" was just too big for her, so she was "Lizzie" from then on.

    She goes by "Liz" now that she's in her 20's, but we still call her Lizzie.

    Just as most of my family call me "Annie."


    I Am Pretty Sure Growing Up... (none / 0) (#93)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:19:38 PM EST
    ...with a lot of money and famous parents precludes the normal terror most of us would have faced on the playground with a name like Dweezil or Frances Bean.  And once you get older, it's just not that important.  In fact, I would the older you get the more you like the individualism of it.

    For me, I hated Scott cause every there must have been 30 of us in school, including a neighbor the same age.  Having 2 Scotts in same gang of friends sucks.  But my middle name, which will not be repeated for privacy, is so obscure, that the military legally changed it because I signed the kazillion enlistment papers with a misspelling.  It wasn't discovered until I showed up to my assignment.  So there is a possibility I wasn't legally enlisted in bootcamp and schooling.

    I used the popular spelling, having never really examined my birth certificate to realize my mom swapped the 'O' and 'A'.  I have never told my mother, nor have a I changed it back to match my birth certificate.  Oddly enough, it's never been an issue and my passport is issued to the BC name, which is not my name.

    I like Cherokee, but they must realize that name might offend people with Cherokee heritage.  But I guess if Chrysler can pull it off...


    Well, at least (none / 0) (#99)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:07:52 PM EST
    they didn't name her "Redskin."
    It is kind of a cute name, and she's a cute kid.  Her parents call her "Kee" for short.  But I don't think that I would name a child a Native American name, unless I had some Native American heritage.  
    And I seriously doubt that the parents in this case have any idea whatsoever that the name might offend those with Cherokee heritage.  We are talking Western Maryland, extremely rural people, here.  

    Speaking of offending, the Food Network (none / 0) (#103)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:41:16 PM EST
    has just announced that it will not renew Paula Dean's contract when it expires next month. The reason? The recent revelations about Dean's use of racial slurs, and her seemingly lax attitude toward racist jokes.

    If you haven't seen it yet, (none / 0) (#108)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:23:11 PM EST
    Watch "Fried and Prejudice" from the Daily Show with John Oliver.
    Screamingly funny.  He absolutely skewers Deen.

    25,000 bumblebees killed in Oregon. (none / 0) (#116)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:15:56 PM EST
    In what may be the largest bumblebee kill ever in the U.S., the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture has determined that the bee deaths were caused by exposure to the insecticide Safari.

    The insecticide was spayed on 55 European Linden trees in Wilsonville, which is just outside of Portland along I-5. Safari was used to combat aphids on the trees. Unfortunately, the bees were drawn to the trees because they are a source of pollen.

    Today the trees were wrapped in netting in an effort to keep any more bees from alighting on the trees and dying.

    kdog, I wish it were earlier... (none / 0) (#122)
    by Teresa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:53:31 PM EST
    This will reach you too late, but Piers Morgan has an hour show on should pot be legal and the war on drugs. You'd be pleased, I think.

    As we know, most of them say pot is no worse than cigs and alcohol. Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has a pot documentary coming in August and traveled all over the world for it, says there are definite medical benefits to it and we're denying our citizens something that used to be legal.

    On the small chance you see this tonight, it replays at midnight and I think three a.m.