Monday Open Thread

For those of you not interested in the George Zimmerman trial, here's an open thread for all other topics.

< Week Two of Testimony in George Zimmerman Trial | Tuesday Open Thread >
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    Am I the only one (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:25:23 AM EST
    who thinks John Kerry is already the most annoying person in the Obama cabinet?

    Possibly (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:41:39 AM EST
    No (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:23:44 AM EST

    LOL...if only for the amount of (none / 0) (#128)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:41:07 PM EST
    High-def TV makeup they cake on his face. I much prefer the crags to the blur his face has become on TV.

    With Cheney already on his side now, (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:32:44 AM EST
    Obama gains yet another bi-partisan supporter for his PRISM....

    Bush Defends Internet Spying

    Speaking for myself, seeing the three of them support each other in PRISON would be more satisfying.

    I so wish that ... (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:29:16 AM EST
    I got more fulfillment from the "I told you so" that these facts allow.

    But people seem unfazed. If these criminal activities come in a pretty package or have a "D" after them, most liberals shrug or worse, come up with tortured defenses of the policies.


    Uh-MEH-rica (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:31:51 AM EST
    I guess.

    Ask anyone on the street and they'll explain. The spying is targeted only at everyone else.


    And if that doesn't work, (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:58:55 AM EST
    they just claim that it's all legal...Congress said it's OK, so it must be fine.

    And if all else fails, they just tell people that this is the price we pay to be safe from the terrorists...and if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.


    "A-meh-rica" indeed.

    Time for an Advil or three.


    The government is people, right? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:42:21 AM EST
    "if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear" applies to them, right?

    Wait, they're zombies who eat brains for breakfast? Never mind. Forget I said anything.


    Of course, we all know ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:39:01 AM EST
    how the logic of "it's someone else" has gotten the human race in the past.

    well, (none / 0) (#29)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:24:23 AM EST
    in the next elections will you support the Democrat if he/she was part of either administration and knew what was going on? My guess you will knowing that the Republican will be worse. And the wheels go round and round....

    Jill Stein, Gary Johnson... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:28:00 AM EST
    anybody without a D or R after their name 2016!!!

    That'll certainly get a liberal (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:24:44 PM EST
    majority on SCOTUS.

    Jill Stein... (none / 0) (#183)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:05:17 AM EST
    would surely nominate a real liberal to SCOTUS...sh*t I might get my dream, Justice Ron Kuby!

    To be fair kdog (none / 0) (#214)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:52:18 AM EST
    if your name was on the ballot you would likely get just as many votes, and you have just as much chance in the future at nominating a Justice for the SC as Jill Stein.

    I did check out her vote total in Florida from the 2012 election. She received 0.11% of the vote, barely edging out Roseanne Barr who received 0.10%.


    I'm with you (none / 0) (#32)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:32:16 AM EST
    I can't stand the fact that people will condemn officials with gross offenses and then support them because they are not as bad as the other guy. I understand the reasoning, but don't agree with it. If you knowingly vote for it then you knowingly support it.

    I'm convinced (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:45:55 PM EST
    Was not really to that point last election, but you and Anne, etc. are right.  Did not give any money, but won't give my presidential vote either next time.

    I am sticking with my new Congressman Grayson however...I still have hope for him.


    Nobody (none / 0) (#53)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:20:53 PM EST
    I don't know yet ... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:55:11 AM EST
    but I doubt it.  I didn't support them last time.

    And, more important to them, I stopped giving them money.

    Still ... some Dem group calls me virtually every day with the begging cup.


    Same here (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:01:52 PM EST
    I haven't given a dime to a Democrat since 2006, and yet, the pleas from Pelosi fill my mailbox. I happily voted for Stein in 2012.

    I voted for Stein ... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:18:25 PM EST
    as well.

    Yep. (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Zorba on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:29:40 PM EST
    Same here, shoephone.     ;-)

    In the last election, I voted for (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:58:34 AM EST
    Jill Stein, and I know others who did the same: knew they would never vote Republican, and just couldn't, in good conscience, continue to vote Democratic just because the Dem candidate was minimally better than the Republican.

    I've said for some time now, that using the lesser-of-two-evils metric was a ticket to the bottom, that it does nothing to raise the standards by which we are represented and governed.

    I absolutely won't facilitate or perpetuate the race to the bottom.


    Infuriating, but unavoidably true... (1.00 / 1) (#138)
    by unitron on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:47:38 PM EST
    ...a vote for anyone other than the Democrat is a vote for the Republican.

    At least for the foreseeable future.


    Baloney. The only way my vote (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:32:24 PM EST
    counts in the GOP column is if I cast it in that column.

    Now, it's true that if fewer votes are cast for one candidate than the other, the candidate with fewer votes loses, but that is not the same as casting a vote for the eventual winner.

    I'm sorry, this tactic of blaming third-party voters for GOP wins doesn't work with me anymore; I refuse to get guilted or scared into voting for substandard, virtually indistinguishable, candidates anymore.

    If you want me to vote for Democrats, then put some real ones up for election; mostly all we get now are corporate candidates who are slightly less crazy than their GOP counterparts - and that's not enough to get my vote.


    Sad (5.00 / 4) (#97)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:52:11 PM EST
    Was talking about the internets and how nobody wants to talk about drones with spouse.

    I always figured that that was because most Dems, Libs, and Progressives saw that as better than boots on the ground.

    But spying on all of us is okay too.

    I think my drone philosophy was all projection now.  It is okay as long as Obama is doing it.  If Bush/Cheney did it/does it hell hath no fury.

    Was telling my spouse who is an indy that even on DailyKos some have come close to calling for Greenwald's head too.  He almost spit his wine.  He says Liberals considering a journalist a traitor for reporting breaches of anything is like Liberals sitting around discussing how slavery really wasn't that bad....let's bring back some slavery.


    All this reminds me why (5.00 / 3) (#154)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:43:54 PM EST
    Bush should have been impeached -- to set the country back on the straight and narrow while reminding the nation that we have a constitution and what it stands for.

    Understand that the PRISM program (none / 0) (#139)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:53:52 PM EST
    is considered effective & supported by Sen. Mark Udall (D Colo.)  While Sen Udall has indicated the need for limiting the meta-data collection aspect--and, together with Sen. Wyden (D. Ore)--he has introduced corrective legislation as to that aspect, on more than one occasion in recent weeks, my Colorado Senator has underscored the national security effectiveness of the PRISM program.  One of those factoids.

    Yeah - just a little tweaking (5.00 / 3) (#144)
    by Yman on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:18:41 PM EST
    A little "corrective legislation" to deal with that "meta-data collection aspect" - you know, the part that everyone is actually upset about.

    "So apart from that massive brain tumor, Doc, you think I'm in pretty good health?"

    BTW - Not that any particular Senator is the arbiter for PRISM, but isn't Udall the same Senator who said:

    When I learned two years ago, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, about the National Security Agency's invasive collection of records, I knew many Americans would be as shocked as I was. I also am not convinced, based on my knowledge of the facts, that this bulk collection of Americans' private information has provided any uniquely valuable intelligence that has disrupted terrorist plots.

    I don't think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected." "I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting," "It ought to remain sacred, and there's got to be a balance here. That is what I'm aiming for. Let's have the debate, let's be transparent, let's open this up.

    Is this the same Udall that called out the NSA for inaccurately describing PRISM in their fact sheet?


    Yes, it is the same Senator (none / 0) (#147)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:29:29 PM EST
    He has specifically said to the Denver Post and clarified on national TV interviews in recent weeks his concern with the extent of the meta-data collection while expressly stating that he found, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the intel from PRISM to be in line with what he would expect, conforming to the parameters of appropriate intelligence gathering, and quite useful in averting potential terrorist actions.

    Sen. Udall has been quite open & incisive about all of this.


    Maybe you'd like to share some of the (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:24:46 PM EST
    ways in which Sen. Udall has "underscored the national security effectiveness of the PRISM program?"

    I think I can safely speak for at least a handful of people here, who would love to be enlightened, when I say, "links, please!"


    Denver Post & various national TV (none / 0) (#148)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:31:45 PM EST
    Sunday morning network TV programs (approx. 2 wks ago.)  

    Not good enough, christine - you don't (5.00 / 3) (#151)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:39:05 PM EST
    get to hector people the way you do and then skate by on just pointing to some generic newspaper articles and TV appearances.  

    Careful, dear - your contempt is showing...


    It is in the very public domain, Anne (3.00 / 3) (#166)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:17:58 PM EST
    Look it up.  It has been quite widely reported.

    They were your claims - you look them up. (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:29:22 PM EST
    If they were so widely reported, it shouldn't have been hard for you to provide links to support your assertions.

    The comments I have read from Udall and Wyden do not support your contention; if you believe otherwise, it's up to you to demonstrate that.

    If you don't want to be bothered, that's fine, but don't act like you're so above it all that we should just take your word for it.


    Statement from Sen. Wyden and Sen. Udall (5.00 / 3) (#165)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:17:52 PM EST
    Statement on Effectiveness of Declassified NSA Programs issued on June 19, 2013 does not seem to indicate the level of support that you have attributed to him. In fact according to this statement, it appears that he thinks that the value of these programs are exaggerated, bulk phone records collection program under section played little or no role in most of these disruptions and that saying that "these programs" have disrupted "dozens of potential terrorist plots" is misleading if the bulk phone records collection program is actually providing little or no unique value. As you will notice, I have provided the actual statement with the corresponding link to Sen Wyden's government website.

    "Over the past few days the Intelligence Community has made new assertions about the value of recently declassified NSA surveillance programs. In addition to the concerns that we have about the impact of large-scale collection on the civil liberties of ordinary Americans, we are also concerned that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Section 702 collection program (which allows collection of phone or internet communications, and involves the PRISM computer system) and the bulk phone records collection program operating under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT are being conflated in a way that exaggerates the value and usefulness of the bulk phone records collection program.

    Based on the evidence that we have seen, it appears that multiple terrorist plots have been disrupted at least in part because of information obtained under section 702 of FISA. However, it appears that the bulk phone records collection program under section 215 of the USA Patriot Act played little or no role in most of these disruptions. Saying that "these programs" have disrupted "dozens of potential terrorist plots" is misleading if the bulk phone records collection program is actually providing little or no unique value.

    The Intelligence Community notes that the massive collection of phone records under Section 215 has provided some relevant information in a few terrorism cases, but it is still unclear to us why agencies investigating terrorism do not simply obtain this information directly from phone companies using a regular court order. If the NSA is only reviewing those records that meet a "reasonable suspicion" standard, then there is no reason it shouldn't be able to get court orders for the records it actually needs. Making a few hundred of these requests per year would clearly not overwhelm the FISA Court. And the law already allows the government to issue emergency authorizations to get these records quickly in urgent circumstances. The NSA's five-year retention period for phone records is longer than the retention period used by some phone companies, but the NSA still has not provided us with any examples of instances where it relied on its bulk collection authority to review records that the relevant phone company no longer possessed.

    In fact, we have yet to see any evidence that the bulk phone records collection program has provided any otherwise unobtainable intelligence. It may be more convenient for the NSA to collect this data in bulk, rather than directing specific queries to the various phone companies, but in our judgment convenience alone does not justify the collection of the personal information of huge numbers of ordinary Americans if the same or more information can be obtained using less intrusive methods.

    If there is additional evidence for the usefulness of the bulk phone records collection program that we have not yet seen, we would welcome the opportunity to review it."

    Nope, this statement definitely does not indicate the level of support that you are attributing to him.


    Well then, let us just wait until (none / 0) (#167)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:20:54 PM EST
    the Senate debate/discussion that will inevitably take place on this matter in the coming months.  I'm sure that we will both remember our respective positions.  Since I do pay particular attention to the statements of my two Senators...I'm more than willing to wait for a very public statement.  

    What I quoted was a public statement (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:42:22 PM EST
    No need to wait.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Washington, D.C. - U. S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) issued the following statement responding to comments made by members of the Intelligence Community about the value of certain NSA surveillance programs. Both Senators sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    It is not a matter of our respective positions. It is a matter of not misrepresenting the position of Sen. Udall. Any complete statement from the Senator would not back up your claim, which is probably why you will not provide links.


    Since I remain in close contact (none / 0) (#178)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:53:13 PM EST
    with Sen. Udall's office, I feel comfortable that he has expressed his support for the utility of the PRISM program.  His concern is with the much broader sweep of the meta-data collection efforts.

    Just as I thought (5.00 / 3) (#179)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:57:54 PM EST
    You can't supply a link to support your claim.

    Check out the following (none / 0) (#194)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:42:32 AM EST
    Type in Senator Mark Udall+PRISM+June 2013.  You will see the distinction if you read the mid-June comments.  Also: The Senator was interviewed on the Sunday morning shows the Sunday following his statement of concern about meta-data gathering & its overly broad reach...at the same time, he was asked and answered more than once his view about the PRISM program, which he distinguished in its utility/effectiveness in preventing terrorist attacks. (Those comments--tho I have not re-looked them up--are within the prime TV networks recent archives.)

    I do care what Senator Udall says...and, this year he is up for re-election.  So, I pay particular attention to be an informed voter in Colorado. Should you want to check further, his views are easily found via his Web site or directly calling his office in DC or Denver.

    Yes, I am being stubborn about this situation where the views of the Senator have been so publicly made.  The main reason:  When I feel that I am being called a liar, it makes me angry...and resistant.


    He also said he was unclear whether (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:03:56 AM EST
    what had been developed via the program could not have been done through more conventional methods.

    That seems like a pretty big "but" to "highly effective."

    And for the record, no one's calling you a liar, just asking you to have the courtesy to back up your assertions with verifiable links; I believe you have asked others to do the same on occasion, so I have no idea why you are so offended.  


    When Senator Udall questioned (none / 0) (#205)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:16:16 AM EST
    (and continues to question)whether significant data could not have been obtained via an alternative, he has specified, from time to time, that he is talking about the meta-data program.  Yes, it does occasionally seem like the brush is broader ... but, when asked, he clarifies that he is talking about meta-data.

    Just as I thought (5.00 / 2) (#203)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:08:03 AM EST
    You can't supply a link to support your claim.

    When I type in that information I get the statement that I posted and linked in my previous comment. If you have other information, please provide the link.

    I think that you have cherry picked what Sen. Udall has said and left out the parts where he said:

    "that the bulk phone records collection program under section 215 of the USA Patriot Act played little or no role in most of these disruptions. Saying that "these programs" have disrupted "dozens of potential terrorist plots" is misleading if the bulk phone records collection program is actually providing little or no unique value."

    In fact, we have yet to see any evidence that the bulk phone records collection program has provided any otherwise unobtainable intelligence. It may be more convenient for the NSA to collect this data in bulk, rather than directing specific queries to the various phone companies, but in our judgment convenience alone does not justify the collection of the personal information of huge numbers of ordinary Americans if the same or more information can be obtained using less intrusive methods.

    The time that you took to type your current comment could have been used to provide links to the information that supports your statements. Once again, you prefer to use "One of those factoids" instead of providing actual data.



    Nope...The Senator has been very specific (none / 0) (#208)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:28:49 AM EST
    If you want to be selective (and cherry-pick) that is up to you.  

    One more time: The good Senator has distinguished between the two programs.  A number of people have not.  Sometimes he brings up PRISM as an example of a program that has been effective ... other times, he has been specifically asked & answered that PRISM (in his view as a longstanding member of the Senate Intelligence Committee) has demonstrated its worth.  

    I am a voter in his state ... and, I will not only vote for Senator Udall but will give financial contribution & other help if asked.  So, I do not act as a "reporter" in chasing down his comments for you.  But, I do know what I have read & what he has said.  In sum: The matter of cite-cite-who-has-the-cite is not appropriate when the info is so readily available & in the public domain.  It is not an obscure, lesser known, or otherwise hard-to-find matter by any means.

    But, listen, since we are both stuck in our positions (with me being stubborn too):  As the issue progresses over the next few months, we will have ample opportunity to verify where the Senator stands as the Congressional consideration progresses.  And, I'm sure, we will both remember the date we had this discussion...for citation purposes, of course. :)


    Oops...the bulk records program (none / 0) (#210)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:30:23 AM EST
    to which you refer is the meta-data program.

    Sen. Udall's level of support on 6/30/13 (none / 0) (#207)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:19:03 AM EST
    Mark Udall told CNN's 'State of the Union' it was unclear if the government needed the PRISM program for intelligence.

    As much as I loathe to support christinep (none / 0) (#209)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:29:09 AM EST
    And especially after the gratuitous "1" rating she gave me, Sen. Udall did concede that PRISM has "paid some dividends"

    Udall, who in recent days has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration's surveillance methods, conceded that a different government program known as PRISM -- which monitors the Internet activity of foreigners -- has paid some dividends. Still, he emphasized his criticism of the government's phone record collection program.

    And he differentiated between PRISM and the NSA collection of information:

    The senator distinguished between the two programs that have been making news. He said the so-called PRISM program has been "highly effective." But he thinks the metadata collection of millions of Americans by the NSA requires further discussion in Congress now that these revelations have been made.

    PRISM (5.00 / 2) (#217)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:37:21 AM EST
    PRISM is a system the NSA uses to gain access to the private communications of users of nine popular Internet services and is governed by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    The Wyden/Udall statement mentions concerns about the PRISM program under Section 702 collection program which collects internet communications and involves the PRISM computer system.

    June 24, 2013 letter specifically references PRISM and Section 702:

    Senators Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Mark Udall, of Colorado, said in a letter addressed to the NSA's director, General Keith Alexander, that the fact sheet "portrays protections for Americans' privacy being significantly stronger than they actually are" and that "this inaccuracy is significant." In its fact sheet, the NSA said that PRISM operates legally under section ""This inaccuracy is significant."

    The fact sheet has been taken down.

    While a large amount of his criticism is directed toward the "other" program, his numerous other actions and statement do not indicate his strong support of the PRISM program. In fact, Wyden and Udall have not only stated that they believe NSA has inaccurately stated the protections for Americans' privacy, "Wyden and Udall said that they interpret section 702 authority differently than the NSA has."


    Thank you, jbindc (none / 0) (#212)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:42:01 AM EST
    For the yeoman's work in corroborating the views of Senator Mark Udall.  Actually, since I got into a back & forth snit by allowing the tenor of this discussion to get to me, you did my work for me. Thank you!

    Mea Culpa as well.  You are correct that the goofy rating to which you refer was misplaced and not deserved.  My disagreement with your position on the President's Africa trip should not translate to a "1" for you (maybe a 3 or 4?)

    What I did learn from this recent interaction is that you are an honest broker.


    One part of your comment accurately (5.00 / 3) (#190)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:37:54 AM EST
    describes your statement that the PRISM program is supported by Sen. Mark Udall. It is "One of those factoids."


    A factoid is a questionable or spurious (unverified, false, or fabricated) statement presented as a fact, but without supporting evidence.

    Yep, it definitely qualifies as a factoid.


    Nearly 1 in 5 members of Congress (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:02:10 AM EST
    Get paid twice (or three or four times):

    To solve the debt crisis, Americans--who are already suffering in these tough economic times--will have to make even more sacrifices, Rep. Mike Coffman told his House colleagues last year. So, leaning on his military service, the 58-year-old Colorado Republican argued that members of Congress should take the first step and abolish their congressional pensions. "If there's one thing I learned in both the United States Army and the Marine Corps about leadership, it was leading by example," Coffman lectured them, pointing to his chest at a committee hearing. "Never ask anyone to do anything that you yourself would not be willing to do."

    What Coffman left unsaid that day in a speech about his bill's "symbolic" importance was that he was collecting a $55,547 state-government pension in addition to his congressional paycheck. Having spent two decades as an elected official in Colorado, he has received retirement benefits since 2009, the year he arrived in Congress.

    "We did not want to double-dip on the taxpayers in a time of fiscal challenge."--Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., who declines his pensionCoffman is not alone. About 90 members from both chambers collected a government pension atop their taxpayer-financed $174,000 salary in 2012, National Journal found in an examination of recent financial records. Including a dozen newly elected freshmen who reported government pensions last year, the number now stands above 100. That's nearly one-fifth of Congress. One lawmaker, freshman Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, received $253,323 from her government pension last year--a sum that, combined with her congressional salary, will make her better paid than President Obama this year.

    Although, if you've EARNED a pension, I don't think you should be penalized.  But it seems that if someone takes another job, then their pension payments should be delayed.

    And it seems ludicrous that some of these people started collecting pensions in their 40s.

    Welcome to A-MEH-rica! (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:22:40 AM EST
    THE twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans' phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism, have not enraged most Americans. Lulled, perhaps, by the Obama administration's claims that these "modest encroachments on privacy" were approved by Congress and by federal judges, public opinion quickly migrated from shock to "meh."

    I so wish this weren't true.  What's wrong with people?

    Full NYT piece here.

    Of all the fascist countries in history (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:27:01 AM EST
    none ever could compare to the greatness of America...

    hyperbole much? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:25:38 AM EST
    the fact that you can post your comment without fear of prison (maybe an IRS audit, but not prison or worse) is proof that your comment is silly.

    Doesn't Edger live in British Columbia? (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:42:47 AM EST
    I doubt the Canadians would stick him in prison for those views.

    Harper is working on it... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:44:33 AM EST
    He's a big Obama fan.

    Well, then we'll have to hide you out (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:52:42 AM EST
    at my friend's place in the San Juans...

    Who knows? (none / 0) (#78)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:47:33 PM EST
    There might be transit zones (aka "terminals") in any number of airports ... after you disqualify a potentially long list of countries that do not meet your standards.  Hey, we all might love the perfect ... but, then, life is complex and communities of life in nation states may be ever more complex.  Just joshin'. Sorta.

    Oh goody, the "perfect" nonsense again (5.00 / 5) (#100)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:03:09 PM EST
    and wrapped in a passive-aggressive package, with a bow tie on top. "Just joshin'. Sorta." Please point me to where Edger said anything about wanting the country to be "perfect."

    If your fellow citizens don't give a eff (none / 0) (#105)
    by vicndabx on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:43:53 PM EST
    and you support the democratic process, are these then just the lamentations of what could've been?

    Not "passive" at all (none / 0) (#112)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:09:51 PM EST
    To be more forthcoming: If one has gripes with/complains about/disparages something ... fine...When that complaint becomes pointed & centered & constant, it becomes stale after awhile if all that is heard is the constant complaint & references to a grass-is-greener elsewhere...Complaining without proposing and acting on a practical plan ultimately is a circular nowhereville.  Perhaps, Mr. Snowden is discovering that even as we speak.

    Look ... My opinion is as heart-felt as yours.  You want direct, we will deal with direct.  For starters, here:  Take the we-are-so-horrible-&-nasty-&-repressive here that everyplace or most places elsewhere must surely be better off the table. What I learned growing up is that--after a time--it was my responsibility to act on what I believe; and, in that action, to recognize the reality that life isn't a pipedream and that others will have opposing positions.  What I learned about political change, more than anything, is that there must be give & take and compromise to move forward at all.


    Odd comment (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:24:35 PM EST
    Complaining without proposing and acting on a practical plan ultimately is a circular nowhereville.  Perhaps, Mr. Snowden is discovering that even as we speak.
    I would say that Mr. Snowden acted rather definitively. He simply didn't take the path of the virtually powerless (being one grain of sand on the beach that comprises the nation's populace) that you prefer.

    As for the rest of your comment... ::shrug::

    Take the we-are-so-horrible-&-nasty-&-repressive here that everyplace or most places elsewhere must surely be better off the table

    I see you're doing battle with your typical straw man. Tell me, though: do you think you're winning?  I can't tell.

    Is it a game of "winning?" (none / 0) (#123)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:46:15 PM EST
    To me it is about stating my position...just as it is for you.  I have little patience for drumbeats of continual complaining...that goes to the values instilled in me by many family members "Don't just whine about it" & "If you don't like it, what would you do" Etc.  

    As for the Snowden reference: You are correct ... my typing left out a sentence or so, thereby creating an odd juxtaposition.  What I should have stated is:  Perhaps, Mr. Snowden is finding out a bit now about the impracticality of his action <or similar words to that effect.>

    Please don't misunderstand ... I do dream of ways to do things differently, at the micro & macro levels of community. It is important to dream about & envision how things should be or how they should change.  It would be so worthwhile to trade ideas & talk about & reflect on those dreams.  The underside, tho, is much different.  The isn't-so-horrible, everything-is-so-bad seems to go nowhere but enter a downward spiral.  Of course, that is just my opinion ... in trying to frame that better, perhaps I could ask "Okay, help me out ... what society or societies would offer today what you seek." And, the reason that is relevant: It does help to define problems & potential resolution approaches if the perspectives of participants can be illustrated by extant examples.  Some of us find it much easier to respond with a more meaningful give & take if we can talk within known parameters or examples of what is being sought.


    That makes even less sense to me (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:52:48 PM EST
    To me it is about stating my position...just as it is for you.
    Now I really don't know what your point is. Are you saying that ones POV is only valid if they first engage in [what I have personally experienced as] useless activity from "within"?

    And what are you talking about here?

    Of course, that is just my opinion ... in trying to frame that better, perhaps I could ask "Okay, help me out ... what society or societies would offer today what you seek."
    If such a society existed don't you think I would be there? I speak out so that the trend to go in the opposite direction, what to me is the wrong direction doesn't go unremarked and therefore acceptable by default.

    Judging from your last paragraph, sj (none / 0) (#126)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:32:08 PM EST
    I'd guess that you actually do understand my position.

    No, I really don't (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:57:27 PM EST
    The way I read you is that I shouldn't criticize a thing unless I have at a minimum a ready-made solution to offer as an alternative. Moreover, not only do I need to have a pre-determined solution to a given problem, I need to have an real-life example of said solution extant. And I should be promoting this already existing example from within some existing construct -- in this case the Democratic party.

    That's how I read you. And that makes no sense to me. None.


    Thank you, but... (none / 0) (#140)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:08:06 PM EST
    I do not believe you (nor me nor anyone else) need to have a precise alternative to something with which we disagree.  It is, however, a matter of degree...as our most things in our life.  My genuine concern is with several here who have continually & openly suggested, stated, or at least strongly insinuated that life elsewhere (here & now) would be oh-so-much better and more democratic, but turn with vehemence toward one who would dare ask where.  Seriously.  I do not mind disagreement, sj.  To me, it really makes the world go round.  But, the disingenuousness that some of the supporter-group exhibit when attacking the question that their own arguments raise does try one's patience.  

    Somehow, myself says that you are not totally in that clique at heart...and that debate with you can be real and open, if we all give each other a chance.  You know that, I believe.


    Who here has "continually & openly (5.00 / 3) (#162)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:07:26 PM EST
    suggested, stated, or at least strongly insinuated that life elsewhere (here & now) would be oh-so-much better and more democratic, but turn with vehemence toward one who would dare ask where?"

    And which is it - suggestion, statement or insinuation?

    Seriously, who has said or suggested this?


    Among others: Edger, Lentinel, & Andreas (2.00 / 1) (#170)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:29:05 PM EST
    I do not believe that you, Anne, have been anywhere near as direct.  While it is not my job to parse, recall, and/or research your previous statements, your comments seem to be more confined to the lament for the return of earlier Democratic Party days.  As for the latter:  History would indicate some were good (role of labor unions, e.g.) & some were not so good (racism & various social issues that had not yet evolved throughout society.)

    I can;t wait to see the pushback on this (5.00 / 2) (#173)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:35:25 PM EST
    latest accusation...

    When you say I haven't been "anywhere near as direct," I guess we can infer that I fall into the "insinuation" category.

    Nice.  Your passive-aggressiveness is getting a little out of control; you might want to talk to someone about that.


    Baloney, Anne (none / 0) (#176)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:48:09 PM EST
    Sorry.  It's late now...and, it is about time you & I try another game.

    Not been a good night for you, christine; (5.00 / 2) (#181)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:38:22 AM EST
    you got caught making claims about Udall's position and comments on PRISM that you weren't willing - or able - to back up, and you're also claiming that people here have "continually" made the case that life would be better elsewhere than the good ol' US of A...and you've made one of your trademark passive-aggressive swipes at me in that regard.  Did you think I wouldn't notice - that I would be fooled into thinking you'd made an exception for me?  Just how stupid do you think I am, christine?  

    Calling someone out on their dishonest and disingenuous comments is not "playing games," christine - in fact, I would argue that it is an effort to stop the game-playing.

    In point of fact, christine, there are areas where the US lags far behind other developed nations, and acknowledging that is what people do who are interested in raising the bar and improving the quality of life here.  Saying, for example, that other countries have managed to implement single-payer or universal health care with significant success and resulting in overall improvement in the health of their people is not a call for people to pull up stakes and move, but a reminder that it is possible to have what the politicians keep telling us we can't.

    Yes, from time to time people have become so disgusted and disheartened at the intrusions into our lives and the ongoing effort to keep taking more and more from people who have nothing left that there's been talk about breaking away, going off-grid and finding some kind of oasis of freedom and peace.  You act as if there's something un-American about people wanting to have a better grip on the freedoms and rights and privileges that are supposed to be afforded us here, and you have nothing but scorn for those who don't believe the system is working anymore.

    The system is broken.  That you are forced to argue for the legality of programs like the ones we are finding out about speaks to that more than you realize.  It is sickening to me to read your tortured logic justifying these things.

    If you don't want to play games, then don't. I know that won't be easy for you, but anyone willing to work as hard as you do to maintain the status quo ought to have enough focus and energy to find ways to debate with honesty and stop hiding behind passive-aggressive pot shots.


    I reiterate my comment (none / 0) (#189)
    by christinep on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:31:30 AM EST
    to which you reportedly responded.  Look, we disagree ... we should acknowledge that.  BTW, it is quite simple to check Senator Udall's very public comments as to PRISM ... he noted in mid-June that he was not opposing the national security worth of that program (as distinguished from the meta-data unusually expansive efforts.) He noted it on all the Sunday morning interview shows--very explicitly--when he was interviewed.  Look it up by typing his name together with PRISM program June,2013. You can also easily access his Web site for contact & question info.

    Meanwhile, we disagree, Anne.  No need to try to extrapolate some hidden reason nor motive on my part.  We simply disagree.


    More abortion restrictions... (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:53:52 AM EST
    Think Progress:

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a contentious two-year budget bill into law on Sunday evening. The governor vetoed 22 amendments to HB 59 before approving it, but he left intact several provisions that will severely limit women's reproductive access.

    The new budget, which takes effect on Monday, includes at least five new anti-abortion provisions. HB 59 will defund Planned Parenthood clinics, reallocate family planning funding to right-wing "crisis pregnancy centers," strip funding from rape crisis centers that give their clients any information about abortion services, impose harsh restrictions on abortion clinics that will force many of them to shut down, and require doctors to give women seeking abortion information about the presence of a "fetal heartbeat."

    Taken together, the budget amendments ensure that Ohio now has some of the most stringent abortion laws in the nation.

    And, as if that isn't bad enough, consider what's happening in Iowa:

    Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has approved a measure to expand his state's Medicaid program under Obamacare, which will extend health coverage to tens of thousands of his poor residents. But there's a catch buried in the Medicaid expansion legislation that the governor signed last week. Now, when low-income women on Medicaid seek insurance coverage for medically-necessary abortions, they'll have to get approval from Branstad himself.


    But now Iowa is going a step further. If a woman who gets her health care through Medicaid has an abortion that falls under one of the exceptions in the state's abortion coverage ban -- if she has been a victim of rape or incest, if her fetus has fatal abnormalities that won't allow it to survive outside the womb, or if her life will be put in danger unless she ends the pregnancy -- she'll need to have her case approved by the governor's office. Presumably, Branstad will choose whether to approve or deny each woman's request for insurance coverage for her abortion. It's the first law of its kind in any state.

    I wonder when he will have office hours...will he get to examine the patients, too?  What are Branstad's medical qualifications for making these decisions?  

    They say that war is not good for children and other living things, but I think we should add the states of Ohio and Iowa to the growing list of places where, if you are female or a child, and poor, your health and well-being are at risk.

    The wacko wingers (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:10:59 AM EST
    are obsessed with -- and terrified of -- our lady parts. Basically, they want to criminalize being female.

    time for a woman's underground (none / 0) (#104)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:43:16 PM EST
    plus time to stop voting off brand just to reject the two big parties.  Study up on the 30 percent solution if you are not familiar with it.  I believe it can work and once women have the parity those on the right will be released from the need to be religious nuts to get elected.
    Half women and we will get more liberal and more populist.  
    In the meantime, women need to take care of women or we are screwed. We HAVE TO stop waiting for men to every understand or give a damn that the laws are good for us.  They will trade away our welfare in the wink of an eye to get more white male votes or a few more big shot donors.

    I too voted for Stein in 2012, but it was because she was the woman on the ballot.  


    This person was also the woman (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:53:44 PM EST
    on the ballot.

    Amid a heated debate over a restrictive anti-abortion bill being pushed by Texas GOP lawmakers, one Republican argued that a proposed exemption for rape victims was unnecessary because assaulted women could simply turn to rape kits for abortions.

    "In the emergency room they have what's called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out," said state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R), sponsor of the controversial SB 5, according to The Associated Press. "The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development."

    MO (none / 0) (#111)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:06:13 PM EST
    Is that for real? Hard to believe (none / 0) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:14:37 PM EST
    Texas women claiming their power. Win or lose, you gotta love it.

    A lot of hats in that crowd. (none / 0) (#114)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:22:42 PM EST
    Aren't Fedora Hats all the rage for women (none / 0) (#116)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:30:38 PM EST
    this year? ;o)

    LOL. I don't know, but (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:38:09 PM EST
    my sister encouraged me to buy a kind of fedora a couple years ago when it was so hot and sunny and I didn't have a hat to wear to the park. I wore it that day, and it has sat in the closet ever since. It reminds me too much of Frank Sinatra.

    Maybe one of (none / 0) (#125)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:54:45 PM EST
    these would be more your style.

    Can't picture Frank Sinatra in any of them. ;o)



    Wow! (none / 0) (#120)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:39:27 PM EST

    And having said that, and being impressed by it, do you think it will have more effect than the demonstrations in the Wisconsin capitol?


    Certainly one of the dumber (none / 0) (#110)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:59:32 PM EST
    reasons to vote for someone. But I guess it would be the equivalent of a man refusing to ever vote for Hillary because she's a woman. Misandrists and misogynists are pretty much the same.

    Do you consider Emily's List (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:34:11 PM EST
    to be a man hating organization?

    People have been voting for their own forever. I don't vote based solely on gender, but it figures into the equation. I think most women believe that between a male and female candidate, the female is going to care about and represent women's issues more than the male. (Unless she's a wacky Republican, and then there's not much difference.) But until there is real gender parity in Congress and in the statehouses, it's going to be an issue. At last count, there are 20 women in the U.S. Senate -- and this month they are finally getting some action on having the ladies' room expanded from just a two-stall facility. Wow. progress. Thanks guys.


    I stand by exactly what I said (none / 0) (#119)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:39:18 PM EST
    But you didn't answer my question about (none / 0) (#121)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:40:06 PM EST
    Emily's List.

    I know very little (none / 0) (#143)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:12:04 PM EST
    about Emily's List.

    Three states with Governors currently passing or trying to pass anti-choice legislation are Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio. Tell me who Emily's List endorsed in the last election for Governor in those three states and I can tell you whether they are fighting for women's rights.


    Wow, you really do know very little about them (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:39:21 PM EST
    Emily's List always endorses pro-choicers for public office. And the organization is devoted to finding the best female candidates to fund in each election cycle.

    But you didn't answer my question (none / 0) (#153)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:43:05 PM EST
    Not necessarily the answer to your (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:51:56 PM EST
    question, but here is a link to Emily's List current list of candidates they are supporting.

    Candidates they've helped elect:  too many to list here.

    Here's their mission statement:

    The mission is simple, really: EMILY's List is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. The method is a little more complicated, but not much. Basically, it works like this:

        EMILY's List looks for viable political opportunities and recruits strong pro-choice Democratic women candidates to run.

        We tell our community of members about these women, and ask them to give directly to the campaigns of candidates for House, Senate, and governor.

        We provide extensive training for candidates and staff so they can make the most of limited resources and win the toughest races. We conduct in-depth, ongoing research into the minds and moods of women voters, a critical bloc for Democrats whose votes are key to electing more women.

        Finally, our WOMEN VOTE! project reaches out to women voters in the days and weeks before Election Day with persuasive messages that motivate them to go to the polls and cast their ballots for progressive Democrats -- because if there's one thing we've learned, it's When Women Vote, Women Win!

    We are continually making investments to help women develop political skills and cultivate resources so that we can bring more women into politics and elected office. Only then can we build a lasting progressive majority dedicated to social justice, civil rights, diversity, economic reform, and compassion -- and construct a society that values the contributions of all of its citizens.

    Working together, we can make a difference -- and change the face of American politics.

    Frankly, I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:43:43 PM EST
    But I also think "not as bad as the other guy" is just as dumb a reason to vote for someone.

    Gideon's Army: HBO documentary on (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:51:24 PM EST
    tonight at 9:00:

    From Esquire:

    The film descends into the lives and cases of a few public defenders, focusing mainly on a small core of lawyers in Georgia and Mississippi - all of whom juggle more than a hundred cases at a time - and the umbrella organization which supports them called the Southern Public Defender Training Center, whose founder, Jon Rapping, spends most of his time desperately exhorting his members not to quit for the much easier and more lucrative life of private practice. There are two young lawyers in particular whose stories deliver exceptional power to the film: Travis Williams of Hall County, Georgia, a young man who basically raised himself (he hardly knew his father, and his surname comes from one of his mother's aliases) and whose office wall is covered in framed copies of his clients' acquittals, and who tattoos the names of his clients whose cases he loses on his back; and Brandy Alexander of Clayton County, Georgia, whose absolutely ingenious defense of a client packs an emotional wallop at the film's end, and who is so broke that she has to scrounge change from her purse to put a few dollars worth of gas in her car until payday. That's the thing: Our criminal justice system is so skewed toward prosecution that we almost defy young and talented lawyers to enter into this kind of practice, and every lawyer depicted in the film carries significant student loan debt, and each lives paycheck to paycheck. That, combined with the crushing caseload, makes their job both almost impossible and incredibly heroic. As Jon Rapping says to a discouraged Brandy Alexander, "If you're trying to rescue people from hell, you have to go to hell yourself."

    Looks like must-see TV for sure.

    Thanks for the reminder (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:58:44 PM EST
    I hope I also remember when I get home.

    New Meaning to Police State? (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:25:26 PM EST
    The Texas lieutenant governor's recent threat that statehouse reporters could potentially be arrested and jailed if their behavior is deemed "not respectful" of the legislature is being called "worrisome" and "absurd" by Texas journalists.

    Several editors and reporters who have been covering the contentious abortion debate in the state Senate, which drew national interest last week during an 11-hour filibuster that derailed the legislation, said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's threats of potential arrest during an interview Friday raised concerns.

    But hey, no biggie. We all know that when journalists don't keep proper "decorum" (which includes genuflecting to the bigfoot journalists who identify with the power structure) well, they are no longer allowed the privileges of a free press. That's how we keep the babies safe. digby

    A personal opinion, an open thread dominated (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:28:08 PM EST
    by cantankerous comments is not all that interesting to read.

    Go *&$%^#%^&$ yourself!!!! n/t (none / 0) (#198)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:58:08 AM EST
    You're off your "meds." Tooooo (none / 0) (#206)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:18:38 AM EST
    much hermitude.

    The anti-big-bank (5.00 / 3) (#136)
    by Zorba on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:24:48 PM EST
    Chalk-using activist in San Diego was found not guilty of vandalism.  Even the mayor of San Diego described this prosecution as a "stupid case."


    Thank goodness some sanity (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:23:28 PM EST

    Score one for the jury system! (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:00:37 AM EST
    Great news...the banks may own the government, but they don't own a jury of one's peers.

    "Even the mayor"? He and (none / 0) (#172)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:35:10 PM EST
    the elected city attorney are at war.  

    Received (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:34:14 PM EST
    To Squeaky & Shoephone (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:53:18 PM EST
    To Squeaky,
    So what if Shoephone's comments all cast the Prez in a bad light -- that's her prerogative and it's not as though there aren't many things to find fault with these days; at any rate, Shoephone has a right to her opinions, whatever they may be.  And most of your complaints about her comments were ad hominem attacks -- complaining about her sources, her negativity, etc., and did not address the substance of what she wrote.  You're entitled to disagree, but why not stick to the issues?  If you did, you might actually find some here who, even if they did not agree with what you say, might respect your right to say it.
    To Shoephone,
    I think calling Squeaky insane goes too far, and I think the better tack is not to engage on the ad homimen level -- I'm just sayin'.  Why allow yourself to stoop to name calling?  Stick to the facts.  Responding in kind just extends the attention to the unappealing.  

    Thanks (none / 0) (#161)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:06:02 PM EST
    For the words of wisdom, glad you are BackFromOhio.

    I've seen (none / 0) (#187)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:25:26 AM EST
    Squeaky and Donald both mention that certain posters, myself included, usually say things about Obama that cast him in a bad light...

    But, you know, I cannot recall either of them ever posing things about Obama that they consider cast him in a good light.


    Your Memory Is Faulty (none / 0) (#188)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:29:06 AM EST
    I have never been an Obama cultist.. but I have given him credit for when he did something good. And I supported him fully when Hillary was defeated in the primary. My comment history will support that statement should you choose to check.

    My position has been more in line with BTD regarding Hillary and Obama, not a dimes worth of difference.


    Care (none / 0) (#192)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:40:13 AM EST
    to list some of the good things that you might recall?

    No (none / 0) (#195)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:43:29 AM EST
    But the archive is available for you to peruse.

    Oh my. (none / 0) (#202)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:07:24 AM EST
    Oh My? (none / 0) (#204)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:14:41 AM EST
    Lentinel, your stance here is ironic and perhaps very telling of your position regarding burden of proof.

    You made an accusation against me, and now you are on the fainting couch wondering why I am not going to produce a ream of evidence to refute your claim. If you believe that your false claim is true you can do the work to back it up.

    Makes sense considering your recent law and order call for more police on the street. Ironic that you landed as a commenter on criminal defense site.


    I've e-mailed Jeralyn to ask her for (5.00 / 1) (#215)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:52:28 AM EST
    a new Open Thread, since this one is essentially closed.

    In the meantime, the last non-Zimmerman Open Thread still seems to have room for comments.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 55 (5.00 / 1) (#216)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:07:12 AM EST
    And another thing... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:30:16 AM EST
    what, exactly, is the purpose of Obama's Africa trip?  

    More Interesting Question (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:39:43 AM EST
    What is the purpose of your question?



    Nah... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:08:41 AM EST
    More Interesting Question (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:39:43 AM MDT

    What is the purpose of your question?

    That question is way less interesting.

    Which One? (3.00 / 2) (#46)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:09:31 PM EST
    The rhetorical one or the literal one?

    at least if his question is pointless (none / 0) (#8)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:45:54 AM EST
    it also costs a hell of a lot less than Obama's trip.

    So your belief is (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:51:03 AM EST
    Presidents shouldn't visit with other countries?

    At a cost of $60-$100 million?? (4.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:26:34 PM EST
    And when he could very well come back with very little...

    Obama has indicated that he will use his trip to highlight U.S. development programs in Africa. But since the president has established no significant new Africa-related programs, he will inevitably be highlighting the work of his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Obama has also indicated he will highlight U.S. engagement on food security, terrorism, youth leadership, and energy. Unfortunately, any new initiatives in these areas are likely to be relatively small in scale and guided by the outdated view of Africa as a "hopeless" continent looking for handouts.

    Obama's visit to Africa will also focus in part on promoting U.S. trade and private investment in the region. However, U.S. engagement in these areas has been limited to date, focused primarily on programs that target individual countries or on smaller, ill-defined initiatives such as the Commerce Department's "Doing Business in Africa" campaign or USAID's muddled efforts to create trade hubs in Africa. Such programs also do not sufficiently promote regional integration, which is critical to Africa's economic growth and transformation. American private-sector investment -- paired with public-sector support -- particularly in infrastructure, could go a long way in supporting Africa's growth and industrialization, and to being mutually beneficial for trade and investment. Obama has an opportunity with this trip to announce and follow through on initiatives in this area. If he does so, he will leave behind an important legacy on the continent.


    Obama will almost certainly return home empty-handed. So, what will he accomplish beyond symbolism? Probably not much. The president's advisors will spin the trip as proof that Obama hasn't ignored Africa and that the region is an important U.S. partner. And while the latter bit might be true, most Africans don't see it that way.

    And then, of course, he didn't visit the "three anchors" of Africa -  Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.


    Your Sources (2.33 / 3) (#66)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:04:03 PM EST
    Well Mwangi S. Kimenyi is right on the money, which is where the text of your comment comes from. Here is a letter he wrote to Obama on his 2012 re-election. I agree that the US should be doing more to develop its relationship with Africa.

    As far as your Subject line, and commentary

    At a cost of $60-$100 million??
    well that is right out of Michelle Malkin and the Weakly Standard, sources you frequently quote.

    Oh right the original leaked document citing the costs was revealed by WaPo, but unlike Malkin and Weakly they did not write it off..  they also mentioned that the last two presidents also took this trip..  and these trips are $$$$$ expensive.

    So jbindc, do you think Africa is not worth spending money on?

    or should we spend more $$ and increase our efforts to help Africa develop as Kimenyi urges.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:45:41 PM EST
    Even the HuffPo is using the WaPo numbers, which come from a WH insider. I frequently quote Michelle Malkin and the Weekly Standard??? That would be amazing, as I never read them (but strangely, you always seem to know what they are supposedly saying...)  Shoephone was right - you ARE off your meds....

    And hmmm...how to spend less on a trip to Africa -now that he's trying to play catch-up on the continent with even George W. Bush?  Well, for starters, in this time of a very bad economy and government sequestration, and no budget (thanks, Harry Reid!), Michelle and the girls didn't have to go - since they have their own security details, and had side trips away from the president, which certainly added to the costs. Now, one could argue that the FL can bring an added value to a trip such as this, but

    And yes, while this trip could be important, if he can actually get anything done (but probably won't), and to compare to other presidents' visits, well, you'd have to compare him with what other presidents have done for Africa and what they got in return as well.  But I know that's above your thought level, so we'll just chalk it up to you always trying to instigate an argument like a 5 year-old and leave it at that.


    Are the 500 investors in his entourage (4.00 / 2) (#72)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:57:06 PM EST
    all paying their own way? Depending on the number of people from inside the administration and from private investment firms traveling on the taxpayers' dime, that gets very pricey very fast.

    OK (3.50 / 2) (#74)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:13:23 PM EST
    Well Huffpo does not cast aspersions on the trip... while you post that it is a waste by connecting two unrelated articles.

    Kimenyi is lobbying for Obama to do more for Africa, and is disappointed in the trip. He does not believe that Africa, or US/Africa relations, will benefit much from the trip. But he is not talking about the price tag, he is doing his job and criticizing Obama for not doing enough. He wants Obama to spend more money and time in Africa. So connecting the cost of the trip as a negative factor to Kimenyi's article is distorting and misrepresenting Kimenyi.

    And hmmm...how to spend less on a trip to Africa

    Not sure if you read the WaPo article but it makes it clear that Obama has nothing to do with the budget, the secret service determines that.

    Michele and her daughters Malia and Sasha did not have to go? Really, why to save $$.. ? Looks to me like she is doing great work there.

    This is Michele's itinerary.. looks like her work there is with kids and woman. I think that is important, and not a waste of money.

    For more on the trip here..

    And I think that your continually resorting to name calling puts you in the 5 year old category more than me, just saying...  


    Wow - are you tiring (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:24:51 PM EST
    As often as I butt heads with jb, I know (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:47:40 PM EST
    she doesn't plumb the depths of Malkin and Kristol to make her points, so why are you putting that out there about her?

    Oh, right...wait, no - you did it because it's an ugly accusation and if there's one thing that gets you happy, it's ugly - and dishonest.

    Maybe I should ask you another question: why now?  Why has Africa piqued Obama's interest now?  Not saying he shouldn't have an interest, but if jobs are his concern, seems like that ship sailed a few years ago, didn't it?

    If you'd ended your comment after the first paragraph, people might be able to believe you had an actual interest in the discussion, but the rest of your comment dispelled that notion, and just reminded most of us what we didn't miss while you were "away."


    No (1.67 / 3) (#75)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:20:28 PM EST
    What jbindc did was put two unrelated articles together to bolster an argument that Obama is wasting money, wasting time and doing it all wrong.

    This is exactly the tone of Malkin and Weakly standard.

    The FP article by Kimenyi urges Obama to spend more money and time in Africa, and criticizes the trip as a waste because Obama is not doing enough.

    To put the price tag and say that it is a waste of money is misrepresenting Kimenyi's POV and what he wrote.


    "No," yourself. (5.00 / 5) (#88)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:14:15 PM EST
    What you did was falsely accuse someone of doing something she doesn't do - citing Malkin and Kristol as sources - so you'll just have to pardon us - me - if I don't give anything you say the credit you think you deserve for "honestly" representing the issues.  Changing your tune to call it the Malkin and Weakly Standard "tone" doesn't repair the damage.

    And then, you had to give us a "well, HuffPo does not cast aspersions on the trip," to which I would have to respond, "who gives a flying fk what HuffPo thinks?"

    And how is it that you can't relate "too little, too late," with "that's a lot of money to spend to have nothing to show for it?"  Was jb really attempting to put words in Kimenyi's mouth, or was she using her own words to ask the question about the cost?  I know it works better for you to go with Door No. 1, but that's not what she was dong - and I suspect you know that.

    What ever would you have done if those points had been made in the same article?  Headed to the fainting couch, or just thought up a more vile accusation to make that wasn't based in the truth?

    Just please do us all a favor and don't complain about or question someone else's credibility or honesty until you can figure out how to be credible and honest yourself.

    We won't be holding our collective breath for that day to come.


    Defend All You Want (1.00 / 2) (#93)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:35:28 PM EST
    I did not falsely accuse jbindc, She has used the same rhetoric as wingnuts, continues to do so, and in the past has linked to right wing sites.. her record is available to dig up in the comment archive. When it comes to Obama jbindc's agenda is identical to Malkin's and Kristol, content is only at the service of a political agenda. Mix and match...

    Sorry I do not believe that jbindc never looks at Malkin or Kristol.

    And whether or not she read the article that she quoted,  the title was titled Guilt Trip, which along with the money numbers and commentary about a waste, fits as a nice one two punch at Obama.

    Kimenyi is working to get the US more involved with Africa. To suggest that he would complain about the money spent on a trip is off the mark. Making a point that the Obama trip was expensive would be diametrically opposed to his agenda. He wants Obama to take more trips to Africa and invest more money and resources in US Africa relations.


    Such BS (5.00 / 6) (#98)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:55:39 PM EST
    well that is right out of Michelle Malkin and the Weakly Standard, sources you frequently quote.

    Since she doesn't ever quote them, that would be a false accusation on your part.  What right-wing sites has she linked to?  Saying she "uses the same rhetoric" and "sounds like" a wingnut are not the same as saying she frequently quotes Malkin and Kristol.

    Is it really that hard to say, "oops - my bad - I take it back?"  I guess it is because the hole you started digging about 6 comments ago is now much deeper, and you're no closer to getting out of it.

    And I'm wondering how one cuts and pastes parts of articles without reading them?  Seems like kind of a crapshoot, doesn't it - "Oh, yeah - this looks like it might have some good stuff in it - let me close my eyes and pick some stuff to quote - sure hope it makes sense!"

    But speaking of not reading, I think you may have a problem with comprehension.  She never suggested that it was Kimenyi who was complaining about the money spent on the trip - are you really this dense or do you have to work at it?


    Oops - here's the link (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:48:43 PM EST
    Can't read article w/o subscription (none / 0) (#61)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:50:24 PM EST
    Really? I don't have a subscription (none / 0) (#64)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:53:26 PM EST
    It's a piece called "Guilt Trip" in Foreign Policy Magazine...



    For Login (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:22:18 PM EST
    How do you define anchor? (none / 0) (#69)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:41:40 PM EST
    He visited South Africa which has the largest GDP of any African country.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:09:47 PM EST
    Nigeria is about to become Africa's largest economy and by 2020 will be one of the world's 20 largest economies(although Nigeria and South Africa have two of the least sustainable economies in the world).

    Ethiopa is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and is Africa's second most populus country.

    Kenya is considered the hub of financial, communication and transportation services for Central Africa.


    In a nutshell (3.00 / 2) (#79)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:49:56 PM EST
    You were spouting crap about anchors as he did visit the largest GDP nation on the continent. You can acknowledge it. It won't kill you.

    Actually (none / 0) (#89)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:14:55 PM EST
    I was thinking the same about your comment.

    Funny how that works.


    Has anybody here who's commenting ... (none / 0) (#127)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:39:16 PM EST
    ... on South Africa actually ever BEEN to South Africa? It's the wealthiest country on the African continent (per capita and otherwise), it has Africa's fastest growing middle class and the South African economy is much more diversified than Nigeria's.

    I was surprised how economically advanced South Africa was when we spent a month there a few years ago. Nice cities and towns, modern airports and highways, etc. Even the huge black township of Soweto just outside Johannesburg has made huge strides over the last 20 years. Yes, the country certainly has its wretchedly poor areas (trust me, we couldn't miss them), but then, so does the U.S. and Europe.

    It was when we went north to visit Zimbabwe -- well, that experience was roughly the equivalent of crossing the border from El Paso to Juarez. It was literally day and night. Like us, South Africa has a festering immigration problem, mostly migrants from neighboring Zimbabwe and Mozambique, whose economies have all but collapsed, who've traveled south looking for work.

    In Zimbabwe, the local merchants refused to accept their own country's currency (the official exchange rate in Nov. 2010 was about $2M Z to $1 US), making it plain that their preference was the U.S. dollar and South African rand. And the capital city of Harare had the most panhandlers per city block I've ever seen anywhere in the world.

    The main wild card throughout Africa is domestic politics, as it's been since the end of the colonial era. The continent is only now emerging from a long period of Western-imposed dictators and strongmen, mostly residue from its colonial days, and democratic institutions are fragile at best. We'll see South Africa's put to the test with the passing of Nelson Mandela.



    no I believe (none / 0) (#108)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:53:44 PM EST
    that when two things are pointless, I prefer cheap and pointless. That's a pretty expensive photo-op.  Considering that the economy has only really improved for the rich.......

    It needs explaining? (none / 0) (#21)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:05:59 AM EST
    How about this: Do YOU know the purpose of Obama's Africa trip? Do tell.

    It IS Obvious (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:10:39 AM EST
    But your question is even more obvious.

    So, you can't explain it either? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:13:28 AM EST
    TO You (1.00 / 3) (#26)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:20:47 AM EST
    Were your question honest, I would be happy to discuss.

    Cover for the spies... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:32:43 AM EST
    in the presidential entourage silly;)

    According to the State Department, (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:20:50 AM EST
    Statement by the Press Secretary on the President's Travel to Africa

    President Obama and the First Lady look forward to traveling to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 - July 3.  The President will reinforce the importance that the United States places on our deep and growing ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including through expanding economic growth, investment, and trade; strengthening democratic institutions; and investing in the next generation of African leaders.

    The President will meet with a wide array of leaders from government, business, and civil society, including youth, to discuss our strategic partnerships on bilateral and global issues.  The trip will underscore the President's commitment to broadening and deepening cooperation between the United States and the people of sub-Saharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity.

    For whatever you think it's worth...

    And here, you can see his itinerary and read transcripts of his remarks.


    Thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:39:30 AM EST
    Nice to know someone can answer a simple question with actual information. Since I've been busy setting up my new business, and attending to pressing family matters, I haven't had the time to keep up with every single thing being reported in the news. And, honestly, what has been reported about this trip has mostly focused on Mandela, and Obama visiting Robben Island.  

    Your link led me to also read an interview with NPR's Gregory Warner, where he says the following:

    "Well, the Chinese president and his predecessor visited 30 African countries. After next week, the U.S. president will have visited four. In terms of money, in terms of political visits, in terms of direct investment, the U.S. is lagging behind, just as Secretary Kerry said when he was recently here. But what are the Chinese doing in Africa? They're paving roads, they're refurbishing ports, they're building factories. One sector that President Obama will definitely be focused on is power, is providing electricity. So, the president is going to announce a power initiative. We don't have the exact terms of that yet. But basically, it will be an initiative to incentivize some of those American investors who are coming with him to build the turbine, to turn African gas into electricity to sell back to Africans, which the administration will argue it has two purposes, not only to provide jobs for Americans but also to get a foothold for American businesses in Africa."

    1. Provide jobs for Americans.
    2. Get a foothold for American businesses in Africa.

    Now it becomes clear.

    I'm (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:11:56 PM EST
    sure that it is all about jobs and American businesses in Africa.

    But it is also evidently a very convenient time for him to be out of the country.


    Convenient Time? (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    Do you really think that this trip was spontaneous, and related to the NSA spying disclosures?

    If so wouldn't it be easier on Obama to stay in the US so as not to have to face the international outrage over the US government's world wide data mining operations?


    Keeping up with the Chinese (none / 0) (#130)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:51:31 PM EST
    was going to be my answer. I was reading an article someplace about the huge Chinese presence and investments in Africa. It may already be too late to counter their influence (leaving aside the question about whether it matters).

    Per NPR today, Chinese investment (none / 0) (#132)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:24:38 PM EST
    in Africa is either by China's government of backed by it. Point two:  it is soon hard for U.S. I business persons there because we don't have jolly ex pats like the Brits. Finally, China is interested in and acquiring minerals in Africa.

    but...but...our POTUS is a (none / 0) (#134)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:29:38 PM EST
    Kenyan Socialist...doesn't that count for anything anymore?

    China has also acquired (none / 0) (#158)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:56:42 PM EST
    much by way of oil rights.

    check out this article: (none / 0) (#141)
    by DFLer on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:08:18 PM EST
    China's Economic Empire NYT June 1, 2013

    Lots of info. I can't seem to find the NYT link, (I originally printed it to pdf) but here it is reprinted in another publication,

    (mo betta in NYT)


    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 54 (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:51:00 AM EST
    Almost Hitchcockian! (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:26:51 AM EST
    A little Barton Finkian.. (none / 0) (#86)
    by jondee on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:13:01 PM EST
    as his co-workers say: "my olafactory's turning womanish on me: lyin' and deceitful.."

    LA Times this morning: (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:58:58 AM EST
    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.
    The official didn't disclose the countries that were on the list. The meeting took place at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport...

    And Putin said (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:11:20 PM EST
    Snowden must stop leaking secrets if he is to be granted asylum.

    "If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that," Putin said. "If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips."

    Putin added that Snowden doesn't want to stop his efforts to reveal information about the U.S. surveillance program.

    "Just because he feels that he is a human rights defender, rights activist, he doesn't seem to have an intention to stop such work," Putin said.

    hmmm... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by sj on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:34:27 PM EST
    ... all that surveilling must have picked up some good stuff on him. It sounds like the US screws are turning quickly and effectively.

    Any damage done... (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:38:26 PM EST
    America gone done to itself.

    If you do something in secret that will be damaging if discovered, maybe you shouldn't do it in the first place?  I don't know, whaddya think?


    Looks like he won't (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:52:02 PM EST
    be accepting asylum from Russia then. Except that they're already giving him "asylum" in their airport.

    Putin just gave the finger to Obama again with that statement, I think...


    Or he can accept asylum from Russia (none / 0) (#65)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:03:07 PM EST
    and at the same time easily comply with Putin's "request".

    All of the data Snowden copied from the NSA Wikileaks now has.

    "There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage", - the founder of Wikileaks said in an interview to ABC Channel reporters at the Ecuador Embassy in London where Assange is granted asylum in order not to be extradited to Sweden for sexual crime.

    "Great care has been taken to make sure Mr Snowden cannot be pressured by any state to stop the publishing process", - Julian Assange stated.

    He's not technically in Russia (none / 0) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:22:53 PM EST
    which is why he's stuck right where he is for now

    You might be missing part of the story (none / 0) (#84)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:10:31 PM EST
     It seems. Edger, that Snowden has little option at this point.  After Ecuador turned away from him, Putin is making nice-nice statements about his good relations with the US that he doesn't want to threaten by having a leaker in his midst.

    One never knows with Putin:  On the one hand, he has homegrown protesters becoming more outspoken via Pussy Riot & others and, on the other hand, maybe there is now some understanding with regard to Russia's approach to Chechnya or something like that.  Diplomatic relations sometimes have a way of normalizing ... as in Ecuador and the continuing of trade preferences and as in whatever-may-be-being-worked-out with Russia.  At least, that is my understanding of international relations per R. Morgenthau or per everything I've ever gleaned from western history books.


    Assange writing Snowden rants? (none / 0) (#137)
    by Politalkix on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:41:54 PM EST


    Greenwald is saying that the Snowden's leak is basically done


    What is going on? Has Putin asked Greenwald to zip it?


    I don't think Greenwald is saying what (none / 0) (#142)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:08:27 PM EST
    you think he's saying...

    This is what Greenwald tweeted:

    NOTE: Snowden's leak is basically done. It's newspapers - not Snowden - deciding what gets disclosed and in what sequence.

    This is what HuffPo said:

    But Greenwald tweeted on Monday that essentially everything that could be leaked from Snowden to the media has been leaked

    In other words, it isn't that there isn't any more information to be disclosed, it's that Snowden has given the media what he has, and now it's up to the newspapers to decide how much and which of it to publish and in what order.


    Greenwald expanded his previous tweet (none / 0) (#196)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:48:30 AM EST
    to ensure that his original tweet was not misconstrued.

    I didn't say Snowden couldn't leak more documents if he wanted to. Obviously, he can do so if he's inclined. That's obvious.

    What I said is that he's not doling out documents to us in drips & drabs. He gave us all the documents he provided to us weeks ago. That process is done. And we - not he - are the one deciding which of those gets published and which don't, and in what order. That's what this meant: "Snowden's leak is basically done. It's newspapers - not Snowden - deciding what gets disclosed and in what sequence."

    Between the lines (none / 0) (#159)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:01:08 PM EST
    What I got from Putin's full statement is that he is afraid if Snowden were to be given asylum in Russia, the Russian government would be worried he would blow the whistle on them as well....

    Hell hath no fury.... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:24:33 PM EST
    Is Nanny Bloomberg feeling ok? (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:53:25 PM EST
    No helmets required for the new bikeshare program?  

    Wait...I understand now, he doesn't wanna f8ck with the new revenue stream.  The only thing he cares about more than our health is dollars dollars dollars...makes perfect sense.

    Mayor not along in looking for new revenue stream (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:11:52 PM EST
    Also, entrepreneurial newsstands have already started selling helmets along with papers, cigarettes and gum, and some hotels are offering headgear for guests to borrow.

    Should read (none / 0) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:13:04 PM EST
    Mayor not alone in looking for new revenue stream

    That's cool... (none / 0) (#95)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:39:11 PM EST
    that's optional...bullsh*t fines are basically extortion.  The tourists at least should get warnings instead of tickets...we got so many traffic rules tourists have no way of knowing, it almost feels like entrapment for the city to rent them bikes then wallop 'em with fines.  No way to treat guests, ya know?

    Not arguing with you regarding (none / 0) (#103)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:30:03 PM EST
    NY imposed bike fines. Just though it was interesting how the newsstands created another revenue stream and how some NY hotels had implemented another customer service in response.  (Of course, considering the price of a hotel room in NYC, maybe they should supply the bike as well ;o))

    We never argue MO... (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:07:51 AM EST
    we discuss, we're civilized people.

    Sh*t for what they want for a hotel room in NYC, they should provide a two-seater and somebody to pedal;)


    The only variable (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by jtaylorr on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:45:51 PM EST
    that has been found to correlate with bike safety is the total number of bikers on the road. As the number of bikers on the road increases, car drivers become more alert & deferential and bike riders are limited to moderate speeds. While wearing a helmet is certainly smart and without a doubt decreases an individual's chance of being seriously injured or dying if/when one gets in an accident, no link has been found between cities with mandatory helmet laws and the number of accidents involving bicyclist or even the number of serious injuries or fatalities involving bicyclists. In fact, it could be argued that the only real effect mandatory helmet laws have is to decrease the amount of cycling (inconvenience of having to always carry around a helmet turns off those on the margins), thereby actually making biking in that particular city less safe.

    I saw those bikes on my (none / 0) (#81)
    by Slado on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:53:10 PM EST
    recent trip to NYC.

    Looked like a great way to get killed.

    Maybe someone should remind Nanny B that there is a great Subway system in NYC.


    The Bikes (none / 0) (#83)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:59:16 PM EST
    As ugly as they are, they are extremely popular..  people use them for short rides.. I think that the tourists love them. People use the subway for longer rides to get somewhere, while the bikes seem to be mostly for riding around, sightseeing, exercise and entertainment.  

    Manhattan bike riding... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:33:39 PM EST
    is not for the faint of heart or those that are adverse to a little danger...no doubt.

    For the record I got no problem with the bikes nor with riding without a helmet...I just find it surprising that Nanny Bloomberg isn't mandating helmets when he is supposedly so concerned with out health and safety (lol).

    The only problem I got with the bike share is it is sponsored by one of the crime families...Citibank.  We're one step closer to a name change to New York Citi....makes me wanna vomit.


    Yes I Agree (none / 0) (#94)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    The bank angle is bad a real turn off for me.  Doesn't seem to bother many others though. They are getting a lot of use.

    How lame was it... (none / 0) (#96)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:45:44 PM EST
    that rich Manhattan elitists, supposedly all green and sh*t, didn't want the bike racks in front of their buildings.  Classic nimbyism.

    The Hasidic community in Brooklyn none too pleased either, they don't even want bike lanes, much less bike rentals.  Unmodest women and all that nonsense.

    Have you ridden one yet?  They look heavy as a motherf8cker.


    Have Not Tried Them (none / 0) (#99)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:02:30 PM EST
    But they are parked across the street from me and to be honest, I do not like them despite the fact that I live in a rich neighborhood. They took the parking sign down so the whole block is no parking, while only 1/3 of the block is for the bikes. I don't have a car these days, but am sensitive to the parking rules and signs here as it has been a long battle in the neighborhood and the authorities.  

    Maybe that will change, but my main gripe is that they are ugly, and are represented by banksters trying to put on a good face, and charging for it.

    I will try one, someday.. maybe..  

    The plus is that alot of people seem to be enjoying them, as the racks empty out and refill on a daily basis..  that can't be so bad. Puts people in good spirits to be able to use them so easily, and get some exercise, I think.  


    Grandmother tries to ward off possible intruder (none / 0) (#90)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:23:33 PM EST
    A West Virginia grandmother fired shots to scare off what she thought might be someone on her property. One of the bullets went through the wall of the house next door and killed her sleeping grandson.

    Oh, that just made my stomach lurch... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:27:49 PM EST
    I was babysitting my almost-7 month old grandson last night, and cannot even fathom how I would live with myself if I had done something that ended that way.



    One more lurch (none / 0) (#146)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:26:42 PM EST
    In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, a grandfather cleaning his gun left it on the table yesterday. A four year old picked it up and shot his 6 year old sister in the face. She was just taken off life support and died last night.

    No Charges Filed So Far (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:13:39 PM EST

    Sorry, but accidentally killing someone from a purposeful act, like driving drunk, or shooting a gun, is a crime in my book.

    All for what, because someone may have been trying to tamper with her car...  

    But she's not sure.

    I hope to god I don't live near one of these paranoid lunatics who shoot first and ask questions later.


    I'm always torn ... (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Yman on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:45:05 PM EST
    ... in these types of cases.  Anyone with half-a-conscience will punish themselves far more than any jail sentence, simply by living with that crushing guilt.  OTOH, I think there are some people who will rationalize/justify it as simply a mistake, and I think a message needs to be sent that you can't just start shooting recklessly simply because you think someone might be there or might be tampering with your car.

    But if They Weren't Related... (none / 0) (#211)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:32:37 AM EST
    ...charges would be filed. She does jail time, maybe not much, but when someone ends up dead, the state has punish them.  We can't have people firing guns whenever they here a noise in an area where others live.

    Stray bullets kill a lot of people.  We all have the right to feel secure in our homes and not get killed by an idiot with a gun, even if by mistake.

    It's why assault rifles in the city, even for home defense, are a really bad idea.  They tend to go through walls fairly easily.  Shotguns are much better choice IMO, walls generally take the lethality out of the shot.


    Can we talk about 'Dexter'? (none / 0) (#135)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:33:51 PM EST
    Great final season opener last night. The Charlotte Rampling character is a fabulous addition.  I think a little family therapy is in order.

    And Deb, oh Deb, pull it together please. Yer killing me.

    Snowden (none / 0) (#157)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:53:55 PM EST
    has asked 21 different countries for asylum:


    So is Kerry now (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:05:57 PM EST
    going to call all of these countries and try to prevent their offers of asylum before Snowden gets a chance?

    Off the top of my head (none / 0) (#163)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:09:37 PM EST
    I'd say 18 of those are wasted stamps (or faxes or emails).

    Rafael Correa-"Mr Snowden spied" (none / 0) (#164)
    by Politalkix on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:15:59 PM EST

    "Asked if he thought the former NSA contractor would ever make it to Quito, he replied: "Mr Snowden's situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian authorities."

    On whether Correa would like to meet him, the president said: "Not particularly. He's a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr Snowden spied for some time."


    CG: Curious (none / 0) (#175)
    by christinep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:45:19 PM EST
    Which 3 would be potentially not-wasted postage: Bolivia, Venezuela, & Nicaragua?

    Ha (none / 0) (#177)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:49:27 PM EST
    Well played Christine.

    according (none / 0) (#186)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:17:43 AM EST
    to extra-reliable sources I'm sure.

    And (2.00 / 1) (#193)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:42:25 AM EST
    your early morning whiny sarcasm is noted as well as expected.

    Your (5.00 / 2) (#197)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:55:56 AM EST
    usual ad hominem reply is duly noted.

    I guess it depends (none / 0) (#191)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:39:36 AM EST
    on what you consider a reliable source. This comes directly from wikileaks from someone described as a wikileaks lieutenant that is with Snowden in the airport, and also from a spokesperson for the Russian Government.

    It is being reported this morning that Snowden has already withdrawn the request for asylum in Russia. That source is also the Russian spokesperson through the NY Times and the Washington Post.

    That leaves 20 outstanding.


    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:03:24 AM EST
    someone described as a wikileaks lieutenant by an unnamed unsourced Russian spokesperson by someone unnamed is not my idea of reliable..

    Incidentally, the NYTimes is reporting that the President of Venezuela says that he has received no such request from Snowden.

    But the NYTimes has not proven itself to be particularly reliable either....

    Briefly, I think that the information we are being given about what Snowden's plans may or may not be are being dispensed in a manner more to influence our opinion about him - than a real attempt to give us accurate information about his plans.


    Should I patiently wait (none / 0) (#213)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:42:41 AM EST
    for you, obviously the best source available to provide us with information?

    btw, they aren't anonymous sources. If you are that interested you can find the names at NBC, CBS, USA Today, Washington Post, the NY Times, as well as a dozen international sites.

    But until then...
    It's now being reported Snowden has been turned down either officially or due to the illegality of the request by:


    With him withdrawing Russia, that leaves 9

    If Snowden is still in Moscow when the Venezuelan President leaves Moscow late today, the likely chance of one of his best possibilities deteriorates a little. My guess is he'll still be a hotel guest in the Moscow airport tomorrow.


    Today marked the 150th anniversary ... (none / 0) (#180)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:06:16 AM EST
    ... of the start of the U.S. Civil War's penultimate battle, which arguably proved the conflict's turning point -- Gettysburg.

    Having taken the town in the first day's fighting, over the following two days the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia would continuously attack without result the line of hills south of Gettysburg held by the Union Army of the Potomac, all of which culminated in Gen. Robert E. Lee's rashest decision -- and biggest blunder -- of the entire war.

    In an effort to break the bloody stalemate, and as commanding Union Gen. George Meade had correctly surmised during a council of war with his corps commanders the previous evening, Lee would order all his available reserves -- some 15,000 men in total -- to assault the reinforced federal center at the presciently named Cemetery Ridge, a vainglorious but doomed undertaking that's known today simply as "Pickett's Charge."

    Because Meade had greatly reinforced his center in anticipation of Lee's move, the rebel attack was literally blown straight to hell, which left Lee's forces in a severely depleted state, with over one-third of the 76,000-strong Confederate army listed as casualties. Nevertheless, Lee would keep his troops in place on July 4, attempting to lure Meade into replicating his own grievous error, but Meade refused to rise to the bait.

    In fairness to Meade, his own command was nearly as badly mauled by the three-day battle, but he had managed to hold his lines under considerable duress, which compelled the Confederates to retreat back to Virginia the following day, and left Meade and the Union Army of the Potomac in sole possession of the field.


    Some experts believe (none / 0) (#182)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:50:08 AM EST
    That had Meade pursued Lee in his retreat to Virginia, he probably could have destroyed Lee and ended the war, especially because due to torrential rains on July 4th, fording the Potomac River was made nearly impossible. The only way the Confederates could have gotten across was via a small ferry - in essence, had Meade pursued Lee (leading a retreat line that was 17 miles long, and filled with many injured soldiers), he could have backed the Confederates up to the water's edge to fight, with no place to go.    

    Togetherness. (none / 0) (#185)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:16:10 AM EST
    Former President Bill Clinton, along with John McCain, both urged US intervention in Syria.

    Bill said that if Obama listened to what 80% of the American people want - which is to NOT intervene, he would wind up looking like a "total fool" if things went badly. He said that Americans like to have their presidents "win". (Whatever "winning" would entail was, as usual, left undefined.)

    Let's assume that intervention by the US would be a good thing - which after experiencing our track record in these things I do not - there must be a way to convince us that it is a good thing. I mean by reasoned discussion - not the usual scare tactics and misrepresentations so endemic since 2001.

    The contempt that Bill shows for the war-weary people of this country along with his fellowship with John (100-years-of-war-is-okey-dokey) McCain is infuriating imo.

    Is there no one left in politics that is willing to respect the people of this country?

    PRISM - in response to MO Blue (none / 0) (#218)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:01:19 AM EST
    I did not say Udall had "strong support" for the other section of PRISM - just that he, himself, in mid-June of this year, differentiated between the two and said it had been "highly effective".