Wednesday Open Thread

Here's an open thread for all matters except Zimmerman, for which there are plenty of other threads.

For those of you not following Zimmerman, it should be over by Friday.

Since our forums are crashing a few times a day due to server load, I'll put up a separate Zimmerman open thread.

< Zimmerman Trial Open Thread | Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Goes to Court >
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    Wednesday Morning Snowden Update (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:43:58 AM EST

    That's why I hate spies (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:36:07 AM EST
    It's all grey until they get caught, then it's all or nothing :)

    We could talk about (none / 0) (#28)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:45:37 AM EST
    the newest reports today saying Venezuela is the most likely choice, but since we talked about that days ago it would feel a little redundant.

    Still trying to figure out another potential darkhorse in case Venezuela turns into nothing but a bait and switch but only Iceland still comes to mind.


    What do you know about Cuba? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:50:12 AM EST
    I heard via spouse Cuba offered.

    Raul Castro (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:00:34 AM EST
    said he supports Snowden. He didn't offer asylum. He didn't say he could land there.

    My translation. Thumb your nose in public at the US while quietly sitting down and working with the US on such things as mail and migration.

    Public puffery, private negotiations.

    Also keep in mind that Cuba recently extradited two people back to the US this past April even though we have no extradition treaty with them.


    Quinnipiac Poll results released July 10, 2103 (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:48:59 AM EST
    The question was:

    45. Do you regard Edward Snowden, the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program, as more of a traitor, or more of a whistle-blower?

    The answers were:

    American voters say 55 - 34 percent that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, rather than a traitor, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

    In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45 - 40 percent the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 10, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University when voters said 63 - 25 percent that such activities didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country.

    Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower.

    There is a gender gap on counter-terrorism efforts as men say 54 - 34 percent they have gone too far and women say 47 - 36 percent they have not gone far enough. There is little difference among Democrats and Republicans who are about evenly divided. Independent voters say 49 - 36 percent that counter-terrorism measures have gone too far.

    The question, with it's results table

    Top of poll results page

    A Little Surprising (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:41:55 AM EST
    The group with the lowest belief that Snowden is a traitor is the 18-29 age category, at 23%.  The second lowest at 29%, is people 30-44.

    That is Obama's, and the D's, bread and butter demographic.

    As mentioned, black people had the highest belief that he was a traitor at 43%, but in 2nd were people making over 100k at 42% believing Snowden is a traitor.

    Strange numbers.


    As practically everyone who's anyone knows, they're the only people who really count. It's all but established fact that the further away we reside from the I-270 / I-495 loop, the less we can generally be trusted to know what's truly good for us.

    Ergo, if the Beltway's saying that Edward Snowden is a traitor, why, then it must be true. It just is what it is. How could it possibly be otherwise?



    Not sure why people (none / 0) (#44)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:49:49 AM EST
    think that's relevant or even mildly interesting.  

    As mentioned, black people had the highest belief that he was a traitor at 43%
    Some insinuation involving sycophants?  To me, the more important question is this, that is largely unchanged from all prior polls:

    43. Do you think this program is necessary to keep Americans safe or not?

    In every single category, everyone thinks it's necessary.  Clear majorities in fact but for independents.


    You Know... (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:37:37 PM EST
    ...that question is ridiculous.  It's the same reasoning people used to justify torture and rendition.

    The only question that needs answering, is it illegal.

    No one has been able to explain to me how tracking my internet usage, my whereabouts, who I call and what I say, is helping the government make my country safer.  

    Can you ?


    the nature of his "treason." (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:24:41 AM EST
    Certainly Edward Snowden's crime is one of public relations. In this day and age, power ain't just jackboots, tanks and missiles. What he did by outing the NSA and its gargantuan surveillance operation was mess hugely with the American image -- the American brand -- with its irresistible combination of might and right.

    That's the nature of his "treason." The secret he gave away was pretty much the same one the little boy blurted out in Hans Christian Andersen's tale: "The emperor has no clothes!" That is, the government's security industry isn't devoted, with benevolent righteousness, to protecting the American public. Instead, it's obsessively irrational, bent on accumulating data on every phone call we make. It's a berserk spy machine, seemingly to no sane end. How awkward.

    For instance, the government of Hong Kong, in refusing to extradite Snowden as per the Obama administration's request, explained in its refusal letter that it has "formally written to the U.S. Government requesting clarification on reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by U.S. government agencies. It will follow up on the matter, to protect the legal rights of people of Hong Kong."

    In other words, sorry, Naked Empire. We're not going to do what you ask, and by the way, we have some issues with your behavior we'd like to discuss.

    This is not the sort of insolence the world's only superpower wants to hear, and it's Snowden's fault, along with other whistleblowers who preceded him, some of whom, such as Bradley Manning, are enduring harsh consequences for their truth-telling.

    Traitors, all of them -- at least as far as the government is concerned, because, when you strip away the public relations mask, the primary interest of government is the perpetuation of power. And anyone who interferes with that perpetuation, even, or especially, in the name of principle, is a "security risk."

    -- The Naked Empire

    Oh Yeah (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    "The emperor has no clothes!" That is, the government's security industry isn't devoted, with benevolent righteousness, to protecting the American public. Instead, it's obsessively irrational, bent on accumulating data on every phone call we make. It's a berserk spy machine, seemingly to no sane end. How awkward.

    Who could disagree with that?


    Some people actually like it. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:35:28 AM EST
    Crazy people! (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:46:43 AM EST
    As I was typing this message out to you my laptop without notice or warning it shutdown and it said windows was updating and then reconfiguring.  I had no update notice though and my computer never asked me if I was prepared for an update. I got the Trojan blocked warning from my antivirus this morning too before this happened, when I signed onto Talkleft.

    I will never again dismiss such things casually after Snowdens revelations :)


    MT, if you had an Apple computer (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by fishcamp on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:24:53 PM EST
    that wouldn't happen.

    Windows programs have long been ... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:54:43 PM EST
    ... self-updating, so I don't think there's anything nefarious afoot here for you to be worried about.

    Once the update is complete, if it's significant enough that the unit needs to be rebooted for the updates to take effect, my Windows 7 program will give me a 15-min. advance warning that it will shut down and restart, which gives me time to finish what I'm working on and exit the program, so I don't lose my work.

    (Now, with other PCs that had older operating platforms such as Windows XP, that 15-min. heads-up was not provided, and it would just shut down and restart. It was annoying, to say the least, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who complained to Microsoft, which is probably why they changed it to provide the warning.)

    Windows 7 further give me the option of having the shutdown take place immediately, if I'm not working on anything and am just futzing around. Or, I can postpone the shutdown and restart by one or two hours if I'm working on something that I have to finish, and the 15 minute window isn't going to cut it.

    I don't know why you're getting a Trojan antivirus warning when you sign onto TalkLeft. My antivirus software is Trend Micro Premium, and it has sometimes warned me when I come to TL that it's blocked an attempt by spyware to access personal information such as phone numbers, credit cards, etc.

    But that said, I've never had any warnings about Trojans associated with this site. Were it actually constituting a real threat, Trend Micro blocks the site completely, with a warning that the site has been associated with malware or fraud, and that you open it at your peril.



    Dudes, you can make all sorts (none / 0) (#122)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:12:35 PM EST
    Of excuses but you can't promise me it isn't the NSA :)

    Until they clean up the lawlessness I have nothing left to assume but the worst :)


    Ha! His numbers improve as people (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:37:41 AM EST
    Begin understanding more and better what the heck he's telling us.  By the time he and Greenwald are done, well who knows?

    The Romans knew... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:42:42 AM EST

    I told your Obama joke to one of Josh's PT (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:05:23 AM EST
    Therapists yesterday.  He has two PTs now, and the new guy is exactly as crazy winger as the old guy.  I thought your joke was terribly funny and maybe some common ground that I had with them but we haven't talked about the spying thing at all.  I think they have never brought it up because on some level they agree with it, because twice a week I generally get their how Obama sucks list and that has not been on the list.

    So I tell the joke, immediately Josh busts out laughing but his therapist froze and stared at me blinking.  Because they perceive they have no common ground with any Liberal he thought I was saying that all Conservative males aren't really the fathers of their children, they just think they are.

    How is that anyone's first thought about that joke?  Hmmmmm, don't answer that.


    Maybe you touched a nerve (none / 0) (#39)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:19:22 AM EST
    and he isn't sure if he's the father of one of his children.

    Women always know. Men never do.


    Maybe it's a joke I can tell (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:26:14 AM EST
    Only around women?

    I wonder if Josh's PT tells stories about (none / 0) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:57:57 AM EST
    one of his patient's crazy winger mom...

    You know they do (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:07:59 PM EST
    They are laying for me every week.  They rehearse their arguments because I'm the only Liberal around here willing to say in public I'm a Liberal and discuss my beliefs vs. theirs.  I don't cling to my childhood church shame worth a damn :)  It's a game of beatdown.

    Other kid (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:34:19 PM EST
    says: "Mom says you're spying on us online"

    obama replies: "I know"


    Pretty terrible poll (none / 0) (#8)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:43:10 AM EST
    for two reasons. He isn't charged with being a traitor and he doesn't qualify for whistleblower status. So the right answer is that he is neither.

    Whether someone qualifies under (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:57:16 AM EST
    a law that specifically exempted certain persons from being able to claim whistleblower protection doesn't change the conventional meaning of the word, so the fact that he doesn't qualify for protection doesn't mean that what he did can't be seen as blowing the whistle on the government's actions.

    He also doesn't need to be charged with being a traitor in order to find out if people regard what he did as being traitorous.  I kind of doubt that those who said they do not regard him as a traitor answered as they did because he hasn't been charged with that - I'd guess they based their opinion on their assessment of his actions in general.


    Which perhaps is why the poll, as reported, (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:59:28 AM EST
    did not ask whether Snowden was one or the other.  The question, as quoted, was whether he was "more of" (that is, in context, more like) a "traitor" or "more of" a "whistle-blower."  I think it was a good question.

    To me it's a little like asking (none / 0) (#12)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:05:41 AM EST
    Is Nelson Mandela more Latin or Asian?

    If you'd add "discuss" to that comment, (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:11:08 AM EST
    you could be Linda Richman for a Day...

    No, it's not. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:19:03 AM EST
    There has been no speculation about Mandela being either Latin (as in Latin American?) or Asian.

    If there had been, if, for example, some idiot politicians were bellowing about Mandela being "soft" on Bolivians or Koreans because of an ancestral connection, ultimately there might be a poll to determine how public opinion had been influenced by those remarks.


    Actually, it more like like asking (4.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:01:13 PM EST
    whether Nelson Mandela will be remembered more as a freedom fighter or more as a former terrorist.

    Well, as Ronald Reagan once did quip, ... (none / 0) (#161)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:32:15 PM EST
    ... "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

    But seriously, within South Africa itself, Mr. Mandela is being remembered today by the decided majority of its citizens -- and not just the blacks -- as a world-class statesman of the highest order. White nationalism in the Cape has been relegated to fringe. Most Afrikaners (aka South Africans of Dutch descent, or "Boers") today realize that Apartheid as a socio-political policy was both unsustainable and ultimately suicidal to them as a distinct ethnic group within the fabric of South African life, and that "Madiba" in all likelihood saved them from themselves.

    As for what the babbling white-wingers on AM squawk radio in this country may think of Nelson Mandela, in all honestly, who cares? For the most part, these are people who are still trying to rekindle and re-litigate the U.S. Civil War. Their not-so-thinly veiled disdain of all things African in general can pretty much be taken as a given.



    And you (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:10:40 AM EST
    figure that "he doesn't qualify for whistleblower status" how?

    How is "whistleblower status" determined? What are the qualifications and who does the judging?

    As, as far as the "traitor" designation...
    He isn't officially being "charged" with treason - so far at least. That's true.
    But some windbags in the Senate have done so. The word is certainly being bandied about.

    And then there are the nutty actions by our government in diverting and detaining Morales' plane for 13 hours. Why are they that frantic about netting Snowden? They have put out there that he had hurt our national security. He has, they say, caused great harm to the country. Despite that obviously being a crock, talking about people as people who have damaged national security is, semantically, in the same ballpark as "traitor".

    So, people have every reason to be leaning toward their conception of Snowden. Either he is portrayed someone who provided information to a Journalist about the machinations of the NSA, or he is portrayed as someone engaged in espionage and providing that information to our "enemies".

    I, for one, am glad that a majority of the respondents do not perceive him as a traitor.

    I perceive him as he has presented himself in his interview.
    He said that he could read anybody's email including the President's. And that would be true for about another half million workers actively bugging everybody and mining information.

    I am glad to have been informed about what our government is doing and the extent to which the loathsome activities initiated by Bush and Cheney are still with us - sheltered and nurtured by the Obama administration.


    The Intelligence Community Whistle- (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:26:13 AM EST
    blower Protection Act is what governs Snowden:

    For starters, the general whistle-blower laws apply to government employees who expose wrongdoing, by protecting them from such retaliatory actions as firing, demotion, salary cuts, or blocked promotions. But those laws do not apply to employees or contractors who work for the intelligence agencies.

    Instead, a separate law, the Intelligence Community Whistle-blower Protection Act, applies to people who held positions such as the one Snowden did as a contractor for the National Security Agency. Legal experts say, however, that it provides no protection to him for two reasons.

    First, they say, he did not expose the kinds of actions covered by whistle-blower protections -- illegal conduct, fraud, waste or abuse. Some people have argued that the programs revealed by Snowden are illegal or unconstitutional. For now, they are presumptively legal, given the assent of members of Congress and the special court known as FISA that oversees intelligence operations.

    But suppose Snowden's supporters are right, and what he exposed was illegal conduct after all.

    Then he would face a second problem: The Federal Whistle-blower Protection Act protects the public disclosure of "a violation of any law, rule, or regulation" only "if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law." In other words, Snowden could claim whistle-blower protection only if he took his concerns to the NSA's inspector general or to a member of one of the congressional intelligence committees with the proper security clearances.



    Well done Anne (none / 0) (#26)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:40:15 AM EST
    and all that wraps up well in the final part:

    Asked what chances Snowden would have to qualify for whistle-blower protection, Steve Vladeck, a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington -- an expert on the issue -- said:


    On an equal note, we could "bandie about" the possibility of him being found guilty of treason in this case but there is little to say about the possibility other than...



    Good thing the poll didn't ask ... (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:54:24 AM EST
    ... about whether Snowden "qualified for whistleblower status", but rather:

    "Do you regard Edward Snowden, the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program, as more of a traitor, or more of a whistle-blower?"


    The only thing we have here is (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:14:22 AM EST
    an answer to lentinel, who wanted to know how it was that Snowden likely wouldn't qualify under the law for protection.

    It really has nothing to do with how Snowden is perceived, which was my take on what the poll was trying to discern: how do people perceive Snowden?  The choices they were given seem to represent the two ends of the spectrum - and even if there had only been one question - do you think Edward Snowden is a traitor? - how people answered would have nothing to do with whether he'd been charged with treason.

    If there was a poll asking if people think Aaron Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd, should the answer be "no" because he's innocent until proven guilty, or should it be "yes," because he's been charged with murder?

    I think you're getting into how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin territory, when all the poll seeks is to find out which way the wind is blowing.


    Come On... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:20:49 AM EST
    ...you splitting hairs like Bush did over water boarding.  According to Bush, their actions were not illegal, but in reality we all know they were and just because they find some lawyer to declare what they did legal doesn't make it so.  It was torture.

    But even if you remove that aspect, how would you ask the question, something like "Did he commit a crime or reveal information the public has the right to know ?"

    Seems like the answers would be the same, if not more favorable to Snowden.

    Like Bush and the torture mess, the people defining the legality of their acts, are the people committing the acts, under a screen of secrecy.  Just because Obama says it's perfect legal doesn't make it so.  If what they did was illegal, Snowden is a whistle-blower for all intents and purposes.  Maybe not legally, but in reality anyone that uncovers illegal activity in our government at the highest levels, whistle-blower.


    The (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:06:38 PM EST
    poll, to repeat, is dealing with public perception.

    If you google, "Snowden charged with treason", or "Snowden charged with espionage", you will find many hits.

    I'm glad that the public does not seem to be buying it.

    Briefly, my point of view is that Snowden blew the whistle on the secret activities of the NSA.
    And, if I was forced to qualify his actions, I would be inclined to call it patriotic;


    Interesting question, indeed (none / 0) (#120)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:26:36 PM EST
    When I saw the poll, I asked myself "How would you answer, Chris?" since you do not believe he qualifies for the status of Whistleblower (as the legal definition now stands) and since you believe the "traitor" charge would be way over the top.  First, I would say...it is theft of government property and/or theft & distribution of officially classified information.  While that is a significant felony, if proven, it does not approach anywhere near a capital crime.  So...if I only had the two choices given, my reaction would be the same as in the majority of the poll.

    I agree with CG strongly as to this poll--& see comment in the NYT 538 column today indicating the difficulty of the question--because the choices do not reflect the situation at hand.  But, one thing that poll does tell us, is quite positive, IMO:  People seemed to have progressed from the "firing squad mentality"  more pronounced in earlier times such as WWI and WWII.  Maybe the tales leading to Vietnam, the conspiracy-type Watergate years, & the infamous WMD claims nudged that learning process along.
    All the more reason for someone positioning himself as Snowden has would serve himself & the country better by returning...and facing the consequences of his actions.  Who knows?  That process may teach all of us what we can not otherwise learn.


    I think (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:10:38 PM EST
    he would be foolish to return.

    He is already facing the consequences of his actions.
    The most he can hope for is asylum in some country other than his own. A pretty serious consequence imo.

    I think we have a right to know what our government is doing.

    Even now, when we know that everyone's emails are open to be spied upon by unseen bureaucrats, what are we to do about it?
    Stop writing emails? Stop saying anything that might be controversial - or that differs from the party line? Who can we petition? Who can we threaten to throw out of office? What politician is championing Snowden and challenging the government?

    Snowden has provided us with information about how our government functions. In my view, he has already served his country. He provided us with important information. Chilling information - and he is paying a price for having done so. It is up to us to do something about it.
    From all signs, we are not about to do anything about it.

    And if we care so little, why should he come back to be jailed or worse in order to "teach all of us what we can not otherwise learn." He has already done that.


    Actually, we can all learn a lot (none / 0) (#125)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:05:22 PM EST
    through a thorough vetting at home.  We do not have that now.  What we have is one who did a guerrilla-like action, imo.  To each his own.  To me, this has never been nor should it be an a "diss America first" kind of action...right now, to many of us, Snowden's actions suggest that is his primary purpose.  He needs to come home...in the long run, it is the best course of action, for all of us.  Again, just my opinion.

    He owes you something? (5.00 / 4) (#127)
    by shoephone on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:50:48 PM EST
    To me, this has never been nor should it be an a "diss America first" kind of action...right now, to many of us, Snowden's actions suggest that is his primary purpose.  He needs to come home...in the long run, it is the best course of action, for all of us.

    He's done what he felt he needed to do -- and he DID do that for you, whether you can accept it or not. And, apparently, you are so tied up in the "I worked for the government" patriotic hocus-pocus that you can't see he has already paid a heavy price for exposing this government's malfeasnace. He doesn't have an obligation to return to a country whose jingoists have already declared him a "traitor" and called for his head.


    I do not term him a "traitor" (none / 0) (#128)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:39:35 PM EST
    In earlier threads, I noted that the alleged crime is theft of government property.  Also: Distribution of classified government information.  That is what I have said; that is what I mean.  

    As to jingoism & all your related charges: Nope.  I'm an American. It is that simple.  My pride in having worked my career for & in the government employ is real...and, if you would check most areas where I use references to it, I believe that the usage is to illustrate a point about enforcement policies in certain agencies, environmental areas (given direct experience in that area), etc.  People throughout this blog routinely offer their experiences for a number of reasons in the threads.  For some reason that bothers you ... perhaps, it would be best, then, to speak without experience. Overall, tho, we differ greatly about the role of government employees in this regard.  


    No... (5.00 / 3) (#129)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:02:27 PM EST
    you didn't call him a traitor..

    but you said that his primary purpose in revealing to us the tremendous power he had to snoop on everyone - including the President - was to "diss America".

    That is a familiar deflection.

    Programs that are un-American are what demean America.

    Bringing them out of the shadows for the public to see is patriotic.


    You want the American people to stay in the dark (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by shoephone on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:02:59 PM EST
    Why should Snowden pretend fealty to a government he thinks is engaging in criminal activity that puts the rights of all Americans at risk? You keep saying he should come back and face the music, but he had no alternative. He worked for a private contractor which has no whistleblower protections in place. He had no chain of command to go up. He would have been tossed out on his a$$. And we would not know what we now know. Who would have benefited from that? No one. No one except the totalitarians operating in secret inside the shadow government that refuses to be accountable to anyone.

    You've said America should have a conversation about these policies, but there would be no conversation without Snowden's revelations. You can't expect people to have a conversation about something that no one is aware even exists.


    Rather than muse about what (5.00 / 3) (#132)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 06:44:18 AM EST
    Snowden's intentions were or are, perhaps you could have availed yourself of the several video interviews of him at The Guardian, where he quite clearly expresses his love for this country ("this country is worth dying for") and its people and explains why he did what he did.  You aren't required to believe him, necessarily, but your opinions don't seem to be based on the totality of the information that's out there.

    He needs to come home?  Why, so we can subject him to the Bradley Manning treatment of months and months of isolation?  Did you even read Ellsberg's op-ed the other day, where he opined that this is a different world than when he was under indictment, but remained free for 2 years before his trial.  If Snowden comes home, he's silenced - he knows that, but I wonder if you do.  

    Have you read anything at all about the treatment of people like Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou?  Doesn't seem so, based on your lofty vision of what awaits Snowden if only he'd come home.

    More and more, it seems the world you live in is the one you left behind some years ago, and your eyes and ears are firmly shut against anything that disturbs those idyllic memories.  Given that life was less-than-idyllic even then, it would seem that if you're going to keep your feet firmly planted in the past, the least you could do is remember it honestly.

    Not going to hold my breath on that one.


    Manning and Snowden (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 07:42:15 AM EST
    can't be compared from a legal perspective. While Snowden would be in a civilian court, Manning is in military court which plays by its own set of rules under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It's a fallacious argument to conflate the two.

    So, you're confident that once Snowden (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:30:43 AM EST
    was taken into custody, he wouldn't be then held without bond and in isolation for a considerable period of time?  Subjected to long periods of questioning?

    Which is really what I meant when I compared the treatment he would likely be subjected to to that of Manning, as I am well aware that Manning is taking place under military jurisdiction and rules and Snowden would take place in the federal arena.

    I think I have little confidence in the government's willingness to play by the rules, given the numerous instances when they haven't.  You can't tell me it wouldn't be possible for the government to claim that the severity of the crimes with which he would be charged and the national security implications required them to handle him differently than some run-of-the-mill accused criminal.

    Look what they did to Jose Padilla: held as a material witness, then declared an enemy combatant and held for 3 ½ years on that basis, during which time he was subjected to torture, before they eventually dropped the combatant charge and tried him in a civilian court a year later.

    I think the government would do whatever it thought it needed to, would invoke whatever justification it thought it needed to do so, and would find a willing court to agree.

    I suspect that Snowden came to the same conclusion and that's why he's where he is, and not here, "facing the music" and serving as a learning experience as Christine has suggested he could.


    "Many of us" - heh (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:31:21 AM EST
    Is that supposed to add some type of credibility to your armchair psychoanalysis?  You know what might do that?  Some actual evidence.

    At least you kept it short this time.


    You can do better than that, Yman. (2.00 / 2) (#142)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:46:01 AM EST
    Or, I guess we could play the cutesy game of "pick apart each sentence."  My favorite from the little group is actually from Anne & sj.  They both found the ever-popular "muse" to add just the right spice for the expected derogatory reply.

    There must be other things to do in the summer...for all of us.

    Anyway, from what I understand your background to be, you probably do understand those quaint legal distinctions about pathways & conditions for one to be called a whistleblower or about national enforcement policies (whether for apparent violations relating to classified documents, e.g., or the options facing Treasury & banking.)  


    I understand that Snowden ... (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:56:36 AM EST
    ... will likely not qualify for protected status as a "whistleblower" because of national security exemptions.  I also understand the term "whistleblower" doesn't depend on such qualification, and can more broadly be used to refer to anyone who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in the government (or other organization).

    My point, however, was your baseless, specious claim about Snowden's motivations.  You often engage in this type of argument, but I just don't find amateur psychoanalysis convincing.  Now if you had some actual evidence that Snowden was motivated by a desire to "diss America first", that would be interesting.  But alas, ...

    ... you don't.


    A baseless claim was it? (2.00 / 2) (#150)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:06:29 PM EST
    Listen, yman, we both also know that speculation about why someone did or did not do something is part of the lifeblood of blogs.  These threads demonstrate that all the time ... and we all guess at/speculate/think about why someone might have done something. What may distinguish when we think it is ok for some (e.g., more often than not, "speculation" of motivation by the President & a host of others) but not for others.  Looking honestly at the "its not speculation when I do it, but it definitely is when you do it" does make the whole practice seem a bit absurd.

    My impression (as well as speculation) is that Snowden may well have been motivated by his desire to "diss" America ... the basis for my impression stems from the pattern of countries that he has visited as well as from the apparent fact that he did not seek out IG intervention, friendly Senator intervention (such as Wyden & Udall...their position being widely known, esp to anyone who would want to research it on the Internet.)  Now ... from individuals who feel otherwise, there is "speculation" that he somehow approaches hero or exceptionally good status & has become a victim for his purportedly good works.  FWIW, speculation abounds ... all over the threads by everyone.


    Oh, for crying out loud - really? (5.00 / 3) (#154)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:31:54 PM EST
    While there is always plenty of guessing and speculating, some of us have actually taken advantage of hearing from Snowden himself in the Poitras/Greenwald video interview sessions.

    No one's saying - I'm not saying - that you have to believe what he says, but your speculation and guessing and impressions are significantly less informed by what is starting to seem like your refusal to consider Snowden's own explanations.  

    Eyes wide shut is not a good look for you.


    Those who like ... (none / 0) (#157)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:37:26 PM EST
    ... or appreciate Snowden's actions are basing their evaluations on their perception(s) of the value of his actions in bringing this program to light.  You, OTOH, are basing your impressions on nothing more than your imagination and speculation about what he you think he really believes, despite his clear public statements to the contrary.  As usual, your negative speculation about his motives just happens to coincide with your negative view of his actions.

    Personally, I'm not impressed by amateur psychoanalysis, but YMMV ... and in your case, it obviously does.


    Yep, we think differently (none / 0) (#166)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:09:43 PM EST
    Yep = facts versus ... (none / 0) (#178)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:45:27 PM EST
    ... speculation and amateur psychoanalysis.

    I chose the word "muse" for no reason (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:57:13 AM EST
    other than that I felt it aptly described what you were doing - you were musing on the reasons and motives behind Snowden's actions.  I would have used the word "opine" had what you been saying been informed by Snowden's own explanations in the video Laura Poitras filmed in Hong Kong, but it wasn't, which reduced your expressions to musing, in my opinion.

    As for the definition of "whistleblower," there are many of us - I would venture to guess most of us - who understand the term's meaning is dependent on whether one is speaking colloquially or legally, and if legally, whether in the public or private sector.  We can also acknowledge that the term can describe an action, and does not have to be reserved only for status; whether or not someone can be classified for legal purposes as a whistleblower as that term of art is defined by statute, it is disingenuous not to acknowledge that "blowing the whistle" is an action well understood by almost all living beings to mean "reporting actions believed to be illegal."

    What we also know is that the laws have been constructed to prevent people like Snowden from qualifying for legal whistleblower status.  We also know that the government's constant invocation of state secrets and national security has prevented those who believe these programs to be unconstitutional from challenging them in the courts.  We can pass laws that make something legal, but the courts are where those laws are supposed to be examined to make sure they conform with and adhere to and don't violate constitutional principles.  If the only avenue someone has to raise concerns is within the loop that created the laws and programs, and that person has no access to the courts, what, pray tell are that person's options?

    When the system is broken, when it has been corrupted, when those working within it are more focused on protecting it than fixing it, it's time to go outside the system, which is exactly what Edward Snowden did.

    I get that you don't agree with his decision, but if your comments are going to continue along the lines of what you have said here, I will continue to regard them as musings for entertainment purposes, because they aren't substantive enough to be considered otherwise.


    Okay you took christine (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:47:17 AM EST
    more seriously than I did, and rightly so, I think. But I obviously agree with you as to the substance of her musings.  

    For the record, I consider musing to be a valuable activity. It is how we clarify our own thought processes and determine and understand our own values.

    It is not, however, a substitute for either critical thinking or honest debate. Offering one's musings in response to real world situations with no thought as to how well that particular square peg might fit into a given round hole strikes me as drawing room/dinner party conversation. Not as analysis.

    So that's that. As to the fact that Snowden does not qualify for legal whistleblower status, I have to say that the situation pulls at the despair that is hovering more and more often at the edge of my awareness. It's a nice tidy little arena that has been constructed here, isn't it? Create whistleblower protections using very narrow parameters and then put rogue programs out reach using whatever means possible. Maybe put them into the hands of private contractors. Maybe put oversight into the hands of proponents. And then there is the always useful "Secret stuff for national security!!!" claim. You know, whatever it takes. Then "we" can say it's "legal" with no one who can legally say otherwise.

    And it seems to be working. Or maybe not. I'm finding that many of my right-wing friends and family are as appalled as I am at the assault on our privacy.


    You see? (none / 0) (#145)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:21:01 AM EST
    This is why I was so amused and astounded at the idea that you could possibly be insulted. You dish it out so slyly and then sniff about being insulted when you are called to account for your own words.

    But if you have other things to do in the summer then by all means feel free to do them.


    Ah cmon...sj (none / 0) (#153)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:26:39 PM EST
    You dish it out too ... with the best of them. And, you're right to use the word "amuse."  I continually find myself amused by the dart & weave of what is considered ok if one's Web-friends practice it, but we're supposed to adhere to the rules of debate when not within the predictable circle of rating buddies.

    Many times, I actually enjoyed the give & take on many subjects that defined this blog.  These days, tho, we all do seem to have a rigidity that has not changed in a long while.  Whether it is me supporting the Obama administration or others, such as yourself, bemoaning or aghast or ? about almost all things emanating from the WH (or most places in the world), it seems to be wearing.

    Frankly when it devolves to insults/word games and, mostly, when the foundational respect necessary for any genuine long-range interchange is absent, there is no movement except in circles.
    On the latest go-round, neither of us seems to be able to budge ....

    BTW: It would be an act of courtesy on your part, sj. to recognize that my OPINIONS are as strong as your OPINIONS and both sets of opinions are entitled to respect.  In that regard, I do not "sniff" & my style is not honestly characterized as "slyly."  That I may differ does not make me any less genuine than you.


    Of course I do (none / 0) (#155)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:12:56 PM EST
    You dish it out too ... with the best of them.
    But I don't then get all insulted when it's tossed back at me.

    And I agree with you about amusement very ofthen being appropriate. For example, I am amused that you feel the need to create a group called  "rating buddies". I have explained many times my downrating policy and yet you are pleased to decide that I am going along with some sort of buddy system. Yes, sniffing is the appropriate image, I think. I can almost see the snuff box, were you a man.

    IMO, opinions in and of themselves are not at all entitled to respect. They're opinions. I tend, however, to respect a thoughtful and aware presentation of one's opinions.

    If you want to disagree with me, fine.

    If you want to disagree with me vociferously, fine.

    If you want to downrate me, fine.

    If you want to agree with me, better than fine.

    I don't get all incensed at someone else's interpretation or characterization of them. Barring blatent dishonesty and mischaracterization, of course.

    But if you don't like the term "slyly" then I'll revert to passive/aggressive. ::shrug:: it doesn't matter to me.

    That's the long answer.  The short answer is:



    Frankly, I wonder (none / 0) (#169)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:36:33 PM EST
    If all blogs that include political discussion have to devolve to off-putting characature of the other as --let's say--a sniffer or passive -aggressive or ?  Can political arguments only be made & accompanied by throwing a personal descriptor at the other?  

    Gradually, my perception of the technique of attributing a personal descriptor of the other commenter one of the biggest impediments to open discussion...unless the unstated rules of the game call for affixing a personal put-down to typical cooments.  One of my favorites was affixed to me by Anne a few years back when her comments to me often did a little jab about "clutching pearls.". While I mostly ignored it, since it didn't relate to the substance of the comment exchange, I question the reason for so needing to typecast.
    There is a lot of typecasting that shows it's head in the tougher threads here ...e.g., as I noted to yman in response today, we often refer to others speculating when these pages are jam- packed with all kinds of would-be psychoanalysis.  At least if we are going to assign personality typecasting to others, we should get it right.  Heck, all my life, I've been told that I certainly don't have a problem with being assertive or occasionally aggressive even...this latest "passive-aggressive" descriptor is a puzzlement, I must say.


    I dunno (5.00 / 4) (#173)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 04:37:13 PM EST
    If all blogs that include political discussion have to devolve to off-putting characature [sic] of the other as --let's say--a sniffer or passive -aggressive or ?  Can political arguments only be made & accompanied by throwing a personal descriptor at the other?  
    Can you refrain from saying things like this?

    "You can do better than that, Yman", or

    "but I do expect overstatement from you, Anne", or

    "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...(Among others: Edger, Lentinel, & Andreas)"

    Because if you can't control yourself, I wonder why you would expect such refined behavior of others. At this time I neither suffer from dementia nor short term memory loss so to pretend that each comment stands on its own and that long time commenters have no historical point of view or regular, demonstrable proclivities would be to simulate those disorders.

    As for your "puzzlement" regarding the passive/aggressive hostility thing, I'll just call that exhibit A.


    As we often do, we are past each other (2.00 / 1) (#175)
    by christinep on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:39:12 PM EST
    The simplest that I can rephrase my concerns (that now extend back more than a few years) is that: Personal characterization--as in the essence of what a person is (e.g. you are a blah-blah; you act this way because you are a ....)--should be off the table.  In no way is describing a supposed psychological feature of an individual to either humiliate or demonize or gain some perceived advantage among part of an audience in any reasonable way similar to the examples you describe.  It is one thing to point out/remind/note another's actions and behavior...but, to make a psychological characterization about an individual without more is nothing other than a throwback to name-calling.  

    Judgment or push or debate or disagreement expressed by jabbing with a "You can do better than that" is a common prod in debate.  Judges even invite restatement or stronger argument from counsel by saying after hearing an insufficiently persuasive comment "Counsel you can do better than that."

    So...we are on totally different pages, definitional tracts, etc.  Giving it my all: Attempting to demean another by offering a detracting personal psychological depiction of that individual can never lead to fruitful discussion.  IMO, the examples of supposed insults have no equivalence as they are common techniques in debate when evidence to support those comments exists in the comment history.


    Ri-i-i-ight (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:58:46 PM EST
    You are debating. Others are demonizing. Got it.

    Now, now, sj (none / 0) (#174)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 04:41:18 PM EST
    You should know that turnabout is unfair.

    It's like outing spies. Totally unacceptable. ;-)


    Thanks (none / 0) (#37)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:06:41 AM EST
    for this information.

    I did not know that there were "protections" in place for whistleblowers - In reading what they are allowed to blow the whistle about in order to be protected, I can see that these protections would be of no use to Snowden.

    In any case, the poll was about determining the public perception of Snowden - as being either a traitor or a "whistleblower" - the latter being in the sense of someone who let the public in on the activities of government that are, to say the least, intrusive.

    CoralGables thinks that Snowden is neither. I certainly think that the "treason" designation is off the charts... but the whistleblower designation - in the sense of someone sounding the alarm - is apt imo.

    So, to me, Snowden certainly has the "status" of a whistleblower in the everyday meaning of the word - although I see he would not be as defined by the The Federal Whistle-blower Protection Act..


    Thanks, Anne, for the accurate statement (none / 0) (#118)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:49:52 PM EST
    about what defines a Whistleblower.  And, actually, I have seen/known a few individuals receive that designation using the channels provided ... granted, this involved claims about environmental activities that had national implications directly countering one former VP aka The Cheney ... and, one of those individuals took a big personal risk in doing so after 25ish years working with the feds.  I admired his perseverance & bravery... and, openly supported him in the feds when he was threatened with firing & blackballing early on.  It can be done within the law.  (BTW, the story played out in the national press, and it was touchy for awhile.)

    The freedom to marry marches on (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:26:10 AM EST
    With the California Prop 8 test case having ended at the Supreme Court, due to defendants'-standing issues, with a win for California couples only, and with the DOMA victory having the effect only of protecting those same-sex couples who are or can become legally married under state law, the ACLU has filed suit in Pennsylvania with another test case that is designed not only to win locally but also potentially to set a national precedent in a few years that state-level prohibitions on same-sex marriage equality violate 14th Amendment equal protection and substantive due process rights. Joint effort by the national ACLU and our excellent Pennsylvania affiliate.  Profiles of the plaintiffs here. Watch this video of one of our clients, if you are wondering why it matters.

    I hope the people of Indiana are (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:05:19 AM EST
    watching...still can't believe the legislature wasn't advised that making it illegal for members of the clergy to marry same-sex couples might raise a bit of a church/state problem.

    If only more GOPers (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:35:01 AM EST
    Stopped considering a law degree from an Evangelical college such a prize :)

    A law barring clergy from officiating (none / 0) (#32)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:51:55 AM EST
    at weddings of same-sex couples, or from declaring them married in the eyes of this church or that, is patently unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause -- just as it would be unconstitutional to require clergy to perform weddings for same-sex couples, in a state that legalized gay marriage, if it violated the tenets of the clergymember's own religious group.  (I might make an exception here for state-paid or federally-paid chaplains in settings where the couple have no others options, such as prison weddings, perhaps, or military, perhaps. I don't know enough about either of those to say for sure.)  In either circumstance, the ACLU would defend the clergymembers' freedom of religion to perform or to refuse to sanctify such marriages.

    Pretty amazing (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Slado on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:31:27 AM EST
    that Obama pleaded for efficient government this week while his administration makes a complete mess of implementing Obamacare.

    They didn't plan for $hit did they? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:20:34 AM EST
    A huge piece of legislation, his signature legislation, and then procrastination :)

    Some good things are shaking out though.  Even though we live in Alabama and even though this state is threatening to defy the law, it is looking like my kids are still going to get insured.  They aren't the norm here, they make more money right now than almost anyone they know in their age group, they aren't middle class yet but they aren't bone scraping poor like most are here.  So they can afford a modest premium.

    Also, all these insurance companies trying to create junk insurance is only moving us toward a public option.  Obama is going to have to pull a public option out of somewhere or his whole piece of legislation WILL FAIL!


    What if "junk insurance" is (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:38:08 AM EST
    considered preferable to a public option?

    From Obamacare to Medicare, using the premise that people will use less health care if you increase their out of pocket expenses, the Obama administration's main cost control is having the insured have "more skin in the game." For example:

    "More skin in the game" means that some lawmakers (and the Obama administration) feel that people on Medicare should personally pick up more of the expenses paid for by Medicare.  The theory goes that if people have "first dollar" coverage via Medicare Supplement plans, they are more apt to use their benefits.

    This is why I don't have much faith that the Affordable Care Act will control costs.  Many of the so called "cost saving" ideas, from the exchanges to the excise tax, are supposed to magically reduce health care costs by farther increasing skin in the game and relying on "free markets."

    Controlling costs, in the current iterations, (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:59:21 PM EST
    are based on (a) nicer words for cost sharing/cost shifting, (b) a misconception that the rules of the market will provide high quality, high value health care, and (c) an overestimation of savings from too many or unnecessary tests, and (d) ignorance of the impact of changes occurring and contemplated in health care delivery.   All missing the biggest and proved cost control: Medicare (privately delivered and publicly, in part, financed single payer, which should have been expanded to all.

    Out of curiosity (none / 0) (#88)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:27:15 PM EST
    do you know how Medicare controls costs?

    Medicare consists of four parts: (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    Part A (hospital), Part B Medical (e.g. physician outpatient), Part C (Advantage) and Part D (Drugs).  Each has a different pricing/reimbursement system designed to control costs, although the common thread is negotiated pricing schedules for  services (with limits on Part D).  Perhaps the most complex is Part A,  which relies on cases and diagnosis -related groupings and medical severity (MS DRGs).  A good primer for DRGs is an explanation by Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health care economist.  Oh, and happy birthday, this month, to Medicare--it will be 48 years young.

    Lots of people (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:50:12 AM EST
    (Me included) who have individual plans will be losing those plans come January 1 because they are HDP's or "high deductible plans".  But, the good news is, I will be able to buy a more expensive plan with a lower deductible! (Which is why I went with the HDP in the first place, since the insurance company raised my rates almost 20% this year on the lower deductible plan).

    So, I'm back where I started - paying more for the original plan I had in December! (And of course, no subsidies).


    Do you have a link? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:54:27 AM EST
    I would like to read all of it and the sourcing.  I know that they are big about preventive care being copay free, and that is in the legislation.  That mindset isn't congruent with a mindset that people just need to pay more.

    Here is Kaiser on Obama's 2014 proposed (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:25:43 AM EST
    budget changes to Medicare which include penalizing seniors for getting "first-dollar" coverage which the administration feels encourage overuse of services.

    Beginning in 2017, new beneficiaries who purchase supplemental insurance, known as Medigap, with particularly low cost-sharing requirements -- such as "first-dollar" coverage -- will face a surcharge equivalent to approximately 15 percent of the average Medigap premium. The thought is that more generous Medigap plans encourage overuse of services, but seniors rely on these generous plans to shield them from unanticipated costs.  link

    Here is a NYT article regarding excise tax effect on employer plans.

    High-End Health Plans Scale Back to Avoid `Cadillac Tax'

    In a way, the changes are right in line with the administration's plan: To encourage employers to move away from plans that insulate workers from the cost of care and often lead to excessive procedures and tests, and galvanize employers to try to control ever-increasing medical costs. But the tax remains one of the law's most controversial provisions.

    Bradley Herring, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, suggested the result would be more widely felt than many people realize. "The reality is it is going to hit more and more people over time, at least as currently written in law, " he said. Mr. Herring estimated that as many as 75 percent of plans could be affected by the tax over the next decade -- unless employers manage to significantly rein in their costs.
    Cynthia Weidner, an executive at the benefits consultant HighRoads, agreed that the tax appeared to be having the intended effect. "The premise it's built upon is happening," she said, adding, "the consumer should continue to expect that their plan is going to be more expensive, and they will have less benefits. "

    I see all sorts of benefits in the second article (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:41:16 AM EST
    About the goodbye to Cadillac plans and being able to have you blood pressure checked at a clinic vs. a costly doctors appoint to have such a basic check.

    How is enrolling in a program to control your diabetes a bad thing?

    Having all of us in the same boat makes a stronger voting block to demand system fixes.

    The first article is put out by Kaiser, I'm not saying it is devoid of any substantial information but I don't trust their spin on the issues or their speculations.  They are for profit, their profit.  I know they have non-profit entity, but it is impossible for me to believe that their non-profit does not work to support their for profit or would work against it for the small people.


    BTW regarding the provisions (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:21:44 PM EST
    in Obama's 2014 budget regarding Medicare is not Kaiser's spin. They are actual provisions in the proposed budget and were also part of Obama's Grand Bargain offer to Boehner in 2011.

    If implemented, a large number of seniors income will be decreased by thousands of dollars due to increased premiums and the deductibles since they need ongoing treatment. Don't know if you have ever had more money going out every month for insurance premiums and deductibles than the total of all income coming in. During my treatment for cancer that was my situation and I'd rather not have that experience again.


    Enrolling in a plan to help control (none / 0) (#46)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:00:41 PM EST
    diabetes is a good thing and if your company is big enough to have an on-site clinic to check your BP all well and good. If your company choses not to have an on-site clinic, be prepared to pay for the entire cost for all procedures until you meet your deductible.

    Think of the medical expenses that individuals or families experience on a regular basis that you will have to pay for out of pocket before the insurance kicks in.

    Ear infections, allergies, broken bones, cuts needing stitches, physical therapy and heaven forbid if you have any condition that requires regular blood work and treatment. If you have a family member with a chronic condition that is treatable but not curable, you just better be able to find a way to meet your ever increasing deductible each and every year.


    That entirely depends (none / 0) (#49)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:14:42 PM EST
    on what type of plan people choose.  HMO's and other plans provide coverage for all those things w/low out of pocket costs.  Some of that stuff may be mandated by the state w/o any out of pocket cost at all.

    Constant fear-mongering based on cherry-picked facts and anecdotal experiences isn't good for anyone.  MT's example is a counter-factual.

    How much more would those services cost the family over a year w/o coverage?  To be clear, the root cause of what you post about is the cost of the services, not the cost of the insurance, which is, commensurate w/the cost of the services.


    Let's revisit the linked article once again (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:36:05 PM EST
    Say goodbye to that $500 deductible insurance plan and the $20 co-payment for a doctor's office visit. They are likely to become luxuries of the past.
    Companies hoping to avoid the tax are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered and to look harder for ways to bring down the overall cost of care.
    Cynthia Weidner, an executive at the benefits consultant HighRoads, agreed that the tax appeared to be having the intended effect. "The premise it's built upon is happening," she said, adding, "the consumer should continue to expect that their plan is going to be more expensive, and they will have less benefits. "

    You are referring to plans that some companies are currently offering to their employees. Some companies have already limited the number and types of plans that they offer. The article clearly states that they feel that "the plans $500 deductible insurance plan and the $20 co-payment for a doctor's office visit. They are likely to become luxuries of the past." The article refers to actions that some companies are currently taking now and most will be going to be implementing in the future.

    You ask how much more would those services cost without insurance. I believe that the question needs to be how much less would actual health care cost without inflating the costs to cover the completely unnecessary high costs of the insurance industry.


    I dont' know where deductibles will end up (none / 0) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:39:31 PM EST
    But how does a $20 doctors visit that becomes a free doctors visit make me cry?  Yeah, the $20 doctors visit will go away if I have strep throat, it will become a free doctors visit.

    Do you think that community clinics (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:21:15 PM EST
    provide "free" care for strep throat? I know for a fact that community clinics in MO do not provide "free" care for illnesses like strep throat even for the working poor let alone someone in your income range.

    Health Centers and Medical Services
    Anyone is welcome in our health centers, regardless of ability to pay. The facilities accept many major types of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, and for Saint Louis County residents without health insurance, we offer a sliding fee scale based on several criteria (please call one of the health centers for more information).

    Grace Hill


    Grace Hill Health Centers' sliding fee scales have been updated effective

    February 1, 2013

    Patients whose incomes do not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level are charged the following
    minimum fees for services (additional fees may apply):

    Medical/Optometry/Behavior Health Visit $20 (minimum)
    Dental Visit $35 (minimum)
    Eye glasses fee $30 (minimum)
    Prescription fee $10 (minimum)

    SLIDING FEE SCALES - as of February 1, 2013

    Discount Policy

    Medical, Behavioral Health and Optometry



    But as your example shows, ... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:56:52 PM EST
    MO Blue: "I know for a fact that community clinics in MO do not provide "free" care for illnesses like strep throat even for the working poor let alone someone in your income range."

    ... federally qualified health centers (FQHC) such as Grace Hill have policies that require the treatment of patients gratis if their incomes do not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level.

    I've worked with FQHCs for years, and they are all required by federal law to treat the indigent without requiring payment. The FQHC can then seek reimbursement from the states, usually through their respective Medicaid programs. The recordkeeping that's required to seek payment for uncompensated care is voluminous.

    Further, most health centers are now employing patient navigators, who can assist economically challenged patients in either getting ensured under Medicaid, or qualifying for fully-subsidized care through an income analysis to establish their indigence.

    FQHCs provide quality and affordable care. Especially in rural communities where physicians in private practice are an all but extinct breed, they are going to be the primary means by which health care will be delivered as we go forward.



    I am all for more community health centers (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:17:12 PM EST
    They provide a great service for those who use their services especially for indigent and people with no insurance and limited income.

    What they do not do is provide "free" treatment for strep throat for people who have incomes over their guidelines. In fact, they do not as indicated in my link provide "free" service for an individual that makes over 100% federal poverty level ($11,490 individual).

    This was Military Tracy's comment:

    But how does a $20 doctors visit that becomes a free doctors visit make me cry?  Yeah, the $20 doctors visit will go away if I have strep throat, it will become a free doctors visit.

    Unless Military Tracy's family income is $19,530 or less, she would not get a free doctors visit at a community health center for strep throat.


    More on community health care centers (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:09:04 PM EST
    The applications poured in, spurred by millions of dollars in new funding included in the health law to expand primary care to the poor. A record 810 groups sought federal grants to staff and equip hundreds of new and existing community health centers.

    But in August, most were rejected, leaving advocates frustrated that they would not be able to serve the growing numbers of uninsured and poor people or be ready for an influx of patients under the health law.

    Rather than handing out $250 million to establish new patient-care sites to serve more than 2 million additional people, as originally expected, the Obama administration gave $29 million to 67 nonprofit organizations that will serve an additional 286,000 patients.

    The funding cut was a result of a federal budget compromise in March to keep the government running. That agreement reduced federal spending by nearly $80 billion, including a $600 million trim in funding for ongoing operations at existing health centers. link

    Obama administration diverted some of the $11 billion set aside in the health overhaul law for health-center expansion initiatives and instead used it to keep the centers operating at current levels. As a result, some of the health-center expansion plans were either eliminated or drastically cut back and they scrapped plans to distribute $335 million to health centers to boost medical, dental, pharmacy and vision services.


    Also, I know for a fact that companies (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:32:21 PM EST
    (especially those who self insure) can eliminate their HBO plans and force employees into PPOs at their discretion. If they are really clever, they can eliminate the HBO at year end, require you to meet your deductible from January - March when their enrollment period ends and then require you to meet the deductible once again beginning in
    April of the same year. Another deductible requirement would have been necessary again in October if I had chosen their Medicare coverage plan.

    So what you get is going from paying less than $160 per month for single coverage with no deductible to paying over $450 with a large deductible which because of timing has to be forked 2 to 3 times in one calendar year.


    That is the fault of the employer (none / 0) (#85)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:25:14 PM EST
    and something I would raise w/the dept. of labor or state insurance commissioner.

    Better yet, once the exchanges are setup, avoid employer coverage altogether and go w/something more suited to your needs.

    Neither of your examples are things the insurance company controls.  Further, my own anecdotal experience is HMO's cost less because of the requirement to use in-network providers and the gatekeeper model.

    Root cause of all you describe is the cost of care in this country.


    If your employer offers a plan, you don't (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:36:06 PM EST
    qualify to purchase insurance on the exchange:

    Who will have access to Exchanges?

    PPACA requires most individuals to have health insurance beginning in 2014. It authorizes entities known as American Health Benefit Exchanges, which states will establish by January
    1, 2014, to make plans available to qualified individuals and employers. Qualified individuals include U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are not incarcerated, and who do not have access to affordable employer coverage. PPACA also provides for separate Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges from which small businesses with up to 100 employees can obtain coverage for their employees. Prior to 2016, states can limit Exchanges to businesses with 50 or fewer workers, and, beginning in 2017, states can allow businesses with more than 100 employees to purchase coverage from an Exchange.


    I haven't looked up the definition of "affordable," but that's a hurdle one would have to leap in order to bypass employer coverage for the exchange.


    Good new - bad news regarding affordability (none / 0) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:08:20 PM EST
    Bad news:

    The new final Treasury rule addresses affordability for employees' family members who are applying for a premium assistance tax credit in the Exchange. If the employee's required contribution for self-only coverage is affordable under the 9.5 percent test just mentioned, the employee's family members will not qualify for tax credit. The Exchange will not look at the cost of family coverage and assess whether family coverage is affordable.

    Good news

    However, a different test applies in determining if a family member is exempt from the individual mandate penalty. For this purpose, group health plan coverage is unaffordable if the required contribution for family coverage exceeds 8 percent of household income. This means that family members who do not qualify for the tax credit (because employee-only coverage is affordable) would at least qualify for an exemption from the individual mandate penalty if the cost of family coverage made family coverage unaffordable.

    Your family may not get affordable health care but you may be relieved of the obligation of paying the penalty for not having insurance.


    So clear that you are in the business (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by sj on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:04:18 PM EST
    of health insurance. Because no one in their right mind who has worked anywhere else would ever recommend avoiding employer coverage. Because we don't care about insurance company profits, you see. And because we like our "cadillac plans" that are still quite inferior to the plans provided to Congress and to Presidents. And will become even more inferior as more and more of the "A"CA is rolled out.

    Also to you and to others in the business, and to others who have idealized "the market": Baloney, the root cause of all that is described is NOT the cost of care, but the cost required to keep insurance companies profitable. Those are two entirely different things.


    I didn't recommend it (none / 0) (#109)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:12:27 PM EST
    merely stated it was an alternative.

    I didn't realize that the term... (none / 0) (#112)
    by sj on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:19:49 PM EST
    ..."Better yet" wasn't really a recommendation. I read that as recommending as an alternative.

    Don't think I can say it any better (none / 0) (#115)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:39:40 PM EST
    so I think I will just second your comment.

    We were IIRC discussing employer plans (none / 0) (#92)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:46:31 PM EST
    and the fact that they decide which plans they will offer to their employees.

    Not sure where you get your information. Once the exchanges are setup you can't just "avoid employer coverage altogether and go w/something more suited to your needs." There are certain restrictions to purchasing insurance through exchanges that apply for people who are offered employer coverage. This from the government's own site:

    Can I Save Money on my Health Insurance Premiums in the Marketplace?

    You may qualify to save money and lower your monthly premium, but only if your employer does not offer coverage, or offers coverage that doesn't meet certain standards. The savings on your premium that you're eligible for depends on
    your household income.

    Does Employer Health Coverage Affect Eligibility for Premium Savings through the Marketplace?

    Yes. If you have an offer of health coverage from your employer that meets certain standards, you will not be eligible for a tax credit through the Marketplace and may wish to enroll in your employer's health plan. However, you may be eligible for a tax credit
    that lowers your monthly premium,or a reduction in certain cost-sharing if your employer does
    not offer coverage to you at all or does not offer coverage that meets certain standards. If the cost of a plan from your
    employer that would cover you (and
    not any other members of your family
    ) is more than 9.5% of your household income for the year, or if the coverage your employer provides the "minimum value" standard set by the
    Affordable Care Act, you may be eligible for a tax credit.

    What did I say in my post that your post (none / 0) (#96)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:07:20 PM EST
    contradicts?  I didn't get into specifics, but the fact remains, if your employer's coverage is a crappy as you describe, you can go to the marketplace.  Yes, you may or may not qualify for certain subsidies....ok.  

    You still have an option. More info here.


    Let's look at the annual premium cost (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:20:48 PM EST
    on the market place for a family of 4 with no subsidy.

    $9,869 for a silver plan
    $8,180 for a bronze plan

    Out of Pocket Costs

    Your out-of-pocket maximum for a Silver plan (not including the premium) can be no more than $12,700. Whether you reach this maximum level will depend on the amount of health care services you use. Currently, about one in four people use no health care services in any given year.

    A Silver plan has an actuarial value of 70%. This means that for all enrollees in a typical population, the plan will pay for 70% of expenses in total for covered benefits, with enrollees responsible for the rest. If you choose to enroll in a Bronze plan, the actuarial value will be 60%, meaning your out-of-pocket costs when you use services will likely be higher. Regardless of which level of coverage you choose, deductibles and copayments will vary from plan to plan, and out-of-pocket costs will depend on your health care expenses. Preventive services will be covered with no cost sharing required.
    Other Coverage Options

    Because Bronze level coverage would cost more than 8% of your household income, you may instead opt to purchase catastrophic coverage. Catastrophic coverage does not provide coverage for essential health benefits until you reach the annual limit on cost sharing ($12,700 in 2013).


    Let me put the entire cost in perspective (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:42:30 PM EST
    A family of 4 with no subsidy would pay $9,869 for a silver plan and you could be on the hook for an additional out-of-pocket maximum  (not including the premium) $12,700 in the case of a serious illness. Now if we add those two numbers together we get a total of $22,560 for the year. Wow, I can see where you would think the marketplace is the place to go for affordable unsubsidized health insurance.

    Your link is provides information (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:43:13 PM EST
    for the SHOP Marketplace which is only available employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. So the so called option that you reference is also restricted.

    More on SHOP Marketplace:

    WASHINGTON -- Unable to meet tight deadlines in the new health care law, the Obama administration is delaying parts of a program intended to provide affordable health insurance to small businesses and their employees -- a major selling point for the health care legislation.

    The law calls for a new insurance marketplace specifically for small businesses, starting next year. But in most states, employers will not be able to get what Congress intended: the option to provide workers with a choice of health plans. They will instead be limited to a single plan.

    The choice option, already available to many big businesses, was supposed to become available to small employers in January. But administration officials said they would delay it until 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running insurance markets known as exchanges. And they will delay the requirement for other states as well. link

    Whoops, I forgot to adjust for age (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:32:05 PM EST
    The $9,869 for a silver plan is a premium if both parents were 21 years old. If one parent was 40 and one was 38, the premiums would be $11,451. If a serious illness occurred your total medical expense for the year would be $24,151.

    All preventive care is copay free (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:28:42 PM EST
    And no deductible.  This IMO is a giant improvement.  I don't think you will have to go to your "work" clinic either.  I think any kind of clinic applies and I did a write up on Obamacare and clinics will be funded all over.

    I think they are shooting for something that mimics Canada and its use of clinics to care for more basic health issues.

    And we have discussed the deductible we will face soon with Josh.  As soon as he is no longer Tricare Prime we will have a deductible to meet and he will max it out every year on his surgeries.

    I am not feeling victimized here though.  People have deductibles now, and I know that some are saying deductibles will rise but there is a huge political price to pay now if our leaders allow us to be victimized by for profits.  They will have to do something.

    I am willing to experience these changes, because how everything exists right now sux horrible.  And the whole system is based on healthcare scarcity.  It is a horror that that is how we have all lived for this long, and even if you are insured as we are you still see and experience how this dysfunctional system makes even us receiving good healthcare iffy at times.  Especially in Alabama, we don't even have enough doctors here to deal with the population because you can't make a living here being a doctor.  People often can't pay anything and they have no insurance.  The healthcare system here is in pieces and the only thing that keeps any of the hospitals open is currently government funding.  The government now wants something real tangible for all those dollars and I agree.


    Well I sincerely hope you are right (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:43:48 PM EST
    but since most of the changes to Obama have not been improvements but have delayed or eliminated some of the more progressive aspects of the program.

    I am glad to hear that you feel that you can currently afford to max out on the deductibles. Hopefully that will remain the case. Unfortunately, those same deductibles will be a real hardship for many others.


    They could have (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:52:48 PM EST
    Implemented things like preventive care with no co-pays, keeping kids on until 26, and getting rid of pre-existing conditions without having the rest of the monstrosity that the Obamacare bill is.  There was much more support on both sides for those things.

    People have deductibles now, and I know that some are saying deductibles will rise but there is a huge political price to pay now if our leaders allow us to be victimized by for profits

    They aren't raising deductibles - they are raising premiums. And while you may be willing to experience these changes, many people cannot (even if they would be willing for the "greater good"),


    Hoarders, Nanny State Edition (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:11:03 AM EST
    If the EU goes forward with plans to prohibit menthol smokes, 94 year old former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt is prepared.  He's sitting on 200 cartons of his preferred menthols, enough for a pack a day till he's 100 years old.  

    Hope that's enough Helmut!  

    They should ban Capris, too (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:32:57 PM EST
    Especially in this country, then I wouldn't have to watch my old man smoke those long, thin chopsticks he sucks on. 120s, hell, his are like 240s, like he glues two Virginia Slims together and then tokes it.

    I smoke like a chimney... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:37:33 PM EST
    and even I wouldn't mind a Capri ban.  That's like making pretend to smoke, like the old candy cigarettes, which I think have been banned as well. Ban Ban Ban Ban Ban!!! ;)

    Bubblegum cigs (none / 0) (#58)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:51:15 PM EST
    Haven't seen those in awhile, or the pink and blue bubblegum cigars we used to get at 7-11. Watched a guy stuffing a wad of chew in his mouth yesterday, really made my stomach turn. Smoking seems downright clean compared to shoving that brown leafy muck in your pie hole.

    Not the bubblgums... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:09:07 PM EST
    I was thinking of, but the chalky white candy cancer sticks with the red-dye tips.  Remember those? That had names like Lucky Stripes and Pell Mell.  

    We (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:11:36 PM EST
    used to get those in the winter, so when we "smoked", we could see "smoke" from our breath!

    Us too! (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:40:11 PM EST
    Add one to our woefully short "things in common" list!

    Licorice pipes were another fave...I think you'd get 5-10 for even thinking about selling these things today;)


    Those candy cigarettes were a staple (none / 0) (#65)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:45:43 PM EST
    of my childhood. My parents were chain smokers, as was just about every adult in my life, so we were surrounded by plenty of smoke. :-)

    I bet we have a lot more (none / 0) (#66)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:55:13 PM EST
    in common than you think.  :)

    I'm sure you're right... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:08:54 PM EST
    but boy are those differences front and center in this venue of the crimes of politics and law!

    You are not alone in that thinking. (none / 0) (#71)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:27:30 PM EST
    I grew up in Los Angeles County (none / 0) (#83)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:24:30 PM EST
    If we saw steam coming out of our mouths, usually it was orange-brown and called smog. I remember it hailed one Christmas in the 70s. That WAS my white ice xmas.

    How sad for you. :) (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:26:55 PM EST
    I flew home from Texas to Michigan one Christmas. I had two little kids sitting next to me and their mom was in the seat ahead of us.  They were telling me how excited they were because they were going to Milwaukee to see grandma and grandpa, and when they had been there at Thanksgiving, they had seen SNOW!  And they made a snowman and they never did that before!

    Christmas, 1977 -- right? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:24:59 PM EST
    Remember, that was the year we had record amounts of rain and flooding, and the L.A. Rams' NFL playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings in the Coliseum turned into an ugly mud bath.

    Yeah, I remember when it hailed in Pasadena. My high school had let out for the day, and it was hailing so hard that I called my mother, who drove the two blocks to pick me up. Lordy, but that was one miserable winter!


    I remember that one too (none / 0) (#104)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:46:10 PM EST
    My first Christmas break in 'Sunny California'. I came out from Illinois to join my family and it absolutely poured for a week.

    I remember watching the end of that game (none / 0) (#106)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:02:38 PM EST
    In the muck and slop, Pat Hayden getting sacked, Rams lose. I think it was Stu Nahan live on the field, or maybe Ted Dawson or Fast Eddie Alexander, but I remember just staring at the TV and thinking, that's it, my team will NEVER win it all. All those latecoming sh*tty L.A. fans had cursed us, I told myself. That game still haunts me!! Laff Audi Lauda.

    Why, that's outrageous. (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:28:06 PM EST
    Far better that we instead take a more proactive approach in seeking compromise to this nettlesome problem, perhaps by encouraging smokers to appear in public in self-contained Plexiglas bubbles, which would enable them to leisurely wallow in their own fumes.

    Or better still, we could enact educational programs that encourage young children under the age of 12 to hold their breath whenever they're within 25 feet of someone who's lighting up.

    Oh, who am I kidding, kdog? You know as well as I do that were I to have my way, rather than passing nonsensical NRA-wet dream laws that require American citizens to own firearms, I'd instead be enacting legislation which would make it possible for everyone to own their very own handcrafted, glass blown bong by Tommy Chong. Suffice to say, we'd all rock to the rules that I make.

    Aloha. ;-D


    Thank goodness you're kidding (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:05:25 PM EST
    I thought you were spouting the junk science that second hand smoke outdoors is dangerous for a sec.

    A chicken in every pot, and a bong on every coffee table.  Donald for Dictator! ;)


    I'd be a little more careful (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:21:32 PM EST
    about that smoke, dog..

    People are saying now that it may make you want to wander into gated communties and menace the innocent Gandhi disciples who exclusively populate those places.  


    The sacrament is no issue... (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:14:33 PM EST
    those gated communities otoh...I know where I'm not welcome.  ;)

    Even when you're an invited guest, it's a bitch.  Especially when the resident who invited you forgets to tell his rent-a-cop, who then has to call your friend, who may or may not pick up the phone right away, and that whole rig-a-ma-roll.  There are enough places in the land of the free that feel like a prison to try to get in and out of.  Who needs it!  Come to my house instead...no gate, door is open.


    America: slowly becoming Columbia (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:17:58 PM EST
    and not in any of the good ways..

    "If there is hope... (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:45:13 PM EST
    it lies in the proles."

    Let's not kid ourselves that ... (none / 0) (#98)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:16:29 PM EST
    ... second-hand smoke isn't a health issue, because it most definitely is, particularly with children. While its threat is largely mitigated when you're outdoors, as one former smoker to a still current one, I would respectfully suggest that common courtesy rule the day here. When you have the urge to light up, please do so downwind of others, and not upwind where your fumes blow back upon on them.

    Because if you don't, who knows, you could find yourself getting into it with someone like Lee Papa, aka "The Rude Pundit," who recently recounted to radio listeners his confrontation with a cigar-smoking gent at a well-attended July 4th celebration in New York. When the man tried to excuse his behavior by claiming that he didn't smoke cigars very often, Sir Rude retorted, "So when you do, make sure to do it in the middle of a large crowd, so that everyone around you realizes how much of a dick you are."

    Aloha. ;-D


    I no longer smoke (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:48:33 PM EST
    yet maybe the non smokers need to stop being quite so ridiculous.

    I'm sorry if you are a block away and sight someone smoking a cigarette, excuse me if I don't believe that their smoke causes you to have a couching fit.

    If you are a non smoker and object to people smoking outside, don't go into an outside area where smoking is allowed and b!tch about the effects of second hand smoke. Self induced ingestion of smoke, does not count against the smoker IMO but against the person who has nothing better to do than provoke an incident.


    You're right (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:50:54 PM EST
    with one caveat:  People who smoke directly outside the door of a building need to move further away - as a non-smoker, I should not have to walk the gauntlet trying to enter a place of business through a cloud of smoke and a trail of cigarette butts.

    You have a point... (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:43:12 PM EST
    I always try to move down away from the door at bars and restaurants and what not.  And after years of just flicking my butts any damn place I'm breaking that bad habit, and putting them out and placing them in a garbage can. I still slip because it's a seriously ingrained habit, but I'm trying Ringo, trying real hard...because it's just not cool.  

    I have truly seen the light about being a litterbug and doing my penance by picking up other peoples litter here and there, especially in pretty places likes parks and beaches.


    While on the one hand I commend you for (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:08:25 PM EST
    seeing the light, on the other hand my gut is saying "WTF? It took you this long to figure out something so freaking obvious?"

    Ah well, just goes to show you that even an old kdog can learn new tricks!


    No excuse my friend... (none / 0) (#156)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:26:39 PM EST
    no excuse.  Monkey see monkey do I guess...but I have seen the light!

    I am glad you have seen the light... :-) (none / 0) (#159)
    by vml68 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:48:01 PM EST
    A few years ago, I was driving down the highway and the person in the car next to me flicked his cig butt out of his window. It flew in through the rear window of my car and landed in my dog's fur. He was strapped in with a seatbelt or he would have caused me to have an accident. Unfortunately, he was a wooly beast so the ciggy was trapped in his fur. By the time I pulled over, his fur was singed but it had not yet burned his skin.

    To this day, thinking about it makes me absolutely livid. When I see someone flick a butt, it takes everything I've got not to pick it up and put it out on their forehead!!!


    You're a good man kdog. (none / 0) (#162)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    Good free show tonight... (none / 0) (#165)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:58:21 PM EST
    Alejandro Escovedo (check out his stuff if you haven't already, amazing songwriter), Los Lonely Boys, and headlining from your neck of the woods Los Lobos.  It'll be a first time for me for all three....psyched! Especially since I've been a money-saving hermit for weeks now...but starting the 19th the concert and assorted fun spending spree is ON!  Tonight I prime the groove pump back up.

    The Mrs. SUO and myself saw Los Lobos (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:35:32 PM EST
    back in the early 90's when they were hot because of their La Bamba soundtrack.

    Lou Diamond Philips, who was pretty famous at the time as the star of the movie, performed with them and spent much of the show goofing around and pointing a stage light at the audience and stuff.

    As the show went on Hidalgo did the standard band members introductions, "On drums, Louie Perez!" "Cesar Rojas on guitar!" Etc. (I had to look the names up.)

    Anyway, he concluded with LDP: "And our very special guest, the star of the hit movie La Bamba, Lou Diamond Philips on...the spotlight!"

    Funny stuff, fun band, I'm sure you'll have a great time. Enjoy!


    btw grooving to Alejandro right now, (none / 0) (#170)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:45:18 PM EST
    thanks for turning me on to him.

    He's the man... (none / 0) (#179)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:40:58 AM EST
    if you dig it check out his frequent collaborater, and fellow Texan, Chuck Prophet.  Another American gem.

    Unfortunately the show started at 6 and I couldn't make it in time for Alejandro's set, though he did come out and jam a couple tunes with Los Lobos.  I had no idea The Wolves could blues it up so hardcore...wow.  Los Lonely Boys came out too and they jammed out the best live version of "Crossroads" I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing.  Those cabrons can play man...gave us a sweet cover version of "Bertha" too.  Good times.

    The venue pissed me off though...so much potential, right on the Hudson down at the new WTC area in a plaza, quite the view.  But the cops and rent-a-cops were so douchey.  They sold beer but you couldn't bring it in the concert area, ya had to sit in a corner with no stage view if ya wanted a cold one.  Some poor European tourist was getting his chops busted for wandering out of the authorized brew zone and looked so bewildered, I told him I'm sorry but fun has been criminalized in NYC.  They tried to throw another guy out for repeated brew zone violations, but he refused to leave and the cops backed off. Barricades set up everywhere for no discernible purpose.  And I had to walk halfway to 14th Street to find a quasi-safe place to smoke a joint between sets.  I just don't know what this city/country is coming too man...


    Good stuff. Sorry the LE were so douchey. (none / 0) (#181)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:53:37 AM EST
    I think I remember los lobos being bluesy, but I saw them a long time ago. Alejandro kind of reminds me of a Mex-Am Dave Alvin.

    Nature of the modern beast... (none / 0) (#182)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:13:36 PM EST
    especially in the financial district aka "ring of steel."  But nothing stops the music...thank goodness.

    Obvious comparison for great contemporary American songwriters...Dave F*ckin' Alvin.  He should be coming around again soon, he never stops!


    Never heard of Dave Alvin (none / 0) (#183)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:17:53 PM EST
    Until I met the BF.  Then we saw him in concert - he was terrific!

    An all too common tale... (none / 0) (#184)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:24:02 PM EST
    everybody I turn on to Dave Alvin says the same thing..."how come I never heard of Dave Alvin?  He's terrific!"

    In fact, I said the same thing when I got turned on to Dave Alvin;)  


    The Blasters.. (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by jondee on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:17:17 PM EST
    Another one is Richard Thompson..

    I used to say the same thing about Ry Cooder before The Buena Vista Social Club thing got his name out there..

    If the A&R guys can't figure out how to package you, there's the danger of languishing in obscurity. The way I continue to do ;-)


    He's playing in LA at the end of July, (none / 0) (#185)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:36:27 PM EST
    unfortunately I'll be back east then.

    If you're back east... (none / 0) (#189)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:45:31 PM EST
    Friday July 26th, you gotta get your arse to Pier in Hoboken!  I'm thinking it is the concert event of the season.

    Bummer, I'll be in VA on 7/26 (none / 0) (#190)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:54:37 PM EST
    and in NJ on 8/3 when they're in Irvine.

    Not sure if I told you this story, but Dylan's young grand kids go to school right near me and he goes to their school occasionally to play for their classes.

    All the teachers, of course, are kinda star-struck, but his grand kid's classmates talk about "that weird old guy."

    At least that was the story about 5 years ago, maybe they've grown up a little by now!


    I don't think you did... (none / 0) (#191)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:09:45 PM EST
    I remember you have a neighborhood Little Feat connection, don't recall that.  F8ckin' cool.

    Yeah, the weird old man...he's still suspect, so I guess he's still got it!  Remember awhile back when he got Zimmermaned for walking in the rain in NJ?


    I don't think I saw that story. (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:17:21 PM EST
    Did you see that the reporter included the ages of the two cops? (24)

    Dam kids!

    I live in kind of a cool place. When we ask for volunteers to sing the national anthem before my kid's games and such, the parents that step up are often on break from touring.


    Ha. Los Lobos opened for Eric Clapton at inside (none / 0) (#186)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:39:05 PM EST
    large venue here a couple years ago. Way too loud, even w/o my hrg. Aids b

    Do you remember... (none / 0) (#187)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:42:22 PM EST
    if they jammed out "Crossroads" together?

    They didn't play together. (none / 0) (#188)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:44:43 PM EST
    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:44:40 PM EST
    Smokers should not smoke directly in front of entrances of buildings. Smokers also should properly dispose of their cigarette butts. There should not be a trail of them.

    Well, call it a coincidence, but ... (none / 0) (#164)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:51:02 PM EST
    ... our Honolulu City Council just passed two ordinances yesterday -- both unanimously, by the way -- which ban smoking at all city and county bus stops, beaches and parks.

    I have no idea what Mayor Caldwell will do, but he's such a weak sister and prevaricator that I could fully envision him folding to the entreaties of the tobacco lobby to veto the legislation, whereupon the Council will simply reconvene and override him.

    Regarding non-smokers who object to smoking outdoors, I would agree only to the extent that anyone who would self-ingest secondhand smoke in order to provoke a confrontation is obviously a first-class fool who shouldn't be taken seriously.

    I'd offer that the vast majority of people aren't going to do that, but that their right to breathe (relatively) clean air trumps another's privilege to smoke. Even when I used to smoke, when someone complained that my smoking was bothering them, I always graciously acceded to their request out of respect, and snubbed it out.



    Oh jeez... (none / 0) (#167)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
    Think Honolulu will go the same route as NYC and make zero enforcement efforts?  If so, no biggie, what's one more bullsh*t law to break? ;)

    If it will be enforced, I apologize to the smokers of Honolulu on behalf of a nannied extorted nation.


    Since when have we ever allowed ... (none / 0) (#176)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:39:35 PM EST
    ... the individual the freedom to unilaterally impose one's own personal desires upon others and trash the public domain at whim?

    What's happened yesterday at the Honolulu City Council has nothing to do with any imposition of any "nanny state." Rather, it's the inevitable response to the sheer volumes of people -- tourists, primarily -- who for far too long have treated Waikiki and other surrounding public beaches like an ashtray.

    Their irresponsible behavior is totally gross and disgusting and yes, it's become a significant and very real problem out here, given the 8 million-plus tourists who pass through Waikiki annually. It's reached a point where one can't even walk barefoot along Waikiki Beach at sunset without stepping onto cigarette butts.

    The city has to sweep our most popular beaches nightly with special rigs that sift the sands and remove them, it's that bad. It's also become expensive, because those machines are high maintenance and subject to frequent repair and replacement.

    If people are going to smoke, then they need to be respectful of others and pick up after themselves. If they can't bring themselves to do that, then they're abusing the privilege of smoking in public and they're thus subject to forfeiting that privilege.

    Local taxpayers shouldn't have to incur an increasingly hefty financial obligation for cigarette butt removals, simply because some visitors are under a grievously mistaken impression that because they're on vacation, they enjoy the freedom to pollute someone else's home.



    Do you mean to tell me... (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:42:54 AM EST
    there are no littering ordinances in Honolulu that can be reasonable enforced to address the issue?  

    Just because some tools throw their Snickers wrappers in the sand doesn't mean we should ban Snickers.


    Indoors, no argument... (none / 0) (#114)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:34:03 PM EST
    though Capt. Casey and I survived growing up in hazmat enviroments;)  

    Outdoors?  Gimme a break.  Though I'm with you on common courtesy, and it goes both ways.  If ya see someone smoking in the park or the beach, try to deal and live and let live.  

    Not much of a cigar man myself (It's hard for me not to inhale), but I love the smell, reminds me of when I was a kid going to OTB with my dad, that small cigar and cigarette filled room was uber-hazmat with a side threat of a cigar in a little kid's eye as some punter got excited during the stretch run.  Great times.

    Look at Helmut, over 90 and stocking up for the EU menthol apocolypse! Life expectancy has skyrocketed since Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco to Europe, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!;)


    "Despite having fewer resources..." (5.00 / 4) (#143)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    ...and a fraction of the customers that broadband giants like Verizon and AT&T boast, one small internet service provider has resisted pressure from the NSA and refused to turn over customer data without a warrant.

    Xmission, an independent company based out of one office in Salt Lake City, Utah, has spent nearly two decades protecting its customers' privacy as the National Security Agency, Department of Justice, and prosecutors have ramped up pressure on internet service providers (ISPs).

    Owner Pete Ashdown told RT that every data collection request stops at his desk, since he is the sole proprietor of Xmission. At a larger company, a panel of stockholders would bow to government pressure, he added.

    "It's pretty basic for me. Most of their requests are not constitutional. They're not proper warrants so I turn them back," he said.


    "We have had situations where people inside the Attorney General's office have slandered my business and said that we're supporting criminals," Ashdown said. "We absolutely do not support criminals. We just ask for a proper warrant and that seems to be too much to ask most of the time, unfortunately."

    Ashdown has pledged his willingness to go to jail to protect his customers' privacy - a cause which he says is all too rare in the current profit-first climate exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    -- Small Utah ISP firm stands up to `surveillance state' as corporations cower

    Good God (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:43:52 PM EST
    As if anyone needs further proof that politicians are brain dead idiots, I present the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act.

    It would establish a National Park on the moon for preserving the artifacts we left long ago.

    The Outer Space Treaty "explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, claiming that they are the Common heritage of mankind."

    It also states that nation that launched the object retains control and ownership of that object.

    I can't believe the garbage bureaucrats come up with to try and garner votes.

    **My link function isn't working, but the source is nydailynews.com and Wikipedia for the treaty.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#160)
    by sj on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:20:49 PM EST
    Sometimes when I lose link or bold/italic attribute function, things will go back to normal if I page refresh using the "Preview" button.

    Tried That... (none / 0) (#163)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:45:23 PM EST
    ...after I posted, I restarted Firefox and now it's working again.

    Egypt (none / 0) (#1)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:27:12 AM EST
    Oh, Bob (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:47:18 AM EST
    Higher office in 2016 looks more and more like a pipe dream now.....

    RICHMOND -- A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

    The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor's wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said.

    The money to the corporation and Maureen McDonnell brings to $145,000 the amount Williams gave to assist the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012 -- funds that are now at the center of federal and state investigations.

    Williams, the chief executive of dietary supplement manufacturer Star Scientific Inc., also provided a $10,000 check in December as a present to McDonnell's eldest daughter, Jeanine, intended to help defray costs at her May 2013 wedding, the people said.

    Virginia's first family already is under intense scrutiny for accepting $15,000 from the same chief executive to pay for the catering at the June 2011 wedding of Cailin McDonnell at the Executive Mansion.

    All the payments came as McDonnell and his wife took steps to promote the donor's company and its products.

    Which now begs the question: (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:33:46 PM EST
    Will Gov. McDonnell even be able to finish out the final six months of his term without being indicted on public corruption charges? I mean that in all seriousness, because apparently, he's now lawyered up big time.

    More importantly (none / 0) (#75)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:45:45 PM EST
    Ken Cucinelli also has dealings with this particular donor, and I REALLY hope this comes to bite him as well - before election day.  I do NOT want him as my next governor!

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 63 (none / 0) (#52)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:30:05 PM EST
    Nice one... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:07:52 PM EST
    reminds me of my favorite comic strip, or co-favorite right up there with Doonesbury.  My main man Dilbert..here's yesterdays.

    I cut that one out myself yesterday (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:56:46 PM EST

    Catbert is my favorite (none / 0) (#79)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:11:59 PM EST
    My apolgies, JB (none / 0) (#81)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:20:48 PM EST
    I seriously didn't mean to suggest YOU were a racist. I should have written that sentence as "The whole conversation about this case has an undercurrent of..."

    From my time on this blog, I think you'd agree I don't go around throwing racist charges at anyone, and you've always been a rational voice, always polite, as far as I've read, so please know that I did not mean to imply you were racist.

    Like I said, we all come from where we come from. I have a very multi-ethnic family, it colors my thinking, especially on a case as volatile as this.

    Again, my friend, I wrote something too quickly, and it suggested something I didn't intend, and I am sure ain't true from my experience with your words here, so once more...I am sorry.



    And I assume you know... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:21:20 PM EST
    ...which thread/post(s) the previous comment applies to.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:24:56 PM EST
    And it's water under the bridge, my friend.

    We are all good.  :)


    ;-) n/t (none / 0) (#105)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:59:38 PM EST
    That might be... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:26:32 PM EST
    ...one of the ten best Dilbert's I've ever seen.

    Phucking great. Thanks.


    Sometimes I think... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:30:47 PM EST
    we have the same boss, Dilbert & I;)

    The face of America in Egypt (none / 0) (#131)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 06:19:04 AM EST

    Another former Obama administration official outlined for The Daily Beast the defense of Patterson: that she was doing her best to implement a White House policy meant to correct decades where the United States failed to engage the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in Egypt.

    "Anne has, since her first days in Egypt, noted that the Egyptians who are favorite contacts of Washington think tanks, congressional staffers, State Department types, and so forth are perhaps talented and creative and admirable individuals but do not necessarily represent 80 million Egyptians," this official said. "She basically has argued that we need to grasp that there is a conservative, religious, traditional part of Egyptian society that probably isn't identifying with the favorite pets of the Washington think tank crowd."

    Thursday Morning Snowden Update (none / 0) (#134)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 07:53:29 AM EST
    According to the NOAA it's a great day to fly.


    Moscow to Caracas theme song?

    In short...nothing new.

    Next: a logo for your public service (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:08:13 AM EST

    A new board game coming soon? (none / 0) (#146)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:22:52 AM EST
    Where's Snowden?
    Will he be a needle in a Caracas haystack?

    Or doomed to the life of Assange or Nasseri? Will he find refuge in a country where his every move won't be tracked night and day as he tries to avoid landing in the one country that gets more political asylum requests than any nation on earth?

    To up the coverage, perhaps he should stall deciding until after the results of the Zimmerman trial.


    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vols. 64 (none / 0) (#137)
    by Dadler on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:03:59 AM EST
    Sounds like the nontruncated censored version (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:15:50 AM EST
    of Anna Benson when police arrived.

    LOL... (none / 0) (#141)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:35:14 AM EST
    or a version of what this brass-balled lady said to a coward with a gun.

    D*mn you Snowden! lol. (none / 0) (#139)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:30:13 AM EST
    Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions...

    A Russian secret service that guards the country's high-flyers, including President Putin, will be reequipped with classic typewriters to protect its communications from any foreign snooping programs.

    The Federal Protective Service (FSO) has recently become concerned about the security of Russia's topmost officials after it emerged that US intelligence agencies were eavesdropping on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 summit in London, as well as made a habit of combing through the troves of phone records, e-mails and other data that pile up on the Internet.

    Now the FSO has announced it is going to procure a score of classic old typewriters, such as German-made Triumph Adler Twen 180s, to keep its secrets well out of NSA's reach.

    -- Voice of Russia

    Big shenanigans behind Morsi's failures, (none / 0) (#149)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:00:09 PM EST
    according to NYT.

    The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role -- intentionally or not -- in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi.

    And as the interim government struggles to unite a divided nation, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi's supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration.

    "This was preparing for the coup," said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. "Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis."

    Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country's top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani el-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak's last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi.

    What I Don't Get... (none / 0) (#152)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:11:10 PM EST
    ...is how did the guy win the election ?

    Everything I read about Egypt mentions the small minority that supports Morsi and the rest of the population that wanted him gone.

    Even before this, it just seemed like Egypt did not like the guy from day one.


    It was a fairly close election (none / 0) (#172)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 04:33:38 PM EST
    Morsi won with just under 52% of the vote. And his opponent was Mubarak's prime minister, Shafiq, so there might have been even more rioting and mayhem at the time had Shafiq won.

    I ain't got no love for the Muslim Brotherhood, but this was a democratically elected government, and the army threw him out after just one year. Today it's being reported the Islamicists are killing Christians, which I think was a totally predicted result of the military coup. The Morsi supporters are screaming jihad and that they will fight to to the death. Seriously, who could not have predicted this?


    I've sometimes wondered (none / 0) (#171)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:52:51 PM EST
    what the most succinct definition of and best use for the word "Yeesh!" would be. I think I found it.... on the NSA's website.

    Keep an eye on the NSA. They need watching 'very' closely. Record everything they do for the history books, ok?