A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.
The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge for the Northern District of California, made his findings in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity. The group says it has evidence of an illegal wiretap used against it by the National Security Agency under the secret surveillance program established by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Justice Department has tried for more than two years to kill the lawsuit, saying any surveillance of the charity or other entities was a “state secret” and citing the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program.
But Judge Walker, who was appointed to the bench by former President George Bush, rejected those central claims in his 56-page ruling. He said the rules for surveillance were clearly established by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to get a warrant from a secret court.
This Bush-McCain-Obama line was underscored this week by one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, Anthony Lake, who said “the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat facing the world,” the Financial Times reports.
Think of that: the biggest threat facing the world. Bigger than global climate change. Bigger than poverty and disease. Bigger than growing conflicts over shrinking resources. Bigger than terrorism (which was the last greatest biggest threat facing the world). Bigger than organized crime. Bigger than the Terror War operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia, which continue to spawn so much death, ruin, extremism and economic turmoil. Bigger than all of these — and all other threats facing the world — is the prospect that Iran might, in Lake’s words, “get on the edge of developing a nuclear weapon.”
The second bozo to die this week.
“I’ve been portrayed as a caveman by some. That’s not true. I’m a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners or niggers.”
– North Carolina Progressive, February 6, 1985
The “Adobe Reader” NSPlugin on OS X, since version 8, has refused to load itself into any browser other than Safari — the only browser that doesn’t need it (Safari has built-in PDFKit-based rendering). Total uselessness.
And more idiocy at the link.
Yesterday I said the new Acrobat 9 for the Mac tried hard to emulate the beautiful windows experience Acrobat reader owners have.
Well, that was before I found out how great version 9 is for windows…
Could Europe be drafting a new law to disconnect suspected filesharers from the internet? MEPs have already signalled their condemnation of this approach. But last-minute amendments to telecommunications legislation could bring the so-called “3 strikes” approach in by the backdoor. If you want your MEP to stick to their guns on 3 strikes, write to them today to voice your concerns.
They know it’s wrong – why else via a backdoor?
You can find details of your MEPs here. Suggestions for topics to raise in your letters are here and analysis and commented amendments with other resources about the Telecoms Package are also available.
This week the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a stunning document to explain why Ground Zero has remained nothing but a hole for some seven years.
It is arguably the greatest political and bureaucratic fiasco in the history of the world. Remember the line about how if we don’t rebuild the towers “the terrorists will win”? The terrorists will be dead of old age before this project is finished.
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, who did the remarkably frank report at the request of a frustrated Gov. David Paterson of New York, wrote that original estimates of time and cost (now at $15 billion) “did not reflect the unprecedented challenges associated with a project . . . involving so many different public and private stakeholders.” (Arguably the system began its decline when the vocabulary changed deadly “factions” into benevolent “stakeholders.”)
Ground Zero is a perfect storm of contemporary American politics. The report cites “19 different governmental entities from every level of government each laying claim to some component of the overall project.” And, “Each entity makes daily decisions about their individual projects, but no streamlined process or authority is in place to . . . ensure that each decision is in the best interest of the overall project.” This sounds eerily like the 9/11 Commission’s assessment of our dis-coordinated national security agencies.
Officials unveiled the prototype of the first U.S. coin with readable Braille characters on Wednesday — a silver dollar commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the creator of the alphabet for the blind.
The coin’s display opened the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention in Dallas.
“This is going to put Braille in front of people in a very dramatic way,” said Chris Danielson, a federation spokesman.
Because everybody is always carrying a few silver dollars, right?
Oh, by the way, if you guessed “11 dollar” as the price for this dollar, please step forward to claim your prize.
Click here to view full image (271 kb)
Can you guess what is shown in this photo? What is the plume extending upward from the ground? Why is the top of the plume brighter than its bottom? What is the bright object in the lower righthand corner of the picture, and what is the dark, cone-shaped feature that seems to be leaving the plume and converging on the bright object? Examine the picture carefully, look at the high-resolution version if you want to, and see if you can figure out the answers to these questions. Then, read the caption to test yourself.
De vrijheid op Internet is de religieus geïnspireerde medemens eveneens een doorn in het oog. Respect voor brandende braambossen, gezalfden, verlossers, onnozele kinderen, onheilsprofeten, heilige boeken dan wel opperwezens spreken op Internet niet vanzelf. Erg pijnlijk allemaal voor de liefhebber van waarden & normen.
Nu de PvdA met partijen als het CDA en de ChristenUnie in één Kabinet is gaan zitten, is een giftige politieke cocktail ontstaan van linkse frustraties en religieuze dwingelandij.
Voorlopig resultaat: een door de belastingbetaler gefinancierd ‘beschavingsoffensief’ op Internet. Nuttige idioten bij het ruimhartig gesubsidieerde ultralinkse Meldpunt Discriminatie Internet (MDI), leveren de klachten die het Openbaar Ministerie – onder verantwoordelijkheid van de devote katholiek Ernst Hirsch Ballin (CDA) – meent te kunnen gebruiken om lastpakken als ondergetekende in de cel te werpen.
Een onheilspellende ontwikkeling. De vraag luidt dan ook: who is next? De Vrijheid van Meningsuiting is door Balkenende IV ondergeschikt gemaakt aan de Vrijheid van Godsdienst – zoveel is zeker. Godsdienstwaanzinnigen als jongerenimam Abdul Jabbar van de Ven hebben zodoende vrij spel gekregen. Hij hoeft maar zijn nood te klagen bij het MDI, of ook u wordt door tien (10) ijverige overheidsdienaren van uw bed gelicht.
Maar gisteren namen de fracties genoegen met een A4-tje waarin het kabinet een aantal oude cijfers nog eens op een rijtje zette. De boodschap: de Nederlander gaat er gemíddeld niet op achteruit. De verwachting is namelijk dat veel automobilisten door de kilometerheffing minder gaan rijden. Zij zouden dan zelfs goedkoper uit zijn doordat de motorrijtuigenbelasting en bpm (aanschafbelasting op nieuwe auto’s) verdwijnt.
Als je niet aan de verwachting voldoet, en bijvoorbeeld gewoon dagelijks naar kantoor heen en weer blijft rijden, want tja, je moet toch inkomsten blijven hebben, dan ga je er dus op achteruit.
Oftewel, precies zoals verwacht, een ordinaire lastenverzwaring.
Garfield isn’t what it used to be. As a result, people have been re-making garfields without the text, without garfield, randomizing it, etc, with sometimes hilarious results.
Today’s garfield immediately triggered something with me. Here’s the strip, let’s see if you get the same.
And? Did you immediately think of the following as well?
By the way, did you know it makes an awesome halloween costume?
Running a marathon is hard enough for most people. Some people, nonetheless, like to mix in some extra sweating and chaffing via elaborate “marathon costumes”. And there’s a Flickr photo pool about it…
Once oil passed $140 a barrel, even the most rabidly rightwing media hosts had to prove their populist credibility by devoting a portion of every show to bashing Big Oil. Some have gone so far as to invite me on for a friendly chat about an insidious new phenomenon: “disaster capitalism.” It usually goes well – until it doesn’t.
For instance, “independent conservative” radio host Jerry Doyle and I were having a perfectly amiable conversation about sleazy insurance companies and inept politicians when this happened: “I think I have a quick way to bring the prices down,” Doyle announced. “We’ve invested $650bn to liberate a nation of 25 million people, shouldn’t we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the stinkin’ Lincoln, at rush-hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government … Why don’t we just take the oil? We’ve invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in 10 days, not 10 years.”
There were a couple of problems with Doyle’s plan, of course. The first was that he was describing the biggest stick-up in world history. The second that he was too late. “We” are already heisting Iraq’s oil, or at least are on the brink of doing so.
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% – far more than previously estimated – according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.
The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.
The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.
Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.
“It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House,” said one yesterday.
”If bin Laden takes over and becomes king of Saudi Arabia, he’d turn off the tap,” said Roger Diwan, a managing director of the Petroleum Finance Company, a consulting firm in Washington. ”He said at one point that he wants oil to be $144 a barrel” — about six times what it sells for now.
On Windows, Acrobat reader has been a piece of utter crap for quite a while now. And now it sucks on Mac OS just as much. (Where, I have to admit, I’ve been keeping it off my machines, since Mac OS understands pdf very well by itself, thank you very much)