Did you hear the one about the technical assistant for the CIA who leaked government documents to his favorite libertarian before holing up in a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, and stuffs pillows under his door because he thinks that will foil eavesdropping?
Meet Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old making 200 grand a year to work for Booz-Allen, who had a pretty cushy life in Hawaii before blowing the whistle on practices he thought needed airing, and flying to a city he deemed up to his standards for freedom, within that two-systems-one-country-that-country-being-China sort of thing.
I was at work on a post about the extreme ugliness being displayed all over the internet the past few days, which may yet appear with its attendant Blingee, but of course Mr. Snowden and Glennzilla had to step on my Blingee with their big scoop. Thanks, fellas! Really, reopening and examining the Patriot Act seems like an excellent idea to me, even if the messenger(s) come with shipping containers full of baggage, but Glenn, as an expat and a lawyer, don’t you think you should have informed your idealistic young source that Hong Kong and the U.S. have an extradition treaty? Whoops. What, weren’t the hotels in Taiwan good enough?
**Update: Of course he’s a Ron Paul supporter! What else would he be? (Title edited to reflect author’s slow realization that maybe she WANTS search engines to find this post. Doh!)
So you may have heard that the politisphere is a little angsty today. My television isn’t even on and I can hear Chris Matthews yelling, all because of GIUARDIAN GLENN GREENWALD’S BIG GIANT SCOOP, which is is not materially different from LESLIE CAULEY’S BIG GIANT SCOOP OF AUGHT SIX, except that now it’s Obama doing it! With secret FISA courts, which I have a vague memory of Obama voting for way back when, which is why I have GIANT SCOOP letdown right now. It wasn’t my favorite of Obama’s moves then, but I decided I’d take the good with the iffy and move on. And then the blogoverse trumpets GLENZILLA’S VERY HUGE NEWS and it turns out to be sort-of-not-warrantless-not-wiretapping. You know how you may have always intended to catch a hot show after catching one good episode, and when you finally tune in, it’s a rerun of that same damn episode?
(Big ole hat tip to TPM commenter Doremus Jessup20 ; perhaps GG should think about tipping his lid—currently up on the Guardian page, collecting coins, to help keep Glenn HONEST—to Ms. Cauley.)
**Update** Well! isn’t it nice to know we’re never alone? Oh Hell’s Bells. The discouraging thing is that I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised that the NSA didn’t buy my behavior from Google the way Hungry Girl did. Nothing I do is a secret to her!
Rape. It’s Mother Nature’s way! Even with background checks and all, the military has a hard time screening out sex offenders, because golly! It has to train its soldiers to fight their very own Mother Nature-installed hormones, what keep knocking up all those female soldiers, especially on aircraft carriers, where it is well known that women should be kept away from the manimals who serve our country. Thank heavens Big Daddy was never one of them, as the late, great Senator from New Jersey once pointed out.
Watching Chambliss (R [U Really Asking Which Party?]—PreCambria) apparently doing some equivalent of thinking aloud is instructive, if agita-inducing for Republican consultants:
Didn’t we tell’em wimmen soldiers was a bad idea? Who knows how many of them high-spirited young boys got a little too frisky? I have an idea—let’s investigate the baby-mamas! Honey, who did this to you? You can tell me—I’m your C.O.
what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans
Meanwhile in the annals of brazen callousness, Sen. Coburn’s fellow coprolite OK Sen. James Inhofe has tried to get around their stonewalling aid for Eastern states by calling the Sandy aid bill a “slush fund:”
“they were getting things … in the Virgin Islands, fixing roads there, and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C.”
Evidently the good senators are unaware that both Washington and the Virgin Islands are U.S. territories. But what does that matter? It’s not like they have senators to deny aid to anybody.
Still red-faced from deploring Newtown parents’ strange commitment to furthering an anti-gun agenda, right wingers are disgusted that Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse would be so callous as to use Monday’s devastating monster tornado to highlight his global warming agenda.
Yes, Senator Whitehouse, the beset members of the GOP will long remember your shameless rant against them, particularly the parting shot:
So, like it or not, we’re in this together.
As is usually the case in disasters of this sort, the best and fastest way to help is with cash.. Go to:RedCross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999. Other suggestions for where to send donations are welcome.
A “Tokamak” is a doughnut-shaped fusion reactor—often as much as hundreds of miles in circumference—that can control the plasma-scale temperatures of fusion energy by channeling thermal streams around a super-powered magnetic racetrack.
After decades of research on prototype Tokamak designs, the Iter project has recieved a final go-ahead from 34 international governments. That’s really satisfying to me, because fusion power is one of the few “sure bets” for sustainable power generation in the future. Not quite as important as that, I should note that the last time I presented a technical pitch on fusion technology at an international science conference, the topic was the Iter project. Not saying I made the Iter project happen, just that—like thousands of other people—I gave it a nudge.
As more information comes to light about the Beantown Bombers, it becomes increasingly clear that Uncle Ruslan was right all along: The brothers were / are a pair of not-too-bright losers. Mother Jones offers a list of odd and stupid things the Boom-Boom Bros did that directly resulted in their death and/or capture. These items include leaving their carjacked hostage alone in the vehicle while they went into a convenience store for Red Bull and then failing to toss their escaped victim’s mobile phone, enabling the cops to track their every move.
They’re murderers, sure, but sophisticated terror kingpins? Please. And yet the very lawmakers who most frequently have to pause to wring the accumulated ball-sweat out of their much-humped personal copies of the US Constitution are now ready to torch that document because of the supposed existential threat posed by clowns like the Boom-Boom Bros.
Senator Lindsey Graham, perpetually trying to butch up sufficiently to head off a possible tea party primary challenge, took to the Senate floor yesterday to baldly declare a thought-crime and ethnic-caste standard that would eliminate due process for certain American citizens:
“Here’s what we’re suggesting, that the surviving suspect—due to the ties that these two have to radical Islamic thought and the ties to Chechnya, one of most radical countries in the world—that the president declare preliminarily that the evidence suggests that this man should be treated as an enemy combatant.”
The “we” in that first clause includes Senator John McCain, the Hanoi Hilton survivor who is apparently transformed into a squealing candy ass at the sight of a teenage jihadi-wannabe’s wispy moustache. Senator Kelly Ayotte rounds out the new neocon triumvirate in lieu of the departed Joe Lieberman. She’s an improvement over her predecessor only in that her mouth isn’t bracketed by alarming skin-pleats and she doesn’t have a mewling voice that tempts listeners to drive chopsticks through their own eardrums to escape its range. But on foreign policy, she’s pretty much Joe in a dress.
In the interest of civility, let’s assume that these three and their fellow Republicans aren’t corrupt, cynical hucksters who are attempting to transform the blood of innocent people into political gain. So they must be cowards instead, sniveling, bed-wetting chicken-shits who are ready to toss our national experiment with free speech and equality before the law into the toilet and hide under the nearest rock—and not before the very real and powerful threats arrayed against it from within and without, but before a pair of moronic clowns like the Boom-Booms. Some “Daddy Party.”
Sorry, Uncle Ruslan. You may have lived peacefully and productively in this country for decades, but since your nephews went terribly awry for reasons not yet, and perhaps never to be, entirely clear, your Mooslin kind is not wanted here, immigration reform is hereby declared over, and Pam Gellar’s stiffie over your ethnicity will last as long as her sundried corpus draws breath.
Meanwhile, in non-terror-related news, 30,000 Americans are still dying of gun violence a year.
Oh parts and guns, parts and guns, it’s a sort of theme day here at Rumproast. But what with the ole saltpeter pouch up there, celebrated humorist Mitch “Cuddles” McConnell, taking to Facebook to harry Harry Reid over his failure to pass the background-check gun bill, how can one not notice how inextricably, amongst the ‘Baggy crowd, parts and guns are entwined?
Naturally, with Newtown families in the Senate chamber (or, “props,” as the GOPs like to style sentient beings with legitimate grievances against the reign of Senator Yertle), the testudinous Kentuckian was unable to pump his claw in the air, but once he repaired to the Cloakroom, it was Katie bar the Iphone! What more hilarity could ensue than MitchMemes’ (take note, Rep. Hansen) LOLguns?
What a synecdouche. (Hat tipped respectively to Lowkey and mainmati. All glory, or blame, properly punctuated hate mail etc, to them.)
We don’t know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
The terrible devices which exploded in Boston today have forced not just horror, fear and suffering on innocents, but, depending on the perpetrator(s), uncertainty and vulnerability on a new generation of Americans. We still have no word on who may be responsible; the New York Post’s rumor of an Arab suspect in custody was denied by the Boston Police Department.
As in the case of the disgruntled Texas judge who may have gunned down his fellow lawmen rather than the Aryan Nation, there are better and worse scenarios for who is culpable, for the psychological sake of the society involved, though the victims’ pain is undiminished.
The President’s measured response will naturally incur wrath among his detractors, but let us hope that the right people are now at work bringing the right people to justice this time. And send our prayers, those who do, and wishes for comfort for the families of the victims.
This is Polly posting for Strange, who could not let Jonathan Winters’ passing go unremarked. Winters’ brilliance is perhaps no more perfectly illustrated than by the wild, multitudinous and instant characterizations he created, particularly the ones he wasn’t supposed to create while filming ads for products he was supposedly pitching, like the out-takes for Good Humor bars here.
One of Strange’s old flames was the daughter of the director who filmed Winters’ Hefty ads, and had a reel of such out-takes which so far seem not to have made it to You-tube, but which Strange was lucky enough to see. One sample line, from a rueful coach: “Fifty-six to nothin’ in the first quarter——somebody’s not doin’ their job!”
Two items in the news about Cuba (optional soundtrack below):
As Balloon Juice commenter Lamh35 pointed out in the bitchfest thread, it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:
1) Castro is a doddering, toothless old fart whose utility as a wingnut bogeyman is receding faster than his gum line.
2) Beyoncé may be more widely worshipped than Jesus at this point, so Rubio will piss off her millions of fans, and for what? The Cuban exile vote can’t even swing an election in Florida anymore, much less the US.
3) The only reason our absurd Cuba policy continues is because, a) most Americans don’t know / don’t give a shit about it, and b) numbers 1 and 2 above haven’t quite sunk in yet with the political-media industrial complex.
Rubio released a statement on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip, saying, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”
Well, yeah, but Saudi Arabia is a medieval dictatorship that openly enslaves half of its population and beheads people for fucking sorcery, and yet I’m allowed to travel there as an American citizen. If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.
Second news item out of Cuba:
The parents who kidnapped their own children from the kids’ grandmother and sailed out of Tampa Bay earlier this week have turned up in Cuba. Several things about this story smell fishier than Hemingway’s tackle box:
1) The parents, whom the media characterize as “anti-government protesters,” were busted last June in Louisiana for pot and firearms after a disturbance at a hotel. The cops allege they made bizarre references to Armageddon, prompting the court to put the kids in foster care. The father later confronted the foster parents, waving a gun around and demanding his children before running off before the cops arrived.
2) This supposedly prompted the authorities to terminate parental rights and pass custody of the kids to the grandmother in Florida. Practically everyone in Louisiana and Florida is “anti-government” and skulks around with pot and guns mumbling about Armageddon. And from what friends in CPS tell me, terminating parental rights is REALLY, REALLY hard, even for people who have a documented history of thrashing their kids half to death. And yet these people’s parental rights were terminated in less than a year for guns, pot and Armageddon talk?
But now the government of Cuba says it’s going to hand them over to the US, apparently without even pausing to wring any anti-US propaganda mileage out of them. Even if the parents are bona fide, bug-eyed loons and / or the most annoying Paultroons in the universe, that’s unusual. There’s more here than meets the eye.