I stole the above Dave Granlund cartoon from JJ’s Friday night post, because it perfectly expresses my viewpoint on who and what Edward Snowden is. I’ll have the latest Snowden news for you in a minute, but first a personal update and some breaking Boston bombing news.
I’m in Indiana visiting my mom for a couple of weeks. The weather is gorgeous here, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s great to be out of the drizzly cold weather the Boston area has been having. I’m looking forward to doing quite a bit of yard work, helping my mom buy a new bed, celebrating her 89th birthday with her, and just generally enjoying her company.
As usual, I drove my car out here, and I made great time. The speed limits have been increased to 70 mph in Ohio and Indiana, and everyone in Massachusetts and New York routinely drives at least 10-15 miles over the 65 mph limit. So I probably averaged around 70-75 mph on the trip.
My mechanic told me that I need to start using premium gas in my car. I hated to do it, but to my surprise I got much better mileage with the expensive gas. I used 2-1/2 tanks of gas to go more than 900 miles. Usually it takes 3 full tanks and a little more to make the trip!
As I mentioned above, some Boston bombing news broke last night. From The Boston Globe: Man charged with obstructing bombing probe.
A cab driver from Quincy who was close to the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers was arrested Friday on charges of lying to investigators and destroying evidence, allegedly obstructing the ongoing investigation of the 2013 attack that shocked the city and the nation.
Khairullozhon Matanov, a 23-year-old Kyrgyzstan national, allegedly contacted Tamerlan Tsarnaev 42 minutes after the April 15, 2013, bombings, and he bought him and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, dinner at a restaurant that night. Matanov visited Tamerlan, whom he knew from playing soccer and from places of worship, at the suspected bomber’s Cambridge home two days later.
Over several days after the bombings, he also called the brothers repeatedly.
Authorities alleged in a sweeping indictment unsealed Friday that Matanov realized the FBI would want to interview him about his relationship with the suspected bombers, but that he deleted files from his computer and tried to get rid of his cellphones. They also allege that he lied to investigators about his encounters with the brothers in the days after the bombings.
Matanov discussed his friendship with the Tsarnaev brothers with others in the days following the bombing, but he claims that they didn’t confess their involvement to him. Apparently, the FBI knew about all this a year ago; it’s not clear why they waited until now to charge Matanov. I’ll be keeping my eye on this story.
Now the latest on the Snowden Operation.
Edward Snowden has been dominating the news for the past few days because of the interview he gave to NBC’s Brian Williams and the recent release of Glenn Greenwald’s book on his collaboration with Snowden in releasing classified NSA files. I have to admit up front that I haven’t yet been able to force myself to watch the interview. Frankly, I doubt if Williams asked any of the questions that I think Snowden should be asked; but I promise I’ll watch the thing today to find out for sure. Meanwhile, I’ve gathered some reactions from people who have watched it.
Frankly, I admit up front that I think Edward Snowden is a defector as well as an arrogant, grandiose, narcissistic jerk. But I think you all knew that already. With that said, here are the latest Snowden (and Greenwald) stories from my very biased point of view.
Last week there were a couple of high-profile negative reviews of Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide, one by George Packer and the other by Michael Kinsley. As you know, Greenwald doesn’t take criticism well, and he and his fans were not happy with either review. Packer’s review was the most scathing and carefully argued, but Kinsley is taking most of the heat from the Greenwald fan base, probably because the review was quite snarky. For example:
Greenwald was the go-between for Edward Snowden and some of the
newspapers that reported on Snowden’s collection of classified documents
exposing huge eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, among
other scandals. His story is full of journalistic derring-do, mostly set in
exotic Hong Kong. It’s a great yarn, which might be more entertaining if
Greenwald himself didn’t come across as so unpleasant. Maybe he’s
charming and generous in real life. But in “No Place to Hide,” Greenwald
seems like a self-righteous sourpuss, convinced that every issue is
“straightforward,” and if you don’t agree with him, you’re part of
something he calls “the authorities,” who control everything for their own
nefarious but never explained purposes….
Throughout “No Place to Hide,” Greenwald quotes any person or
publication taking his side in any argument. If an article or editorial in
The Washington Post or The New York Times (which he says “takes
direction from the U.S. government about what it should and shouldn’t
publish”) endorses his view on some issue, he is sure to cite it as evidence that he is right. If Margaret Sullivan, the public editor (ombudsman, or
reader representative) of The Times, agrees with him on some controversy,
he is in heaven. He cites at length the results of a poll showing that more
people are coming around to his notion that the government’s response to
terrorism after 9/11 is more dangerous than the threat it is designed to
Greenwald doesn’t seem to realize that every piece of evidence he
musters demonstrating that people agree with him undermines his own
argument that “the authorities” brook no dissent. No one is stopping
people from criticizing the government or supporting Greenwald in any
way. Nobody is preventing the nation’s leading newspaper from publishing
a regular column in its own pages dissenting from company or government
orthodoxy. If a majority of citizens now agree with Greenwald that dissent
is being crushed in this country, and will say so openly to a stranger who
rings their doorbell or their phone and says she’s a pollster, how can
anyone say that dissent is being crushed? What kind of poor excuse for an
authoritarian society are we building in which a Glenn Greenwald, proud
enemy of conformity and government oppression, can freely promote this
book in all media and sell thousands of copies at airport bookstores
surrounded by Homeland Security officers?
And so on . . . After Kinsley’s piece was published the Snowden cult, of which NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan is a charter member, reacted as usual with an over-the-top firestorm of rage. I’ll let Sullivan speak for the cult. She questioned the choice of Kinsley as reviewer and accused the long-time book-reviewer of arguing the only the government should decide whether classified government materials should be published. She apparently also felt that Kinsley showed insufficient deference to her idol Glenn Greenwald. I’d like to quote from Sullivan’s piece, but for some reason I can’t copy and paste from it. But here’s a reaction to the kerfluffle from Jonathan Chait: Times vs. Sullivan vs. Kinsley vs. Greenwald. Chait agrees with me that the Packer review is “more devastating.” Chait thoroughly skewers Margaret Sullivan, and she can’t attack him because he didn’t do it at the NYT.
It’s certainly true that Kinsley is more effective [than Packer] at poking a hole in Greenwald’s argument than in making the case for his own (obviously problematic) alternative. That would seem to be fair enough given that he’s writing a review of Greenwald’s book. Not to Sullivan, who sprung into action, using her public editor’s column to scold Kinsley. His review “expressed a belief that many journalists find appalling,” she wrote, aghast. Also, “there’s a lot about this piece that is unworthy of the Book Review’s high standards, the sneering tone about Mr. Greenwald, for example.” No sneering in the book review!
Paul writes back to Sullivan — in a rebuttal posted at the bottom of Sullivan’s item — to say, more or less, “let me explain to you what what a book review is”:
It seems there is a lot of confusion on the Internet, especially among those who do not work in the media but even — disturbingly — within the media, about the differences between an editorial and a book review, between what “The New York Times” says and what a reviewer for The New York Times Book Review says. …
For a reviewer to address how a writer comes across, particularly in a memoir or first-hand account, is entirely fair game for a book review, and by no means an ad hominem attack.
The notion that it’s wrong for the book review to print abhorrent reviews, let alone to poke fun at no less a hero than Glenn Greenwald, is an artifact of the culture of smugness that Kinsley is writing about here. If there’s one thing objective journalists are allowed — indeed, expected — to hold extremely strong opinions about, other than the importance of reducing the budget deficit, it’s the importance of journalists themselves. How dare a newspaper publish a review expressing skepticism about special rights for journalists?
Just for balance, here is a fairly non-judgmental summary of the overall “controversy” at the Neiman Report.
Since I haven’t yet watched the Snowden interview with Brian Williams, I’ll give you what I think is the best response I’ve seen so far from Kurt Eichenbaum at Newsweek: 16 Questions Edward Snowden Wasn’t Asked. This article is must-read–if only I could quote the whole thing! Here’s a small sample:
1. Most of the information that has been revealed from the documents you obtained dealt with the abilities, rather than the actions, of the NSA. Did you see or do you have any evidence that the agency was, in fact, spying on Americans who were not linked to terrorist organizations through what is known as the “three-hop” standard? (Under this rule, one of 22 NSA officials must give approval to an analyst who believes a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” exists that a number is directly linked to terrorists. Then the analyst is allowed to determine through searches of metadata which phone numbers were called by the first number. The NSA can then determine the numbers called by the second phone, and the numbers called by the third. The intent is to see if numbers called in the United States by phones directly connected to terrorists will reveal terrorist operatives inside the country.)
5. Did you see or do you have evidence of the NSA reading content of emails sent by Americans or listening to phone calls of Americans without meeting the standards required by the national security courts known as FISA courts?
10. Do you believe that surveillance in foreign nations is intrinsically wrong?
11. You say that you do not believe your actions damaged United States security and that the government has failed to reveal instances where it did. Two questions: What kind of analysis did you conduct to be sure that the information you were taking did not compromise security? And, secondly, given that journalists do not have security clearances, why did you think they were the best placed to Click here and determine what would compromise national security and what didn’t?
Please go read the rest. It sounds like Brian Williams pretty much avoided asking Snowden any hard questions at all.
A few more quick headlines:
NBC News (Irony alert!): Russia Web Journalism Award Named For Edward Snowden.
More horrendous gang rapes in India–from Reuters India: Home minister seeks report on grisly rape, hanging of teens in Uttar Pradesh.
Hilarious must-read from Politico: NSA releases Snowden memo.
Those are my offerings for today. What are you reading and blogging about? Please share your links on any topic in the comment thread.http
Friday Nite Lite, on a Saturday Morning: Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings! We are only seeing singing Hitlers.Posted: June 29, 2013 | |
Actually, we don’t need dancing or singing Hitlers. Hell, all we need is for you to look like Hitler, no acting experience necessary.
In a new Craigslist ad, the History Channel (a.k.a., the “No History” channel, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley) is searching for Adolf Hitler look-alikes to cast in a new mini-series exploring about the “epic events of WWI and WWII.”
Somehow actual acting experience is not a requirement; neither is a German accent. So basically, the main criteria for the gig is: Look like Hitler.
Do that and the History Channel will fly you out to the U.S. east coast, and then to Germany, to film the unnamed series, which will also feature Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (whose lookalikes also require no acting experience or convincing accents):
We are currently casting a 6-hour docu-drama mini-series that will tell the story of the key world leaders through the epic events of WWI and WWII, and we are seeking men to play the roles of:
Adolf Hitler (age 25 – 56)
Winston Churchill (age 35 – 65)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (age 30 – 60)
The most important thing is a physical resemblance to the actual historical figures. The majority of the cast will be tracked over decades, so we will be exploring the possibility of casting two people to play both “young” and “old” versions, as well as the possibility of casting a single individual who could be aged up & down. Anyone who falls within the age ranges above could submit themselves. Previous acting experience is not required. German accent (for Hitler) and British accent (for Churchill) is also helpful, but also not required.
Looks like this docu-drama is going to be an excellent showcase of talent(/snark)…too bad the audition will not be as enjoyable as this:
Mona will have your Saturday Reads later on…Now for the extra cartoons from last night.
To understand this cartoon about McDonalds and the Chase Debit card…Former McDonald’s Worker Sues Franchise for Paying Wages Via Debit Card – ABC News
A former McDonald’s worker in Pennsylvania is suing a franchiser owner saying she was required to receive her wages through a debit card that charged fees, resulting in some hourly employees receiving less than minimum wage.
Natalie Gunshannon, a single mother, 27, said she and other workers were paid through a JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card, which has a $1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals, a $10 inactivity fee after 90 days, and a 75 cent online payment fee per transaction and other fees.
Gunshannon, who filed a lawsuit in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, is hoping to have her case certified as a class action on behalf of the other employees who were paid with the Payroll card.
That is going to be a case to keep an eye on…
Love the “Moose and Squirrel” lurking in the hallway.
This is an open thread.
It is Friday, right? All day it has felt like a Saturday…before we get to the cartoons I wanted to post two quick links on Zimmerman.
This one if from last week, but with all the NSA leaks, it got buried: Fox News host: Zimmerman ‘has already been punished’ with weight gain
Fox News host Gregg Jarrett says that George Zimmerman “has already been punished” for the killing of Trayvon Martin because he “looks like he’s put on a hundred pounds.”
During Monday’s coverage of jury selection, Jarrett and Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle observed that Zimmerman had gained weight since his arrest in April 2012.
“He does look like a different guy,” Jarrett remarked. “It looks like he’s put on a hundred pounds. Look, he has been in hiding and he fears for his life, and there have been all kinds of death threats. And, you know, he can’t go anywhere, can’t get out and get exercise.”
“Probably suffering from stress and anxiety,” Guilfoyle added.
“You eat when you’re under stress and pressure and stuff like that,” Jarrett agreed. “So, you know, he’s already been punished to some extent. We’ll wait and see whether a Jury punishes him further.”
“This is an individual that was trying to do some civic duty by being on the community watch,” Guilfoyle opined. “That was the purpose of why he was there that night.”
“Sure, let’s not forget there’s a reason for a community watch,” Jarrett replied. “Because that’s a community with a need for a watch. Because they’d had problems like this in the past.”
Of course we should feel the sadness and grief at the “punishment” of Zimmerman’s living conditions and the effects on his waistline…but then obesity is not the only thing this “unjust” trial has caused. According to George Zimmerman’s father, this trial is also responsible for the Boston Bombing. Yes, can you believe this shit? Robert Zimmerman Sr. Blames Boston Bombings On Eric Holder’s Decision To Investigate Trayvon’s Death
Honestly, WTF is it with this asshole family? Anyway, this is what Daddy Zimmerman had to say:
With the first week of his son George Zimmerman‘s trial coming to a close and Father’s Day just around the corner, the defendant’s father Robert Zimmerman Sr. must have thought now was the perfect time to release his new e-book, “Florida v. Zimmerman: Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of my Son, George.” The controversial text contains the bold claim that April’s Boston Marathon bombing never would have happened had the FBI not been spending so much time investigating the death of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman directs most of the blame to Attorney General Eric Holder, who he says “shamelessly” hyped his son’s alleged murder case “to obtain great advantage in the African-American community.” He goes on to claim that Holder’s decision to investigate whether Martin’s death constituted a federal civil rights violation led to the FBI to not have “adequate resources to investigate clearly identified potential terrorist” threat in Boston. “Tragically,” Zimmerman writes, “we have suffered the consequences of Mr. Holder’s politically motivated decisions.”
In addition to the accusations against Holder, the e-book contains a chapter called “Who Are The True Racists,” which includes a list of black leaders and organizations that Zimmerman has deemed “racist,”
Then Mediate cites a Think Progress article as follows: George Zimmerman’s Father Says The ‘True Racists’ Are African-American | ThinkProgress
Congressional Black Caucus. “[A] pathetic, self-serving group of racists… advancing their purely racist agenda.” He later adds that “all members of Congress should be ashamed of the Congressional Black Caucus, as should be their constituents.” And finally: “They are truly a disgrace to all Americans.”
The NAACP. “[S]imply promotes racism and hatred for their own, primarily finical, interests” and “without prejudice and racial divide, the NAACP would simply cease to exist.”
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. “[W]hat I would expect of a racist.”
Trayvon Martin’s funeral director. A “racial activist and former head of the local NAACP.”
Benjamin Crump, Natialie Jackson and Darrly Parks, attorneys for Travyon Martin’s family. “The scheme team.”
The National Basketball Players Association.
Black Chamber of Commerce.
National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers.
National Black United Fund.
United Negro College Fund.
While stopping short of explicitly calling President Obama a racist, Zimmerman Sr. does say that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have “shamelessly” sought to exploit his son’s case “to obtain great advantage in the African-American community.”
Zimmerman Sr. says that because of Holder’s decision to investigate whether Trayvon Martin’s death violated federal civil rights laws, the FBI did not have “adequate resources to investigate clearly identified potential terrorist [sic] in the Boston area.” Now, “tragically, we have suffered the consequences of Mr. Holder’s politically motivated decisions.”
Wow. The only thing I can bring up about this is apples and trees and gravity.
So on with the cartoons. Take a look at this op/ed about the importance of cartoon editorials in newspapers, and the editors who support the cartoonist.
It is time to blow the whistle on newspaper editors who claim that they rid themselves of their editorial cartoonist for “budgetary” reasons. It is a dishonest, disingenuous and duplicitous assault on the truth. That is not to say that there are not budgetary problems facing newspapers across America, just that it is not the reason they are laying-off their cartoonists. The sad truth of journalism today is that there are editors who “lack the guts”, the politest way I can express it, to have a cartoonist.
The public accepts their “budgetary’”excuse because they know newspapers are having a tough time, unknowingly buying into these editors’ falsehoods. It is their cover letter to shield themselves and thus be forgiven the sad decision “they had to make”. Baloney.
Before we get to the NSA cartoons, a few on different topics.
Alright, now we can get to the NSA leak cartoons.
Those eyes sure do freak me out.
(Love that one…can you hear Dubya saying that word “controlify?” I can!)
That cartoon made me laugh like hell…just look at that image again.
Bwahahahaha….yup don’t need no spy game for a discovery like that do we?
This is an open thread.
Good Friday Nite Lite!
You want to laugh at something funny? Today is National Doughnut Day!
Some national holidays hold annual traditions for quiet reflection and gratitude among friends and family. Other holidays celebrate mindless consumerism, and capitalize on our desire for all things free: June 7 is National Doughnut Day!
And don’t think this is just some commercial enterprise…well, it is but it isn’t something thought up within the last several years.
National Doughnut Day is generally billed as a showdown between corporate giants Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. However, National Doughnut Day was actually established by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor a tradition that began in World War I: doughnuts served to homesick soldiers by female volunteers known as “lassies.”
That’s right, 75 years ago eating doughnuts was firmly declared a patriotic act. Purely for love of country those young men fought fascism and ate fried dough as though there were no tomorrow. But tomorrow is here, and it’s brought with it the highest symbol of freedom: free doughnuts. We must do our part!
And if you are now madly searching the Web to find your closest doughnut, it’s likely you are a woman looking for a Dunkin’ Donuts store. We didn’t make that up. According to Yahoo analytics, Dunkin’ Donuts is searched three times more than Krispy Kreme on their site, with the majority of those who searched for Dunkin’ Donuts being women.
This makes sense historically, because in the 1934 movie “It Happened One Night” Clark Gable teaches Claudette Colbert how to dunk a doughnut. As everyone knows, when a guy teaches a girl how to do something in a movie they’re bound to fall in love at some point. And everyone also knows that when beautiful people in the movies do it, we do it, too.
I won’t give you a video clip of that doughnut scene from It Happened One Night, I will give you this doughnut scene from Seinfeld:
Now…for the cartoons.
We will start with the latest scandal cartoons and work our way from there….ending with various topics on this and that.
They raised the price to 98 bucks for kids 10 and up…last time I went to Disney world it was 67 bucks a ticket. Damn 100 dollars is too damn much!
This next one is for Boston Boomer and the rest of those from Indiana:
And finally….this last cartoon for tonight, I think it is hilarious…and is the best of the lot, aside from the Luckovich one about “she said strip.”
“White Guys Rule”
“Gays Are Evil”
This is an open thread, but before I go…one more quick news story tied to a video clip.
Southern California Edison is decommissioning the remaining two units at a nuclear plant that powered as many as 1.4 million homes, Sky News reports,
The San Onofre facility, located just south of Los Angeles, had been shut down for the past year after inspectors discovered a leaking tube inside a steam generator.
The picture made me think of one thing….this scene from Naked Gun:
Everywhere I look, something reminds me of her.
While the first tropical storm is making its way over Florida, and TCM is having an evening of creature features…here are a few news items to discuss tonight.
Yesterday’s big break via The Guardian and Glen Greenwald had a bit of company this evening. The Washington Post is reporting more companies are involved in the NSA Data “collection.”
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority.
Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection. PRISM recruited its first partner, Microsoft, and began six years of rapidly growing collection beneath the surface of a roiling national debate on surveillance and privacy. Late last year, when critics in Congress sought changes in the FISA Amendments Act, the only lawmakers who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
You can read more at the link…
Here are a few more links on the matter.
It is disgusting, and in my opinion, with the way these terrorist sting operations are handled, that “border” on entrapment or set up and organized by the feds themselves…these secret courts and top-secret decisions scare the crap out of me.
In other news, that did not get much notice today…
Today is the 69th Anniversary of D-Day: Before and After D-Day: Color Photos From England and France, 1944 | LIFE.com
It’s no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in photos, movies, old news reels, and usually in grim black-and-white — what happened on the beaches of Normandy (codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed their historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.
But in color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine’s Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: American troops training in small English towns; the French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads; the reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital; the jubilant liberation of Paris itself.
As presented here, in masterfully restored color, Scherschel’s pictures — most of which were never published in LIFE — feel at-once profoundly familiar and somehow utterly, vividly new.
June 6 is the 45th anniversary of the death of Robert Francis Kennedy. Shot the day before as he claimed victory in the 1968 Democratic primary in California, he remains a lasting influence on the politics of this day.
Clearly a progressive and a liberal by any measure, Robert Kennedy’s message transcends political boundaries. Expressed in the vocabulary of humanity, Kennedy’s intellectual perspectives can be found in the policy proposals of Reagan as well as Obama. It was Robert Kennedy’s concept, for example, that Reagan borrowed to advocate targeted regulatory relief and specialized tax incentives to economically depressed areas. Kennedy called it “operation bootstrap”; Reagan called it enterprise zones, both liked it for the same reason: it confessed faith and confidence in a person’s ability to stand on his own if given a fair chance.
And…one of Hollywood’s legends passed away, Esther Williams, Who Swam to Movie Fame, Dies at 91 – NYTimes.com
Esther Williams, a teenage swimming champion who became an enormous Hollywood star in a decade of watery MGM extravaganzas, died on Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 91.
“Esther Williams had one contribution to make to movies — her magnificent athletic body,” the film critic Pauline Kael wrote. “And for over 10 years MGM made the most of it, keeping her in clinging, wet bathing suits and hoping the audience would shiver.”
For some vintage images: Esther Williams in Pictures – Slide Show – NYTimes.com
Isn’t she beautiful…
So of course you know this is an open thread, but I leave you with this little clip….of Gods and Monsters.