Friday, May 31, 2013

Here's Your Change

It was announced yesterday that this very same James Comey - who as Bush's Deputy Attorney General authorized the once-very-controversial, patently illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program - is President Obama's choice to be the new Director of the FBI.

[...]

It is true that Comey was at the center of a dramatic Bush-era political controversy that earned him praise from many Bush critics, including me. Comey was one of the Bush DOJ lawyers who, along with Ashcroft, Goldsmith, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, had threatened to resign if Bush did not modify the NSA program in order to make it legal in Comey's eyes, and he then went to the hospital where Ashcroft was quite ill to prevent then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-White House chief of staff Andy Card from bullying the infirm and barely cogent Attorney General into signing off on the legality of the NSA program.

In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years - that we still don't know - even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn't end up resigning was because Bush officials "modified" that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law.

[...]

Then there's Comey's mixed and quite murky role in authorizing Bush's torture program. Internal DOJ emails released to the New York Times in 2009 show Comey expressing serious reservations, and even objections, to the willingness of Albert Gonzales to legally authorize any interrogation techniques the White House wanted, and he warned those officials that their involvement would be condemned by history. But even as he did so, Comey, as the New York Times explained, eventually, albeit reluctantly, gave his legal approval to those techniques.

[...]

But this is exactly where the Obama administration has taken us. Comey will run the FBI alongside Obama's chief of the CIA, John Brennan, who spent the Bush years advocating multiple torture techniques and rendition. The Agent of Change reaches deep into the bowels of the Bush National Security State and empowers them to run two of the most powerful agencies. Then again, the Bush NSA program is hardly controversial in the Age of Obama: it was Obama who first voted to immunize the telecoms from all legal liability for their illegal participation in that program, then the Obama DOJ succeeded in having all lawsuits over that program dismissed on secrecy and immunity grounds, and then Obama himself succeeded in first enacting and then renewing the law that legalized most aspects of that Bush NSA eavesdropping program.

[...]

The politician elected on a pledge of Change and Restoration of Our Values now routinely empowers exactly those Washington officials who championed the policies against which he railed.

[...]

Indeed, when the Bush administration declared [American citizen Jose] Padilla to be an "enemy combatant" and thus removed him from the civilian court system and imprisoned him without charges, Comey was the US Attorney in New York, where Padilla's case was contested. He then became a leading advocate for Bush's denial of the most basic due process to this US citizen.

[...]

If you had told progressives in 2008 that the Bush lawyer who approved the NSA program would be named by Obama as the FBI Director, they would scoff in disbelief. Now they'll cheer. That is what has changed.

  Glenn Greenwald
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Disaster Relief Turned Into Disaster

The UN has taken the rare step of invoking its legal immunity to rebuff claims for compensation from 5,000 victims of the Haiti cholera epidemic, the worst outbreak of the disease in modern times and widely believed to have been caused by UN peacekeepers importing the infection into the country.

Citing a convention laid down in 1946, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, telephoned President Michel Martelly of Haiti to tell him that the UN was not willing to compensate any of the claimants. The epidemic has killed almost 8,000 people and stricken hundreds of thousands more – about one out of every 16 Haitians.

For the UN to claim immunity for a crisis that most experts are convinced it unwittingly caused through its own disaster relief mission is highly contentious. The infection is thought to have been carried into Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal sent to help with disaster relief following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

  UK Guardian
Haiti can never catch a break. 

This Should Be Interesting

resident Obama will nominate former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to be the next director of the FBI, according to sources.

Comey is a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, and is perhaps best known for his time as acting Attorney General, when he refused to certify parts of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.

  The Hill
You remember Comey – he of the infamous scramble to get to John Ashcroft in the hospital.   In the long run, it doesn't seem to have mattered, but at the time, it was pretty exciting stuff.
I will pay top dollar for a ticket to Comey's confirmation hearings.

  Charlie Pierce
Yeah, I wonder. I don't have any idea how that might play out. Times are strange and everybody's got an angle.

Hopefully He Makes It Through

FYI: Letter from imprisoned whistleblower John Kiriakou.

UPDATE:  Good news for Kiriakou.

Obama's Sin Eater May Be Gagging

Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the administration's sweeping surveillance of journalists with the Associated Press. [...] Holder, however, proceeded to claim absolute and blissful ignorance of the investigation.

[...]

Holder's refusal to accept responsibility for the AP investigation was something of a change for the political insider. His value to President Obama has been his absolute loyalty. Holder is what we call a "sin eater" inside the Beltway — high-ranking associates who shield presidents from responsibility for their actions.

[...]

Yet, at this month's hearing, the attorney general had had his fill. Accordingly, Holder adopted an embarrassing mantra of "I have no knowledge" and "I had no involvement" throughout the questioning. When he was not reciting the equivalent to his name, rank and serial number, he was implicating his aide, Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

[...]

The attorney general has done little in his tenure to protect civil liberties or the free press. Rather, Holder has supervised a comprehensive erosion of privacy rights, press freedom and due process. This ignoble legacy was made possible by Democrats who would look at their shoes whenever the Obama administration was accused of constitutional abuses.

On Thursday, Obama responded to the outcry over the AP and Fox scandals by calling for an investigation by ... you guessed it ... Eric Holder.

[...]

The feeble response was the ultimate proof that these are Obama's sins despite his effort to feign ignorance.

[...]

I am neither a Republican nor conservative, and I believe Holder should be fired.

  Jonathan Turley
And Obama right behind him, but don’t hold your breath.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's Sunday

Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists.

During his homily at Wednesday Mass in Rome, Francis emphasized the importance of "doing good" as a principle that unites all humanity, and a "culture of encounter" to support peace.

[...]

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!"

  HuffPo
If he's not careful, he could be retiring soon.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rahm Emanuel - Doing Chicago Proud

Rahm Emanuel, political genius and mayor of Chicago, has stepped into it up to his eyeballs. In the same week he's planning to shut down 54 schools and six mental-health centers, Emanuel has proposed to hand DePaul, and its extraordinarily mediocre basketball program, $100 million in taxpayer money in order to build a new building in which they can be mediocre.

  Charlie Pierce
Not only is this wrong and unfair, it is nigh onto insane. Say DePaul plays 18 men's games in the new arena. That only leaves 357 days of emptiness. Sure, there would be some other games held there - I don't know, maybe dodgeball and mud wrestling - but this is such a guaranteed money-loser that it boggles this little scribe's rapidly balding head. Maintenance alone would bankrupt a small town. Plus, Chicago already has the United Center, which seats almost 22,000. It's a much better facility than DePaul's current Allstate Arena home court, which is 15 miles away in Rosemont. The United Center is much closer to DePaul than McCormick Place is. It does about 200 events a year, has a nice hockey rink and wooden hoops floor, clean washrooms, and it already offered itself to DePaul for 10 years, rent-free. No deal. DePaul likes this Emanuel idea more. And why shouldn't it? If you're at the trough, you're going to waddle over to the feeding spot with the most slop rolling down the flume. In Chicago, this is known as business as usual. Of course, everything's a game in Chicago, run by people who have power, people we don't interact with doing things [...] that we only become aware of when we catch up to the rusty can that has been kicked down the road and find out we've cut our feet badly and we're bleeding away. Or our taxes abruptly resemble shakedowns.

  Chicago Sun Times
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Monday, May 20, 2013

But Wait...It Gets Worse

Those Freedom of the Press ratings will have to be adjusted again.
It is now well known that the Obama justice department has prosecuted more government leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined - in fact, double the number of all such prior prosecutions. But as last week's controversy over the DOJ's pursuit of the phone records of AP reporters illustrated, this obsessive fixation in defense of secrecy also targets, and severely damages, journalists specifically and the newsgathering process in general.

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ's attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News' chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests - something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist - something done every day in Washington - and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for "espionage".

The focus of the Post's report yesterday is that the DOJ's surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters.

[...]

The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information - something investigative journalists do every day - Rosen himself broke the law.

[...]

Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for "soliciting" the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself.

[...]

That same "solicitation" theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can "charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them."

  Glenn Greenwald
Many mainstream journalists seemed to be okay with it then.

What’s that poem….”I didn’t speak up when they came for…”
That's what always made the establishment media's silence (or even support) in the face of the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks so remarkable: it was so obvious from the start that the theories used there could easily be exploited to criminalize the acts of mainstream journalists. That's why James Goodale, the New York Times' general counsel during the paper's historic press freedom fights with the Nixon administration, has been warning that "the biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it's absolutely frightening."
It is now.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy 104th Birthday, Sir Nicholas Winton

Yes, he's still alive.  



Click the pic for details. (update: broken link fixed)

Friday, May 17, 2013

NOW It's Worth Doing Something

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), joined by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), today introduced legislation to prevent federal agencies from seizing Americans’ telephone records without a court order.

H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, requires court approval when the government demands telephone records from service providers. Current law allows the government to subpoena such records unilaterally, without any judicial review. The Department of Justice likely used its administrative subpoena authority to seize the Associated Press’s telephone records in its recent investigation of a CIA leak.

  Rep Justin Amash (R-MI)
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Boston Bombing

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused in Boston Marathon bombing, who was found hiding in a boat days after the blasts, left a handwritten message describing the attack as retribution for US wars in Muslim countries, an American news channel has reported.

The CBS News report on Thursday cited anonymous sources and said that Tsarnaev used a pen to write the message on an interior wall of the boat, where police found him bleeding from gunshot wounds four days after the April 15 bombing.

The note summed up with the idea that "when you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," CBS News reported.

  alJazeera
Do you wonder why they are just now giving us this information? Surely that boat was searched immediately upon the boy’s capture.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Have My Answer

...to my indelicate question.


Due to the controversies over the IRS and (especially) the DOJ's attack on AP's news gathering process, media outlets have suddenly decided that President Obama has a very poor record on civil liberties, transparency, press freedoms, and a whole variety of other issues on which he based his first campaign. [ed: see the post for examples.]

[...]

There are two significant points to make from these events. First, it is remarkable how media reactions to civil liberties assaults are shaped almost entirely by who the victims are. For years, the Obama administration has been engaged in pervasive spying on American Muslim communities and dissident groups. It demanded a reform-free renewal of the Patriot Act and the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, both of which codify immense powers of warrantless eavesdropping, including ones that can be used against journalists. It has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as all previous administrations combined, threatened to criminalize WikiLeaks, and abused Bradley Manning to the point that a formal UN investigation denounced his treatment as "cruel and inhuman".

[...]

Leave to the side how morally grotesque it is to oppose rights assaults only when they affect you. The pragmatic point is that it is vital to oppose such assaults in the first instance no matter who is targeted because such assaults, when unopposed, become institutionalized.

  Glenn Greenwald
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Meanwhile, Back in West, Texas

Investigators confirmed a week ago that ammonium nitrate stored at the West Fertilizer Co detonated in the April 17 explosion. The cause of the fire and subsequent blast at the facility, which also injured around 200 people, is expected to be announced by officials on Thursday.

More than 70 investigators have developed more than 200 leads, from which more than 400 interviews have been conducted, investigators said last week.

Investigators believe the fire started somewhere in the 12,000-square-foot fertilizer and seed building.

Looking into the cause of the initial fire, they have eliminated the weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonia, a railcar containing ammonium nitrate, and a fire within the ammonium nitrate bin.

Additionally, they said water used during fire-fighting activities did not contribute to the cause of the explosion as some had speculated.

  USNews
So does that get us closer to the possible non-terrorist-because-he’s-white-activity of this man?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

My Whole World Lies Waiting

I may have posted this before. Possibly more than once. But just about everything about this performance impresses me. So I'm posting it again. Or maybe for the first time.


What? That Old Thing?

A construction company owned by a local politician demolished a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple in northern Belize to use the rubble as gravel for road repair work, authorities charged.

The ancient 30-meter (yard) high pyramid, which was reduced to a small mound of debris, was part of the Noh Mul ceremonial center located 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Belize City near the border with Mexico.

  Raw Story

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Freedom of the Press

The A.P. said that the Justice Department informed it on Friday that law enforcement officials had obtained the records for more than 20 telephone lines of its offices and journalists, including their home phones and cellphones. It said the records were seized without notice sometime this year.

The organization was not told the reason for the seizure. But the timing and the specific journalistic targets strongly suggested they are related to a continuing government investigation into the leaking of information a year ago about the Central Intelligence Agency’s disruption of a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner.

[...]

The Newspaper Association of America issued a statement saying: "Today we learned of the Justice Department’s unprecedented wholesale seizure of confidential telephone records from the Associated Press. These actions shock the American conscience and violate the critical freedom of the press protected by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

  NYT
Maybe now that it’s them being targeted, the press will start extracting itself from the Beltway anus?
Justice Department regulations call for subpoenas for journalists’ phone records to be undertaken as a last resort and narrowly focused, subject to the attorney general’s personal signoff. Under normal circumstances, the regulations call for notice and negotiations, giving the news organization a chance to challenge the subpoena in court.

[...]

“Because we value the freedom of the press,” [DOJ spokesman] Miller added, “we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.”
And the none-of-the-public’s business what its government is doing interest. Don’t forget that.
The Justice Department did not respond to a question about whether a similar step was taken in the other major government leak investigation Mr. Holder announced last June. It is believed to be focused on a New York Times reporter, David E. Sanger, and his disclosures in articles and in a book about a joint American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear centrifuges with the so-called Stuxnet virus.
I think we can safely surmise our own answer.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Street Violence" in New Orleans

Ten men, seven women, and a girl and a boy both age 10, were hit when gunmen opened fire at the parade. Police said they were looking for three suspects, adding that a motive for the shooting was unknown. A police spokesman said the investigation was continuing. "There's nothing new to report," he said.

[...]

[Police Superintendent Ronal ] Serpas told reporters that officers saw three suspects running away, with one about age 18 to 22.

[...]

Photographs of the aftermath in the Times-Picayune newspaper showed a man lying on his stomach beside a pool of blood, being helped by two bystanders. Other photos showed a man in shorts sitting on a cobbled street, his calf bleeding and covered with a bandana.

[...]

Two victims underwent surgery and the children were grazed but in good condition, police said on Sunday.

[...]

The FBI attributed the incident to "street violence," not terrorism.

  Chicago Tribune
Because they used good old American guns and not Middle East-flavored IEDs. And because the suspects are (or at least one of them is) “African-American.”  At least until we find out if they are Muslim.  Then we might change our story.

”Street violence.”  Really?  Firing indiscriminately into parade goers.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Distribution of the Wealth

The following chart is from a poll of 5,000 Americans showing how they think wealth is distributed in this country (middle) and how they think wealth SHOULD be distributed (bottom) with how it actually is (top). 



And, since talk is often of the top 1%, here's how that breaks down:



The video states that the top 1% now controls 24% of the wealth in America, whereas in 1976, that figure was 9%.  And that the average worker in a company (again, I don't know what companies were included in the data) makes in one month what the CEO makes in one hour.

Another view. This is on a scale of 100 people; those little green marks are money (how much money per mark, I don't know) - and that floating bit in the upper right is the top cut off of #s 97-99 to fit in the chart.  Number 100 has so much money, it had to be made into 10 columns to fit the chart.  To put it in perspective, imagine those ten columns stacked one on top of the other to make it one tall column. 



I'm kind of surprised that 90% of people polled thought income distribution was more equitable.  It looks about right to me - well, not RIGHT, but realistic.   Actually, the middle class, economically speaking, needs to be clearly defined as rich people.

But hey, perception IS reality.  And that's how the governers govern - by monitoring and managing perception.  And that is why "middle class" will NOT be clearly defined in our public discourse.  Because people who consider themselves middle class would not like to be thought of as so closely kin to the poor. 

h/t Marty

Disclaimer:  I did not verify the figures, but these are their references, and if they've correctly quoted Dan Ariely, then I believe them.  He's an MIT professor whose research field is the study of rationality.

:-)




h/t Marty

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hold the Presses on West, Texas

The fertilizer warehouse that burned and exploded in West, Texas, on April 17, killing 15 people, was not equipped with fire sprinklers, said Dan Keeney, a spokesman for West Fertilizer Co. and its parent, Adair Grain Inc.

“We can confirm that there were no sprinklers in the building,” Keeney said Friday in response to a question from The Dallas Morning News. “There were fire extinguishers in the building.”

The fire detonated tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but investigators have not announced how they believe the fire started. Officials have not publicly tied the fire to the arrest Friday morning of West paramedic Bryce Reed, 31, on a charge of possessing a destructive device. Bryce was taken into federal custody.

  Dallas News
Bryce Reed, 31, previously told The Dallas Morning News that he assumed radio command of the April 17 incident after the explosion killed his superiors and colleagues. He is now accused of giving a pipe bomb to an unnamed person in nearby Abbott on April 26, the day after he played a prominent role in the memorial service for 12 emergency responders killed in the blast.

[...]

The U.S. attorney’s office, which is prosecuting Reed on the federal bomb charge, said in a prepared statement that “authorities will not speculate” whether the pipe bomb Reed allegedly had is tied to the plant explosion.

[...]

[T]he sister of the firefighter that Reed eulogized at a public memorial last month said she had to ask police to guard her deceased brother’s apartment because she feared Reed had been stealing from it since the explosion.

[...]

According to the ATF’s criminal complaint affidavit against Reed, someone who lives in Abbott called the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday about a “possible destructive device” that they had “unwittingly taken possession of” from the man.

  Dallas News
Unwittingly? Dim-wittedly, maybe.
One neighbor, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his family’s safety, said Bryce Reed told him his wife had left him. The man said Bryce Reed also told him that the ATF was investigating him for fraud and that his attorneys had advised him to “get the hell out of Dodge.”

The neighbor said that Bryce Reed told him that he had a pipe bomb that had belonged to Cyrus Reed, but that he had given it to a friend to store.
Cyrus Reed is not related to Bryce Reed, but is one of the responders to the fertilizer plant fire and was killed in the blast. (If I’ve got all the pieces of this weird puzzle straight.)
From the beginning, the state fire marshal’s office has said it is still working to determine — or rule out — whether the event was a criminal act or an industrial accident. The fire marshal’s office does not expect to determine the cause of the fire that preceded the deadly explosion until later this month. The blast itself is believed to have been fueled largely by ammonium nitrate kept at the plant.
Criminal act? Not terrorism? No, “Reed” doesn’t sound Islamic.

This is Why We Don't Get to See More of Glenn Greenwald

He's smart, he's rational, and he knows what he's talking about.



...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Status Quo

President Obama has picked a former telecommunications lobbyist and campaign fund-raiser [Tom Wheeler] to serve as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, raising serious questions about his 2007 pledge that corporate lobbyists would not finance his campaign or run his administration.

  NYT
Raising questions? I thought we’d pretty much shown that pledge to be a crock of shit already:





 
 






...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Boycott of Israel's Palestinian Policies

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president’s conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday.

  Raw

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Freedom of Choice

The government is getting very good at crafting policies for working people that make [...] a playing field that has tilted so far toward the company in the past 30 years that it's practically standing pure vertical at this point.

Take the notion, proposed by Congress, to apply to the private sector the choice available to public sector workers of choosing between overtime pay and comp time.
Judith Lichtman, senior adviser to the National Partnership for Women and Families, contends the measure would open the door for employers to pressure workers into taking compensatory time off instead of overtime pay. The program was created in the public sector in 1985 to save federal, state and local governments money, not to give workers greater flexibility, Lichtman said.
[...]

The more you look at it, the more this appears to be another way not to pay people what they're worth.

  Charlie Pierce
As a matter of fact, those of us who are “exempt” employees where I work are given no choice at all. We are only permitted comp time.

  ...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

National Gun Registry Just Became a Moot Point

Also, universal background checks.
A Computer-aided design (CAD) file that would allow others with 3-D printers to create their own handguns was made available for free on Monday.

“I recognize that this tool might be used to harm people,” Wilson told Forbes. “That’s what it is — it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not put it out there. I think that liberty in the end is a better interest.”

  Raw Story
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thar She Blows - Again

The Pegasus Pipeline has ruptured again, this time along the Arkansas-Missouri state line.

ExxonMobil and Missouri officials are cleaning up an oil spill first reported Tuesday in Ripley County, Missouri. That's 200 miles north of Mayflower, Ark., where the same pipeline burst, spilling thousands of barrels worth of oil into the North Woods subdivision.

  KATV Arkansas
This happened because the pipeline was old and nobody gave a fk until very recently whether it might have the essential structural integrity of the average soda straw. This, studies have shown, is the case with a great number of pipelines all over this great land of ours, so when people tell you that the Keystone XL pipeline is nothing to be concerned about because "we already have thousands of pipelines criss-crossing this country," you can feel free to suggest that they explain it all to Arkansas and Missouri, both of which have enough oil on them at the moment to qualify as salads.

  Charlie Pierce
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WTF‽

Two foreign nationals — who are believed to be associates of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers — were arrested Saturday on immigration violations, authorities said.

[...]

The vanity plate on the front of the vehicle shared by the two men arrested reads "Terrorista #1,' and an expletive-filled bumper sticker was posted on the car's rear.

[...]

The men, identified by neighbors as 19-year-olds from Kazakhstan, drove around in a black BMW with the mock license plate, “TERRORISTA #1.”

[...]

“These individuals were arrested on administrative immigration violations,” spokesman Ross Feinstein said in a terse statement.

  Daily News
 
We don't get to know what the expletive is, but the Daily News felt it necessary to publish a picture of the plate with the number pixelled out.



Merecedes. BMW. My impression of them hasn’t changed, but where do these kids get these vehicles? And, besides, I've never lived in a state that would allow you to just put anything on a license plate, so I'm wondering if this particular car is even licensed.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.