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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yule Gibbons


I will try to keep it light. It's a holiday. Nobody wants me to go off on the NSA for the umpteenth time. A little housekeeping and I'm done. Not going to mess up anybody's sunday.

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Feel good story today out of Oklahoma, Seriously. Senator James Inhofe has had some sort of epiphany after the tragic death of his son and maybe liberals aren't quite as bad as he thought they were. Bless you, Mr. Inhofe.

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Hudgins sent a few things over. Conservative donors are funding the global warming denial movement, no real secret there. But they are ponying up about a billion bucks a year and you toss that kind of scratch around and you could convince the average american that their aunt is really their uncle.

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And the Obama administration is playing the same old game regarding "standing" in regards to the domestic surveillance lawsuit up in San Francisco. Didn't we go through this last week?
The government is asking the court to dismiss the two cases on grounds that the plaintiffs, Carolyn Jewel and Virginia Shubert, have not proven they were monitored by the NSA’s interception of their phone calls or e-mails. To prove that they were would require disclosure of collection techniques that could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security, officials said.
Jewel is suing on behalf of all AT&T customers, and Shubert is suing on behalf of all Americans.
“As a matter of course, the NSA cannot publicly confirm or deny whether any individual is or has been subject to intelligence gathering, because to do so would tend to reveal actual targets or subjects,” said Frances J. Fleisch, acting NSA deputy director, in a declaration also filed Friday.
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Our President has been, shall we say, less than forthcoming with the American people. We needed to have this big domestic surveillance discussion. But tell me Barry, if not for Eddie Snowden, when exactly would that discussion have taken place? Udall and Wyden were forbidden to disclose anything by your chief intelligence henchman, Diane Feinstein. You have done nothing but play games like the one delineated above since you took office. Your FISA judges are all Republican ex Prosecutors selected by Chief Justice John Roberts. A lot of objectivity, credibility and passion for civil liberty there. Where exactly are those checks and balances again?

Your hand picked panel of yes men say that no abuses have taken place. Okay. What about the analysts' girlfriends that were being tracked? What about the several million americans whose information was wrongly queried and sifted, the stuff Reggie Walton was squawking about so much in 2009 that he threatened to shut down the entire program? Who speaks for them?And what was with ex NSA operative Bill Binney when he said that these programs were nothing but an information pipeline for the DEA and FBI?

We aren't engaged in domestic surveillance unless we can catch you doing something that we think is illegal, is that the crux of the matter? Why would any clear thinking American or anybody else on the planet for that matter ever trust our government again after what has been revealed to date.

I didn't think that I would get everything with this President but I had hoped that at least we would have a leader that respected our constitution. Oh well. Obama thinks that the whole kerfuffle is merely a packaging or perception problem. I don't se it blowing away. Whole thing seems downright un-American.

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I have maybe even less faith in Verizon, ATT or Google being the data gatekeeper. How about we go back to the old standard of probable cause. As Federal Judge Richard Leon noted, its not like these programs have been the least bit effective at stopping terrorism anyway, at least when viewed with the slightest amount of objectivity. Certainly not worth the eventual bill.

Damn, I said I wasn't going to go off on this stuff...

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Read about Parkinson's law the other day, the part about bureaucracies eventually just devolving into pointless and expansive behemoths only interested in keeping themselves alive. Spot on.

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© Kip Peterson
Kip sent me a scan of a shot he took in Zion recently that was quite nice, film actually, his medium format Contax, I believe. Good job. I don't think he will mind me posting it. Zion Sunrise.

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Going on my first bird count this week with Beth C. Hope to be strong enough to hold my camera.

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Salon - How the GOP became the Whiteman's party. Great read.
“you know, I started off talking about schools and highways and prisons and taxes—and I couldn’t make them listen. Then I began talking about niggers—and they stomped the floor.” George Wallace
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I read such a great book today, Studs Terkel's And they all sang. If you have any interest in music, or musical history, get this book. Studs was brilliant, the absolute best. Amazing interview with Garrick Ohllson. And I found this quote in the book, attributed to Picasso; Computers are useless, they only give you answers. Did he really say this? You be the judge.

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According to Huffpo, the term oenophilic was coined in the year of my birth. Oxford dictionaries word generator.

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Target offers extra 10% discount for hacked debit cards. Sweet!

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Speaking of words, do you realize that afore and before mean the very same thing? And I picked up this word from Studs's book; diaskeuast - gk. an editor, one who revises, lexicographer.

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robotic handjobs?

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nsa pays rsa $10 m for trapdoor.

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same google search, two different results. dave in japan sends an interesting article on the phenomenon termed the filter bubble.
"Most of us assume that when we 'google' a term, we all see the same results -- the ones that the company's famous Page Rank algorithm suggests are the most authoritative based on other pages' links. But since December 2009, this is no longer true. Now you get the result that Google's algorithm suggests is best for you in particular -- and someone else may see something entirely different. In other words, there is no standard Google anymore.
"It's not hard to see this difference in action. In the spring of 2010, while the remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I asked two friends to search for the term 'BP.' They're pretty similar -- educated white left-leaning women who live in the Northeast. But the results they saw were quite different. One of my friends saw investment information about BP. The other saw news. For one, the first page of results contained links about the oil spill; for the other, there was nothing about it except for a promotional ad from BP.
"Even the number of results returned by Google differed -- about 180 million results for one friend and 139 million for the other. If the results were that different for these two progressive East Coast women, imagine how different they would be for my friends and, say, an elderly Republican in Texas (or, for that matter, a businessman in Japan).

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure glad you chose Not to get tooo heavy!! :). Tis the season, u know!

ib

Sanoguy said...

Speaking of aunts... If my aunt had balls she would be my uncle! Just saying!

Anonymous said...

I loved the video of Ray Price. Thank you!

For The Good Times, always makes me sing along and reminisce about my younger days. What a song, what a singer! One of my all time favorite records.



TED

Anonymous said...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a Wonderful New Year to you both.

Clyde and Naomi

Anonymous said...

Had a great time last night. Thanks for the ticket and company. Hope the other seven people enjoyed the peanuts.
Stan

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Hope the Fallbrook birds are ready for you and Beth! Have a great Holiday...we may be eating Chinese here in Vienna too.

Anonymous said...

Nice rant on the NSA. Question is why did you ever trust government in the first place? Does not matter which party or ideology is in place at the moment, large government will always be corrupt at the core because it's only goal is to prolong it's existence. Real change is revolution and who wants that, radicals what ever their agenda.

m