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dkf

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,305

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For Congress, ‘it’s classified’ is new equivalent of ‘none of your business

WASHINGTON — The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reportedly gave its approval last week to an Obama administration plan to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria, but how individual members of the committee stood on the subject remains unknown.

There was no public debate and no public vote when one of the most contentious topics in American foreign policy was decided – outside of the view of constituents, who oppose the president’s plan to aid the rebels by 54 percent to 37 percent, according to a Gallup Poll last month.

In fact, ask individual members of the committee, who represent 117 million people in 14 states, how they stood on the plan to use the CIA to funnel weapons to the rebels and they are likely to respond with the current equivalent of “none of your business:” It’s classified.

Those were, in fact, the words Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the committee, used when asked a few days before the approval was granted to clarify her position for her constituents. She declined. It’s a difficult situation, she said. And, “It’s classified.”

She was not alone. In a string of interviews over days, members of both the Senate intelligence committee or its equivalent in the House were difficult to pin down on their view of providing arms to the rebels. The senators and representatives said they couldn’t give an opinion, or at least a detailed one, because the matter was classified.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/30/198097/for-congress-its-classified-is.html#.UfhZoGS9Kc0#storylink=cpy

Also means f-off and nanny nanny boo boo.

Detroit Looks to Health Law to Ease Costs

Published: July 28, 2013

As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.

Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers.

Similar proposals that could shift public sector retirees into the new insurance markets, called exchanges, are already being planned or contemplated in places like Chicago; Sheboygan County, Wis.; and Stockton, Calif. While large employers that eliminate health benefits for full-time workers can be penalized under the health care law, retirees are a different matter.

“There’s fear and panic about what this means,” said Michael Underwood, 62, who retired from the Chicago Police Department after 30 years and has diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Mr. Underwood, who says he began working for the city when employees did not pay into future Medicare coverage, is part of a group suing Chicago over its plan to phase many retirees out of city coverage during the next three and a half years. “I was promised health care for myself and my wife for life,” he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/29/us/detroit-looks-to-health-law-to-ease-costs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&

Korean News Station Pokes Fun at KTVU with Fake American Pilot Names After Southwest Landing

You probably remember KTVU’s royal eff up with reading obviously fake Asian names for the pilots of the Asiana crash. Names like “Wi To Lo” and “Ho Lee Fuk”.

It looks like a Korean news agency is having some fun at KTVU’s expense. After the landing gear failure of the Southwest flight at LGA they showed this graphic with American pilot names “Captain Kent Parker Wright”, “Co-Captain Wyatt Wooden Workman”.

They even went as far as making up fake names for people to interview. Flight instructor “Heywood U. Flye-Moore” and skeptical passenger “Macy Lawyers”.

Well played Korean TV, well played.


http://slothed.com/2013/07/23/korean-news-station-pokes-fun-at-ktvu-with-fake-american-pilot-names-after-southwest-airlines-landing-gear-failure/

Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide

Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study was published online July 2 in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” said lead researcher Michel Lucas, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.

The authors reviewed data from three large U.S. studies and found that the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day was about half that of those who drank decaffeinated coffee or very little or no coffee.

Caffeine not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This could explain the lower risk of depression among coffee drinkers that had been found in past epidemiological studies, the researchers reported.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/07/drinking-coffee-may-reduce-risk-of-suicide-by-50/

NSA obtained telephone metadata of NZ journalist in Afghanistan for NZ military

The New Zealand military received help from US spy agencies to monitor the phone calls of Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson and his associates while he was in Afghanistan reporting on the war.

Stephenson has described the revelation as a serious violation of his privacy, and the intrusion into New Zealand media freedom has been slammed as an abuse of human rights.

The spying came at a time when the New Zealand Defence Force was unhappy at Stephenson's reporting of its handling of Afghan prisoners and was trying to find out who was giving him confidential information.

The monitoring occurred in the second half of last year when Stephenson was working as Kabul correspondent for the US McClatchy news service and for various New Zealand news organisations.

http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/8972743/US-spy-agencies-eavesdrop-on-Kiwi

Weiner’s Campaign Manager Quits After Latest Revelations

In a new sign of tumult within Anthony D. Weiner’s embattled political operation, his campaign manager has quit, leaving his already skeletal team without a day-to-day leader.

According to two people told of the decision, the campaign manager, Danny Kedem, no longer wished to oversee Mr. Weiner’s bid for New York mayor after a week of bruising revelations about the candidate’s latest online conduct. The two people, who have close ties to the campaign, did not want to be identified because they were disclosing confidential conversations.

Mr. Kedem, 31, informed Mr. Weiner of his decision in the last 24 hours, the two people said.

Mr. Kedem and a spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner’s campaign declined to comment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/nyregion/weiners-campaign-manager-quits.html?_r=0

Slate: The media are reporting that a juror says Zimmerman is guilty of murder. That’s not true.

By William Saletan|Posted Friday, July 26, 2013, at 1:27 PM

Did George Zimmerman get away with murder? That’s what one of his jurors says, according to headlines in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers. Trayvon Martin’s mother and the Martin family’s attorney are trumpeting this “new information” as proof that “George Zimmerman literally got away with murder.”

The reports are based on an ABC News interview with Juror B29, the sole nonwhite juror. She has identified herself only by her first name, Maddy. She’s been framed as the woman who was bullied out of voting to convict Zimmerman. But that’s not true. She stands by the verdict. She yielded to the evidence and the law, not to bullying. She thinks Zimmerman was morally culpable but not legally guilty. And she wants us to distinguish between this trial and larger questions of race and justice.

ABC News hasn’t posted a full unedited video or transcript of the interview. The video that has been broadcast—on World News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America—has been cut and spliced in different ways, often so artfully that the transitions appear continuous. So beware what you’re seeing. But the video that’s available already shows, on closer inspection, that Maddy has been manipulated and misrepresented. Here are the key points.

1. The phrase “got away with murder” was put in her mouth.

2. She stands by the verdict

3. She thinks the case should never have gone to trial.

4. The jury was not ethnically divided on Zimmerman’s culpability

5. Race wasn’t discussed, and she didn’t focus on it

6. She was no pushover in the jury room

7. To the extent she feels racial or ethnic pressure, it’s against Zimmerman

8. Acquittal is not personal—or national—exoneration

More on how the video was spliced and diced at the link.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2013/07/did_george_zimmerman_get_away_with_murder_no_juror_b29_is_being_framed.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2013/07/did_george_zimmerman_get_away_with_murder_no_juror_b29_is_being_framed.2.html

Next Challenge to the NSA Could Turn Out Differently

A recent effort in the House to limit the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers narrowly failed, but Brian Fung notes that the sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), “still managed to mount a strong defense — which suggests that momentum is building for critics of the NSA.”

“Despite the amendment’s iffy chances from the start, Amash and his co-sponsor, the liberal John Conyers (D-Mich.), were determined to test the waters. The results took most Congress watchers by surprise… Senior lawmakers and the White House hoped that last night’s vote would become a release valve — a strategic opportunity to let upset congressmen blow off some steam. But, it seems, Team Amash views the amendment’s defeat as simply a tactical setback.”

http://wonkwire.rollcall.com/2013/07/26/next-challenge-to-the-nsa-could-turn-out-differently/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form.

The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
"I've certainly seen them ask for passwords," said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We push back."

A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'"

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57595529-38/feds-tell-web-firms-to-turn-over-user-account-passwords/

College Enrollment Falls as Economy Recovers

The long enrollment boom that swelled American colleges — and helped drive up their prices — is over, with grim implications for many schools.

College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. The college-age population is dropping after more than a decade of sharp growth, and many adults who opted out of a forbidding job market and went back to school during the recession have been drawn back to work by the economic recovery.

Hardest hit are likely to be colleges that do not rank among the wealthiest or most prestigious, and are heavily dependent on tuition revenue, raising questions about their financial health — even their survival.

“There are many institutions that are on the margin, economically, and are very concerned about keeping their doors open if they can’t hit their enrollment numbers,” said David A. Hawkins, the director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which has more than 1,000 member colleges.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/education/in-a-recovering-economy-a-decline-in-college-enrollment.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
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