What is privacy? Why should we want to hold onto it? Why is it important, necessary, precious? Is it just some prissy relic of the pretechnological past? We talk about this now because of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency revelations, and new fears that we are operating, all of us, within what has become or is becoming a massive surveillance state. They log your calls here, they can listen in, they can read your emails. They keep the data in mammoth machines that contain a huge collection of information about you and yours. This of course is in pursuit of a
Bill and Hillary Clinton never fail to confound Americans. Their political and public service accomplishments often appear diminished by the stumbles in their private lives, real or imagined. No holder of high office, obviously, is ever judged simply for policy initiatives, and that seems especially true of the Clintons. As Hillary Clinton positions herself for a likely 2016 run for president, the scrutiny she will endure extends, inevitably, to her husband. Journalists and critics on the right will probably have to mine new material, however. What happened in Arkansas and the Oval Office have been more topically tortured than Benghazi. Fortunately, for
The federal government has withheld more than $500 million in funding to local California transportation agencies since January and could withhold $1.6 billion for the year as the result of a complaint filed by transit union members, losses that could cost the state tens of thousands of jobs. The U.S. Labor Department has forced the state to sit down with transit unions several times since California Gov. Jerry Brown passed modest retirement reforms in October 2012 to address a dire pension shortfall. California has less than half the money needed to cover the $520 billion retirement costs, according to some estimates. The
As Egypt began to implode, yet again, John Kerry inadvertently stumbled into something a lot closer to the truth than the delusional “Arab Spring” narrative that has guided Obama-administration policy. The secretary of state, tied in knots by congressional foolishness that mandates terminating U.S. aid when a foreign government is ousted by a coup d’état, rationalized that, quite contrary to a coup, the Egyptian military’s ejection of President Mohamed Morsi was an exercise in “restoring democracy.” None of this was quite right, although that is to be expected. After all, the C-word on Kerry’s mind was not “coherence”; he was struggling
A year and a half ago, a news story exploded out of Sanford, Fla. George Zimmerman, an armed, 28-year-old man of mixed white and Hispanic ancestry, followed and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American. The tragic episode was touched off because Zimmerman, out on neighborhood watch patrol, found Martin to be suspicious as he walked home from a store wearing a sweat shirt with a hood. As the days and months unfolded and more details emerged, the national media ran with the story, and along the way something became quite apparent to me. As captivating as this story was,
After the apocalypse, this is where Scientologists will land their spaceship as they return home to Earth. It’s called Trementina base, in a remote stretch of the New Mexico desert. Its main building is described as an “alien space cathedral” that sits on the side of a mountain near secret tunnels and underground vaults that guard the written works of Scientology’s founder. Photos taken by a helicopter on a recent flyover revealed one of the closest public looks at the compound since it was built in the 1980s by a Church of Scientology branch, the Church of Technology.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on his return to ESPN and his rocky detour into political commentary, Keith Olbermann didn’t mince any words when it came to describing Al Gore, his former boss at Current TV: When you’re working for somebody whom you admired politically, who turns out to be a clod, the scales fall from your eyes. Sorry. Al underdelivered. I mean that’s just simply the case. I don’t want to dwell on it, but it’s true. Olbermann didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the ratings department at Current, but that’s another story.
It isn´t easy getting people to buy something they neither understand nor particularly want to own. An example being Obamacare. But the Department of Health and Human Services has a solution. First, find some money – there is some, for instance, earmarked for prevention that is just lying around and not, at present preventing much of anything. Then, spend the money to sell the program and employ "navigators" to assist people who find it complex bordering on incomprehensible. As Sam Baker of the Hill reports: (HHS) announced $67 million in funding for “navigators,” which are people and community groups who will help people
Almost begrudgingly and only recently has the media begun to report on the Obama administration´s scandals, including Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, Pigford, and others, in combination with his rapidly declining job approval numbers. Perhaps as a consequence, President Obama has been trying especially hard lately to sell his economic prowess of the past 4.5 years. Unfortunately for Obama, the facts demonstrate very little economic progress to date during his tenure. Slow GDP growth, lagging job creation, constricted free markets, ballooning deficits and debt, growing and counterproductive regulation, crippling taxation, and the penalization of small business all make for compelling evidence
When you were a kid, how many times did you have to burn your hand on the stove before you learned to stop doing it? Not many. It’s the same way you learn to avoid people who cheat, or lie to you. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. You stay away from them. So why is it so shocking that the Republican party is finally pushing back against the state-run media? They say they’re going to ban CNN and NBC from 2016 presidential debates, because the two moonbat nets are planning to run what
Former President Bill Clinton defended his family’s charity and its finances on Friday amid reports that the group — recently renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation — had run up deficits in some years and been mismanaged. “The Clinton Foundation was founded on the belief that we could help people in the United States and around the world solve problems and seize opportunities faster, better and at lower cost,” Mr. Clinton wrote in a message on the foundation’s Web site in an attempt to calm anxious donors. Clinton aides often express exasperation that news media coverage tends to focus on
September 11 of 2012, just nine months ago, was the eleventh anniversary of the Declaration of Holy War signaled by three simultaneous attacks on America by nineteen Saudi Arabian suiciders, killing 3,000 innocent people in Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and in the air over Pennsylvania. That Declaration of War came from the brutal desert theocracy of Saudi Arabia, run by its Wahhabi priesthood. Wahhabism follows ancient Muslim war theology against all non-Muslims and against Muslims heretics like the Iranians. Wahhabism runs a worldwide oil-funded missionary campaign, and mosques built by Arabian oil billionaires are often staffed by Wahhabi imams, who preach
The time is ripe for a new Church Committee, the surveillance oversight effort named for Senator Frank Church, who oversaw a mid-1970s investigation into decades of jaw-dropping abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies. If recent stories about the NSA don´t alarm you, odds are that you´ve never read the Church Committee findings, which ought to be part of the standard high-school curriculum. Their lesson is clear: Under cover of secrecy, government agents will commit abuses with impunity for years on end, and only intrusive Congressional snooping can stop them. Why is another Church Committee needed now? For more than a decade, the
On Friday morning, Cairo’s streets were empty. No bustling cafés or beeping taxis. Eerie silence enveloped the city, only to be shattered by an orchestra of rapid gunfire and protest chants following noon prayer. Most families stayed inside, terrified of what the planned “Friday of Rage” would bring. Groups of men holding sticks and bats formed “popular committees” and manned civilian checkpoints around the city, demanding drivers open their trunks to be searched. Teenage boys wandered around some neighborhoods, taking full advantage of the lax security to harass women they came across. After Friday prayer sounded, thousands of supporters of deposed
A couch that can store up to 30 rifles and with cushions that can stop a .44 Magnum bullet at point blank range is now available in America. The world´s first ´CouchBunker´ comes complete with bullet-proof cushions fitted with straps so they can be worn as armour when on the move. It sounds like something from a Hollywood film, but the fire-proof weapon-store is now available to buy, in a range of colours and materials, for a mere $6,700. The ´CouchBunker´ is available in a wide range of styles, leather and fabric coverings, ´creating choices from game room casual to
The old saying is that no one washes a rental car. It’s a little bit different at the Pentagon. Over there, they rent a lot of cars for travel by staff in and around the capital. They don’t need to wash many of them, either – because they drive them so rarely. That’s the bottom line in a Pentagon inspector general’s report released Thursday showing that 511 of the 774 vehicles leased by four Pentagon offices in 2011 – two out of every three – weren’t driven enough miles annually to warrant their rental. It’s a case study of Pentagon waste easily
The North Korean long-range missiles that jangled nerves across the world when paraded through Pyongyang last month were ´almost certainly´ fake, government experts and independent researchers have claimed. The weapons, which were showcased in a lavish show of military muscle to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean war armistice, were heavily criticised by researchers who insisted they would be unable to fly let alone unleash a deadly attack on the US. The experts came to the conclusion, following an investigation by NBC News, after studying a series of high-definition photographs taken during the parade, held on July 27. The
Last winter, the state of Michigan officially became the country’s 24th right-to-work state — it was a bold move for a state with so much manufacturing and so many sizable union interests on the line, and Big Labor was not at all pleased about the whole thing. They raised quite the ruckus over it at the time, and they have since been trying to challenge the state’s right to implement the change in court. Nothing doing, guys: The Michigan Legislature’s right to create a law that bans mandatory union membership trumps the authority of a state agency that oversees public employment,
Nearly three months after a massive tornado wound through Moore, Okla., destroying two elementary schools on the last day of school, parents and students headed back to class Friday for the first day of the new school year. Two elementary schools, Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary, were destroyed in the EF-5 tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb. Twenty-four people were killed in the storm, including seven students from Plaza Towers Elementary. On Friday morning, Plaza Towers Elementary students started a new school year with therapy dogs and a large banner that read "Plaza Towers Elementary School. Welcome." The approximate 300 students are
WASHINGTON -- New revelations from leaker Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency has overstepped its authority thousands of times since 2008 are stirring renewed calls on Capitol Hill for serious changes to NSA spy programs, undermining White House hopes that President Barack Obama had quieted the controversy with his assurances of oversight. An internal audit provided by Snowden to The Washington Post shows the agency has repeatedly broken privacy rules or exceeded its legal authority every year since Congress granted it broad new powers in 2008.
For the first time since the Carter Administration, solar panels are going up on the roof of the White House. It´s part of a mandate towards renewable energy in the federal government, but also a symbolic gesture that the president is plowing ahead with his green energy agenda, regardless of congressional opposition. It´s a policy that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy affirmed Wednesday at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "He said that he wasn´t going to wait for Congress, but that he had administrative authorities," she said. "It was time to start utilizing those more effectively, in a more concerted way." Marc
Fox TV planned to produce the upcoming NBC miniseries based on the political life of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That was before the Republican National Committee vowed not to let NBC handle any 2016 presidential primary debates until the network dropped the project. Now, Fox TV is out of the picture, although The Hollywood Reporter says the deal died due to point squabbles, not political fallout. Some within Team NBC may be breathing a sigh of relief over the news, assuming it damaged its chances of bringing the miniseries to the public in the end. The NBC project, first announced
An Asian American group is demanding that Fox “fix fatal flaws” in its upcoming sitcom, “Dads,” executive-produced by “Family Guy” guru Seth MacFarland. The Media Action Network for Asian Americans has sent a letter to Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly and other network officials asking that “racist” scenes be reshot before the show’s fall premiere. “Our community can’t continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes,” MANAA founding president Guy Aoki wrote. “Fox has an opportunity to fix fatal flaws in the pilot and to improve the show’s chances for success when it premieres next month.
BOSTON — The Republican National Committee voted Friday to bar NBC and CNN from sponsoring GOP primary debates in the 2016 election, ramping up pressure to stop the networks from running programs focused on Hillary Rodham Clinton. RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who is trying to consolidate control over the primary process, said the networks’ programs were likely aid Mrs. Clinton, who is seen as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he said that’s unfair to the GOP. “It is the right thing to do for our voters,” Mr. Priebus said. “They are not going to get a real
We all know Republicans have done well among seniors, while Democrats have done better with the young. Part of this is that the youth segment of the electorate is more diverse – although younger white people have also been more Democratic than their older counterparts. Given that people tend to hang on to the voting habits they start with, you can see how this might be a problem for Republicans in later elections. Older folks are more likely to die sooner than younger people, of course. So, Republicans have to hope for one of two things to happen in order
The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans. The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report