National Security Letters revealed as even worse than predicted by privacy experts
I remember the early debate about the National Security Letters provision in the poorly-named PATRIOT ACT. Privacy advocates at the time said that the authority granted by those letters would enable the FBI to go to a library and demand records of which books a person had checked out of the library, and that that was a threat to free speech. Well, they were right... only it's even worse than that:
Remember, because these requests are for "business records" they are issued without a warrant. The FBI issues tens of thousands of these each year, and if you believe they are all related to terrorism I'll sell you a bridge. They also come with gag orders, meaning if you get one, you're not allowed to tell anyone. Ever. Even your lawyer, if you take them literally.
Of course, keeping them secret is a great way to prevent public opposition; that's how the NSA operated for decades. But it's not how America is supposed to work.
Obama administration so corrupt even the New York Times is forced to notice
I've pointed out individual instances of the Obama White House restricting their Inspector Generals before, notably at the EPA, and it's worth noting that the only reason we learned anything about the frantic efforts at the IRS to cover up Lerner's emails is due to the efforts of the Treasury Inspector General there (who found the backup tapes after the IRS first did not bother to look for them, and then destroyed them after notifying Congress they had been lost).
But don't worry. I'm sure the press will tirelessly advocate for the IG system to be restored ... just in time for a Republican to take office in 2016.
Los Angeles implements magazine confiscation and gets no takers
So... what happens when one of the currently sitting council members lose their seat on the council? Presumably at least one of them owns a gun with a magazine above the now-verboten size limit, and they are no longer immune when they leave office.
On Thanksgiving this year, I find myself with very little to be thankful for. But one of the few things this President has done well is the privatization of space exploration, even if it was mostly by getting out of the way.
It seems the Wisconsin appeals court has struck down a ban on switchblades (in the home, it seems) on Second Amendment grounds. This seems to be like a significant step forward with positive implications for gun rights. Granted, it's only one state.
Knife bans have never made much sense to me. Knives are tools as well as weapons, and AS weapons, they aren't very useful offensively. Before you can hurt someone with a knife, you have to *catch* them. And then catch the next person with a substantial head start. And so on, and so on. If used as a weapon at all, they are much more useful defensively ("If you come within reach, I will hurt you"). The same applies to swords, though with less utility as a tool.
This decision is only the beginning, though. For the next steps in Wisconsin, see the truth about knives on the topic.
What color is the sky of the planet these people live on? Practically by definition "climate change", even if it was real and not a made-up apocalypse fantasy to fuel the religious fervor of those who look with contempt upon traditional religions, is gender neutral. It affects the whole planet. It doesn't care what you've got or haven't got between your legs. The temperature of the planet affects everyone equally because we are all on the same fracking planet.
First, while NOAA may have no influence over operations at Science, we have seen (in the ClimateGate emails) significant evidence of influence and attempted influence of scientific journals by prominent climate scientists seeking to block publication of articles they did not like. Successfully. And get people they did not like removed from the editorial board of those journals. Successfully. So asserting that NOAA has no official influence over a scientific journal is misleading at best, and whether the journal was pressured by scientists at NOAA unofficially is one of the questions Lamar Smith is seeking to answer.
Second, it is quite possible to rush a paper to publication without involving the journal at all. The authors could rush their work instead, without any influence exerted on the journal at all.
Third, there's an interesting little tidbit dropped here. The paper took 50% longer to average to publish and went out to more than the usual three reviewers. From reading the ClimateGate emails, I get the impression that sending a paper to more than the usual number of reviewers means that at least one of the first three reviewers recommended against publication, and rather than reject the paper or possibly make recommended edits, someone made the decision to seek new reviewers instead.
Overall, I find Ars Technica's attempt to defend this study to be potentially significant evidence for the prosecution.
Jeb Bush comes out in favor of internet sales taxes
This is so insane that the only thing I can think of to explain it is that he must be trying to chase down a big donor, probably one with interests in the "brick and mortar" companies he's talking about.
Doesn't matter, though. Calling for a tax on the internet is a disqualifier for a Republican candidate.
What often escapes the attention of those without the appropriate technical expertise is that encryption represents nothing more than the ability to hold a private conversation. That's a right implicit in the First and Fourth amendments. It is also something that harms no one.