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arely staircase

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Member since: Sun Dec 11, 2011, 05:54 PM
Number of posts: 11,349

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which is worse? honoring a wounded vet or threatening to beat up a homeless woman?

Posted by arely staircase | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 07:25 PM (27 replies)

Like PRISM on Steroids. SORM will monitor all electronic communication in Sochi area

"a perfect storm of terrorist threats, autocratic government and limitless resources..."

“It’s almost like Sochi has been turned into an independent state,” said Mark Galeotti, a specialist in security affairs and modern Russia, who teaches at NYU. “It is an extremely extensive control zone.”

On Wednesday, I spoke to Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist who broke the biggest security story of the Sochi Olympics: SORM, the Russians’ virtual surveillance system. The Russian FSB (successor to the KGB) will monitor all communications between spectators, journalists, athletes and anyone else who visits (or lives in) Sochi. The U.S. State Department has warned business travelers to be careful with sensitive information, which “may be taken and shared with competitors, counterparts, and/or Russian regulatory and legal entities.” One security expert said SORM was like “PRISM on steroids.”

“There’s not public outcry about these measures,” Soldatov said. “After every big terrorist attack, like Volgograd,” — where suicide bombings killed 34 people last month — “Russian society approves half-measures. And metadata seems quite innocent in comparison to what was proposed.” In October, for example, the lower house of the Russian Parliament approved a law to hold the relatives of terrorists financially responsible for crimes. Muslim women in nearby Dagestan say they have been asked to provide saliva samples to the FSB so that their body parts may be identified in the event of a suicide bombing.

Posted by arely staircase | Sat Jan 25, 2014, 06:20 PM (0 replies)

Regarding the Maryland Mall Shooting - not sure which was more inappropriate

during the CNN coverage - the woman plugging her store during a phone interview, the guy in the background during the sheriff's press conference on the phone and clearly smiling and talking to a friend who was watching him on teevee or the person who kept honking their car horn during the same.
Posted by arely staircase | Sat Jan 25, 2014, 01:46 PM (5 replies)

Holder: Possible plea deal for Snowden

In an interview with MSNBC, Attorney General Eric Holder ruled out what supporters of Edward Snowden have demanded: Were the whistle-blower to return to the U.S. from hiding in Russia, he would not be granted clemency.

However, Holder suggested that a possible plea deal could be negotiated. “We’ve always indicated that the notion of clemency isn’t something that we were willing to consider. Instead, were he coming back to the U.S. to enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers. ”

Crucially, this should not be read as a hint toward leniency for Snowden. Indeed, Chelsea Manning put forward a plea — admitting to handing over a trove of classified material to WikiLeaks — to face lesser charges. The whistle-blower received a 35-year sentence in a military prison. Indicating continued anger at Snowden, Holder declined to call the fugitive a whistle-blower: “I prefer the term defendant. That’s the most apt title,” he said.

Posted by arely staircase | Fri Jan 24, 2014, 04:12 PM (2 replies)

MSNBC interupts interview with congresswoman about the NSA to report on Justin Bieber

Watch MSNBC Interrupt a Congresswoman for Breaking Justin Bieber News

Yesterday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchel interrupted a conversation about the NSA with former congresswoman Jane Harman to introduce some breaking Justin Bieber news.

To be fair: Justin Bieber's arrest was the biggest story yesterday (though the most important story was the cannibal rat ghost ship). But there was probably a better way to handle the transition.

Posted by arely staircase | Fri Jan 24, 2014, 03:17 PM (1 replies)

Riddle me this: let's say the GOP loses House seats but still hangs on to a slim majority BUT

the tea baggers are the majority within the now smaller GOP overall majority. Would Boehner start trying to cut deals with some Dems to join the remaining non crazy GOPers and keep him as speaker? And what would be a big enough concession to the Dems for them to consider it? Control of certain committee?
Posted by arely staircase | Fri Jan 24, 2014, 11:41 AM (25 replies)

"I am for decriminalization but not leglization" is going to be the "I support civil unions but not

gay marriage" of the pot prohibition end times.
Posted by arely staircase | Fri Jan 24, 2014, 11:26 AM (1 replies)

Rick Perry for "decriminilization" of pot but not legalization

SAN ANTONIO — Gov. Rick Perry signaled Thursday that he's for the decriminalization of marijuana use — not legalization, but the softening of punishment for pot users in the border state.

His spokeswoman confirmed that Perry is staunchly opposed to legalization of marijuana because of the dangers that have been associated with the drug but is committed to policies that would lower the punishment for its use to keep smokers out of jail.“Legalization is no penalty at all, whereas decriminalization doesn't necessarily mean jail time (for minor possession offenses). It means more of a fine or counseling or some sort of program where you don't end up in jail but in a rehabilitative program,” said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Perry.“The goal is to keep people out of jails and reduce recidivism, that kind of thing,” she said, adding that decriminalization would exclude violent offenders and dealers.In Texas, an offender with less than 2 ounces of marijuana can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. An offender with more than 5 pounds faces up to two years in jail.

Posted by arely staircase | Thu Jan 23, 2014, 10:44 PM (14 replies)


The early permissive action links were rudimentary. Placed in NATOweapons during the nineteen-sixties and known as Category A PALs, the switches relied on a split four-digit code, with ten thousand possible combinations. If the United States went to war, two people would be necessary to unlock a nuclear weapon, each of them provided with half the code. Category A PALs were useful mainly to delay unauthorized use, to buy time after a weapon had been taken or to thwart an individual psychotic hoping to cause a large explosion. A skilled technician could open a stolen weapon and unlock it within a few hours. Today’s Category D PALs, installed in the Air Force’s hydrogen bombs, are more sophisticated. They require a six-digit code, with a million possible combinations, and have a limited-try feature that disables a weapon when the wrong code is repeatedly entered.
Strategic Command—the organization responsible for all of America’s nuclear forces—-was investigated last summer for allegedly using counterfeit gambling chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, “a significant monetary amount” of counterfeit chips was involved. Giardina was relieved of his command on October 3, 2013. A few days later, Major General Michael Carey, the Air Force commander in charge of America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, was fired for conduct “unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” According to a report by the Inspector General of the Air Force, Carey had consumed too much alcohol during an official trip to Russia, behaved rudely toward Russian officers, spent time with “suspect” young foreign women in Moscow, loudly discussed sensitive information in a public hotel lounge there, and drunkenly pleaded to get onstage and sing with a Beatles cover band at La Cantina, a Mexican restaurant near Red Square. Despite his requests, the band wouldn’t let Carey onstage to sing or to play the guitar.
The most unlikely and absurd plot element in “Strangelove” is the existence of a Soviet “Doomsday Machine.” The device would trigger itself, automatically, if the Soviet Union were attacked with nuclear weapons. It was meant to be the ultimate deterrent, a threat to destroy the world in order to prevent an American nuclear strike. But the failure of the Soviets to tell the United States about the contraption defeats its purpose and, at the end of the film, inadvertently causes a nuclear Armageddon. “The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost,” Dr. Strangelove, the President’s science adviser, explains to the Soviet Ambassador, “if you keep it a secret!”A decade after the release of “Strangelove,” the Soviet Union began work on the Perimeter system—-a network of sensors and computers that could allow junior military officials to launch missiles without oversight from the Soviet leadership. Perhaps nobody at the Kremlin had seen the film. Completed in 1985, the system was known as the Dead Hand. Once it was activated, Perimeter would order the launch of long-range missiles at the United States if it detected nuclear detonations on Soviet soil and Soviet leaders couldn’t be reached. Like the Doomsday Machine in “Strangelove,” Perimeter was kept secret from the United States; its existence was not revealed until years after the Cold War ended.
Posted by arely staircase | Thu Jan 23, 2014, 09:48 PM (21 replies)


I’m fascinated by the finding, in an extensive new study, that social mobility in the United States has stayed pretty constant over the past few decades. This conclusion challenges the standard narratives presented by the left and the right, and its political implications will be much discussed.

But first things first: where did it come from?In one sense, the finding isn’t so surprising. While it has been widely assumed that social mobility is declining—in a speech last month, President Obama said as much—previous academic studies also failed to consistently identify any trend. Some showed a decline in mobility; at least one showed an increase; and most raised some tricky statistical issues. Perhaps the mostinfluential paper, originally published in 2006, was by Chul-In Lee, of Konkuk University, in Korea, and Gary Solon, of Michigan State University. Lee and Solon examined data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a long-running survey that tracks income and other characteristics of about five thousand families nationwide.By looking, over time, at the incomes individuals earned relative to their parents’ income, they were able to measure “intergenerational mobility”—broadly speaking, the extent to which people are able to escape their upbringings. Solon and Lee concentrated on individuals born between 1952 and 1975, and their calculations covered the two decades from 1981 to 2000, when income inequality was already growing pretty rapidly. This was their conclusion:

Our estimates are still too imprecise to rule out modest trends in either direction. For the most part, though, our results for the cohorts born between 1952 and 1975 suggest that intergenerational income mobility in the United States has not changed dramatically over the past two decades.


While interesting, I still think wealth inequality is a serious problem. When a few hundred have more of the wealth than the bottom half, that means that there are people living in shit because those few hundred have been hoarding. Anyway, definitely interesting and if valid some reason for hope, maybe.
Posted by arely staircase | Thu Jan 23, 2014, 09:06 PM (5 replies)
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