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marble falls

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Name: herb morehead
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 03:49 AM
Number of posts: 6,366

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Documents: Officials misused US surveillance program


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For nearly three years, government officials got hold of data on thousands of domestic phone numbers that they shouldn't have had. And then, according to documents released today, they misrepresented to a secret spy court what they had done, in order to get the program reauthorized.

The Obama administration had to release the documents as part of a lawsuit by a civil liberties group. They show that National Security Agency analysts routinely exceeded their mission to track only phone numbers with reasonable connections to terrorism.

The administration had earlier conceded that the surveillance program scooped up more domestic phone calls and emails than Congress or the court had authorized. But many of the details weren't known until today.

The NSA told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that it had misunderstood restrictions on accessing data once it was archived. But in March of 2009, Judge Reggie Walton wrote that the explanation was hard to believe. He was so fed up with the government's overreaching that he threatened to shut down the surveillance program.

He noted that fewer than 2,000 phone numbers out of the nearly 18,000 on a list that investigators had been working with at the time had met the legal standard under which they could be accessed.

Officials say the complexity of the computer system -- and a misunderstanding of laws, court orders and internal policies -- contributed to the abuses.

There's no evidence that the NSA intentionally used its surveillance powers to spy on Americans for political purposes.

They've done enough unintentional damage

US income gap reaches its widest point since the 1920s

By Paul Wiseman, Associated Press
09/10/2013 01:38:58 PM PDT



WASHINGTON — The gulf between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America is the widest it's been since the Roaring '20s.

The very wealthiest Americans earned more than 19 percent of the country's household income last year — their biggest share since 1928, the year before the stock market crash. And the top 10 percent captured a record 48.2 percent of total earnings last year.

U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. And it grew again last year, according to an analysis of Internal Revenue Service figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

One of them, Berkeley's Emmanuel Saez, said the incomes of the richest Americans surged last year in part because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes that took effect in January.

In 2012, the incomes of the top 1 percent rose nearly 20 percent compared with a 1 percent increase for the remaining 99 percent.


But since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the top 1 percent have enjoyed the benefits of rising corporate profits and stock prices: 95 percent of the income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.

That compares with a 45 percent share for the top 1 percent in the economic expansion of the 1990s and a 65 percent share from the expansion that followed the 2001 recession.

The top 1 percent of American households had pretax income above $394,000 last year. The top 10 percent had income exceeding $114,000.

The income figures include wages, pension payments, dividends and capital gains from the sale of stocks and other assets. They do not include so-called transfer payments from government programs such as unemployment benefits and Social Security.

The gap between rich and poor narrowed after World War II as unions negotiated better pay and benefits and as the government enacted a minimum wage and other policies to help the poor and middle class.

The top 1 percent's share of income bottomed out at 7.7 percent in 1973 and has risen steadily since the early 1980s, according to the analysis.

Economists point to several reasons for widening income inequality. In some industries, U.S. workers now compete with low-wage labor in China and other developing countries. Clerical and call-center jobs have been outsourced to countries such as India and the Philippines.

Increasingly, technology is replacing workers in performing routine tasks. And union power has dwindled. The percentage of American workers represented by unions has dropped from 23.3 percent in 1983 to 12.5 percent last year, according to the Labor Department.

The changes have reduced costs for many employers. That is one reason corporate profits hit a record this year as a share of U.S. economic output, even though economic growth is sluggish and unemployment remains at a high 7.2 percent.


Ummm I am a little embarressed....

I don't understand what 'kicking' is.
Posted by marble falls | Sun Sep 8, 2013, 04:13 PM (2 replies)

Tree Lobsters rediscovered after 80 years


While they were thought to have been the unfortunate victims of non-native rats, a rare species of so-called "tree lobsters" has been found surviving on Ball's Pyramid, part of an old, inactive volcano near Australia.

According to NPR, the six-legged insects, which are about the size of a human hand, were almost wiped out by black rats that invaded nearby Lord Howe Island -- the creatures' native home -- when a British supply ship ran aground there in 1918.

Then, in 2001, two scientists found the surviving tree lobsters living in a bush atop Ball's Pyramid, some 13 miles southeast of Lord Howe Island. How they got there and survived for all these years is still a mystery to scientists.

The Age explains that, as part of an effort to increase the species' population, zookeepers used glasshouses to reproduce the humid environment favored by the tree lobsters.

The program has been a success and the zoo will breed its tenth generation this year, according to The Age.

The next step for tree lobster advocates is to convince the people of Lorde Howe to exterminate the island's rats in order to make it habitable for the insects once again, an endeavor which could prove very expensive.

The Awl's Dave Bry writes that the whole story "brings up some of the same very powerful emotions as the last page of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."
Posted by marble falls | Sat Sep 7, 2013, 01:00 PM (7 replies)

McCain slaps down Fox's Brian Kilmeade

Watch John McCain Rip A Fox News Host For His Criticism Of A Syrian Rebel's Chant

In his media tour Tuesday morning, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ripped into Fox News host Brian Kilmeade for his criticism of a Syrian rebel's chanting of "Allahu Akbar."

On "Fox & Friends," Kilmeade told McCain — who has been a constant advocate for U.S. intervention in Syria — that he had concerns over the Syrian rebels' alleged "ties to extremists." Kilmeade played a clip of an explosion on government-held territory in Syria, after which a rebel shouts, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!"

"I have a problem helping those people screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said.

McCain, clearly annoyed, shot back immediately at Kilmeade.

"Would you have a problem with an American person saying, 'Thank God! Thank God!?'" McCain said.

"That's what they're saying. Come on! Of course they're Muslims. But they're moderates, and I guarantee you they are moderates. I know them and I've been with them. For someone to say, 'Allahu Akbar' is about as offensive as someone saying, 'Thank God.'"

Here's the clip of McCain's appearance on Fox (the relevant part starts around the 3:00 mark) at the website:

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/john-mccain-fox-news-brian-kilmeade-muslim-allahu-akbar-2013-9#ixzz2dvmhHQoz
Posted by marble falls | Wed Sep 4, 2013, 09:42 AM (0 replies)

Russia Warns Citizens About Traveling To America Or Allied Countries

Russia Warns Citizens About Traveling To America Or Allied Countries

Brian Jones Sep. 3, 2013, 6:32 PM 3,342 6

The Russian government has issued an odd travel warning to its citizens — beware of the United States.

Travel warnings typically warn citizens of war, disease, other unrest. This announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry warns against U.S. extradition law.

“Recently, detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent — with the goal of extradition and legal prosecution in the United States.”

The announcement goes on to assert that people wanted by the United States who travel to countries with extradition treaties with the U.S. are kidnapped with shaky evidence and tilted toward conviction.

It's a bit of an endzone dance for Russia, which offered asylum to the fugitive NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite U.S. pleas for extradition.

After Russia welcomed Snowden, the U.S. cancelled planned meetings between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The move is reminiscent of how the Assad regime in Syria issued a travel warning against Turkey when there were protests earlier this summer. More than 300,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey from the violence in their home country.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-issues-travel-advisory-against-us-2013-9#ixzz2dvglBqS7
Posted by marble falls | Wed Sep 4, 2013, 09:17 AM (1 replies)

My E-Mails with Brenda at Starbuck's

1.)--- Original Message ---
From: Herb Morehead
Received: 8/30/13 3:56:46 AM MDT
To: <info@starbucks.cust-serv.com>
Subject: Corporate social responsibility

"Social responsibility? Really:Starbucks Fires Employee on
Food Stamps for Eating a Sandwich from the GarbageLast
Monday, 21-year-old barista Coulson Loptmann says he was
fired from a downtown Seattle Starbucks where he?d worked
for more than a year. The reason? He ate a sandwich that had
been thrown away. Really. Like most cafes, the coffee giant
gets rid of food that has expired; they donate what they can
and toss the more perishable items.Loptmann, who says he
couldn?t get enough hours to pay his bills and survives
partly on his food stamps, explains, ?I hadn?t eaten all day
and I was on a seven-hour shift.? A coworker had just marked
some breakfast sandwiches out of stock, and he figured no
one would mind if he grabbed one of the plastic-wrapped
sausage sandwiches out of the trash can.But Starbucks did
mind. According to Loptmann, his manager sat him down a week
later and told him she?d found out about the sandwich and
contacted HR, ?and they consider it stealing, and it?s
against policy. So I?m sorry, but I have to terminate you.?
She fired him on the spot.The incident comes up just as
fast-food workers prepare for another strike this
Thursday?and this time, they're asking baristas to join
them. Seattle's fast-food walkouts this spring were
extraordinarily successful, shutting down multiple
restaurants, and this week, organizers for Good Jobs Seattle
are encouraging low-wage workers in coffee shops to join the
national push for a $15 an hour minimum wage.The rest at:

Whats wrong with Starbucks and the food/service industry in
this country? For shame. I've been very busy e-mailing
and posting this every single place I can.

Herb Morehead


Dear Herb,

you for contacting Starbucks.

Thank you for sharing your
concerns and thoughts with us. However, I can tell you that
our managers want our partners to succeed, and regularly
coach them if they are having performance challenges. When
making tough decisions, like letting someone go, our
managers evaluate a partner’s performance holistically not
on the basis of a single, minor infraction.In general, a
partner would not be let go for a single violation of our
mark-out policy. However, a partner could be let go if they
violated this policy after having ongoing performance

again for writing us. If you ever have any
questions or concerns in the future, please don't
hesitate to get in touch.

We would love to hear your feedback. Click here to take a short survey.


Celeste E
customer service


Dear Celeste

I find your reply unsatisfactory. This may have been a last straw, but what a bad reason to fire someone. I submit that allowing your innuendo packed statement as true still leaves us with a minimum waged adult on food-stamps for eating out of a garbage can,

Shame on Starbucks.

Herb Morehead



Thank you for your email, I hope you are doing well today.

We do not discuss former partner's employment history. However, I can tell you that our managers want our partners to succeed and regularly coach them if they are having performance challenges.

When making tough decisions, like letting someone go, our managers evaluate a partner’s performance holistically not on the basis of a single, minor infraction. In general, a partner would not be let go for a single violation of our mark-out policy. However, a partner could be let go if they violated this policy after having ongoing performance challenges.

Thanks again for writing us. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Brady M

customer service



Starbucks seems to want to have it both ways: "We fired her for due reasons and we we can't disclose the reasons over privacy."

Her privacy IS paramount here and you've discussed her as a problem employee who's been counseled to no avail - to the point of being fired for eating garbage. So your claim of respecting an employee's right to privacy is a little surprising after you let the horse out of the barn.

My point - respecting the privacy of an employee that Starbucks thought so much about, is that eating garbage is no justifiable straw to break the camel's back.

I'm still po'd over Starbuck's policy of splitting tips with shift leaders. I am curious about how many of your full time fellow co-workers make a wage that qualifys them for food stamps or rent help. Have any stats on that you'd care to share?


Posted by marble falls | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 09:01 PM (3 replies)

New Leaked Document Outlines U.S. Spending on Intelligence Agencies

The most detailed public disclosure of American intelligence spending in history shows a surprisingly dominant role for the Central Intelligence Agency, a growing emphasis on both defensive and offensive cyberoperations, and significant gaps in knowledge about targeted countries despite the sharp increase in spending after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Enlarge This Image
The Guardian, via Associated Press

Edward J. Snowden obtained the spending information when he was a contractor for the National Security Agency.

The top secret budget request for the current fiscal year was obtained by The Washington Post from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden and published in part on its Web site on Thursday. The newspaper said it was withholding most of the 178-page document at the request of government officials because “sensitive details are so pervasive” in its description of spying programs.

The document shows that the agencies’ budget request for the year ending Sept. 30 was $52.6 billion, a small decrease from the 2011 peak of $54.6 billion, which came after a decade of rapid spending growth. Of that, the biggest share was taken by the C.I.A., which carries out traditional human spying and intelligence analysis but also now conducts drone strikes against terrorism suspects in Pakistan and Yemen.

The C.I.A. asked for $14.7 billion, significantly outpacing the two big technological spy agencies, the eavesdropping N.S.A., which sought $10.8 billion, and the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates surveillance satellites and sought $10.3 billion. While the document reflects the money requested for the 2013 fiscal year and not what was actually received, the record of past expenditures suggests that real spending this year is probably very close to the amount requested.

The 16 American spy agencies employ about 107,000 people, including some 21,800 working on contract, the document shows. The number does not include tens of thousands of contractors who work in support of the intelligence agencies, in some cases outnumbering actual employees, said Jeffrey T. Richelson, a prolific author on intelligence.

Mr. Richelson said he thought the N.S.A. budget figure understated the real cost of its electronic surveillance, because it omits much of the support it receives from military personnel who carry out eavesdropping on its behalf.

The latest disclosure underscores the extraordinary impact of the leaks by Mr. Snowden, 30, who has accepted temporary asylum in Russia as he tries to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.

The documents he took from his job as an N.S.A. contractor and provided to The Guardian, The Post and other publications have set off the most significant public debate in decades about surveillance and data collection by the government. The parts of the new budget document published by The Post, while containing no major surprises, offer by far the most granular look to date at how billions of dollars is spent for intelligence collection. (The Guardian has recently shared some of Mr. Snowden’s documents with The New York Times.)


Feds won't sue to stop pot use in Washington and Colorado - with caveats

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite 75 years of federal marijuana prohibition, the Justice Department said Thursday that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it - as long as the weed is kept away from kids, the black market and federal property.

In a sweeping new policy statement prompted by pot legalization votes in Washington and Colorado last fall, the department gave the green light to states to adopt tight regulatory schemes to oversee the medical and recreational marijuana industries burgeoning across the country.

The action, welcomed by supporters of legalization, could set the stage for more states to legalize marijuana. Alaska could vote on the question next year, and a few other states plan similar votes in 2016.

The policy change embraces what Justice Department officials called a "trust but verify" approach between the federal government and states that enact recreational drug use.

In a memo to all 94 U.S. attorneys' offices around the country, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the federal government expects that states and local governments authorizing "marijuana-related conduct" will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that address the threat those state laws could pose to public health and safety.

"If state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust ... the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself," the memo stated. States must ensure "that they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities," it added.

The U.S. attorney in Colorado, John Walsh, said he will continue to focus on whether Colorado's system has the resources and tools necessary to protect key federal public safety interests.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the state is working to improve education and prevention efforts directed at young people and on enforcement tools to prevent access to marijuana by those under age 21. Colorado also is determined to keep marijuana businesses from being fronts for criminal enterprises or other illegal activity, he said, and the state is committed to preventing the export of marijuana while also enhancing efforts to keep state roads safe from impaired drivers.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also laid out guidelines for marijuana entrepreneurs.

"If you don't sell this product to children, if you keep violent crime away from your business, if you pay your taxes and you don't use this as a front for illicit activity, we're going to be able to move forward," Inslee said.

Under the new federal policy, the government's top investigative priorities range from preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors to preventing sales revenue from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels and preventing the diversion of marijuana outside of states where it is legal.

Other top-priority enforcement areas include stopping state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover for trafficking other illegal drugs and preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. The top areas also include preventing drugged driving, preventing marijuana cultivation and possession on federal property.

The Justice Department memo says it will take a broad view of the federal priorities. For example, in preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, enforcement could take place when marijuana trafficking takes place near an area associated with minors, or when marijuana is marketed in an appealing manner to minors or diverted to minors.

Following the votes in Colorado and Washington last year, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a review of marijuana enforcement policy that included an examination of the two states. The issue was whether they should be blocked from operating marijuana markets on the grounds that actively regulating an illegal substance conflicts with federal drug law that bans it.

Peter Bensinger, a former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the conflict between federal and state law is clear and can't be reconciled. Federal law is paramount, and Holder is "not only abandoning the law, he's breaking the law. He's not only shirking his duty, he's not living up to his oath of office," Bensinger said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R- Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and cochairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, called the administration's decision the latest example of selective law enforcement.

"The administration is now effectively instructing law enforcement not to prioritize the prosecution of the large-scale distribution and sale of marijuana in certain states," Grassley said late Thursday. "Apprehending and prosecuting illegal drug traffickers should always be a priority for the Department of Justice."

Last December, President Barack Obama said it doesn't make sense for the federal government to go after recreational drug users in a state that has legalized marijuana. Last week, the White House said that prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority.

A Pew Research Center poll in March found that 60 percent of Americans think the federal government shouldn't enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states where its use has been approved. Younger people, who tend to vote more Democratic, are especially prone to that view. But opponents are worried these moves will lead to more use by young people. Colorado and Washington were states that helped re-elect Obama.

Advocates of medical marijuana were cautious about the new policy. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that effectively allow patients to access and use medical marijuana. Threats of criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture by U.S. attorneys have closed more than 600 dispensaries in California, Colorado and Washington over the past two years, said Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for safe and legal access to therapeutic cannabis.

Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy organization, called the policy change "a major and historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition" and "a clear signal that states are free to determine their own policies."

Kevin Sabet, the director of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group, predicted the new Justice Department policy will accelerate a national discussion about legalization because people will see its harms - including more drugged driving and higher high school dropout rates.

Kristi Kelly, a co-founder of three medical marijuana shops near Denver, said the Justice Department's action is a step in the right direction.

"We've been operating in a gray area for a long time. We're looking for some sort of concrete assurances that this industry is viable," she said.

A national trade group, the National Cannabis Industry Association, said it hopes steps will be taken to allow marijuana establishments access to banking services. Federally insured banks are barred from taking money from marijuana businesses because the drug is still banned by the federal government.


Johnson reported from Seattle. Associated Press writers Alicia Caldwell, Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash., and Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.

Jerry Jones says CAT Scan reveals he has the ‘brain of a 40-year old’

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says CAT Scan reveals he has the ‘brain of a 40-year old’
Eric Edholm 5 hours ago Shutdown Corner FootballJerry JonesDallas Cowboys

(USA Today Sports Images)
Dallas Cowboys fans who are prone to questioning the sanity of owner Jerry Jones, please take note: Medical science says you're way off base.

Jones, 70, apparently told the Dallas Morning News that he has the brain of a man 30 years younger. And wouldn't we all like to have one of those?

“I’ve been told that I have, by , that it’s like the brain of a 40-year-old,” Jones crowed. “…The guy really did not know it was me. I was there anonymously. He said, ‘And so I just wanted to come down. I saw your chart. I know how old you are. That part is really impressive.’”

Jones is at the nerve center of the Cowboys, from top to bottom, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. Age apparently is no matter for the man who recently said that Tony Romo (who is 33) has an offensive mind on par with Saints head coach (and former Cowboys assistant) Sean Payton, who is 49. And Jones green-lit the acquisition of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who is a venerable 73.

Lest you think Jones has lost his touch during a period in which the Cowboys have won two postseason games since 1996, Jones begs to differ.

“I know more about what I’m doing than hopefully I did 25 years ago,” he said, referring to the time he entered the NFL as an owner.

Recently, Jones' son, Stephen, who has taken on an increased role in the running of the franchise, said that the Cowboys have the "secret sauce" to win championships (plural) again. If you ask Dad what the recipe for said sauce is, it apparently is coursing through his veins, like some kind of naturally produced youth serum. And that means that neither Jones is likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

Isn't science cool, Cowboys fans?
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