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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 61,593

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When May I Shoot a Student?---A must-read masterpiece of weaponized snark.

This op-ed in the NYTimes this morning by Prof. Greg Hampikian, Boise State University in Idaho, has written a must-read masterpiece of weaponized snark. The Idaho legislature has a bill pending that would allow students on campus to carry guns. A taste...

When May I Shoot a Student?

BOISE, Idaho — TO the chief counsel of the Idaho State Legislature:

In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?

I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot?


While our city police chief has expressed grave concerns about allowing guns on campus, I would point out that he already has one. I’m glad that you were not intimidated by him, and did not allow him to speak at the public hearing on the bill (though I really enjoyed the 40 minutes you gave to the National Rifle Association spokesman).

the rest:

Thanks to Judge Scalia-It is Raining Shoes

The other shoe drops - I'd love to be a fly on the wall of Scalia's office today. Nearly every judge striking down state ban on marriage equality referred to his dissent in Windsor:

"As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.

“By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,”
Scalia wrote.

How Scalia Helped Screw Texas' Case Against Gay Marriage

In Utah, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky, federal judges fully embraced Scalia's predictions last year in his dissent in United States v. Windsor, the case that struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Scalia wrote in that dissent that he believed the majority's logic would inevitably lead to other judges striking down same-sex marriage bans.



The queue for food at a Syrian refugee camp:


GCHQ spied on millions of Yahoo video chats, harvested sexual images of chatters, compared itself to

A stunning new Snowden leak reveals that the UK spy agency GCHQ harvested images and text from millions of Yahoo video chats, including chats in which one or both of the participants was British or American. Between 3 and 11 percent of the chats they intercepted were sexual in nature, and revealing images of thousands of people were captured and displayed to spies. The programme, called OPTIC NERVE, focused on people whose usernames were similar to those of suspects, and ran from at least 2008 until at least 2010. The leak reveals that GCHQ intended to expand the programme to Xbox 360 Kinect cameras and "fairly normal webcam traffic." The programme was part of a facial recognition research effort that GCHQ compared to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report." While the documents do not detail efforts as widescale as those against Yahoo users, one presentation discusses with interest the potential and capabilities of the Xbox 360's Kinect camera, saying it generated "fairly normal webcam traffic" and was being evaluated as part of a wider program. Beyond webcams and consoles, GCHQ and the NSA looked at building more detailed and accurate facial recognition tools, such as iris recognition cameras – "think Tom Cruise in Minority Report", one presentation noted.

Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: "Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography."

The document estimates that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains "undesirable nudity". Discussing efforts to make the interface "safer to use", it noted that current "naïve" pornography detectors assessed the amount of flesh in any given shot, and so attracted lots of false positives by incorrectly tagging shots of people's faces as pornography.


Cheney Sec Of Defense '88-'92 Cut Army Troop Levels By Whopping 25% & Cut Military Budget Annually

Juan Cole
Dick Cheney Broke US Military, Now Blames Obama for Cuts
Posted on Feb 27, 2014
By Juan Cole

According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Cheney is the one who insisted on two big tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the first years of the Bush administration, which has been a structural contributor to persistent budget deficits. America has become an extremely unequal society, with the top 1% taking home 20% of the national income every month, and obviously if they pay dramatically less in Federal taxes, it causes a shortfall that cannot be made up from the 99%. Those deficits provoked the ‘sequester,’ automatic across the board cuts in the government budget, which are among the impetuses for Hagel’s budget.


Given that Cheney helped prosecute a naked act of aggression on false pretenses, he is a war criminal and ideally should be prosecuted and jailed rather than being given a megaphone in corporate media to continue to push for militarism.


Not to mention that when Cheney was Secretary of Defense from 1988 to 1992, he cut the army troop levels by a whopping 25% and cut the military budget annually as much as Congress is doing this year:

“Over Cheney’s four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD’s total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000–25.8 percent of its strength.”


Those cuts came because of the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. When wars wind up, Mr. Cheney, military budgets wind down, as you yourself demonstrated.

the rest:

so which is it?


"I say we deny Him service"

From blacks in 1960 to gays today, discrimination is all about a desperate need to feel superior

From blacks in 1960 to gays today, discrimination is all about a desperate need to feel superior by holding someone else down.


This was passed around the internet for the past few days. It's a picture of a 1960 lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC.

When I first saw this picture and learned about this period in our history (or more accurately, learned it formally and from someone who wasn't using the N-word regularly) I thought that racism was about believing that another race is inferior. Like most people I got (slightly) wiser with age and eventually figured out that racism is about keeping someone else beneath you on the social ladder. You know, that Gene Hackman line from Mississippi Burning ("If you ain't better than a nigger, son, who are you better than?" If you actually thought black people were dirty savages you wouldn't eat anything they handed you. But of course it has nothing to do with that. You're fine being served food because servility implies social inferiority. And you don't want to sit next to them simply because it implies equality.


Charles M. Blow: No Country for Old Mores

Respecting the full humanity of another only broadens the humanity of the self.

No one asks that you affirm and approve the behaviors in another’s bedroom, only that you respect the boundaries thereof and keep your limiting measures and limited imaginations out of it.

Sex, sexual and gender identity, and all proclivities of intimacy are personal and not to be dictated by committee or community. We must each follow the wanderings of our heart to find the place where we feel affirmed and fulfilled, both spiritually and physically. And as long as that is between consenting adults, that destination should be sufficient.


We are greater than our base elements. We feel — love, sorrow, a need for connection, the pains of longing. And we aspire, in our greatest hours, to justice. S.B. 1062 and the Republican preoccupation that fuels it was simply not our greatest hour.


Breaking... Unredacted David Wildstein emails to be released tomorrow!!

WED FEB 26, 2014 AT 06:32 PM PST
Breaking... Unredacted David Wildstein emails to be released tomorrow!!
by BarackStarObama

Rachel Maddow just broke the news that the joint NJ Investigative council will release the UNREDACTED David Wildstein emails on Thursday. Grab your popcorn, tomorrow will be a doozy. LOL

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