Well, they should know. At the very least they should know.
Have Another Hit Of Colorado Sunshine
That belongs in another thread my dear.
I've been composing a love letter to Erin Burnett but every time I'm about to mail it I rip it up and throw it away in the trash
Pretty much sums up the religious hypocrisy that I loathe so much about the Republican party.
Darkside| Spiritualized| Spiritualized| Pixies| Lord Huron| This Will Destroy You| Tool| Kraftwerk| The National| Neil Young| Coachella| Mogwai| Black Sabbath| Failure/Puscifer/A Perfect Circle| Failure/Puscifer/A Perfect Circle| Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds| NIN/Soundgarden| Fleetwood Mac
It's not the most well-written article, but I agree with what he's getting at 100%.
Republicans are pissed that this will "waste taxpayer dollars" and that he should have just picked a Republican to fill Lautenberg's seat. It's worth mentioning that a Republican hasn't held this seat since the late 70's.
Republicans Fuming Over Chris Christie's Senate Decision
The New Jersey governor's decision to hold the Senate race in October 2013 means it will be difficult for the GOP to contest the seat.
Republicans are fuming over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to hold an early special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, with several Washington-based operatives suggesting he's putting his own interests ahead of the GOP's. The decision to hold a separate special election in October 2013—just two weeks before his own election—would give any interested Republican candidates little time to announce, organize a campaign, and raise the necessary money to take on a top-tier Democrat, likely Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Christie announced at a Tuesday press conference that the election to fill Lautenberg's seat will be held Oct. 16, just before his own gubernatorial election on Nov. 4. The primaries would be scheduled for Aug. 13. Christie acknowledged he was legally able to schedule a special election in November 2014, but he wanted New Jersey voters to elect their senator as soon as possible. Christie was less clear about whether he was legally allowed to schedule an election to coincide with his own, emphasizing that he didn't want to waste any time in seating the newly elected member. On several occasions, he repeated his decision had nothing to do with politics.
"There's no political purpose. The political purpose is to give the people a voice," Christie said. "The issues facing the United States Senate are too important not to have an elected representative making those decisions."
The governor's decision, along with growing GOP expectations that his appointee will be a placeholder, means that the GOP's chance at a pickup now looks like a long shot. But Christie protected his own interests by scheduling a separate 2013 election, ensuring that Booker wouldn't usher a surge of Democratic voters that could hurt Christie's November prospects.
That did little to mollify Republicans with a stake in retaking the Senate next year. While none wanted to be quoted publicly, all dripped with disdain for Christie's decision, calling it self-serving. And several pointed to the fact that holding an extra election one month earlier could cost the state about $25 million--a price tag that could dent his image as a fiscal hawk.
"I think this ends his 2016 chances. It's year after year with this guy," complained one senior Republican official.
In his press conference, Christie said the state will pick up the tab for the elections, but he doesn't know how much taxpayers will end up paying. "I don't know the price tag and quite frankly I don't care," Christie bluntly said.
Despite the governor's public denials, Christie allies were concerned that if a special election coincided with the gubernatorial election, Democratic candidate Barbara Buono could benefit. With Booker as the favored Democratic Senate nominee, less-reliable Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, would be more likely to show up at the polls. Even with a comfortable lead in the race, that's not a risk Christie welcomed.
Christie told reporters he has a list of possible appointees in his head, but he did not lay out a timeline for when he'll name his temporary pick but suggested it would be soon. According to one Republican source familiar with Christie's thinking, the leading names are former Gov. Tom Kean Sr., state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. If he opted for a Republican to hold the seat but not run for election, Kean Sr. would be the most logical choice.
On the Democratic side, Booker is likely to square off against Rep. Frank Pallone, who has banked more than $3 million in his House campaign in preparation for a Senate run.
"You all know me. I don't dawdle," Christie said. "The gun has been fired. It's time to go."
This is very long so I highlighted the parts you all might 'enjoy' reading. link is better because you can click on the sources he cites.
JUNE 4, 2013, 9:12 PM
Welfare for the Wealthy
By MARK BITTMAN
The critically important Farm Bill  is impenetrably arcane, yet as it worms its way through Congress, Americans who care about justice, health or the environment can parse enough of it to become outraged.
The legislation costs around $100 billion annually, determining policies on matters that are strikingly diverse. Because it affects foreign trade and aid, agricultural and nutritional research, and much more, it has global implications.
The Farm Bill finances food stamps (officially SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the subsidies that allow industrial ag and monoculture — the “spray and pray” style of farming — to maintain their grip on the food “system.”
The bill is ostensibly revisited, refashioned and renewed every five years, but this round, scheduled to be re-enacted last year, has been in discussion since 2010, and a final bill is not in sight. Based on the current course of Congress it seems there will be an extension this fall, as there was in 2012. Extensions allow funding changes for individual “titles,” as programs are sometimes called; last year’s extensions didn’t do much damage, but this year’s threaten the well-being of tens of millions of Americans.
I routinely talk to people who monitor the Farm Bill, a task that’s practically a full-time job. One is David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, a principled anti-hunger group. Another is Craig Cox, a senior vice president at the Environmental Working Group, among the best NGOs on agricultural policy and just plain consumer advice regarding the various plagues of industrial agriculture.
These people and many others are devoted to feeding the hungry, protecting the environment and boosting sensible agricultural policies, yet they avoid the fatalism that causes some to throw up their hands.
The current versions of the Farm Bill in the Senate (as usual, not as horrible as the House) and the House (as usual, terrifying) could hardly be more frustrating. The House is proposing $20 billion in cuts to SNAP — equivalent, says Beckmann, to “almost half of all the charitable food assistance that food banks and food charities provide to people in need.” 
Deficit reduction is the sacred excuse for such cruelty, but the first could be achieved without the second. Two of the most expensive programs are food stamps, the cost of which has justifiably soared since the beginning of the Great Recession  , and direct subsidy payments.
This pits the ability of poor people to eat — not well, but sort of enough — against the production of agricultural commodities. That would be a difficult choice if the subsidies were going to farmers who could be crushed by failure, but in reality most direct payments go to those who need them least.
Among them is Congressman Stephen Fincher, Republican of Tennessee, who justifies SNAP cuts by quoting 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”
Even if this quote were not taken out of context — whoever wrote 2 Thessalonians was chastising not the poor but those who’d stopped working in anticipation of the second coming — Fincher ignores the fact that Congress is a secular body that supposedly doesn’t base policy on an ancient religious text that contradicts itself more often than not. Not that one needs to break a sweat countering his “argument,” but 45 percent of food stamp recipients are children, and in 2010, the U.S.D.A. reported that as many as 41 percent are working poor.
This would be just another amusing/depressing example of an elected official ignoring a huge part of his constituency (about one in seven Americans rely on food stamps, though it’s one in five in Tennessee, the second highest rate in the South), were not Fincher himself a hypocrite.
For the God-fearing Fincher is one of the largest recipients of U.S.D.A. farm subsidies in Tennessee history; he raked in $3.48 million in taxpayer cash from 1999 to 2012, $70,574 last year alone. The average SNAP recipient in Tennessee gets $132.20 in food aid a month; Fincher received $193 a day. (You can eat pretty well on that.) 
Fincher is not alone in disgrace, even among his Congressional colleagues, but he makes a lovely poster boy for a policy that steals taxpayer money from the poor and so-called middle class to pay the rich, while propping up a form of agriculture that’s unsustainable and poisonous.
Knowing that direct subsidy payments are under the gun, our clever and cynical representatives are offering a bait-and-switch policy that will make things worse, and largely replace subsidy payments with an enhanced form of crop insurance — paid for by us, of course — which will further reduce risks for commodity farmers. As Craig Cox explained, “The proposed crop insurance would allow — no, encourage — big farmers to plant corn on hillsides, in flood-threatened areas, even in drought-stricken areas, with subsidized premiums and deductibles, and see a big payout if” — should we say “when”? — “the crop fails or is damaged.”
You should get such a deal on insurance: the premiums and deductibles are subsidized and there’s no limit to what can be paid, so bigger farms and bigger risks reap bigger rewards in the event of failure, even if that was a failure of judgment. 
Even without boosting the program, crop insurance payments came in at a whopping $17 billion last year. That was unusually high because of the drought, but only a climate-change denier believes that was the last drought we’re going to see. And if you think any of this can be justified because it supports the insurance industry and creates American jobs … well, no: most of the subsidized insurance providers are based offshore.
We are so used to welfare for the wealthy that most of us, sadly, shrug it off. But a Farm Bill extension does give an opportunity to end direct subsidy payments, rein in crop insurance, and protect the programs that are critical to our national identity and benefit those who deserve it.
It’s a simple solution, says Cox: “The legislators could decide not to reauthorize direct payments and invest some of the savings in good programs while still hitting budget reduction targets.” The Congressional Budget Office reports that this action would save about $5 billion per year, far more than the proposed potential savings of cutting SNAP and other beneficial programs while enhancing crop insurance. (The Senate proposes saving less than $2 billion annually, the House just over $3 billion.)
In other words, without hurting conservation or poor people or foreign aid or progressive and traditional farming, you could achieve targeted savings simply by letting direct payments go away and refusing to boost the crop insurance scam.
Boosters of crop insurance on steroids simply want a government guarantee of farm revenue. Maybe you don’t want to scream “communism!” but it’s the type of guarantee that no other industry in this country would dare to dream of.
Avoid fatalism: Call your representative (or at least support those agencies that are doing so) and insist that payments to people like Fincher be ended without replacing them with other subsidies to big ag. Let’s at least try to protect the poor, the environment and our national health.
The alternative is to wait for the second coming.
1. This year going by the fun names of “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act” (House version) and “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act” (Senate). Note that the titles tell us what matters to each of these bodies, and that food doesn’t cut it in the House.
2. “People in need,” by the way, outnumber food stamp recipients, since not everyone eligible for food stamps signs up. So really it’s a bit worse than it sounds, and it sounds bad enough.
3. By design, it is precisely when people are falling economically that an economic safety net is most necessary, and food stamps are an entitlement: if you qualify, you get ’em, no matter how big the budget line grows.
4. It actually gets worse. Here’s Fincher quoted in the International Business Times: “[T]he role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity, is to take care of each other,” Fincher said at a Memphis event last week. “But not for Washington to steal money from those in the country and give it to others in the country. Our role is out of control.”
5. So: Buy the most expensive car you can afford, even one you can’t afford. Premiums and deductibles are cheap. Wearing a seat belt and a helmet, wreck it. Voilà!
Quoting The Bible as a justification for denying food to low income children? UGGGGGGH. The most frustrating part of this is how well documented the link between a lack of nutrition and children's ability to focus in school/learn. Oh, and you know, the whole....being a well sustained, healthy individual.
4/17: The Afghan Whigs @ Slim's
4/17: Minilogue @ Mighty
4/21: The Men @ Rickshaw Stop
4/26: Simian Mobile Disco, Earth @ Pappy and Harriet's
5/2-5/4: Austin Psych Fest @ Carson Creek Ranch
5/10: Joey Anderson @ TBA
5/17: Kishi Bashi @ GAMH
5/17: Move D b2b Optimo, Jackmaster, J.Phlip @ PW
5/21: Baths @ The Independent
5/30: The Decemberists @ The Crystal Ballroom
They're all idiots. Sure it costs extra money, but I support the idea that, for an elected position that will be filled for nearly two years, the people get to elect the person. Good on Christie.
And a Republican hasn't been elected to that seat since the 70s, but there was a Republican senator briefly a few years ago from New Jersey when this same sort of situation occurred.
lulz.... If only this were real.
Dick Cheney blasted President Obama today over the NSA's secret surveillance program targeting all Verizon Wireless users.
In an interview with Fox News, the former vice president and longtime Verizon customer expressed sheer outrage that his calls are being monitored.
"I don't know who these people think they are," Cheney told Fox and Friends' host Steve Doocy. "The absolute nerve to go snooping around everybody's private phone conversations. It's unbelievable.
"Since when did having a cellular telephone become probable cause to spy on someone? And what other data do they have? Our GPS locations? Which internet sites we go to?
"Like most Americans, I've got a lot of things on my phone that I consider private - not the least of which is my browsing history. This an an outrage, an absolute outrage."
So how is this Snowden guy a whistleblower if everybody already knew about this NSA shit in 2006?
NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls
Updated 5/11/2006 10:38 AM ET
Well if you have been following along there is more to come and he has revealed information that we did not know before. The media is acting like the spying is the news and you are correct, we already knew that. It's nice to get a second push out to the public on that end of the discussion though, no?
One of the documents that Snowden released was the secret FISA court document which contains their ruling from 2011. The ruling found this spying to be unconstitutional since 2011.
Surveillance Court ruled Wednesday that it did not object to the release of a classified 86-page opinion concluding that some of the U.S. government’s surveillance activities were unconstitutional.
The ruling, signed by the court’s chief judge, Reggie Walton, rejected the Justice Department’s arguments that the secret national security court’s rules prevented disclosure of the opinion. Instead, the court found that because the document was in the possession of the Justice Department, it was subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act.
Privacy advocates who brought the case said Wednesday that the ruling could pave the way for at least the partial release of landmark -- but still classified -- court rulings that some government surveillance activities violated the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution barring "unreasonable searches and seizures."
The release of the opinion, they say, may prove central in the current controversy over the scope of National Security Agency surveillance programs.
“It’s a brand new day,” said Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group that brought the case. He noted that it is extremely rare for any FISC ruling to be made public at all, much less for the court to rule on behalf of disclosure advocates over the objection of Justice Department lawyers.
A spokesman said the Justice Department was reviewing the ruling and declined further comment.
The EFF’s lawsuit was inspired by a July 20, 2012 letter from an aide to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that stated that “on at least one occasion,” the FISC held that “some collection” carried out by the U.S. government under classified surveillance programs “was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
The letter, from Kathleen Turner, Clapper’s chief of legislative affairs, provided no further information about what the FISC found to be unconstitutional, but did state that the government “has remedied these concerns” and the FISC has continued to approve its collection activities.
Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said he was barred from speaking any further about the matter because it remained classified.
The EFF last year filed a lawsuit to compel disclosure of the FISC opinion under the Freedom of Information Act. As part of the case, the Justice Department acknowledged there was in fact an 86-page opinion by the FISC dated Oct. 3, 2011, that was responsive to the FOIA request. But department lawyers argued that the FISC opinion could not be released because the court’s own rules barred public disclosure.
In Wednesday’s seven-page opinion, Judge Walton found otherwise, siding in part with the EFF over the Justice Department. He concluded that a FISC rule requiring that its opinions be sealed did not apply to an opinion in the government’s possession that had not otherwise been barred from disclosure.
The ruling did not order the immediate release of the opinion, however, instead referred the matter to a lower court for a final decision on whether the opinion is eligible for release under FOIA, which requires the government to release documents not covered by security or other narrow exemptions.
However, Walton did not immediately order the DOJ to release the order. Instead, he wrote, “This court expresses no opinion on the other issues presented” in the FOIA case “including whether the opinion is ultimately subject to disclosure.”
Such questions, he wrote, are "appropriately addressed” by the federal court in which the EFF lawsuit was originally filed.
I can understanding them looking in on suspected terrorists. But to keep and track phone calls of EVERYONE just seems really bizarre.
Especially when it's usage is unclear.The usefulness of the NSA's domestic phone-call database as a counterterrorism tool is unclear. Also unclear is whether the database has been used for other purposes.
I think it's cool that Qwest is refusing to participate in this data-collecting. Though, on the otherhand, that presents an alternative of evasion for suspected terrorists. I mean, the government would have to establish PC (which really isn't hard to do; most judges will sign off on a minimal PC) in order to take a closer look, but still.Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.
I'm on the fence about how I feel about this. On one hand, I think we should be able to call whoever, in good faith of having privacy during our conversation, wherever that person may live; considering the fact that there are more non-terrorists than there are terrorists.
On the otherhand, I can see why they want to snoop in on people who are making calls to specific areas where known terrorist organization members dwell, in an effort to stall/disrupt any potential terrorist attacks.
Welcome back Amy