05/25/2014 archive

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher’s New Rules: Past and Furious

Bill Maher’s New Rules 2014 05 23: Past and Furious

Bill Maher’s new rules about GM recalling cars, new trilogy replacing Fifty Shades of Grey, 63 year old Michigan man arrested on child porn charges, fishing trophy that looks like a dick, dehydrated meat, and political correctness getting out of hand.

Promises, promises…

Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian, May 22/14:

“It does not deserve the name ‘USA Freedom Act’ any more than the ‘Patriot Act’ merits its moniker,” wrote four former NSA whistleblowers and their old ally on the House intelligence committee staff.

The former NSA officials – Thomas Drake, William Binney, Edward Loomis and J Kirk Wiebe – and former congressional staffer Diane Roark denounced 11th-hour changes to the Freedom Act as resulting in “a very weak” bill.


Most significantly, the version emerging from the rules committee expanded the definition of a “specific selection term,” the root thing – formerly defined as information that “uniquely describe[s] a person, entity, or account” – the government must present to a judge, with suspicion of connection of terrorism or espionage, in order to collect data under the bill.

The new definition is “a discrete term, such as” a person, entity, account, “address or device”. That revision has spurred privacy advocates and even major technology companies to doubt that the bill will actually ban the mass collection of Americans’ data, its ostensible purpose.

A coalition of the US’s largest technology companies – including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Dropbox, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn – warned that definition created an “unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of internet users’ data”.

NSA reform bill loses backing from privacy advocates after major revisions

Indianapolis 500

Under construction.

On This Day In History May 25

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

May 25 is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 220 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1977, Stars Wars opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six-film saga. It is the fourth film in terms of the series’ internal chronology. Ground-breaking in its use of special effects, unconventional editing, and science fiction/fantasy storytelling, the original Star Wars is one of the most successful and influential films of all time.

Set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, the film follows a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance as they plot to destroy the powerful Death Star space station, a devastating weapon created by the evil Galactic Empire. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmboy Luke Skywalker when he inadvertently acquires the droids carrying the stolen plans to the Death Star. After the Empire begins a cruel and destructive search for the droids, Skywalker decides to accompany Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi on a daring mission to rescue the owner of the droids, rebel leader Princess Leia Organa, and save the galaxy.

Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977, the film went on to earn $460 million in the United States and $337 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the highest-grossing film of all time at the time. Among the many awards the film received, it gained ten Academy Award nominations, winning six; the nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. Lucas has re-released the film on several occasions, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions are the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD release, which have modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, and added scenes.

Let us go then, you and I — to The Breakfast Club

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.  

(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right?  Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)

 photo bunnycake.jpg

Just so you know, I usually spend hours working on my breakfast club posts, but I’m having a brunch tomorrow and will be entertaining my boyfriend from high school (a cool rock musician) and his wife (a cool doctor), and a new friend I met on a temp job and her fiancee, who are moving to the Midwest in a few days. I want to get back into the kitchen!  We are having a quinoa salpicon, green tea noodle salad, oeuf cocottes with salmon and dill, mini quiches, charcuterie and cheese, nuts, olives, bread, fruit and coconut jello with fruit!  Plus I am going to juice some oranges and add prosecco to that for yummy brunch drinks.  So, forgive me if it seems like I’m rushing through this post because, in fact, I am.  

This Day in History

This bit was posted at Voices on the Square, The Stars Holllow Gazette, Docudharma, and Daily Kos.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; ABC News contributor Steve Ganyard; and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Guests at the roundtable are ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Ana Navarro; ABC News contributor and former Obama White House senior adviser David Plouffe; and Daily Beast contributor and Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are  Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Sen. John Thune (R-SD); and conservative columnist Dr. Ben Carson. He will host two panels. The first to discuss the scandal at the VA hospitals are Dana Priest, The Washington Post; David Finkel, The Washington Post; and author Tom Manion.

The topic of the second panel, recent NFL lawsuit, will be discussed with Steve Silverman, the attorney representing players in the case; sports reporters Jarrett Bell of USA Today and Sean Gregory of Time.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP has been preempted for Formula 1 from Monaco.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL); and filmmaker Wes Moore,

Her panel guests are Penny Lee, Corey Dade, and Alex Castellanos .

Formula One 2014- Circuit de Monaco

So the preliminaries-

Softs and Super Softs as you might expect in the slowest and tightest (turn wise) race of the season.  Rosberg retains his home court advantage despite spoiling Hamilton’s fast lap, frankly it will come down to who gets off first from the pole since there is no passing and it’s a virtual parade unless something breaks or someone parks or it rains.

Oh, and did I mention it’s the most boring race of the year?

No reason really to interrupt a leisurely Memorial day weekend breakfast, I like waffles with blueberries (not quite in season yet) and strawberries (on special for some reason) drizzled with genuine 100% Maple syrup.  I’ve discovered the frozen toaster kind are quite acceptable which is nice because I could put my single purpose machine into deep storage (of course I didn’t throw it out, what are you thinking?).

Now for whipped cream there’s nothing like mixer made from scratch and it gives me an excuse for my Kitchen-Aide that mostly sits under a dust cover because I don’t bake, I cook.

Wha?  Ahh… automobile racing, I should really pay more attention.  My weekend at Bernie’s- apparently he’s too ill to continue his bribery trial for conspiring to undervalue the shares of the Bambino Trust which held the controlling interest in Formula One.  I feel as bad for him as you would expect me to feel for a misogynistic, homophobic, anti-semetic, thieving, 83 year old Billionaire with a bad cold.  Pobrecito.  Que lastima.

Pretty tables below.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ukrainians vote in presidential elections

25 May 2014 Last updated at 05:39


Ukrainians are going to the polls to vote in a new president after months of unrest following the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

Eighteen candidates are competing in the contest, which is widely seen as a crucial moment to unite the country.

But pro-Russian separatists in the east who oppose the election have threatened to disrupt the voting process.

Some 20 people have been killed amid an upsurge of fighting between insurgents and government forces in recent days.

The violence in the east, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk, has seriously disrupted preparations for the polls.

Shortly after voting began, election officials told the BBC no polling stations had opened in the city of Donetsk

Sunday’s Headlines:

Ramallah father: I want to believe that the boy soldier who shot dead my son seeks forgiveness

‘Ghetto TV’ shows another side to residents of Rio’s largest favela

Malawi court rejects Banda’s call to annul elections

 China faces its own “war on terror”

Colombia activists denounce rights violations