President Obama has accepted an official government report he had tasked in which the NSA has it's balls nicked but not clipped, mostly in the way it which it collects metta telephone data. These are superficial changes in that the telephone companies control different parts of the data collection and storage. What the NSA says it needs to do is have access to all the pieces of data quickly. The NSA doesn't particularly care where that data resides until it needs it. It just wants an "Access-All-Areas" pass from every telephone company.
President Obama thanked his White House review panel for the important recommendations to insure privacy controls on the cloud/internet and in telephone calls.
The White House also allowed as it would be wise to dial back on the total transparent collection of private communications amongst it's "allies". Still, Obama is not prepared to give a pardon to leaker Ed Snowden.
Previous to Snowden, the POTUS had total deniability that any of these programs actually even existed. Obama had gone so far as to say that a chat with the American people regarding these issues was overdue. Still, due process must take place with Snowden, despite the fact that he is sitting on over a million pages of documents that could further damage the reputation of the US and it's relations with Allies. It is presumed that the Russians and and the Chinese already have every shred of information collected by Snowden.
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Synthetic: Induces vivid hallucinations and loud roaring noises in the ears that some times lasts for hours.
(Warning! Do not use these for stocking-stuffers!)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
If you're like me, then, for the last ten years, you've had your doctor macking on you to get your blood pressure under 140 over 90 -- often not an easy thing to do, especially with crappy Indian knock-off generics like Robaxyn taking up to 10% of the market these days.
The actual new recommendation from a prestigious source like the New England Journal of Medicine will be quite a useful guideline to know for long life and good health.
IN THE NEWS TODAY
3/8/70 - A mystery guest takes the mike after Pigpen's Katie Mae and "sings" a blues while Pigpen and the band accompany him - then he continues shouting and tunelessly bleating a harmonica all through Not Fade Away, while the Dead apparently ignore him. This was thought to be Wayne Ceballos; Pigpen seems to have encouraged him onstage, for some reason. (The link has a debate on whether this singer is Ceballos or not - which is ironic, since the genuine Ceballos on 6/8/69 is almost equally atrocious.) Hands-down the worst guest appearance.
A young black liberal think-tank spokes. had the audacity to challenge the fact that the historical personage named Saint Nicholas from the swarthy-skinned country of Turkey could actually be Turkish in racial characteristics as Jon Stewart so aptly pointed-out on the Daily Show.
Meghan "Lemon-Tart", the commentator from Fox started this, admonishing kids strongly to cover their ears and to remember the world is flat and that Santa is an incandescent albino.
SNL had a great skit also. Way to go, Fox!
IN THE NEWS LAST WEEK
I only caught a blurb of those on yesterday morning's news, but has anyone else heard the controversy about how Santa Clause can't be white anymore? Apparently some parents and/or children are having a hard time dealing with the fact that Santa's white while they aren't. So now there's apparently a movement to change Santa into something other than a fat and jolly white guy with obviously high blood pressure (how else do you explain the constantly rosey cheeks?). It was apparently a talking point of Fox "News" the other day, but that should come as no surprise to ANYONE.
CHRISTMAS: If you're having a hard time identifying with a fat white guy who lives in an uninhabitable frozen wasteland and delivers toys to all the world's children in a matter of hours while being pulled through the sky in a sleigh that's pulled by magical flying reindeer, you're doing it wrong.
Sure glad I wasn't wearing a Chiefs jersey with a seat in the "Black Hole" yesterday afternoon.
How about Jamaal Charles with 5 TD's! I imagine the Oakland media is not kind to the Raiders, especially with the team across the bay doing better.
Let's hope this is true. Wonderful news.
Mandela's Last Years in Imprisonment at Verster
Recovering from tuberculosis caused by dank conditions in his cell, in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. Here, he was housed in the relative comfort of a warder's house with a personal cook, using the time to complete his LLB degree. There he was permitted many visitors, such as anti-apartheid campaigner and longtime friend Harry Schwarz. Mandela organised secret communications with exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo. In 1989, Botha suffered a stroke, retaining the state presidency but stepping down as leader of the National Party, to be replaced by the conservative F. W. de Klerk. In a surprise move, Botha invited Mandela to a meeting over tea in July 1989, an invitation Mandela considered genial. Botha was replaced as state president by de Klerk six weeks later; the new president believed that apartheid was unsustainable and unconditionally released all ANC prisoners except Mandela. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, de Klerk called his cabinet together to debate legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although some were deeply opposed to his plans, de Klerk met with Mandela in December to discuss the situation, a meeting both men considered friendly, before releasing Mandela unconditionally and legalising all formerly banned political parties on 2 February 1990. The first photographs of Mandela were allowed to be published in South Africa for 20 years.
Leaving Victor Verster on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie's hand in front of amassed crowds and press; the event was broadcast live across the world. Driven to Cape Town's City Hall through crowds, he gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority, but made it clear that the ANC's armed struggle was not over, and would continue as "a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid." He expressed hope that the government would agree to negotiations, so that "there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle", and insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections. Staying at the home of Desmond Tutu, in the following days Mandela met with friends, activists, and press, giving a speech to 100,000 people at Johannesburg's Soccer City.
So it is possible to discern that Mandela ended apartheid in South Africa due to his persistent organizing efforts, which led to jail for 27 years. Increasing isolation and sanctions against the Afrikaner regime by the world's industrialized countries, moved by citizen protest, was also a driving factor. Gradually the old-line faction of fascist Dutch leaders started to relent. Botha's stroke was key. de Klerk friendliness toward the cause and Mandela was a huge development.
What made Mandela great was that he was able to leave his hatred and bitterness toward the former ruling class behind him. He was also a pragmatic and believed in the tip of the spear to prod those whites along the path to racial harmony. His humbleness in recognizing his position as just the start of a long list of leaders in a democracy was huge and unprecedented for a black African leader.
The seminal event was his ability to communicate his vision to a crowd of 100,000 inside the soccer stadium at Soccer City with hundreds of thousands more outside just waiting to hear what he had said. He set the tone for a path for reconciliation that could have easily gone the other way towards violence and hate. This is what made Mandela a luminary among men of his time, on a par with Gandhi who was also influenced profoundly by his time as a lawyer in South Africa.
Sort of, a presidential run in 2016. What he said yesterday (and I'm paraphrasing) if there is no other politician with enough gumption to stand up for the poor and working class in this country, then he would be willing to do it.
Starting as Mayor of Vermont's largest city, Burlington, some thirty odd years ago, Bernie has always been a populist candidate and is easily the Senator farthest to the Left in that body and he generally does what he says.
I can't think of another third party candidate that would start out from this much of an influential position to raise the most important issues of our time, which would include things like global warming. I think he is short on original ideas and would be more of a gadfly than any sort of serious candidate. I can't see him getting anymore than 3% of the vote, especially as I see Obama's organization splintering, if not disintegrating.
But I do wish Bernie the best. He is "The People's Candidate", if i can use that hackneyed phrase and a lonely voice calling in the corporate wind.