Lawsuit

I love the EFF, for this and so many other things they fight to protect:

The US Justice Department is being sued after failing to adhere to Freedom of Information Act requests for documents on a federal surveillance program that has targeted the email and phone conversations of Americans throughout the last five years.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based advocacy groups that fights to protect civil liberties in the digital age, filed a lawsuit on Thursday this week that names the Department of Justice as the sole defendant.


The EFF charges that the DoJ violated the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, by failing to expedite previous requests filed with the government for documents relating to a 2008 amendment included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that year’s update to FISA, feds were awarded legal wiggle room to collect and comb through any communication originating in the United States that is sent abroad through email or phone, all under the guise of national security. The EFF and others attest that the government has extensively violated the US Constitution by doing as such, though, and is now suing the DoJ not for ongoing abuse of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure, but for the department’s failure to quickly honor the FOIA request and for wrongful withholding of agency records.


“The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 gave the NSA expansive power to spy on Americans’ international email and telephone calls,” the EFF explains in an official statement to the media that was released in conjunction with this week’s lawsuit. “However, last month, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, a government official publicly disclosed that the NSA’s surveillance had gone even further than what the law permits, with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issuing at least one ruling calling the NSA’s actions unconstitutional.”

He tried, he couldn’t do the job

So a reporter gets into an exclusive briefing with Karl Rove and finds out why they’re being so nice. I figured if they were doing this, it was because the polling showed them it worked. (It also happens to be the same advice I’ve been giving for 30 years to people running against incumbents.)

Then came the main event: Rove, joined by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, laid out his strategy for winning the White House. “The people we’ve got to win in this election, by and large, voted for Barack Obama,” Rove said, in a soothing, professorial tone, explaining why the campaign hadn’t launched more pointed attacks on the president’s character.


Rove explained that Crossroads had conducted extensive focus groups and shared polling and focus group data with “all the major groups that are playing” in the election. “As many of you know, one of the most important things about Crossroads is: We don’t try and do this alone. We have partners,” he said. “The Kochs—you name it.”


What had emerged from that data is an “acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable” voters. “If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.”

The nobles

You’re all just lazy drunks who didn’t happen to inherit $30 billion – and don’t think she didn’t work hard for it:

According to the world’s richest woman, low-income people are only poor because they don’t work hard enough, and because the government has coddled them with a minimum wage that is too high. Australian Gina Rinehart, who inherited her $30 billion fortune, said, “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working”:

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she wrote in an industry magazine column.


“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.


“Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.”


Rinehart blamed what she described as “socialist”, anti-business policies for the plight of Australia’s poor, urging the government to lower the minimum wage, as well as taxes, unless it wanted to end up like Greece.


Australian Treasury minister Wayne Swan replied, “These sorts of comments are an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills.” Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Rinehart’s comments about the minimum wage “just plain wrong” and an “odd thing to say.” Australia’s minimum wage is $15.96 per hour.


Rinehart is not the only one of the the world’s richest people to weigh in on public policy recently. Last month, Carlos Slim, whose $65 billion fortune makes him the world’s richest person, said countries that are struggling economically should raise their respective retirement ages to 70.

Another shooting

This time, in a NJ supermarket:

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Three people are dead, including the gunman, in a shooting inside a supermarket in Old Bridge.


The shooting happened around 4 a.m. inside a Pathmark supermarket on Route 9.


Police said a 23-year-old man broke into the store and shot two employees, CBS 2′s Emily Smith reported.


Witnesses said two employees were shot and killed before the suspect turned the gun on himself, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported. One of the victims was 18 years old. The age of the second victim is not known.


The suspect is an ex-Marine who worked at the store for about two weeks, sources told CBS 2. He was armed with an AK-47 and an automatic pistol and dressed in camouflage, CBS 2 reported.

Al Gore calls for end of electoral college

Hmm. What do you think?

Many Americans are disenfranchised and some states are ignored because of the Electoral College, and it’s time to abandon it, former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday night as part of Current TV’s coverage of the Republican National Convention.


“I really do now think it’s time to change that. It’s always tough to amend the Constitution and risky to do so, but there is a very interesting movement under way that takes it state by state, that may really have a chance of succeeding. I hope it does,” Gore said.


Asked to describe the movement, Gore was vague, saying it “started in California and it’s gained a lot of momentum.”


[…] “I supported the idea of the Electoral College because the logic is, it knits the country together, prevents regional conflicts, and it goes back through our history with some legitimate concerns,” he said. “But since, I’ve given a lot of thought to it and I’ve seen how these states are just written off.”

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