One big love

Emmylou does Patty Griffin. I wish I could have found Patty’s version, it’s so much better:


This explains so much, doesn’t it?

We’re doomed:

National Journal…asked a panel of Congressional and Political Insiders to rank, one-through-five, those columnists, bloggers, and television or radio commentators who most help to shape their own opinion or worldview.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman received more points than anyone else, with support from both Democrats and Republicans.

I should point out that this survey is three years old. That is not a sign that we are not doomed. It is a sign that we’ve been doomed for a while.


In today’s news from the surveillance state:

Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence.

It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it’s the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.

The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing.

Hacktivists aligned with the loose-knit Anonymous collective took credit for hacking Stratfor on Christmas Eve, 2011, in turn collecting what they claimed to be more than five million emails from within the company. WikiLeaks began releasing those emails as the Global Intelligence Files (GIF) earlier this year and, of those, several discussing the implementing of TrapWire in public spaces across the country were circulated on the Web this week after security researcher Justin Ferguson brought attention to the matter. At the same time, however, WikiLeaks was relentlessly assaulted by a barrage of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, crippling the whistleblower site and its mirrors, significantly cutting short the number of people who would otherwise have unfettered access to the emails.

Student Union

Daniel Denvir in the Philadelphia City Paper:

It appears that the $2 billion William Penn Foundation will cut funding to the Philadelphia Student Union, which organizes young people throughout city public schools. And so PSU needs your support.

“For 17 years our foundation partners have helped pay the salaries of our hardworking staff and keep the computers on in our media lab,” according to aPSU fundraising appeal. “As the City Paper has reported recently a foundation that has been one of our largest funders for over 10 years will probably not renew our funding this Fall. We’ve known this for some time and have planned and fundraised accordingly. We have a little over a year to replace this funder.”

Last month, City Paper reported that William Penn is taking a new direction under president Jeremy Nowak: raising millions to fund a controversial and corporate-minded restructuring plan authored by theBoston Consulting Group; while cutting funds to community and youth organizers who are critical of privatization.

My previous education cover story, “Who’s Killing Philly Public Schools?,” related how PSU led the fight against privatization and the state takeover in 2001 and what that means for the District’s current crisis.

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