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Saw her again

Mamas and the Papas:

Off the books

Seriously, is it likely that such a murky enterprise was set up without being approved by someone higher up the food chain, like Tenet? Of course not. The question is, did the authorization reach even higher?

The top lawyer at the CIA never approved sending one of its officers to help the New York Police Department create a domestic spying program, raising the possibility that the agency may have violated a ban on domestic spying.

Last August, the Associated Press reported that the CIA had violated that prohibition when it “played a key role in transforming the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit into a cutting edge spy shop dedicated to gathering information on Muslims.”

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly insisted in October that the arrangement was legal under a 1981 presidential order, which allows the CIA to provide local law enforcement with “specialized equipment, technical knowledge or assistance of expert personnel,” provided the guidelines are spelled out in advance and the agency’s general counsel approves of the arrangement.

The AP is now reporting, however, that according to intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, neither of those things was done in 2002 when then-CIA director George Tenet sent a veteran officer to set up “spying programs that transformed the NYPD into one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies.”

An internal CIA investigation launched in September by newly-appointed Director David Petraeus concluded there had been no wrongdoing, but the AP report casts fresh doubt on that conclusion.The AP story points out that the role of CIA officer Lawrence Sanchez — and of a second, unidentified, CIA officer who succeeded him in 2010 — was “murky,” which enabled US officials to claim his presence did not violate the ban because he was never directly instructed to help set up the spying programs.“Officially, he is there on a sabbatical to observe the NYPD’s management,” the AP story notes.

Carolina in my mind

JT:

Good vibrations

Beach Boys:

Honey bunny

Girls:

Consuming

I’m watching a lot of movies while I’m sick (I can only read so much). Tonight my friend and I watched “Unknown” with Liam Neeson – not terrible, but not great. I am frequently distracted by the faces and have to look up what movies they were in. Diane Kruger plays a Croatian cabdriver but she was decidedly more memorable as a movie star working as a spy in “Inglorious Basterds”.

Also had some baked pita chips and salsa tonight without serious consequences. Progress!

Mitt and Jay-Z, perfect together

Bill Maher showed photos of hip-hip stars posing with wads of cash in their hands, or in their mouths, and then a photo of Mittens and his whiter-than-white homies at Bain Capital, in similar poses with money. More here.

Bias

And of course, even blacks who were eligible for standard mortgages were steered into expensive subprime mortgages:

Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to wind up in the more onerous and costly form of consumer bankruptcy as they try to dig out from their debts, a new study has found.

The disparity persisted even when the researchers adjusted for income, homeownership, assets and education. The evidence suggested that lawyers were disproportionately steering blacks into a process that was not as good for them financially, in part because of biases, whether conscious or unconscious.

The vast majority of debtors file under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, which typically allows them to erase most debts in a matter of months. It tends to have a higher success rate and is less expensive than the alternative, Chapter 13, which requires debtors to dedicate their disposable income to paying back their debts for several years.

Ripping off veterans

For the Catholic church. How little Ricky Santorum did it!

Say what?

This is shocking – and depressing, since the NRC is largely a bunch of industry hacks:

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday blocked Vermont from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor to shut down when its license expires in March, saying that the state is trying to regulate nuclear safety, which only the federal government can do.

The judge, J. Garvan Murtha of United States District Court in Brattleboro, Vt., also held that the state cannot force the plant’s owner, Entergy, to sell electricity from the reactor to in-state utilities at reduced rates as a condition of continued operation, as Entergy asserts it is now doing.

The nuclear operator filed a lawsuit last year challenging the constitutionality of a state law giving the Vermont Legislature veto power over operation of the reactor when its original 40-year license expires.

In an extensive review of the legislative record, Judge Murtha pointed out in his ruling that in remarks “too numerous to recount here,” state lawmakers and witnesses made clear that their effort to close the plant was “grounded in radiological safety concerns” — the province of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The commission has already granted Vermont Yankee a 20-year license extension.

The ruling is almost certain to be appealed by the state and an array of private groups that want the plant shut down because of leaks of radioactive tritium and other issues.

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