Honestly, anyone who still thinks DHS wasn’t monitoring the Occupy protests is just too silly to live. Once you have a full-scale operation that’s supposed to monitor threats, they’re going to look at everything – because they’re paranoid they’re going to miss something. This is particularly amusing that they tried to push back on “inaccuracies” that were, in fact, true:

Senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials debated whether they should pressure award-winning reporter Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings to “pull down” a report he published on the magazine’s web site about the agency’s role in monitoring Occupy Wall Street (OWS), claiming it was riddled with “inaccuracies,” according to hundreds of pages of internal DHS emails related to OWS Truthout obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we filed last October.

But it wasn’t Hastings’ February 28 report that was incorrect. Rather, it was an unauthorized five-page internal report prepared last October by DHS employees, who acted “outside the scope of their authority” and violated “privacy standards,” according to the emails, about the potential threat posed by OWS that was flawed. The internal report strongly suggested DHS had been mining social media, such as OWS’s Twitter feeds, for intelligence on the protest movement.

That document, which Hastings had accurately represented in his story, formed the basis for his Rolling Stone story. It was found in more than 5 million hacked emails from private intelligence firm Stratfor that Wikileaks released earlier this year. Hastings obtained the internal report from WikiLeaks, which entered into an investigative partnership with Rolling Stone.

It was Hastings’ characterization of the internal report that struck a nerve with top officials at DHS, who spent two days discussing how they should publicly respond to it, according to the heavily redacted emails.

My cherie amour

Every time I hear this Stevie Wonder song, I think of summer and the gang of friends with whom I’d go driving around in Florence’s 1969 white Ford Maverick:

Virtually Speaking Thursday

Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd 6pm pacific | 9pm eastern

Tonight Melissa Thomasson, Associate Professor of Economics. She and Jay discuss her work on the economic history of medical care and health insurance in the US.

• Read: http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/thomasson.insurance.health.us
• Listen to Melissa on ‘This American Life’ http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/392/someone-elses-money
• Watch Melissa on vimeo http://vimeo.com/15660730Listen live and later on BTR

Tweet questions to #AskVS

Join the studio audience in Second Life

Cruel and unusual Texas

I wonder if it has occurred to the rednecks who run the Texas prison system that their Christian sky-god, if he existed, would send them straight to hell:

Last summer’s record-breaking heat wave had a grim impact on Texas, playing a role in the deaths of roughly 150 people. Many of them were found in their homes or apartments, but a few were discovered somewhere else — in their prison cells.

Ten inmates of the state prison system died of heat-related causes last summer in a 26-day period in July and August, a death toll that has alarmed prisoners’ rights advocates who believe that the lack of air-conditioning in most state prisons puts inmates’ lives at risk…

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