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Mittens distinguishes himself again

How awful is Mitt Romney? Is there anything he won’t do or say to improve his chances of being elected? I don’t know… Ask Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident, or Richard Grenell, the gay foreign policy spokesman whom Romney threw under the bus. More here.

Twitter fights NYC court order

From Wired:

In the battle to fight online fishing expeditions by law enforcement officials there is little we can do individually to protect ourselves — which makes it all the more important for internet companies like Twitter and Google to fight back on our behalf.

That’s exactly what Twitter did when it filed a surprisingly feisty motion (.pdf) this week in New York City Criminal Court to quash a court order demanding that it hand over information to law enforcement about one of its account holders — an activist who participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests — as well as tweets that he allegedly posted to the account over a three-month period. The company stepped in with the motion after the account holder lost his own bid to quash the order…

In its motion to quash, Twitter pointed out to the judge that the order would essentially force the company to break the law by handing over data without a warrant. Twitter also took issue with the judge’s ruling that the account holder had no right to fight the order on his own behalf.

The company further dinged prosecutors by pointing out that they could have saved everyone the trouble of dealing with this in court if they had simply printed or downloaded the publicly available tweets themselves…

‘Mommy porn’ trilogy under attack

It’s pure pulp, but library officials in three states have elevated the trilogy by E.L. James to banned-book status, a category that has included Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer:

Public libraries in several states are pulling the racy romance trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” from shelves or deciding not to order the best-seller at all, saying it’s too steamy or too poorly written.

Even in the age of e-books and tablets, banning a book from a public library still carries weight because libraries still play such a vital role in providing people access to books.

“When a book is removed from the shelf, folks who can’t afford a Nook or a Kindle, the book is no longer available to them,” said Deborah Caldwell Stone, the deputy director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom.

“Fifty Shades of Grey,” a novel about bondage, wild sex and yes, love, has been called “mommy porn” because of its popularity among middle-aged women. It has become so well-known that “Saturday Night Live” performed a skit about it, joking that a Kindle with “Fifty Shades” uploaded on it was the perfect Mother’s Day gift.

This week, the steamy books hold the top three spots on the New York Times best-seller list.

Libraries in Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida have all either declined to order the book or pulled it from shelves. Other states may soon follow.

Blowback in war on medical pot

Barack Obama’s Department of Justice apparently would rather harass voter-approved medical marijuana facilities than pursue an aggressive investigation of the banks that wrecked our economy. That’s why I liked reading this:

A forthcoming amendment to H.R. 5326, a key appropriations bill currently being debated in Congress, will give the House of Representatives an opportunity to rebuke the Obama administration’s rapid fire raids on voter-approved medical marijuana facilities in the states that allow doctors to recommend the drug.

Three California Republicans and one New York Democrat, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Tom McClintock (R-CA), plan to introduce the amendment this evening, according to action alerts circulated Wednesday by the nation’s largest drug reform advocacy groups.

The amendment would, according to Americans for Safe Access (ASA), “prohibit any funds made available to the Department of Justice from being used to prevent the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, or the District of Columbia, from implementing programs authorized by those laws.”

By virtue of that, all medical marijuana raids would cease. Marijuana advocates have told Raw Story that the Obama administration has staged “more than 200″ raids in the last three years — making his presidency far “worse than Bush” for drug reform advocates…

GOP ‘beyond redemption’

Former Ambassador to the UN and U.S. Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), in 2010: “If [Indiana Republican Senator] Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

On Wednesday, Lugar lost his bid for re-nomination in Indiana by a wide margin to an extreme right-winger. There you have it.

NYC’s two-tiered policing system

There they go again, those pesky progressives, giving Mayor Bloomberg’s private army a hard time: An analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union challenges the NYPD’s claim that “racial disparities in stop-and-frisks reflect the geography of New York’s high-crime areas.”

Being a schmuck means never having the balls to say you’re sorry. More importantly, it means knowing you’re wrong about the course of action you took, in this case economy austerity, but continuing to pursue the same course because changing it would be an admission that you didn’t know what the hell you were doing. From Guardian UK:

Europe’s collective response to the 2008 credit crunch ranks with the treaty of Versailles and German reparations among the great follies of history. While the peoples of Greece, Spain, Italy and France wrestle with counter-productive austerity policies, Britain’s rulers have no more idea of what to do next. On Tuesday David Cameron and Nick Clegg renewed the coalition marriage vow of two years ago, but there were no smiles of rapture in a Downing Street garden, just gritted teeth in an Essex factory. Cocks of the walk had become headless chickens.

Those who warned at the time that the coalition risked double-dip recession by over-suppressing demand have been proved right. The chancellor, George Osborne, raised [the value added tax] to 20%, tightened benefits and allowed banks to restrict credit (while saying the opposite). He declared that private sector growth would more than compensate for public sector contraction. He meant well, but he was wrong.

He was also wrong to dismiss the desire of Gus O’Donnell, then cabinet secretary, for a plan B. It was clear 18 months ago that demand was collapsing. A government obsession with rescuing banks took the cabinet’s eye off the ball and had nothing to do with the case. The longer course correction was delayed, the more demand drained from the economy, until the gangrene of double-dip set in. Britain is now having one of the worst recessions in the OECD…

Blinded by the light

Manfred Mann:

Very cute

When Obama endorsed marriage equality!

Ramblin’ man

Allman Brothers:

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