Private life in the public eye

Jon Bon Jovi’s 19-year-old daughter OD’d on heroin yesterday. This makes me feel really bad for their family, because Bon Jovi is a real good guy (he was here in Philly the other day, breaking ground on low-income housing sponsored by his foundation). The man’s been working his tail off, getting food to the workers and families displaced in Hurricane Sandy. He really does believe in giving back.

So it’s not as if anyone’s family ever deserves to have a kid in trouble — and who knows? Sometimes having a parent who’s out doing good things is part of the problem — but when I heard this on the news yesterday, I said, “Oh no!” and meant it. He’s good people.

Hope it all turns out for the best.

Patraeus scandal really about ‘surveillance state run amok’

So Gen, David Petraeus, ex-CIA chief, was screwing around with his biographer Paula Broadwell, was was sending mildly harassing e-mails to “socialite” Jill Kelley, who was sexting with another four-star general. Kelley got mad about the e-mails to her and called in an FBI friend to investigate. Result: instant scandal. Glenn Greenwald’s perspective on this circle jerk:

…So not only did the FBI – again, all without any real evidence of a crime – trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell’s emails (and possibly Petraeus’), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000-30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and Kelley.

This is a surveillance state run amok. It also highlights how any remnants of internet anonymity have been all but obliterated by the union between the state and technology companies..

Oopsie!

I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation for this, right, Karl?

When Karl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS) formed in 2010, it established its official address in Warrenton, VA, and registered with the Internal Revenue Service a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) “social welfare organization.” It apparently did not, however, register as a charitable organization with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as appears was legally required.


According to state code, non-profit groups that intend to solicit contributions must first register with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs. Groups must pay an annual fee ($325 for groups raising over $1 million annually), provide basic information about their operations, and must sign statements affirming that no funds “have been or will knowingly be used, directly or indirectly, to benefit or provide support, in cash or in kind, to terrorists, terrorist organizations, terrorist activities, or the family members of any terrorist.”


The Virginia law explicitly exempts political campaign committees that are “required by state or federal law to file a report or statement of contributions and expenditures.” Crossroads GPS has consistently kept its contributors secret as it has raised and spent tens of millions of dollars against Democratic candidates.


While the group’s federal tax filings and registration with the District of Columbia indicate that it is a Virginia corporation — and Crossroads GPS did apparently register with the state’s corporation commission — the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs confirmed to ThinkProgress that no entity named Crossroads GPS or Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies has ever registered to solicit contributions in Virginia. Additionally, no entity with the tax identification number listed on Crossroads GPS’s tax filings has ever registered with the agency.

Texas petitioners: Let my people go

Roughly 80,000 petition-signing good ol’ boys ‘n’ girls have had it up to their 10-gallon hats with a federal government that insists on meddling in the affairs of their home state, cruel and unusual Texas. The New Republic recently addressed their grievances:

…Maybe the solution is simply to give Texas and other secessionist-conservatives what they really want: free passage to the land of all their conservative fantasies. Send them all off with gratis one-way tickets (I’m happy to earmark some of my socialist tax dollars for the effort) to a country with: a small federal government with limited power and meager influence over the private lives of its citizens; extremely weak trade unions routinely sabotaged by the federal government (i.e., a “pro-business environment”); negligible income tax; few immigrants, legal or otherwise; a dominant Christian population, accounting for some 70 percent of the people; no mandatory health insurance or concept of universal health care; a strong social taboo surrounding homosexuality and a constitution that already states, “All individuals have the right to marry a person of their choice of the opposite sex”; and a gun culture so ubiquitous that you can find automatic weaponry displayed openly on the streets of its capital city and in many households.

Sound like a Texan secessionist’s dream? Well, it’s no dream. This country already exists. It’s called the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Virtually Speaking Science

Virtually Speaking Science Nov 14 – 6pm pacific| 9pm eastern. Listen live or later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtually-speaking-science/2012/11/15/jennifer-ouellette-mark-changizi

Science writer Jennifer Ouellette talks with evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi, about the ultimate foundations underlying why we think, feel and see as we do.

Mark‘s research focuses on questions such as why we see in color, why we see illusions, why we have forward-facing eyes, why letters are shaped as they are, why the brain is organized as it is, why animals have as many limbs and fingers as they do, and why the dictionary is organized as it is.

They talk about his latest book and work on vision and cognition, plus such crowd-pleasing topics as pruney fingers, complex networks as they relate to organisms and language, the cognitive sicence behind “Eureka!” moments, complexity of writing over human history, scaling principles for city highway networks, and his new science show, Head Games.

Jennifer hosts Virtually Speaking Science on the 2nd Wed of each month. Widely read – Washington Post, Discover, Discovery News, Salon, Nature, Physics Today, Symmetry, Physics World, New Scientist, etc, she maintains a personal science-and-culture blog at Scientific American called Cocktail Party Physics, featuring her avatar altar-ego/evil twin, Jen-Luc Piquant.

Follow @MarkChangizi @JenLucPiquant

http://changizi.com/changizi_research.html

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