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Here, watch this puppy

You’ll feel better!

Gimme shelter

From Playing for Change:

Seniors turning against GOP

Here’s some encouraging news.

Not like the old days, huh?

How to kiss a girl


And then there were two

Update on the earlier story. Now two providers are shutting down — which will lead users of other services to wonder if they already cooperated with the government:

Two major secure e-mail service providers on Thursday took the extraordinary step of shutting down service.

A Texas-based company called Lavabit, which was reportedly used by Edward J. Snowden, announced its suspension Thursday afternoon, citing concerns about secret government court orders.

By evening, Silent Circle, a Maryland-based firm that counts heads of state among its customers, said it was following Lavabit’s lead and shutting its e-mail service as a protective measure.

Taken together, the closures signal that e-mails, even if they are encrypted, can be accessed by government authorities and that the only way to prevent turning over the data is to obliterate the servers that the data sits on.

Mike Janke, Silent Circle’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview late Thursday that his company had destroyed its server. “Gone. Can’t get it back. Nobody can,” he said. “We thought it was better to take flak from customers than be forced to turn it over.”

The company, in a blog post dated Friday, Aug. 9, said it had taken the extreme measure even though it had not received a search order from the government.

Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, suggested — though did not say explicitly — that he had received a search order, and was opting to shut the service so as not to be “complicit in crimes against the American people.”

H/t Cos.

When you’ve lost Van Jones

You’re really not doing so well, Mr. President:

Van Jones, a former White House special advisor, blasted President Barack Obama on Wednesday for cracking down on whistleblowers.

“I love this president, everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous,” he said on CNN. “First of all, we do have a domestic spying program, and what we need to be able to do is figure out how to balance these things, not pretend like there’s no balancing to be done.”

“But much more important, he said something else that I thought that was really awful,” Jones continued. “He said that if somebody like Snowden wanted to be a whistle-blower, they could have gone ahead.

“Well, hold on a second, sir. That is — you are right now prosecuting more whistleblowers – not only than any American president, that every American president combined! So, you can’t then come out on Leno and yuck it up and say, well, whistleblowers, come on out and we’ll treat you right because you haven’t been doing that.

Chris Christie’s stealth campaign ads

Everyone I know refers to this as “Christie’s campaign ad.” So now we know:

According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, a new ad campaign dubbed “Stronger Than The Storm” stars Christie and his family. The ad campaign is costing taxpayers almost $5 million. The price tag comes in $2 million higher than a bid denied by the Governor’s administration from a competing firm. The ads are part of a $25 million dollar state tourism fund given to New Jersey in the Sandy relief bill.

“The contract documents shine new light on the role Christie administration officials had in the new TV commercials, which are controversial because they give Christie more exposure during a gubernatorial election year, and also because they introduce him to voters in other states in advance of a possible 2016 presidential campaign. The top official on the selection committee, appointed by Christie, once received a $49,000 loan from Christie when he was the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.”

The heavy payday for MWW (the firm winning the bid) is $2.2 million higher than what was sought by the competing firm, Sigma Group. Shannon Morris, president and owner of Sigma Group, said she doesn’t have a clear understanding of how her firm lost the bid. Of the four bidders, MWW and Sigma were selected based on technical scoring by state officials for a final round of negotiations. They were also the two lowest-priced bids.

“I don’t know how you can qualify that as the best value for the state,” Morris said of MWW’s $4.7 million contract compared to Sigma’s $2.5 million offer. “You have two equally reputable firms and it’s debatable if one is better than the other. And in a competition like that it should come down to price, especially when you’re dealing with something as sensitive as Sandy recovery funding. To make a decision that spends $2 million more on agencies leaves me scratching my head. I don’t understand it.”

Here comes the interesting part about the two bidding companies. The two bidders had different views on how the campaign should be run. MWW wanted to put Christie in the ads. The other bidder, Sigma Group, did not. MWW won the contract- regardless of their demanding $2.2 million more. Is it possible that the official, who received a $49,000 loan from the Governor, made a bias decision in choosing ads that featured the Governor during his reelection? Seems likely.

H/T Thomas Soldan
malpractice attorney.


This is a little scary.

No, I did not win the Powerball

But these people did!

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. (AP) – The winning ticket sold in Little Egg Harbor was bought by a group of 16 employees from the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department, their boss confirmed Friday. They will not come forward to claim the prize and reveal their identities until next week, said Jim Pine, the department’s director.

A Minnesota has man claimed his third of Wednesday’s jackpot. The holder of the third winning ticket, also from New Jersey, has not come forward yet.

Pine said the Vehicle Maintenance Department employees showed up for work Thursday, which “ought to tell you something.” “I couldn’t be more happy for them,” he told the Press of Atlantic City, which reported the first details about the winning group. “They’re a group of wonderful, hardworking people.”

Paul White, 45, a project engineer from Ham Lake, Minn., wasted no time before revealing his good fortune to the world Thursday and saying he had “been waiting for this day my entire life.” White said his family often gave him a hard time for frequently playing the lottery, and he had a tough time convincing many of them that he had finally won.

“The only person who didn’t feel I was BSing them was my mother,” a beaming White said at a news conference where he was joined by his girlfriend, brother and two colleagues. White said he’ll take a lump sum, which will amount to $58.3 million after taxes. Despite the minuscule odds of a jackpot win, White said he often daydreamed about how he’d spend his winnings if he won.

“I’ve totally been waiting for this day my entire life,” he said, lamenting that he has to wait two weeks for his money. “Start the clock right now,” he said, eliciting laughs.

Uh oh

I hope she’s prepared for the huge personal shitstorm from the CoS:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Leah Remini, who recently left the Church of Scientology, has filed a missing person report with Los Angeles police for the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, a source close to the actress said on Thursday.

The whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige have been a focus of church critics, who claim she has not appeared in public in six years.

Los Angeles police said they received a missing person report on Shelly Miscavige, but would not say if Remini was behind it or when the report was filed.

Remini’s actions could pose a challenge to the church, which relies heavily on its celebrity members for visibility. Tom Cruise and John Travolta are among the most well-known members and only a handful of celebrities have left.

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