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Restore the Fourth


On July 4th, tens of thousands of you came out to protest unconstitutional surveillance methods. There are many more protests and other actions upcoming (a bit more on that below), but as we’ve said many times, the next step is to let those in Washington who noticed us know this isn’t over.

The way to do that is for all of us, including those who have already, to call our representatives and senators Friday to tell them it isn’t over, and to make sure each of our friends do the same. One number you can use is 1-STOP-323-NSA (1-786-732-3672) – make sure you have your zip code ready. Those of us on Facebook can join the event page and make sure those on our friends list take notice of it.

You may be thinking: Why make a day-specific campaign out of calling Congress when it’s been recommended all along? Concentrating calls from as many people as possible in one day will draw more attention from Congress and others than if those calls were more spread out. Additionally, it: will serve as a reminder to those who haven’t called Congress yet; makes it easier to spread the message on social media and other venues; and will help keep attention on Restore the Fourth and on the issue of unconstitutional surveillance while we prepare for future protests and other action.

Tips for Friday

  • Call using call.stopwatching.us which will help you connect to the right office and provide talking points, and look up your local representative’s position on unconstituional surveillance beforehand. Or consider using this script.
  • Read up on the issues (e.g. in our FAQ and Press Releases and other sites’ guides) beforehand so you know what to say, and so that you can address friends that question you on why they should participate.
  • Considering sending a letter and email as well. There are some templates on our Resources Pages which you can use if necessary, and can edit at your own discretion.
  • On Friday afternoon ask your friends if they remembered to call. Many people will be willing to do it but will need a last-minute reminder.

Just get used to it

Instead of dealing with these problems, the administration has gone all in on fracking. So I guess we’re going to have to live with it!

Major earthquakes thousands of miles away can trigger reflex quakes in areas where fluids have been injected into the ground from fracking and other industrial operations, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Previous studies, covered in a recent Mother Jones feature from Michael Behar, have shown that injecting fluids into the ground can increase the seismicity of a region. This latest study shows that earthquakes can tip off smaller quakes in far-away areas where fluid has been pumped underground.

Fracking waste fluids “kind of act as a pressurized cushion,” said a lead author on the study.

The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 201 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern US where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction.

“[The fluids] kind of act as a pressurized cushion,” lead author Nicholas van der Elst of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University explained to Mother Jones. “They make it easier for the fault to slide.”

Yesterday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren showed us she knows what voters want, and she knows how to work with other people to get it:

At today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing, Elizabeth Warren introduced the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2013, co-sponsored by Senators McCain, Cantwell, and King. This new bill mirrors the original 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which separated traditional banking activity (like checking and lending) from the riskier activity investment banking (like derivatives).

The original law was repealed in 1999 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, though Glass-Steagall had been eroding for years leading up to that point. Gramm-Leach-Bliley, along with several laws passed during that era, allowed the big banks to transform into megabanks, creating “too big to fail.”

[…] From 1935 to 1990 the three biggest banks averaged around 10% of total bank assets, but by 2009 they suddenly had over 40%.
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Gov. Bob McDonnell caught with more cookies

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Turns out that VA’s wingnut Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who’s running to replace O’Donnell, is also involved in this same scandal. Oops!

It surely does appear that outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell, the man who wanted to be Mitt Romney’s vice president, has a different kind of future in store:

RICHMOND — A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor’s wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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I only want to be with you

Dusty Springfield:

All the times I’ve cried

Sharleen Spiteri:

This is the way we move

This might be my new favorite song. Langhorne Slim and the Law:

Harry’s making noises again

It remains to be seen if this is that one special time he doesn’t pull the football away:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) declared Thursday that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “broke his word” when it comes to presidential nominations and kept the nuclear option on the table.

“Senator McConnell committed to end the constant Republican obstruction and return the Senate to a time when nominations were processed more efficiently,” he said. “Those were his commitments. Those were his promises. By any objective standard, they’ve been broken.”

A worked up McConnell responded shortly after, insisting that Republicans have been fair to President Obama’s nominees and vowing that Democrats will regret it if they change the rules with the nuclear option.


I have to admit: I wasn’t happy with Kathleen Kane, there were things in her background that disturbed me. But as the PA AG, she’s turned out to be pretty good:

Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane will not defend the state in a federal lawsuit filed this week challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, lawyers involved in the case said.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday on behalf of 23 Pennsylvania residents, including 10 couples, a widow and two children. The Philadelphia Daily News first reported Kane’s decision, which she is expected to announce Thursday.
The decision was confirmed by lawyers involved in the case, who asked not to be identified because Kane had not made a public announcement.

Kane is named as a defendant in the suit, along with the state’s governor Tom Corbett (R-Penn.). Kane is the first woman and the first Democrat ever elected to the position of Pennsylvania state attorney general, which became an elected office in 1980.

It is unclear how the decision will affect the lawsuit, since a third party could potentially step in to defend the law. Proponents of California’s Proposition 8–the ballot initiative banning gay marriage in the state– stepped forward to defend the ban in that state after then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and current governor Jerry Brown (D), who at the time served as California’s attorney general, declined to defend the proposition.

NJ residents wait months for food stamps

Why doesn’t Chris Christie fix this? Oh, I forgot: He’s too busy sucking up to the Kochs!

High demand for food stamps has made New Jersey one of the slowest states in the nation to process food stamp applications.

States are required to process applications for the food stamp program, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), within 30 days. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, New Jersey only meets this requirement 73.75 percent of the time.
The cause of the delay is a struggle to keep up with growing demand for the program, a direct consequence of the recession and ongoing economic recovery. Since 2008, the county boards of social services, which are charged with administering SNAP in New Jersey, have seen a 107 percent increase in the number of applicants, according to Lisa Pitz, coordinator of advocacy and outreach for the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. The USDA calculated that as of March, 873,657 people were receiving SNAP benefits, or nearly one in 10 New Jersey residents. These high numbers put a strain on the state agencies that provide SNAP benefits, slowing down the application process for potential beneficiaries.

Some SNAP applicants have had to wait as long as six months for their application to go through. Others have given up their benefits because they could not afford to keep waiting. One mother described how difficult it is when benefits are delayed:

“Oh, man, it’s been so bad,” said Katira Quiles, 22, a Camden mother of two who has a part-time job for $8 an hour at a food-processing plant near Glassboro. “They take a long time getting you your food stamps.”
Recently, Quiles’ benefit was a week late, causing her to panic because she didn’t have enough food for her children.

The USDA mandates that any state that processes 90 percent or less of its SNAP applications within 30 days must create a strategy to reach a 95 percent rate. New Jersey is hiring new caseworkers, improving computer systems, and expediting the often lengthy process of filing the proper paperwork.

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