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Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2008, 03:38 PM
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James Goodale: To reform the NSA, fire officials who lie

To reform the NSA, fire officials who lie
I saw this at first hand over the Pentagon Papers case: the NSA has a culture of lying. That should be Obama's first concern
James Goodale, Wednesday 25 September 2013 07.30 EDT

The NSA has lied to the Congress, the courts, and perhaps even to the president himself, but no one seems to care.

The Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper admitted he lied to Congress about the NSA metadata collection program. He said the NSA had no such program – and then added that that was the least "untruthful" remark he could make. General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, lied in 2012 that the NSA does not hold data on US citizens, and repeated similar misstatements, under oath, to Congress about the program:

We're not authorized to do it [data collection on US citizens], nor do we do it.

NSA lawyers lied to secret Fisa court Judges John D Bates and Reggie B Walton. In recently released opinions, Bates said he had been lied to on three separate occasions and Walton said he had been lied to several times also.



Recall the following at time index 6:42 in the video:

Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Channels Darth Vader and Claims Mike Lee (R-Utah) To Be His Offspring...



Palantir(!?) Mentioned During a Charlie Rose Interview at the Recent Clinton Global Initiative Conf.

Does the name Palantir seem familiar? They were exposed during the Anonymous hack of HBGary:

Spy games: Inside the convoluted plot to bring down WikiLeaks
The CEO of security firm HBGary Federal had big plans for helping a US bank …
by Nate Anderson - Feb 14 2011, 1:32pm CDT

When Aaron Barr was finalizing a recent computer security presentation for the US Transportation Security Administration, a colleague had a bit of good-natured advice for him: "Scare the sh*t out of them!"

In retrospect, this may not have been the advice Barr needed. As CEO of the government-focused infosec company HBGary Federal, Barr had to bring in big clients—and quickly—as the startup business hemorrhaged cash. To do so, he had no problem with trying to "scare the sh*t out of them." When working with a major DC law firm in late 2010 on a potential deal involving social media, for instance, Barr decided that scraping Facebook to stalk a key partner and his family might be a good idea. When he sent his law firm contact a note filled with personal information about the partner, his wife, her family, and her photography business, the result was immediate.


While waiting to see if his proposals would result in work for HBGary Federal, Barr turned in January to unmask the leadership of the hacker collective Anonymous. This part of the story is well known by now (read our investigative feature): when Barr went public with his findings, Anonymous took down his website, stole his e-mails, deleted the company's backup data, trashed Barr's Twitter account, and remotely wiped his iPad.

In the days since the attack and the publication of Barr's e-mails, his partners at other security firms threw him under the bus. "I have directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary," said the CEO of Palantir.



Glenn Greenwald - Various items: NSA stories around the world

Various items: NSA stories around the world
Revelations continue to produce outcomes on multiple levels in numerous countries around the world

Glenn Greenwald
theguardian.com, Monday 23 September 2013 09.32 EDT


(5) There has long been a glaring contradiction at the heart of the case for the NSA made by its apologists (the most devoted of whom, as of January 20, 2009, are Democrats). They insist that the NSA's spying activities are legal and constitutional (even though a 2011 FISA court opinion - released only in the wake of the last three months of scandal - found the opposite). But the real contradiction is that there have been almost no rulings on the legality or constitutionality of these spying laws and the activities conducted under them because the Obama DOJ - exactly like the Bush DOJ before it - repeatedly raised claims of standing and secrecy to prevent any such adjudication (the Obama DOJ relied on the five right-wing Supreme Court justices to win that argument earlier this year and prevent any constitutional or legal challenge to their domestic surveillance program).

Yet now, as the Hill reports, those arguments used by the DOJ to prevent judicial rulings are being gutted by all of the revelations in the wake of Snowden-enabled reporting. The Hill article quotes the ACLU's Alex Abdo as follows:

"For years, the government has shielded its surveillance practices from judicial review through excessive secrecy. And now that that secrecy has been lifted to some degree, we now know precisely who is being surveilled in some of the dragnet policies of the NSA, and those people can now challenge those policies. . . . . No matter what you think of the lawfulness of these programs, I think everyone should think their legitimacy or illegitimacy is better debated in public and decided by a court."

Does anyone disagree with that? Is there anyone who thinks things were better pre-Snowden when the DOJ could successfully block legal challenges to the US government's spying activities by invoking secrecy and standing claims?



This Modern World: Scene of the Crime



Creepy Anti-Obamacare Ad: You have GOT to be fucking KIDDING ME, Part II...

Here is the other of the two anti-Obamacare advertisements (with some editorializing in the gif) that were released:

The entire video is here:

Here is the staff page for Generation [strike]Opportunity[/strike] Creepy:


Credit to WilliamPitt for the original title and thread:


Rana Plaza Factory Collapse: Bangladesh workers must continue to wait for full compensation

Bangladesh workers must continue to wait for full compensation
12.09.2013 Eleven brands join discussions on compensation to victims of Bangladesh factory disasters.
Other key brands turn their back on workers' plight. Some advance payments agreed.

Eleven of the brands and retailers sourcing from the factories involved in the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters joined high-level compensation meetings, facilitated by the ILO as a neutral chair, on 11-12 September in Geneva. Many other major companies failed to attend, showing total contempt for the 1,900 workers who were injured and the families of over 1,200 workers who were killed making their products.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated: “Consumers will be shocked that almost a half-year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victims. I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.”

Regarding Rana Plaza out of a total of 29 brands that were invited the following 9 brands showed good faith by attending the meeting: Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark and Store Twenty One.

20 other companies, all of whom were invited, failed to show up: Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart.



In Bangladesh, Rana Plaza Victims Still Await Compensation
Brands fail to show up for an International Labour Organization-chaired meeting due to decide on long-term compensation for thousands affected by April's factory collapse in Dhaka

By Per Liljas Sept. 16, 2013

Victims of the world’s worst garment factory disaster at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh are still no closer to compensation after a meeting called to mediate demands was deemed a failure by organizers. Global labor union IndustriALL slammed retailers after only a third of the brands that used the Dhaka manufacturing hub, which collapsed on April 24, turned up in Geneva on Thursday.

“Consumers will be shocked that almost a half-year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victim,” IndustriALL assistant general secretary Monika Kemperle stated. “I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.”

IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, arranged the meeting with the International Labour Organization as a neutral chair. Their framework for assessing long-term compensation stems from a disaster similar to Rana Plaza in 2005, when the eight-story Spectrum factory outside of the Bangladeshi capital collapsed. Surviving victims and families of the 62 fatalities were compensated for lost income, pain and suffering up to 25 years after the incident.

In the case of Rana Plaza, 1,192 bodies were recovered and 1,900 workers were injured. Using the model set up for the Spectrum collapse, IndustriALL calculated a total compensation of $74,571,101 to be paid between retailers, the Dhaka government and factory owners. The meeting was supposed to initiate discussions between brands on how to divide and expedite payments, and also how to influence Bangladeshi stakeholders to do their share.



Yea, Corporations!

Don McLeroy(Fmr Chair, Texas State Board of Education): The Teaching of Science Disproves Evolution

At time index 2:30, Don McLeroy attempts make a point: "Well, how many facts do you need to show evolution...haaaaa...aa..aa..anitsn...It's in the billions and trillions and trillions."

Carl Sagan he is not.

The 194th Anniversary of Léon Foucault's Birth: University Students Ride the GVSU "Wrecking Ball"...

Pendulum art piece removed for safety reasons

A recent increase in popularity of riding the pendulum art piece located outside of the Padnos Hall of Science has prompted Facilities Services to remove the piece due to concerns over the safety of students.

Officials in Facilities Services have been considering options of what to do with the piece prior to videos that parodied a Miley Cyrus music video were posted online and created a great deal of buzz on Twitter.

“We are reassessing the safety and structural integrity of the current installation and site,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Tim Thimmesch said. “Hopefully the pendulum can be reinstalled at that location or we can find another suitable location on campus so people can enjoy it as a piece of art and stay safe.”


The sculpture, called a bifilar pendulum (sic), was created by artist Dale Eldred in 1973.


From the "interesting" FOX17 video report, one can read the following information from the installation's plaque:

Dale Eldred
Metal Sphere
with Pointer
Gift from Paul A. Johnson

Video: GVSU Takes Down Pendulum Statue After Several Students Ride It

Read more: http://fox17online.com/2013/09/17/video-gvsu-takes-down-pendulum-statue-for-safety-reasons/#ixzz2fDhXmfeE

ALLENDALE,Mich. — According to Grand Valley State University officials, The Pendulum Statue was removed by the facilities dept on Tuesday for “safety reasons.”

The decision also comes after several students posted Vine videos parodying the Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball music video.

According to Tim Thimmesch, head of facilities at GVSU, “The Pendulum” is a 42-inch steel ball with a spike and a 40- to 50-foot steel cable.

Thimmesch said students have been riding the ball way more than in the past, but would not comment on if it was tied to the Vines or the GVSU Wrecking Ball Twitter account.



There seems to be a high degree of variation in terminology when it comes to describing this pendulum. It is a "Wrecking Ball" to the students, a "bifilar pendulum" or a "pendulum art piece" to the university's public relations department and a "pendulum statue" to FOX17.

One wonders if the intent of Paul A. Johnson's gift was to provide GVSU with a Foucault pendulum.

Additional Information from GVSU:

Artwork: Eldred Sculpture


Dimensions: 10 x 30 x15

Physical description: Giant round metal pendulum with a spike on the bottom.

Historical narrative: Dale Eldred was an internationally acclaimed sculptor renowned for large-scale, city-wide sculptures that reveal natural phenomena such as designing a sculpture to break light into smaller wave lengths, which we see as real, radiant color. His "Eldred Sculpture" on the Grand Valley State University Allendale Campus is called a "bifilar pendulum".

Credit: Gift of Paul Johnson


Bifilar Torsion Pendulums and Moments of Inertia in Aircraft

As an aside on bifilar pendulums, here is an interesting paper on determining the moments of inertia of airplanes - it includes the use of a bifilar torsion pendulum:


The Three Stooges Visit Egypt

Holy Cantaloupes, Calves, Aspersions, Asparagus, John Wayne and Elvis, Batman!
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