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Member since: Tue Jul 23, 2013, 03:36 PM
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TIME Magazine reporter Michael Grunwald calls for drone strike against Assange


On Saturday night, Michael Grunwald, a Time correspondent, deleted a tweet that he said was “dumb”; a spokesperson for the magazine noted in an e-mailed statement that it had been on Grunwald’s “personal twitter account” and “is in no way representative of Time’s views,” and called it “offensive”: “he regrets having tweeted it.” Those responses are apt. This is what Grunwald said:

I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.

People say reckless things on Twitter, as Grunwald’s defenders pointed out and as some of his more extreme critics, who posted that they couldn’t wait to write a similar defense regarding the drone strike that hit him and other gruesome things, demonstrated. If dumbness were the only issue we’d be done. But this one deserves being talked about a bit more, less because Grunwald still seems a bit oblivious as to what was wrong with what he said (though there’s that) than because it encapsulated something hazardous about the current moment, for journalists, for anyone who cares about civil liberties, and for the political culture more generally. And there’s the issue of the lack of civility on Twitter—but we already knew that one.

Police recorded license plates at Obama inauguration

Virginia State Police recorded the license plates of every vehicle arriving from Virginia to attend President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in Washington in 2009, as well as those at campaign rallies three months earlier in Leesburg for then-candidate Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The U.S. Secret Service requested that state police use one of its automated license plate readers at the entrance to the Pentagon to capture and store the plate images as an extra level of security for the inauguration, which was attended by an estimated 1.8 million people. The same was requested for the political rllies.

The state police license plate readers have been used statewide since 2006, mostly by on-the-road troopers to detect stolen cars and fugitives. But the data collected were also used to solve other crimes after the fact by being able to track a person to a specific place at a certain time.

The news of the Virginia data collection effort comes amid revelations that the National Security Agency has been collecting telephone and cellphone records on millions of Americans and a lively debate over the propriety of government record-keeping on private citizens outside of criminal investigations.


Glenn Danzig: My view on Democrats is that they’re fascists disguised as liberals

Legendary Misfits / Samhain / Danzig vocalist Glenn Danzig recently shared some choice words during an interview with City Pages. Along with speaking about the history of his career, Danzig harnessed his trademark baritone to criticize the now-defunct PMRC, Democrats and President Obama.

Glenn Danzig has been a punk rock icon for over 35 years, fronting some of the most celebrated acts in the history of underground music. The singer spoke about beginnings of Danzig over 25 years ago. “There were a lot of big poofy, poseury hair bands,” begins the vocalist. “And Danzig was just, like, T-shirts with cut-off sleeves. [Laughs] We had no poofy hair. And we were loud, like metal-punk, I guess you would call it. And most people just said, “This is going to be gone in a week.” And here I am 25 years later. It’s great. [Laughs] And all the hair bands are pretty much a joke, so that’s great, too.”

Danzig went on to speak about the PMRC, and organization which gave us the ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker and historic obscenity battles against bands such as Judas Priest and Twisted Sister. “Al Gore wanted to tell people what they could listen to and what they couldn’t, what they could record,” Danzig explains. “It was basically coming down to the idea that he wouldn’t let anybody record any music that he didn’t think you should be doing. There was going to be an organization that would tell you what you could and couldn’t record. And certainly if you couldn’t record it, you couldn’t put it out. It was really fascist.”

The vocalist continues, “My view on Democrats is that they’re fascists disguised as liberals, or liberal moderates. You’re not allowed to say anything that they don’t agree with. You’re not allowed to do anything. Also, the whole Obama, ‘I can kill anybody with a drone with no trial,’ is kind of disturbing. I’m surprised that more people who are supposedly liberal aren’t more disturbed by it. I think whatever Obama does is OK with them, because he’s Obama. It’s bulls–t.”


You know it's bad when a Governor distances himself from his own wife.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's spokesman says Maureen McDonnell did not tell the governor about her purchases. Hopefully this will sink the Cooch and destroy any Senatorial aspirations that McDonnell has. The Virginia Governor song and dance is that they can only serve one term but that one term is almost always followed by a guaranteed U.S. Senate seat.


Gay combat vet who lost leg in Iraq booed by anti-gay protesters in San Antonio

'I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other'

SAN ANTONIO — A highly decorated openly gay Iraq war combat veteran was booed by a crowd of anti-gay protesters during his speech to the San Antonio City Council meeting Wednesday evening.

Eric Alva

Former Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva — a San Antonio native who was the first American service member seriously injured in the Iraq War when he stepped on a land mine in March 2003 and lost his right leg — was speaking in favor of a proposed addition to the city’s non-discrimination law that would add protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

But as Alva began to deliver his remarks, many in the crowd of approximately 200 people attending the council meeting began to boo.


Oprah goes fishing with Paula Deen

surprised they didn't pull this one.

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a bot. And that’s a problem.

Bots in general aren’t new. Your spam folder is filled to the brim with e-mails from them. But what is new is how difficult it is to identify some social bots and how they are being deployed to influence things outside of our commercial interactions, like political dialogues.

For example, a recent New York Times piece on social bots reported that thousands of Twitter bots started flooding the digital conversation during a dispute over a Russian parliamentary election in 2011, aiming to drown out anti-Kremlin activists. And similar tactics were deployed by the beleaguered Syrian government.

It’s easy to see how tyrants could find such a campaign an attractive way to reduce the radically democratizing power of freedom of speech online. Sure, the general public may be outraged by some government scandal and take to the Internet to voice their complaints. But you can deploy an even greater number of bots to fight with them online, and they may give up hope on a cause: If everyone else talking about an issue supports the government on this policy, what chance is there at reform? Since some researchers estimate that only 35 percent of the average Twitter user’s followers are real people right now and that within two years about 10 percent of the activity on social online networks will bots, it’s a very real possibility that bots could have major influence on these kinds of debates.

Of course, this is a familiar concept. For years, governments and companies have been paying actual people to comment online, creating digital astroturf movements that obscure and influence real public sentiment. But bots are becoming better at imitating real people, fed by news databases and given realistic sleep cycles. There are also persona management systems (like the one ordered by the U.S. Airforce) that make it easier to keep track of these automatic sock puppets while giving them digital footprints that spread across social networks — and making it harder to tell the people from the machines.


Maryland child rape case: Teacher raped students on school grounds.

I think I'm going to be sick...


Police in Montgomery County, MD arrested and charged 54-year-old elementary school music teacher Lawrence Wesley Joynes last week with multiple counts of sexual abuse, child abuse, rape and molestation after finding child pornography on the teacher’s computer. According to ABC Channel 7, some of the pornographic materials featured Joynes’ students and appeared to have been produced on school grounds.

Joynes has been teaching in the Montgomery County School System for 27 years. For the last 10, he has been at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD.

He was arrested Aug. 8 and is currently being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on 14 counts of sex abuse of a minor, one count of sex offense in the third degree and one count of second-degree rape. According to police, 14 of the 15 victims were between kindergarten and second grade in age at the time that the abuses occurred.
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