Last month, in a filing with the notoriously secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the United States said that it wants to keep existing records beyond the existing five-year limit due to the handful of lawsuits challenging the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program.
But on Friday, in a win for civil liberties advocates, a FISC judge denied (PDF) that motion.
Judge Reggie Walton writes:
The government cites three cases in support of its position: RFMAS Inc. v. So, Richard Green (Fine Paintings) v. McClendon, and Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC. Although the destruction of electronic records was an issue in all three cases… none of these cases involved a conflict between a litigant’s duty to preserve electronic records and a statute or regulation that required their destruction. They merely demonstrate that, when triggered, a civil litigant’s duty to preserve relevant evidence includes electronic records and that duty trumps a corporate document destruction policy. The Court has not found any case law [to] support the government’s broad assertion that its duty to preserve supersedes statutory or regulatory authority.
The government’s contention that [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s] minimization requirements are superseded by the common-law duty to preserve evidence is simply unpersuasive.
A story of third hand plagiarism or the story of another unfounded right wing meme.
“The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 6, 2014
This was an interesting statement made by the 2012 GOP vice-presidential candidate, equating school lunches to an “empty soul.” So one would think the anecdote, described by the National Review as “moving,” would be rock-solid. But the story seemed a bit pat.
Did Eloise Anderson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, ever meet such a child?
Persistent sexual harassment allegations have finally ended the career of fundamentalist figurehead Bill Gothard. Gothard, 79, resigned from his post as president of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) yesterday. Thirty-four women had accused the preacher of harassment; four had accused him of molestation. Gothard had been placed on leave pending an investigation into the allegations, which span the last three decades.
Gothard and his ministries aren’t well known outside the Religious Right, but they should be. His reach within the movement is extensive, and increasingly Gothard sought to reach government institutions with his brand of hardcore fundamentalism.
Gothard founded IBLP in 1961 to hawk his “Basic Seminar,” which purports to teach families how to solve interpersonal conflicts. IBLP quickly expanded, and now functions as an umbrella organization for a fundamentalist empire that includes prison ministries, children’s homes and a law school.
An early advocate of the Christian home-school movement, Gothard also produced a fundamentalist curriculum under the banner of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a branch of IBLP. Gothard and his followers, as you might have noticed by now, are fond of acronyms. Most of them are meaningless to outsiders, and perhaps that’s a deliberate strategy. It does, after all, make it difficult to trace the tendrils of Gothard’s influence.
That’s unfortunate, because Gothard’s reach isn’t restricted to the insular world of the Religious Right.
My children are long past school age, but I’ve never minded paying taxes for schools - as a species the most important and significant thing we do is passing our knowledge to future generations. I certainly do not want to live anywhere near an area where ignorance is rife, and I certainly don’t want to live in a state where there are pockets of education as poor as that found in Louisiana and Texas.
The Brownback administration ploy to cut needed funding to KCK schools while also cutting taxes for wealthy Kansans is a ploy to propagate ignorance and poverty where it needs to be fought the most. KCK doesn’t have the tax base that Johnson County does and they need every bit of state support for education that got yanked away.
Brownback’s move fits hand in glove with a core GOP initiative to destroy public education. Republicans have spent decades cultivating a voting base that is opposed to public education in favor of religious education, that is opposed to science in favor of religion, and that is also opposed to any institution associated with public education.
Look at the constant attacks on the NEA, NPR, and our science standards bodies. Check out Michelle Malkin’s long history of attacks on public school teachers, check out Glenn Beck’s diatribes against common core.The GOP’s war on public education is anti-american, the finest thing we’ve done for our country and our future is to constantly extend and improve the education we provide to the generation of Americans following us.
Kansas’s highest court ruled on Friday that funding disparities between school districts violated the state’s Constitution and ordered the Legislature to bridge the gap, setting the stage for a messy budget battle in the capital this year.
With its ruling, the State Supreme Court averted, for now, a larger constitutional showdown by ordering a lower court to reconsider the most controversial part of the case — whether the public school system statewide was adequately funded. The lower court originally ordered an increase of more than $400 million in school spending, and the conservative-led majority in the Legislature had vowed to defy that order if it were upheld. Legislators said it was the job of lawmakers, not judges, to appropriate money.
Still, the unanimous court decision Friday would seem to leave some Republican lawmakers in Kansas unsettled because it orders them, by July 1, to potentially appropriate tens of millions of dollars in payments to poorer districts to make the school system more equitable. The Legislature had been withholding those constitutionally mandated payments in recent years.
Republican women don’t like earning less than their male counterparts any more than Democratic women do, and this puts GOP congressional nominee David Jolly in a bind.
Before seeking political office, Jolly, who is running in next Tuesday’s special election to fill the late-Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young’s seat in Florida’s 13th congressional district, was employed for years as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. Though he worked on a number of controversial issues, one of them that has caused his campaign the most consternation was his lobbying against the Paycheck Fairness Act, federal legislation designed to help close the pay gap between male and female workers.
ThinkProgress spoke with a number of attendees at the Belleair Women’s Republican Club meeting on Friday. With near unanimity, the women were bothered by the fact that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and they wanted Congress to do something about it.
A man arrested for seriously vandalizing a medical clinic this week in Kalispell, Mont., that performs abortions is reportedly the son of a board member of a local anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy” clinic, which has itself been the center of controversy after white supremacists in the area raised funds for it.
The clinic, All Families Healthcare, was vandalized overnight Monday when one or more perpetrators broke glass and equipment throughout the office. Zachary Klundt, a 24-year-old Kalispell resident, was arrested while breaking into another building early Tuesday morning, and was promptly linked to the clinic burglary because of evidence he was carrying.
According to a post on Montana Human Rights Network’s Facebook page, Klundt is the son of Twyla Klundt, a member of the board of Hope Pregnancy Ministries, an anti-abortion “pregnancy counseling” center whose primary mission is to talk women out of getting abortions.
A person, perhaps a PR flack, started to ask Boykin, “Would you mind doing a two minute interview with Israel, Israel National News?” (sic). Boykin cut in with “the Jews are the problem, the Jews are the cause of all the problems in the world.” The same person, or perhaps Schwartz, could be heard laughing and said “I know, I know, that’s why we’re trying to fix everything.” Watch:
Boykin has a history of making odd and outlandish comments about Jews, Muslims, Obama and much more. Boykin has said that Jews must be converted to Christianity and believes that American Jews don’t understand Hitler and support Democrats as a result. He has also argued that Obama is using the Affordable Care Act to create a Hitler-style Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America.
White nationalists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) are planning to gather discreetly this evening at a steak house in the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC, which is playing host to the conference. The gathering is sponsored by the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist “think tank” whose mission is to “elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity, and protect our civil rights.” The institute studies the so-called “consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity.”
NPI’s Richard Spencer privately announced the gathering and guest of honor, Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance. Taylor argued in those pages that “Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” The magazine introduced itself to readers this way in 1990:
In fact, blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage.
The American Conservative Union, which sponsors CPAC, has struggled to purge the conference of white nationalists. As Devin Burghart observed yesterday, the group ProEnglish, which is led by prominent white nationalist Bob Vandervoort, is exhibiting at the conference again this year. Two years ago, he participated on an official CPAC panel. This year no white nationalists were on stage, and there was a (poorly attended) panel on minority outreach.
China Is So Bad at Conservation That It Had to Launch the Most Impressive Water-Pipeline Project Ever - Quartz
China’s political leaders are mostly engineers by training. So it’s no surprise that they have initiated the world’s most expensive and ambitious water transport system to “borrow” water from the southern half of the nation to bring it to the more arid north.
Not coincidentally, the capital, Beijing, lies in the arid north, and it already suffers from a serious water shortage.
The massive project, still underway, has displaced hundreds of thousands of farmers, diverted water from smaller cities and industries that say they need water, too,, and promises even more chances for government corruption.
Beijing’s leaders can get away with starting such an incredible national project, because they wield a lot of power.
But this massive display of power—some might say hubris—is also a sign of weakness. One reason why China’s water crisis is so dire is that the central government hasn’t been able to coordinate national efforts to conserve water. Local environmental bureaus are often weak. Companies fined for breaking pollution rules often ignore the fines or renegotiate them with local officials. Local officials have been loath to raise water prices, despite Beijing’s requests, because of the backlash they might face from residents, or their relationships with local businesses. “Beijing can only get localities to do a certain number of things,” says Kenneth Pomeranz, an environmental historian at the University of Chicago. Water conservation hasn’t traditionally been one of them. “It shows both the strength of the center and its limitations.”
It’s a long piece, but worth the time to read. A second part examines the plight of the farmers displaced by the water projects.
Earthlings, fasten your seatbelts. You’re in for a spectacular journey through spacetime.
More than 30 years since the original series, Cosmos will once again find its way into people’s homes, this time led by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The new series—called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey—premieres this Sunday, March 9, at 9:00pm ET/PT on FOX.
The show will air in 45 languages across 123 FOX-branded channels in 125 countries and 90 National Geographic Channels in over 170 countries. According to the producer, this constitutes the largest-ever global launch for a television series. I don’t know about you, but the fact that the world’s largest TV series launch is for a science show is pretty exciting to me.
I had the opportunity to watch a preview copy of the first episode, “Standing Up in the Milky Way,” which was sent to me by National Geographic. If you’re wondering if you should tune into this show, then the answer is a resounding yes.