In May 2014, I reported on my efforts to learn what the feds know about me whenever I enter and exit the country. In particular, I wanted my Passenger Name Records (PNR), data created by airlines, hotels, and cruise ships whenever travel is booked.
But instead of providing what I had requested, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) turned over only basic information about my travel going back to 1994. So I appealed—and without explanation, the government recently turned over the actual PNRs I had requested the first time.
The 76 new pages of data, covering 2005 through 2013, show that CBP retains massive amounts of data on us when we travel internationally.
A North Carolina pastor shot himself to death over the weekend as deputies were trying to arrest him on child sex charges.
According to WCOC-TV, Michael Mullis, the former pastor of Near Calvary Baptist Church in Concord, knew that he was being investigated for indecent liberties with a child before Rowan County deputies showed up on Saturday to serve warrants on him.
The sheriff’s office said that when deputies arrived to arrest him, he went to the bathroom to put on his shoes, and shot himself with a pistol.
“I’m sure he knew because our investigators had talked to him about this incident,” Concord Police spokesperson Maj. Gary Hatley told WSOC. “Or attempted to talk to him anyway — he knows we were investigating.”
A timeline provided by the victim indicated that Mullis was still serving as pastor at Near Calvary Baptist during the years of sexual abuse. The abuse allegedly ended in 2004, and Mullis resigned from the church in 2011 after 20 years as pastor.
I know its a couple days off, but I really thought that people who were into science, history and space exploration would enjoy reading this piece by Lee Hutchinson.
On July 20, 1969, at about four minutes before 10:00pm Central Daylight Time, former naval aviator and test pilot Neil Armstrong became the first human being to stand on the surface of the Moon. About 20 minutes later, he was followed by Buzz Aldrin, an Air Force colonel with a PhD in astronautics from MIT (Aldrin had, quite literally, written the book on orbital rendezvous techniques). Armstrong and Aldrin’s landing was the culmination of almost a decade of scientific and engineering work by hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. Even though the lunar program’s goals were ultimately political, the Apollo project ranks as one of the greatest engineering achievements in human history.
The six successful Apollo landings between 1969 and 1972 still inspire awe today, almost half a century later. A big part of that awe comes from the fact that those voyages from the Earth to the Moon were accomplished with only the most basic of computing assistance. There were no supercomputers as we’d understand them today; although the computers that eventually powered the Apollo spacecraft were almost unbelievably advanced at the time, they are alarmingly primitive when viewed through the lens of 21st century computing.
The month of June was the planet’s hottest, federal scientists said Monday, a record that dates back through 134 years of report-keeping and underscores a trend of increasingly warmer global temperatures.
June’s average temperature — 61.2 degrees — marked the 38th consecutive June that the mercury has been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
California made history, too. A warm June helped the state log its hottest start to the year on record, with a temperature 4.8 degrees above the 20th century average for the six-month period, and 1.1 degrees above the previous high in 1934.
San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno all experienced their hottest six-month starts on record. Los Angeles saw its second warmest start, while San Diego saw its third warmest.
Ted Nugent Show Canceled After Native-American Tribe Hears About Rocker’s ‘Racist and Hate-Filled Remarks’
Still, you have to wonder WTH they were thinking of to book him in the first place. Hasn’t Nugent made it perfectly clear that he’s a racist, gun obsessed lunatic who had a hit song 40 years ago?
WORLEY, Idaho (AP) — A Native American tribe has canceled an Aug. 4 concert by Ted Nugent at its casino.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe on Monday said that the cancellation of the concert at the casino in the northwest Idaho city of Worley was because of what it called the rocker’s “racist and hate-filled remarks.”
The tribe says it booked Nugent without realizing he espoused “racist attitudes and views.” The tribe did not detail which of Nugent’s specific views it opposes.
About a 1,000 Palestinian Muslims in Gaza have found relative safety within the walls of a 900-year-old Greek Orthodox church.
“We have opened the church in order to help people. This is the duty of the church and we are doing all we can to help them,” Archbishop Alexios told Reuters as the sounds of small children echoed outside his office at the church.
“At the beginning there were 600 people and today they became a thousand - mostly children and women. Some of those children are a week old,” said the head of Gaza’s Greek Orthodox minority, the largest of the Christian communities here.
Adrianna McIntyre, Vox: Why a Federal Court Just Ruled Obamacare Subsidies Are Illegal in 36 States - Vox
The success of the Affordable Care Act hinges crucially on the subsidies. The primary purpose of the law was to extend affordable health coverage to millions of Americans; the two main ways the law achieves this is through the Medicaid expansion and through subsidized coverage on the insurance exchanges.
Without subsidies, private insurance become unaffordable for many people who have already enrolled. The judicial process is still playing out, but according to recent analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this decision could affect over 7.3 million people expected to receive federal subsidies in 2016.
If the plaintiffs prevail and subsidies are withdrawn, healthy people would drop their coverage, and only the people who are very sick — and therefore very expensive to insure — would keep their plans.
This sets up the classic insurance “death spiral”. By putting coverage out of financial reach for so many people, it would undermine the entire purpose of the Affordable Care Act.
. . .
“No sentient being following the health care debate could argue, in good faith, that Obamacare’s architects intended for the federal government to set up exchanges without subsidies,” wrote Jonathan Cohn in 2012. “It would completely subvert the law’s intent.”
The government will ask for en banc review of the 2-1 decision, and likely get it reversed since a heavy majority of the D.C. Circuit judges are Democrats. But then it will go to SCOTUS. If they accept it for review, it will be because Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy loathe Obamacare and want to kill it. It would then be up to Roberts to interpret the law correctly and save it again, or this time join his fellow conservatives to let it die. Ironically, killing Obamacare, devoutly wished for by conservatives, could unleash a massive anti-GOP backlash, as millions of Americans watch the decision cause their premiums to soar to the point they lose their newly acquired coverage. It might even force a bunch of red states to launch their own exchanges to keep the subsidies so many of their citizens will have come to depend on.
Since the judiciary has given up all pretense of being objective, non-political interpreters of law, this will ultimately end up at the Supreme Court. Anyone want to make a bet over how that turns out?
Near the end of 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a final crusade to defund the Affordable Care Act, eventually announcing on the Senate floor that “I intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare, I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am no longer able to stand.” Cruz did succeed in goading his fellow Republicans into shutting down the federal government, but his effort was ultimately doomed. The American people’s elected representatives voted not to defund Obamacare, and the shutdown ended.
On Tuesday, two Republican judges voted to rewrite this history. Under Halbig v. Burwell, a decision handed down by Judge Raymond Randolph, a Bush I appointee, and Judge Thomas Griffith, a Bush II appointee, millions of Americans will lose the federal health insurance subsidies provided to them under the Affordable Care Act — or, at least, they will lose these subsidies if Randolph and Griffith’s decision is ultimately upheld on appeal.
Ted Cruz is undoubtedly smiling today. Two unelected Republicans just voted to erase his most embarrassing and most public defeat, and they voted to take away millions of Americans health care in the process.
Meet The Republicans
It’s important to understand just who these two Republicans are. Judge Randolph is a staunchly conservative judge who spent much of the oral argument in this case acting as an advocate for the anti-Obamacare side. Randolph complained, just a few weeks before President Obama would announce that the Affordable Care Act had overshot its enrollment goal, that the launch of the Affordable Care Act was “an unmitigated disaster” and that its costs “have gone sky-high.” At one point, Randolph also cut off Judge Harry Edwards, the sole Democratic appointee on the panel, to cite an editorial published by the conservative Investor’s Business Daily to prove the argument that Obamacare should be defunded.
Bottom line: Red State Refusenik Governors might have succeeded in cutting millions of children, poor, and elderly off from affordable health care. Deaths from lack of preventative care are likely to result if this ruling stands. So be expecting some “if they’d only had insurance” horror stories during coming election cycles because these deaths will occur in some refusenik red states if people lose insurance as a result.
Update 2: per Charles Gaba, this might affect only 18 states instead of 36, more to come & I will update again after his next post. See summary from his article below:
If you’ve read this far, you get the point. It’s conceivable that we could be looking at the following scenario:
15 “State-Based Marketplaces” (CA, CO, CT, DC, HI, KY, MD, MA, MN, NV, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA)
2 “Supported State-Based Marketplaces” (ID, NM)
7 “Partnership” Marketplaces (AR, DE, IL, IA, MI, NH, WV)
7 “Plan Management” Marketplaces (KS, ME, MT, NE, OH, SD, VA)
2 “SB-SHOP” Marketplaces (MS, UT)
…leaving only 18 actual completely “Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces” (AL, AK, AZ, FL, GA, IN, LA, MO, NJ, NC, ND, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, WI and WY).
Update 3: another court rules in favor of ACA.
In a second decision on the same issue, a federal appeals court in Richmond on Tuesday ruled in favor of government subsidies for people signing up for Obamacare health coverage. That differed from a decision earlier in the day by a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia that went against the administration.
Original Breaking story from the LA times:
President Obama’s healthcare law was dealt a new blow Tuesday as a federal appeals court ruled that due to a wording glitch in the Affordable Care Act, some low- and middle-income residents are not entitled to receive government assistance to subsidize their insurance.
In a 2-1 vote, a panel of judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Obama administration’s argument that the problem was triggered by imprecise language in the complex law and that Congress had always intended to offer the subsidies nationwide to low- and middle-income people who bought insurance through one of the state or federal health exchanges created under the law.
As written, the law states that subsidies should be paid to those who purchase insurance through an “exchange established by the state.”
That would seem to leave out the 36 states in which the exchanges are operated by the federal government.
Digby’s take: The Republican Party run by the modern conservative movement is the most effective and successful minority party in history.
Kevin Drum’s lawyer friend is pessimistic about the outcome if the case reaches SCOTUS : motherjones.com
Today, Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative sent out an email to activists asking if the crisis along the southern border just might be God’s judgment on America for allowing legal abortion and same-sex marriage.
Written by Kenneth L. Carozza, the piece declares that while evangelicals have a lot in common with Catholics, they cannot support calls from Catholic leaders to back immigration reform because Catholics have an ulterior motive: “Rome might see the alien deluge into the U.S. as a quick road to bigger parishes regardless of the form of government that survives.”
Excerpt from the email:
Does our nation gain God’s favor if officials advocate for children crossing the Rio Grande but fail to guarantee safe passage through the birth canal? Such carnage in the womb occurs within our U.S. borders daily. Additionally, in 2003 Justice Scalia predicted that with the repeal of sodomy laws, sodomy would become institutionalized. Today our little children learn a new euphemism in school, “same-sex marriage.” At the university level, academics are paving the way for pedophilia to be viewed as one more sexual orientation…
Yeah, how dare those ivory tower elitist professors teach our youth that pedophilia is OK?!!?111!
Oh wait…actually that isn’t happening, the only place pedophilia gets discussed as a “sexual orientation” is in abnormal psychology classes. Nevermind…