Armed Drones Now Patrol Iraq
Jun27

Armed Drones Now Patrol Iraq

The U. S. military has confirmed that some surveillance drones in Iraq have been armed with air to surface missiles. The purpose of arming the drones is to provide protection for U. S. military who are in the country. Confirmation came from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby. He noted that some U. S. personnel were venturing outside the embassy to assist Iraqi military, exposing the U. S. personnel to increased risk. We can...

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No News Here, Just Another School Shooting, Two Dead (Updated)
Jun10

No News Here, Just Another School Shooting, Two Dead (Updated)

Troutdale, Oregon is a windy, but otherwise unremarkable, suburb of Portland. Its exposure to the Columbia River Gorge contributes to its windy reputation. Today, there was more than the sound of wind being heard in this bedroom community of 16,000. “Boom, Boom…Boom, Boom, Boom”. That was the description of one witness. Her knees gave way and she fell to the ground as she listened to the gunfire, five shots as she...

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Golf Digest: Disrespecting Women Golfers?
Apr04

Golf Digest: Disrespecting Women Golfers?

Confession: I love golf. I play the game. I watch tournaments on television. But, I also have a hard time with the game’s sometimes racist and often sexist past. It was only a few years ago that Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters, admitted its first women members, and not much before that its first members of color. So when sexism raises it head again with Golf Digest’s latest issue, the echoes of the past reverberate and...

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Citizens United Expanded (McCutcheon v. FEC)
Apr02

Citizens United Expanded (McCutcheon v. FEC)

For those who thought the U. S. Supreme Court might be chastened by the reaction to its Citizens United decision and be reluctant to expand that thinking further, I regret to inform you that your hopes have been officially dashed. In today’s decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court has ruled, very much relying on Citizens United, that aggregate limits on campaign contributions to individual candidates and Party...

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Executions Stopped By Washington State Governor
Feb12

Executions Stopped By Washington State Governor

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has placed a moratorium on executions in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington. Inslee’s decision follows similar moves by the governor of Maryland, which has since abolished capital punishment, and Governor John Kitzhaber, Inslee’s neighboring governor to the south in Oregon where a moratorium has been in effect since 2011. Governor Inslee’s decision goes no further than assure that there will...

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Tea Party Claims Another GOP Scalp
Jan29

Tea Party Claims Another GOP Scalp

Former Nevada assemblywoman, state senator, lieutenant governor and gaming commissioner, Sue Wagner has turned in her Republican registration to become an Independent. Explaining her decision, she said she has tired of the GOP’s embrace of far right politics. “I did it as a symbol, I guess, that I do not like the Republican Party and what they stand for today…I’ve been a Republican all my life. My dad was active [as a...

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Court To Website: Reveal Commenter’s ID’s
Jan22

Court To Website: Reveal Commenter’s ID’s

This story comes out of Louisiana. NOLA.com/Times-Picayune has been ordered to reveal the identities of commenters to its site. The case grows out of the prosecution of an individual accused of self dealing with funding following Hurricane Katrina, but the issue with commenters arose out of a case involving five police officers and their conduct in the aftermath of the hurricane. What happened was that there was evidence that...

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Obama’s NSA Reforms: Half A Loaf
Jan17

Obama’s NSA Reforms: Half A Loaf

It is said that half a loaf is better than none. More on that in a bit. Before the President’s presentation on NSA reforms, I wrote down a number of issues, each of which could be answered yes, no, or limited. Here is my list, with the short answers. More in depth comes after. 1. Appointment/Confirmation of FISA judges by someone other than Chief Justice: No. 2. Judicial review/approval for issuance of National Security Letters: No....

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NSA Spying – The Economic Fallout
Jan16

NSA Spying – The Economic Fallout

Most of the discussion about NSA surveillance practices has rightfully centered around the juxtaposition of security, privacy and other civil liberties. In the heat, and only rarely light, of that dispute over competing values, other interests may be overlooked. Among those other interests are the American brand in the world and the economic impact on private American companies that comes with a tarnished national image. It hasn’t...

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What’s An NSL?  Why Does It Matter? [Updated]
Jan10

What’s An NSL? Why Does It Matter? [Updated]

What’s an NSL An NSL is a National Security Letter. First authorized in 1978 to circumvent the Right to Financial Privacy Act, NSL’s were to be used in counter espionage investigations by the FBI and were limited to investigations of foreign powers and foreign agents. In 1993 the power under the law was broadened to include persons not under direct investigation. With Passage of the Patriot Act, NSL authority was expanded yet again....

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The Christie Fib-A-Thon, Er, News Conference
Jan09

The Christie Fib-A-Thon, Er, News Conference

Being a trial lawyer causes a person to see the world in ways perhaps different from others. Having to judge the credibility of witnesses, discuss their testimony with jurors in closing argument and/or prepare for cross examination, I tend to see events like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s press conference from that courtroom perspective. The signs of dishonesty permeated the first 30 minutes or so of the presser....

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NSA Ops: Worse Than You Thought
Dec30

NSA Ops: Worse Than You Thought

Did you know that computers ordered online have been intercepted during shipping to be implanted with espionage software by the NSA? Me either until this and other activities of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) of NSA was revealed by Der Spiegel, the highly respected German publication with prior ties to Edward Snowden. Snowden has not been named as a source for these particular revelations. For a quick overview, here are a few of...

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NSA Program Ruled Unconstitutional
Dec16

NSA Program Ruled Unconstitutional

United States District Court Judge Richard Leon has ruled that the NSA’s telephony metadata collection program is unconstitutional. The 68 page opinion, which the brave of heart can read here , goes deep into the weeds of federal judicial processes and standing issues before getting to the Constitutional point. This is not the work of an ACLU mole on the federal bench. Judge Leon is an appointee of George W. Bush. The case is also...

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Drone Strike Takes Out Wedding Party
Dec13

Drone Strike Takes Out Wedding Party

Multiple sources are reporting that an armed U. S. drone hit a wedding convoy in Yemen, killing between 11 and 17 wedding goers, depending on which news source you subscribe to. An unknown number of the dead are reportedly civilians. Not to worry though. It’s just collateral damage! Here are some sources for those who want additional information. Yahoo . NYT...

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ACLU’s “The NSA Is Coming To Town”
Dec13

ACLU’s “The NSA Is Coming To Town”

My friends at the ACLU have created a Christmas video, emailed it to me, and invited me to share it with my friends. Here you are, my friends. Have a good laugh, be sure to get the point…and have a Merry Christmas.

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Conservatives Against the Death Penalty
Nov15

Conservatives Against the Death Penalty

There is a long standing myth that opposition to capital punishment is the bailiwick of liberals and lefties. Ever since my work with former Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), I’ve known first hand that isn’t the case. Sitting together at a long table on a platform at a luncheon to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease research, all he and I discussed while waiting for the microphones to be turned on for the Alzheimer’s presentation was...

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Too Much Information
Nov05

Too Much Information

Some things are just too “precious”, as in funny/ironic/stupefying, to let pass. Take, for example, the comment of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on admitting to smoking crack cocaine. Said Ford: “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine… probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

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Our New Three Party System
Oct22

Our New Three Party System

America finds itself coming to grips with a de facto three party system as the Tea Party rises as a force unto itself. With little regard for traditional Republicanism and no regard for conservatism, the Tea Party does not seek to live in its parental, Republican, home, but rather to take it over by coup, or, failing that, burn it to the ground if usurpation should prove unsuccessful. What Republicans and independent conservatives are...

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Rebrand This – All Time Record Low Approval For Republicans (UPDATED)
Oct09

Rebrand This – All Time Record Low Approval For Republicans (UPDATED)

This is from Gallup, in a poll conducted October 3-6. It’s stark enough to just quote without editorial comment. [T]he Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 28% of Americans, down from 38% in September. This is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992. … The Democratic Party also has a public image problem — although not on the same elephantine scale as that of...

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No Deal Good Enough
Oct08

No Deal Good Enough

Since last week there have been whispers and rumblings that the right wing extremists have no interest in negotiation. They simply don’t trust either Obama or their own leadership to negotiate any deal they will accept. That attitude is now finding its way into public pronouncements. “If it doesn’t have a full delay or defund of Obamacare, I know I and many others will not be able to support whatever the leadership proposes. If...

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