Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Tears of a Mitt

So this documentary sounds really interesting, and I plan on seeing it. The trailer has the scene from election night when Romney realizes he's going to lose... holy crap.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DC Raises The Minimum Wage

Extremely awesome news:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The D.C. Council has given final approval to raising the city's minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2016.

Tuesday's vote was a formality, with the council already having approved the minimum wage hike unanimously.

The bill now goes to Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray for his signature. Gray has advocated for a more modest minimum wage increase, but he's not expected to veto it given the council's unanimous support.
This is going to be a real improvement in a lot of peoples' lives. Well done to everyone involved.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So Where Can Snowden Apply for His Reward?

This is far from a final ruling on the subject, but from the legal stuff I read if *this* judge can give them a favorable ruling... the NSA is in trouble:
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon put his decision to grant an injunction against the NSA on ice, predicting a government appeal would take at least six months. He said he was staying the ruling pending appeal "in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues." Even after the appeals court rules, the Supreme Court will probably have the last word. "This is the opening salvo in a very long story, but it's important symbolically in dispelling the invincibility of the metadata program," said Stephen Vladeck, a national security law expert at the American University law school.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winning the Hearts and Minds

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen's al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants, two Yemeni national security officials told CNN on Thursday.

The officials said that 14 people were killed and 22 others injured, nine in critical condition. The vehicles were traveling near the town of Radda when they were attacked.

"This was a tragic mistake and comes at a very critical time. None of the killed was a wanted suspect by the Yemeni government," said a top Yemeni national security official who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to talk to media.

U.S. officials declined to comment on the report.

The convoy consisted of 11 vehicles, and the officials said that four of the vehicles were targeted in the strikes. Two of the vehicles were completely damaged. Among the killed were two prominent tribal leaders within the province.

Residents in Radda were outraged about the attack and called on the Yemeni government to put an end of drone strikes in their region.

"More than 50 innocent civilians in our town have been killed by drones," said Abdullah al-Kabra, an eyewitness to the drone strike.

"All those who were killed were supportive of the governments anti-terror campaign. That will surely not be the case of their tribes and families if the government does not strongly intervene," he added.

Yemeni security experts have argued that drones have on numerous occasions have directly played into al Qaeda's favor, turning peaceful tribal communities into vengeful killers.
We just killed 14 innocent people attending a wedding. In your and my name.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unspoken Political Truths

Couldn't have said it better myself:
This is the point of every "grand bargain" there has ever been. The idea is that if both parties agree to do it, no one can be blamed and no will lose their job for supporting something terrible.

Another truth is that massively bipartisan things are usually really bad. NAFTA, all the major financial deregulation bills, the Iraq war, Bankruptcy reform and so on. When people go on and on about the days of less partisanship when everyone could get along and pass things that everyone could agree on, it's worth remembering that most of that stuff was horrible.

Friday, December 6, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

There aren't many heroes out there, but he really is one. A remarkable human being.

I'll have something to write about the reaction to his death when I get the time.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Please Stand By...

In finals hell. Won't be posting for a few days. Apologies. Have plenty of stuff I'd like to write about when this madness is over, so stay tuned!