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Decius
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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

New Leak Suggests Ashcroft Confrontation Was Over N.S.A. Program - NYTimes.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:24 pm EST, Jan 10, 2014

I'm tired of the revisionist history that the Patriot Act led to the NSA meta-data program. The Patriot Act was not used to justify the program until after it had been operating for many years.

In 2006, according to the report, the N.S.A. was faced with another legal challenge when The New York Times disclosed the existence of the warrantless surveillance program. In response to the disclosures, one of the telephone companies that was secretly providing its customers’ data to the N.S.A. on a voluntary basis asked for a court order compelling it to comply to protect itself legally, forcing the Bush administration to develop new legal theories to support other surveillance.

That May, the national-security court issued its first order to the telephone companies to log metadata from phone calls, citing a provision in the Patriot Act that allowed the government to obtain business records deemed to be “relevant” to a counterterrorism investigation.

New Leak Suggests Ashcroft Confrontation Was Over N.S.A. Program - NYTimes.com


without a shadow of a doubt
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:29 am EST, Jan 10, 2014

Mike Tyson:

I've learned that when people congratulate me, that's when I focus on my flaws. That way I don't allow my narcissism to fly sky-high and allow me to think that I can act out without any consequences.

Tyler Cohen:

I think of humility as a virtue, a practical virtue that's making a comeback.

Screwtape:

No man who says I'm as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did.

without a shadow of a doubt


Guest Post: Version 4.0 – Do We Need A New Privacy and Civil Liberties Board? : Just Security
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:14 am EST, Jan  9, 2014

Political consensus in favor of strengthening oversight often develops where politicians cannot agree on more fundamental reforms.

This is true - you see them require "reports to Congress" and things like that which are meant to placate critics but don't actually change what is happening.

Guest Post: Version 4.0 – Do We Need A New Privacy and Civil Liberties Board? : Just Security


The Death of Expertise and the Disposition of the Millennial Generation
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:39 pm EST, Jan  8, 2014

This evening I stumbled upon two blog posts by Tom Nichols AKA @TheWarRoom_Tom that contain deeply insightful observations about the way that expertise has been devalued by our society its impact on the political disposition of the millennial generation. Reading both of these posts helped me better understand my own thoughts on these subjects, and I have an important follow on observation that I would like to add. Unfortunately, comments on these blog posts have been closed, so I am posting my observations here, on my own blog.

Expertise isn't truly dead. At the end of the day, getting things right matters, and as Mr. Nichols observes, "an expert is far more likely to be right than you are." Furthermore, as Mr. Nichols also observes, people who have PHDs deserve to be respected as experts in the domain in which they've been trained

The problem is that expertise no longer comes exclusively through the halls of academia, so its harder than it used to be to tell the experts from the laymen.

For example, I am a computer security expert. I did not gain that expertise from an educational institution, because when I was young there was no educational institution that taught it. I have a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering, which is largely about digital hardware design, but I do not presume to know half as much about digital hardware design as I do about computer security.

In my field I've had the pleasure of working with peers who have a variety of academic credentials. I've worked with colleagues who have no formal post-secondary education or who are educated in completely unrelated fields who are as good or better than I am at what I do. Fortunately, in my field there are no professional gatekeepers who tell you that you are lot allowed to practice if you don't have the "right" credential.

Today there are institutions out there who will grant formal academic credentials in my field, and in fact several colleagues have gone back to school to pursue these advanced degrees. I think these are valuable, but they simply are not determinative of expertise in my field. In fact, the academic institutions still have some work to do to demonstrate that formal training is a better route to proficiency in my field than self study.

Technological change has made self study increasingly possible across a variety of domains. While we might reasonably mock the University of Google, its far easier today for motivated people to access both raw information as well as the analytic insights of experts. If those people are disciplined in their study and intelligent, they can obtain for themselves a... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]


Adam Magyar - Stainless, Alexanderplatz (excerpt)
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:17 pm EST, Jan  8, 2014

High speed video recording in Berlin at U2 Alexanderplatz station.

original footage: 24min. 48sec. 720p 50fps

Adam Magyar - Stainless, Alexanderplatz (excerpt)


Arlen Specter - Surveillance We Can Live With
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:26 pm EST, Jan  7, 2014

President Bush's record of seeking to expand Article II power has been a hallmark of his administration. The president and vice president have vociferously argued that the administration had the authority for the program without any judicial review. Bush's personal commitment to submit his program to FISC is therefore a major breakthrough.

Lots of old things seem different now.

Arlen Specter - Surveillance We Can Live With


Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows - NYTimes.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:18 pm EST, Jan  7, 2014

The burglary was the idea of William C. Davidon, a professor of physics at Haverford College and a fixture of antiwar protests in Philadelphia, a city that by the early 1970s had become a white-hot center of the peace movement. Mr. Davidon was frustrated that years of organized demonstrations seemed to have had little impact.

Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows - NYTimes.com


NSA history: How bureaucrats, leaks, and courts tamed government surveillance.
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:15 am EST, Jan  7, 2014

An ill-defined, unilaterally imposed, poorly supervised spying operation was gradually brought under control. The surveillance program didn’t just become domestic. It became domesticated.

NSA history: How bureaucrats, leaks, and courts tamed government surveillance.


NSA history: How bureaucrats, leaks, and courts tamed government surveillance.
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:44 am EST, Jan  7, 2014

in many ways, the story told in the report is really about the mellowing of the surveillance state. An ill-defined, unilaterally imposed, poorly supervised spying operation was gradually brought under control. The surveillance program didn’t just become domestic. It became domesticated.

NSA history: How bureaucrats, leaks, and courts tamed government surveillance.


USATODAY.com - Senators won't grill phone companies
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:33 am EST, Jan  7, 2014

The deal was announced by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. They said Cheney, who plays a key role supervising NSA counterterrorism efforts, promised that the Bush administration would consider legislation proposed by Specter that would place a domestic surveillance program under scrutiny of a special federal court.

In return, Specter agreed to postpone indefinitely asking executives from the nation's telecommunication companies to testify about another program in which the NSA collects records of domestic calls.

USATODAY.com - Senators won't grill phone companies


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