The two-way path between government, politics, and private industry, densely shaded by lush money trees, is so well-worn it seems to have been carved by the finger of God, a well-known capitalist, long ago. And yet, fresh trade routes establish themselves all the time. David Plouffe, the man who successfully convinced a majority of the United States in 2008 that Barack Obama would change the country for the better, is now going to make the same argument for Uber, a service that seeks to deeply weave itself into the infrastructure of cities in order to make as much money as possible. Meanwhile, Kara Swisher notes, former Obama press [...]
Supposedly tomorrow Leon Panetta, the CIA Director, is going to become our Secretary of Defense! And General David Petraeus, who ran our "situation" in Afghanistan, is going to become the head of the CIA! (He will now report to James Clapper, who has had so far quite a successful career, despite running into trouble over signing on to the existence of WMDs in Iraq and more recently for suggesting that Gaddafi would win in the Libyan uprising.) Marine General John Allen is supposedly going to take Petraeus' job in Afghanistan! Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon will become our ambassador to Afghanistan, [...]
The number one thing I am pissed off about this month, right after NBC's Olympics coverage, is the disappeared John Yoo emails, which could probably shed a lot of light on how the previous administration created policies to torture people. This is such an unbelievable scandal, both on the issue of torture but also of government accountability. Pretty much, as a nation, everything should come to a standstill until this is dealt with. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Gary Grindler, Acting Deputy Attorney General, about the emails, and got total mumbling in response. This is like, pitchforks and subpoenas and prosecution time, people. There are [...]
An investigation is taking place to decide whether there should be an investigation! This is only exciting because the pre-investigation is by the Justice Department, and of the CIA and its techniques. You know: (whispers) torture. Do check back in 2011 to see if anything will happen. In other news, Bernie Madoff does not have cancer, so maybe he'll be around to see the results of this investigation!
Thomas Frieden has been officially appointed head of the CDC! The New York City Health Commissioner has actually been extremely effective on a number of fronts. He's done so by being authoritarian and unafraid to legislate health policy (see: smoking, trans-fat bans), whether he's right or only semi-right. His department has been stymied by old-fashioned ideas on HIV prevention. (He is also "about as warm and fuzzy as a hair shirt.") Also let us not forget that it was under his watch that THE NEW TERROR SUPER-AIDS was announced-which was, you know, fake. He also oversaw an epidemic of community-acquired MRSA, which is only now lessening [...]
"While the plan is meant to prevent data from being knowingly slowed by Internet providers, it would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against content not sent along that lane." Under the FCC's proposed new rules for internet service providers, data sent via the non-fast lane isn't slower, it's just less fast.
"[A]ccording to the Congressional Management Foundation, the House of Representatives got 99,053,399 messages via the Internet in 2004. That's 227,708.9 messages per member of Congress. If a member took an average of 30 seconds to thoughtfully read each email they received in 2004, it'd take them 79 days solely to read their mail from the Internet. For a member of the Senate it's worse: 288 straight 24-hour days worth of constituent communications at 30 seconds a piece. Most people don't spend that many hours awake in a year." —In which Math helps persuade us into believing even more firmly that online petitions don't really do much in the way [...]
I wasn't really paying attention to the U.S. CIO, Vivek Kundra, who handles, um, I dunno, the IRS blogs and stuff? Oh wait… he is the one building the government a website that costs $18 million. Is it made of Internet platinum, and does it shoot rainbows? And so now folks are wondering who he is and does he know what he's talking about at all.
“Some companies fear that doctors may no longer want to engage in consulting arrangements, and such reluctance could chill innovation." —That's the "executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association" standing up for American freedom. They're "advocates" for medical technology… with an address on Pennsylvania Ave., so they must know what they're talking about. Big Government is forcing doctors to explain from whom they're taking money and free vacations! When will the U.S. get out of the business of regulating our doctors' bodies?!
Wow. Here is a story that seems likely to be made into many raps songs and eventually a feature film. The Jamaican government is trying to arrest a notorious Kingston gang leader for extradition to New York. But he's not going quietly. As the Times reports: "Security forces broke through barbed-wire barricades and fought their way into the warren-like Tivoli Gardens neighborhood Monday afternoon. Sporadic gunfire could be heard into the night echoing across the darkened slums, where authorities cut off power. Military helicopters flying with their lights off buzzed overhead. Masked gunmen swarmed around West Kingston trying to prevent the extradition of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who has been [...]
FOR GENERAL RELEASE: Merely 20 or so minutes (approximately two cigarettes) after the announcement of a Justice Department investigation into whether there should be an investigation of CIA torture, I have completed my review of documents and decided: yes! From the 2004 CIA Inspector General's Report on Torture is this.Yeah, I am pretty much going with "torture." Stand down, Attorney General Eric Holder! Don't bother coming in to work, special investigator John Durham, I finished early for you! (For the appendix, I am still working on figuring out that redaction there. With ____ consent… With OFFICER consent? With LANGLEY consent? Whatever-someone gave consent to hold a whirring power [...]
I enjoyed this very matter-of-fact slideshow of how a Mike Bloomberg press event is put together. It reflects the extreme, absurd anality of New York City's current City Hall, when a little speech to thank some volunteers is staffed by a cast of thousands and basically orchestrated like the assault on the beaches of Normandy (which, for the record, Walter Cronkite covered from an airplane, not from the actual beaches).