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Venezuela a US Security Threat? Who knew?

Extending the Axis of Evil to a 4th Dimension, President Obama declared Venezuela a security threat because it has nuclear weapons  threatens our borders  hacks our computers  beheads American captives  spies on European leaders  occupied a peninsula assassinated opposition leaders is mean to protesters. Observers are unsure whether this meant to slow government moves towards socialism, or to get Maduro to supply troops to fight ISIS, something the other members of the evil club are doing.

Being Bibi's Bitch

Wow, simply wow. I was going to title this "The Founding Fathers on Israel" (and briefly "Bibi's Poodle"), since obviously those great men had to foresee the unbreakable bonds we would have with Israel, and recognize the already evident shared values and common ideals.

And even though Herzl & Co. had courted the Ottomans, Brits and Russia/Soviet Union for this Big Brother role,  it's important that she finally settled on us, the U-S of effin' A. Let's not bicker over who she slept with on the way to the altar - the important thing is she settled on us - and for that reason, she's always been true.

Regime Change and Precedent

After all the screaming about Bush's botched trumped-up war in Iraq, looks like the left is getting its own takedown in Libya - with the rise of ISIS, inability to form a stable government, oil wealth not covering all the expenses - our over-optimistic fantasies of the future by overthrowing Qaddafi seem horridly misguided 3 years later. Somalia on the Mediterranean is our new dystopian future. After pride comes the fall.

A Message to You, Rudy

Rudy Giuliano is the son of an organized crime enforcer for loan sharks and gamblers who spent time in Sing Sing for felony assault and gambling - as the great Casey Stengel said, "you can look it up".

How Giuliano then gets to lecture Obama on his Hawaiian upbringing is anyone's guess, but yes, Rudy - Obama wasn't raised like you - his idea of "Family" doesn't equal "Mafia".

Pass it on.

Facebook Jailing & Voting Rights Act................. (I'm afraid of Americans)

Unconcern about all the privacy scandals often wraps around "yeah, but it doesn't really affect you, theoretically these things could happen but in real life..."

I made one of those comments out with a friend on 9/10 2001, something about the wisdom of the American people pulling back from too much hysteria.

So here's Texas jailing a teen for violent-sounding (but fairly obvious joking) Facebook comments - now in his 5th month in jail awaiting trial, bail at $500K, charges up to 8 years in jail. Even if he's found innocent, he's served 5 months for a joke.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Matrix

[copied in from a comment for further discussion re: the NSA]

We can skip the word "evil" and just take examples of what citizens might want to know.

While apparently the post office has been scanning envelopes a long time, the use of OCR means they have a huge searchable database of From, To and Date. The recent improvements in data analytics & Big Data means it's trivial to compile that into categories - especially if you link it to Facebook and collected phone metadata - who your friends are, where you work, where you bank, who you call, what organizations you're involved with. Depending on who's sending you mail, they can figure out if you're having credit problems, health issues, seeing a psychiatrist, getting a divorce.

Overstock's Patrick Byrne gets his revenge

There's been considerable schadenfreude over Patrick Byrne's claims about naked short selling crashing his company Overstock, amongst which includes circular arguments that his company did poorly so he must be a hack, and the gleeful contention by Goldman Sachs et al that naked short selling didn't actually exist (despite massive fails to deliver exceeding outstanding shares). Claims that were echoed by some (one) here.

Sadly for them, Goldman's lawyer accidentally released a ton of info showing not only did it exist, but that Goldman Sachs had excelled at it.

Electric car gets good review

Okay, this isn't a big post, but after some electric car company called an NY Times reporter a liar last month for the road test review, it was nice to see a very positive review of a practical shipping car, the Renault Zoe (no, I don't own stock or work for the company).

Epic Epigenetics

[touched off by article on epi-markers & homosexuality]

I'm excited about progress in science on a number of levels, and figure our understanding of matters will be vastly different in 20-30 years based on evolving tools & theories.

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