"In 2008, President Obama, when he was a candidate for President, had this question-and-answer exchange with the Boston Globe:
"Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)
OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. "As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent."
Given that not even the most ardent interventionists for Syria contend that the bombing is necessary for US national security, how can a military attack on Syria without Congressional approval possibly be reconciled with that position? When the same issue arose with Obama's war in Libya in the absence of Congressional approval (indeed, after Congress expressly rejected its authorization), State Department adviser Harold Koh was forced to repudiate Obama's own words and say he was wrong back then. Who will play that role this time? "
That's some good casting, right there - James Spader to play villain in next 'Avengers': "James Spader will play the villain Ultron in the next Avengers flick, Avengers: Age of Ultron due out May 1, 2015. Spader will play the powerful robot villain in the film to be written and directed by Joss Whedon, who made the first Avengers in 2012."
"It is a photograph not easily forgotten. A black state trooper peers down at a tiny white boy in a crisp white Ku Klux Klan outfit as the child touches his reflection in the trooper’s riot shield. Photographer Todd Robertson readily admits he captured the moment by simply being in the right place at the right time while covering a Klan rally in Gainesville for the local newspaper nearly 21 years ago. “The picture sparked a lot of interest and conversation then,” Robertson said. “That’s what a picture is supposed to do.” Now social media has given the image new life. After the picture appeared over the last year on photo blogs and in Facebook posts, an article by The Poynter Institute, a journalism training organization in Florida, brought the iconic image even more attention."
"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was able to locate the officer, Allen Campbell, through the Georgia State Patrol. By interviewing and searching public records, the AJC was able to locate someone who may be the boy, now close to 24 years old, and his mother, but phone calls and emails left for this story were not returned. Did state trooper Allen Campbell think of the boy after that day? “No, I really didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t even know the photo had been taken until someone called to tell me it was in the paper.” Campbell recalls the day the photo was taken as just another work day. As the Klan rally unfolded, Campbell said his mind was on the Labor Day cookout he was missing. Not race relations. “I was ticked off. It was the last holiday of the summer. But here I am at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Gainesville, Georgia, protecting the rights of the Ku Klux Klan,” he said...
“I didn’t even see the boy at first,” said Campbell, a youthful 61-year-old with an easy laugh. “I was too busy thinking about my weekend being ruined. I looked down to see what on earth could be bumping on my riot shield.”
...Over the years, Campbell covered numerous racial protests around Georgia, including the infamous Forsyth County demonstration in January 1987 when 75 marchers led by civil rights activist Hosea Williams were met by some 500 Klan members and sympathizers who overwhelmed police lines. “Rocks and bottles were flying,” Campbell said. “We were not prepared. We didn’t have riot helmets. We didn’t have shields. I was focused then on what was a dangerous situation.” Campbell also worked the following weekend, when 20,000 people, including Coretta Scott King and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, returned to Forsyth County. He was among the 500 law enforcement officers and 1,700 National Guard members keeping the peace. “Now those were some rough times,” he said. The Gainesville rally of September 1992 “was more of an inconvenience,” he said. “But I was sworn to uphold their rights, their freedom of speech.”"
"The good folks at Pornhub released a heap of information about the country's porn habits last week, and we now know each state's favorite porn-related search terms, as well as which part of the country stays on the site the longest. (The South, in a landslide.)"
‘Black budget’ summary details U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives - The Washington Post:
"U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government’s top-secret budget. The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress."
"Lee H. Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who chaired the House Intelligence Committee and co-chaired the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, said that access to budget details will enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time, much as Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance programs brought attention to operations that had assembled data on nearly every U.S. citizen.
“Nobody is arguing that we should be so transparent as to create dangers for the country,” he said. But, he added, “there is a mind-set in the national security community: ‘Leave it to us, we can handle it, the American people have to trust us.’ They carry it to quite an extraordinary length so that they have resisted over a period of decades transparency. . . . The burden of persuasion as to keeping something secret should be on the intelligence community, the burden should not be on the American public.”"
"Despite 75 years of federal marijuana prohibition, the Justice Department said Thursday that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it — as long as the weed is kept away from kids, the black market and federal property. In a sweeping new policy statement prompted by pot legalization votes in Washington and Colorado last fall, the department gave the green light to states to adopt tight regulatory schemes to oversee the medical and recreational marijuana industries burgeoning across the country. The action, welcomed by supporters of legalization, could set the stage for more states to legalize marijuana. Alaska could vote on the question next year, and a few other states plan similar votes in 2016."