Friday, January 31, 2014

"...the development of self-thinking individuals."

"Warner Bros. has just announced that Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in Batman vs. Superman."
TSA, still useless. - TSA Agent Confession - POLITICO Magazine
"I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security. There I was, an aspiring satire writer, earnestly acting on orders straight out of Catch-22...

In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.

...all TSA officers worked with a secret list printed on small slips of paper that many of us taped to the back of our TSA badges for easy reference: the Selectee Passport List...  The selectee list was purely political, of course, with diplomacy playing its role as always: There was no Saudi Arabia or Pakistan on a list of states historically known to harbor, aid and abet terrorists...

We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop. Our instructor was a balding middle-aged man who shrugged his shoulders after everything he said, as though in apology. At the conclusion of our crash course, one of the officers in our class asked him to tell us, off the record, what he really thought about the machines. “They’re shit,” he said, shrugging. He said we wouldn’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and that guns were practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket."


"Obama: Well, first of all, what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress. 
Tapper: I think it's the DEA that decides that. 
Obama: It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations. 

...notice that Obama at first denied that the executive branch has the power to reschedule drugs, saying "what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress." As Tapper pointed out, that's not true. While Congress can amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to increase or reduce restrictions on particular drugs, the statute also gives that power to the attorney general, who has delegated it to the Drug Enforcement Administration (a division of the Justice Department). In fact, the DEA has repeatedly rejected petitions to reschedule marijuana, most recently in 2011. I forget: Who was president then?

...Apparently Obama forgot too. Obama often speaks as if he is an outside observer of his own administration—condemning excessively long prison sentences while hardly ever using his clemency power to shorten them, sounding the alarm about his own abuses of executive power in the name of fighting terrorism, worrying about the threat to privacy posed by surveillance programs he authorized. Now here he is, trying to distance himself from his own administration's refusal to reclassify marijuana."

"Dating sites exist to make a profit, and that means by necessity and in accord with the nature of their market and consumer sentiment they must push a silo full of pretty lies. If they were to come out and say “ugly, fat and older women and boring, poor and loser men need not apply”, that would cut into revenues. "



"Omaha police officer Bradley D Canterbury was fired after he beat up a suspect and then participated in a brutal, illegal retaliatory raid on the home of a citizen who'd video-recorded the incident. Canterbury was one of over 30 Omaha police officers who broke into a family home without a warrant intending to destroy mobile phone video evidence of his violent actions, and was one of six officers from that cohort who were fired for the beating. Now he's got his job back."

"Courts and policymakers typically talk about these raids in terms of “no-knock” and “knock and announce.” There’s long legal and common-law history behind the requirement that police knock and announce before entering a residence. So court rulings have naturally focused on hashing out when that requirement can and can’t be discarded. But in the real world, the difference between the two is negligible. If the police are serving a warrant on your home at 3 a.m., whether they immediately batter down your door or they knock, announce themselves, and wait 10 seconds before commencing with the battering ram is of little consequence to you. If you’re asleep in a back bedroom, you probably aren’t going to hear them. When you wake up, you’re going to be terrified, confused, and disoriented, especially since these raids are designed to confuse, disorient, and overwhelm the occupants of the house."

"1. Tools and methods
2. Overseas USG locations from which operations are undertaken
3. Foreign officials and systems that NSA has targeted
4. Encryption that NSA has broken
5. Identity of ISPs and platforms that NSA has penetrated or attempted to penetrate
6. Identities of cooperating companies and governments

Training - "Bodies of Work."

2/1 - P90X3M D20 Yoga X, stretching/chest opener & neck, foam roll/thoracic spine & neck

"His smile lit up the entire gym when we met! (so did mine . Easily, the best part of my job. You're an inspiration, Lorenzo! Stay cool buddy - Rock"


"To remind myself of what I'm capable of. Same shorts, 10 months apart.... 1) have a plan 2) stay consistent 3) trust the process. Follow the plan 4) take progress pics to watch your progress BAM! "

"You only YOLO once."

"The question of whether you should put one or two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence elicits strong reactions on both sides...

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends, as most modern style guides do, the one-space rule....  Some people think the double space makes it easier to process sentence breaks. Some people think it’s easier to type one space, because why do something twice when you can do it once? Some people think it’s easier to type two spaces because that’s how they learned it. It would seem, then, that the spacing question is a matter of opinion. Certainly, as the Economist’s Prospero Blog points out, it is not a matter of grammar. It doesn’t have as much to do with language as it does with typing, or graphic design.

Still, even if you don’t have any opinion on the matter, when you’re typing something up, you’ve got to choose one or the other. If you are writing for someone to whom it matters—your boss, your editor, your teacher, your grandma—then you should use the standard they prefer (or the style guide they follow). These days, the two-space style is sometimes preferred for pre-publication manuscripts (e.g., as stipulated in the American Psychological Association publication guidelines), but most work is published with the one-space style. If you’re texting on your iPhone you can have it both ways—a quick double-space with your thumb will come out as a period with one space after it. That shortcut pairs the traditional typing action with the modern look, reconciling both factions through technology, the very thing that drove the wedge between them in the first place."

 "Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre on the set of the next Captain America movie."

"...he feels comfortable within the structure that he's given. He likes to serve. He likes to take orders. He's like a herding dog. He needs a task. And I think the issue in the first two, "Captain America" and "The Avengers" -- well, "Captain America" was about giving him the opportunity...  And on this one, it's about him trying to not just acclimate to the modern world, but it's always been Cap's goal to do what's right and to be of service, to help where he can.

 In this movie, I think the question is, well, what is right? I think it was a lot easier in the '40s to know who the evil was. There's no disputing Nazis are bad. And now, it becomes a little bit more of a difficult answer. There's a lot more of a grey area. What is the right thing? And are you of service to that cause? That's where it becomes a tricky dispute for Cap because things were just done differently in the '40s. Threats are different now, and precautionary measures taken now can be questionable and somewhat suspect in his eyes. So it's a tough hurdle for him to jump...

Can you talk a little bit more about how in "The Avengers" there was that seed of distrust planted. 
... it's coming out now in America. How much can we monitor internet use and phone records and text messages? Where do you draw the line? Is it okay to spy on someone before they've committed a crime? Do you take the world as it is, or as you like it to be? And it's a tricky question, and I think Cap comes from a time where there was a little more trust and a little less access.

I can go on the internet right now and learn how to make a bomb. You couldn't do that in the '40s. You didn't have to worry about it, but now you do. And where's that line? It's a tricky conversation for me, right now, and I was born in this era. I can't imagine coming from a different place, swallowing the pill of where society has gone."

 "In order to stop people from getting high, the courts have decided it’s okay for police officers to stick their fingers into your anus and/or vagina to check for intoxicants. All to keep you safe, of course....

You may have read about the recent cases in New Mexico in which routine traffic stops degenerated into cavity searches, forced enemas, and even an involuntary colonoscopy. The man who was subjected to the latter (he got the other stuff, too) recently settled with Hidalgo County and the city of Deming for $1.6 million. That money will come from taxpayers and insurance, of course, not from the deputies who put him through it. (Police officials still insist the deputies did nothing wrong.) Hidalgo county is now fighting two other lawsuits by people who say they were subjected to unlawful cavity searches...

The procedures to which police subjected the New Mexico man who recently settled his lawsuit were illegal. But they were also approved by a judge. That judge is protected by absolute immunity. And, again, the police officials in Hidalgo County still say the deputies in question did nothing wrong. So the taxpayers will pay, but no one will be held accountable.

A couple of months ago, I asked a couple medical ethics specialists about all of this. They told me that the doctors who performed the procedures were also likely in violation of their professional ethical obligations. But here too, it was extremely unlikely anyone would be sanctioned. So to sum up: When it comes to cavity searches for drugs, what’s legal is bad enough. But it turns out that police and medical professionals might also do some illegal things to you that are even more awful. And despite the illegality of those procures, and that they’re medically unethical, there’s a good chance that they’ll all get away with it."

"...never fear, security at the the Super Bowl itself promises to make attendance at football's championship game an awful lot like spending several hours at a very cold TSA checkpoint—with some watery beer. Get used to it America, this massive demonstration of pointless security theater just may be a glimpse of the future...

Fan screenings begin at 2 p.m. on game day. Fans will enter heated welcome pavilions at MetLife Stadium, where they can expect to encounter walk-through metal detectors, X-ray machines, K-9 dogs and pat-down searches. They are encouraged to arrive early to avoid delays and to speed up stadium entrance. 

Shockingly, MetLife Stadium points out that hotel rooms remain available. You don't say. 

This multi-square-mile, prison-style lockdown must be in response to dastardly threats, right? Nope. "As of this time there are no threats directed against this event that we're aware of," New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said just yesterday. This is all just in case."

Another bad ass Grammy performance by Pink.