Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 10th, 2013

Of all the gin joints in all of the towns of the world… Some of the FISA judges

Posted by Charles II on July 10, 2013

John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, Reuters:

* Reggie Walton [drug czar under Bush], the current FISA presiding judge, may be best known for two high-profile perjury trials – the one with [Scooter] Libby, who was ultimately pardoned by Bush ….

* James Zagel, who led the Illinois State Police for seven years, co-authored widely-used law school text books on criminal procedure, wrote a critically-acclaimed crime novel, presided over the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and appeared as an actor in a 1991 David Mamet movie, ‘Homicide.’ …

* Roger Vinson of Florida, who signed the Verizon order [to provide data to the NSA], is perhaps best known for striking down the Obama Administration’s health care law in 2011. …

* John Bates of Washington, D.C., the judge who served as a Whitewater prosecutor, has dealt blows to the Obama administration in rulings on the indefinite detention of terror suspects. In 2009, Bates ruled that to be held at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely, a detainee must be a member of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated groups or have committed belligerent acts. Simply supporting those organizations, he ruled, is not enough. Bates’ term expired in February.

* Mary A. McLaughlin of Pennsylvania is the sole Democrat. She spent three decades working for white-shoe law firms and four years as a prosecutor. In 1995, McLaughlin served as a special counsel to a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating an alleged FBI cover-up following a fatal shoot-out in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. ….

* Martin Feldman of Louisiana was active in Republican politics from the Eisenhower to Reagan Administrations. He counts as a mentor and clerked for the liberal Republican John Minor Wisdom, an appeals judge credited with issuing significant civil rights rulings during the 1960s. An expert in tax and business law, Feldman most recently presided over litigation related to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

* Raymond Dearie of New York, a veteran prosecutor…..

* Thomas Hogan of Washington, D.C. has been involved in several high-profile cases, including a ruling that restricted public access to White House records kept by President Richard Nixon, an order requiring the Library of Congress to keep publishing a Braille version of Playboy for the blind and a decision that directed the government to stop routinely denying security clearances to naturalized Americans born in certain countries.

* Susan Webber Wright of Arkansas is best known as the judge who presided over the sexual harassment case Paula Jones filed against Clinton. Wright ruled that Clinton could postpone the lawsuit until after he left office, but the Supreme Court disagreed. She later held Clinton in contempt of court for lying under oath about a sexual encounter with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. (emphases added)

Two Whitewater figures, including Susan Webber Wright.

Of all the gin joints in all of the towns of the world…


Posted in FISA, judiciary | Comments Off on Of all the gin joints in all of the towns of the world… Some of the FISA judges

Grad students drub NSA + Oliver Stone on NSA

Posted by Charles II on July 10, 2013

This happened a week ago. Madiha Tahir and other students dared to ask recruiters from the NSA questions. Nick Wing of HuffPost has the recording.

You can read Madiha’s summary at her blog, The Mob and the Multitude.

RT‘s summary is succinct:

The agents that came to the University of Wisconsin seemed to be “entirely unprepared” to answer “basic questions” posed by potential employees, said Madiha Tahir, a PhD candidate at Columbia University currently attending a language program at the University of Wisconsin.

It is fixed to the bubble the intelligence community lives in. They are so disengaged that they think that they don’t actually have to answer any questions when they go out recruiting,” Tahir said. “They have never had to actually justify or even critically think about the work they are engaged in. They simply did not know how to answer the basic questions about the nature of their work,” she said.

I sure wouldn’t take a job with a company that couldn’t answer questions about allegations of illegal and unethical behavior.

Meanwhile, you can watch Oliver Stone, talking to The Guardian. The tone is kind of maudlin, but hard to argue with.

Posted in Good Things, NSA eavesdropping, wiretapping | 1 Comment »


Posted by Charles II on July 10, 2013

Via Mark Tran, The Guardian, world corruption statistics.

Here’s the US, where 36% of the population thinks corruption has increased a lot in the last two years and only 40% believe it has stayed the same or decreased… where 58% think the media is affected by corruption, and 61% think the Congress is…where 53% think business is affected, 42% think the police are, and 42% think the courts are….where 5-9.9% of respondents report having, in the last twelve months, paid a bribe to the judiciary, medical services, education, etc. (about on par with Italy and Slovenia)

Posted in corruption | 1 Comment »

Help Steve Grand Get A Decent Paying Gig

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 10, 2013

Here it is, folks — a modern LGBT country song courtesy of Steve Grand:

Grand’s first music video, for his country-tinged rock ballad “All-American Boy,” was posted on YouTube last Tuesday. By last night, it had exploded, attracting more than 400,000 total views — nothing for top-charting videos from big-name recording artists, but an impressive figure for one from a complete unknown whose only promotion has been internet buzz.

The video cost just $7,000, a fraction of the major-names’ going rate, but it was a fortune to Grand, who came up with the entire budget himself by maxing out his only plastic to tell the video’s story.

“All-American Boy” portrays a young gay man who misreads signals from an apparently straight “all-American” male friend. On a day hanging out with the gang, the two guys and a girl take off in a car. She drives, as the guys sit together in the back, with the straight man, at one point, falling asleep on the gay man’s shoulder. Feeling like a third wheel, the girl eventually, angrily drives off, leaving the two men to pal around in the woods, where they end up stripping down and going skinny-dipping — even sharing a quick kiss. Ultimately for the straight guy, it was just all in good fun. But for the gay man, it was something much more significant, and he is left dazed, confused and longing.

Currently, Mr. Grand’s main source of income has been supplying the music for Catholic church events, a gig which his video may well jeopardize. Let’s help him out here, shall we?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Help Steve Grand Get A Decent Paying Gig

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