Was Edward Snowden Right After All? Appeals Court Says Yes

Edward Snowden
A federal appeals court rules the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data from Americans is illegal. Do you think that vindicates Snowden?

Was Edward Snowden right after all?

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Three federal appeals court judges think so. On Thursday, the judges ruled the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone metadata from Americans is illegal, setting the stage for a full constitutional review. “Metadata” is information about the time, duration and recipients of calls.

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Snowden, a former NSA contractor, revealed the existence of the bulk data collection program two years ago in secret documents he gave to journalists Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and Laura Poitras. Snowden believed the spying violated the rights of U.S. citizens, a position echoed by civil libertarians, privacy experts, members of Congress and even presidential candidates.
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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit New Milestone

earth

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Rita Yelda, After 5 Years Working In Buffalo, Is Leaving To Go New Jersey

party

Western NY Drilling Defense Meeting: Rita’s Farewell Bash!
Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 6 p.m.
Crane Branch Library (Upstairs) – 633 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY

Join us as we discuss the issue of bomb trains that travel through Buffalo and next steps for the campaign. We will also be seeing off Rita Yelda, who after 5 years of organizing against fracking and fossil fuels in Buffalo, will be leaving for a promotion as Senior Organizer in NJ.

Everyone who has worked with Western NY Drilling Defense and Food & Water Watch are welcome to attend this meeting — including all the folks who were part of the campaigns against fracking in New York, Erie County, Amherst, Buffalo, Wilson, and Niagara Falls. We kicked so much butt together — now come say goodbye! Please bring a snack or drink to share.

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Putin’s Shiny New Tank Breaks Down

Russian army officers discuss a situation with a crew member of the new Russian T-14 Armata tank at the Red Square during a preparation for general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 70 years after the victory in WWII, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 7, 2015.  One of the tanks moving on Red Square suddenly stopped while others drove away. The engine was still rumbling but it wouldn’t move. After an attempt to tow it away the T-14 rolled away about 15 minutes later.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

By Rob Garver

According to news reports, including the Associated Press, the pride of the Russian military – Vladimir Putin’s T-14 Armata tank – broke down in the middle of Red Square on Thursday during a practice run of the Victory Day parade scheduled for Saturday. The state-of-the-art tank was one of eight rolling through Moscow Thursday morning when it unexpectedly came to a halt while the others rolled on.

According to the AP, the soldiers on hand first tried to tow the tank away, but were unsuccessful. After about 15 minutes, the problem was apparently solved, and the tank rolled off under its own power.

An executive of the company that produced the tank told the AP that, despite the apparent attempts to tow it away, the tank had not broken down and was functioning properly.

The T-14 is meant to be the main battle tank that will carry the Russian Army into the rest of the 21st century. Its unmanned turret is controlled remotely by crew members safely inside an armored compartment in the body of the tank. It has advanced weapons system and armor, and is believed to be a match for any tank currently in service with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.

The T-14 has been written about extensively in the government-controlled Russian press, and its public unveiling is being treated as a major event. In addition, the parade Saturday will be watched not only by millions of Russians, but also by dozens of foreign dignitaries on hand to hel celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. That means any malfunction of the tank during the actual parade on Saturday would be terribly embarrassing to the Kremlin.

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A Few Borowitz Bit”z”

Andy Borowitz

Maybe McConnell and Boehner would be less anti-science if someone explained to them that without science there would be no fracking or wine.

Remember, no matter how bad your day has been, at least Ted Cruz isn’t in the same room talking to you right now.

Carly Fiorina is Ayn Rand without the empathy.

Accusations that the Clintons do things for money would carry more weight coming from a party that is not owned by Sheldon Adelson and Koch Industries.

Newest headlines:  Republican Budget Calls for Massive Cuts in Food, Medicine, Oxygen

Jesus Politely Asks Cruz and Huckabee to Stop Talking about Him

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Desperate Residents of Austin Completely Surrounded by Texas

by Andy Borowitz

AUSTIN (The Borowitz Report) – In a deepening humanitarian crisis, residents of the city of Austin report that they are completely surrounded by Texas, a situation that locals are calling “dire.”

Austin has traditionally enjoyed freedoms as a semi-autonomous region, hosting film festivals and literary events without the interference of its hostile neighbors, but there are growing fears that those days may be coming to an end.

Alarmingly, citizens of Austin report, extremists within the city limits have taken over the Capitol Building and installed a militant government with dominion over its residents.

In recent days, Austin has made desperate requests for assistance to the U.S. military, which will be conducting exercises in Texas in July.

The city is hoping that the United States will use its military might to liberate the isolated municipality and transform it into an independent state along the lines of Kurdistan.

But those who live in this besieged city are growing increasingly desperate as they await military aid. In the words of one resident, “We feel so alone here.”

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Grumpy Old Man

Grumpy-old-man-

There are so many stresses on us every day that I thought we might enjoy this story:

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a Pizza Hunt for lunch. Finishing their meal they left the restaurant and resumed their trip home.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn’t miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes.  By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive.  The more he chided her the more agitated he became.  He just wouldn’t let up for a single minute.

To her relief they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her, “while you’re in there you might as well get my hat and credit card.”

___

Enjoy the rest of your day.

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From Concern Citizen: We Need The Fracking Legislation To Become A Law

barry weinstein1
I came upon a message sent to our Town Supervisor telling him he/she had been under the impression that the Amherst local law to ban fracking would be on the next agenda – but it somehow missed.  What is up ?
Supervisor Weinstein replied that it was a misguided expectation.  There is no commitment for an agenda date.  The Deputy Town Attorney is responsible for this and has been out sick for weeks.
I am told that it’s Deputy Town Attorney Philip Abramowitz who is the action officer on this legislation, and he is on sick leave, or at least has been ill for weeks. We wish him a speedy recovery.  However, we are not certain how the expectations of agenda/adoption are “misplaced,”   That is why they have 4 town attorneys – so if one goes down, the office can still function – certainly the duties of anything really important or exigent would be transferred to one of the others.
And what really has to be done more, anyway?   It’s reasonable to assume the legislation has already been drafted…is our expectation now to be that as long as Phil is down and out, nothing will happen with this legislation – ad infinitum?  This is a rather clumsy attempt to disguise continued opposition to this legislation IMO. 
Cynically, this is this TB’s way to celebrate Earth Day and the only green they are interested in is from the drilling and selling of hydrofracked natural gas.  
This is  nothing but stonewalling for dollars!  Maybe time too to reach out to the 4 known candidates for ATB in November (we may need them) to see which of them favor this legislation – and get them on the record.  Elections should be about issues, and this is a big one.

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Spying On People Must Stop

We all should become full time spies…
Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) is becoming a round-the-clock affair worldwide, which is placing new challenges on size, weight, power consumption, and cost for sensors and signal processing technologies.

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James Garner, Witty, Handsome Leading Man, Dies at 86

James Garner, the wry and handsome leading man who slid seamlessly between television and the movies but was best known as the amiable gambler Bret Maverick in the 1950s western “Maverick” and the cranky sleuth Jim Rockford in the 1970s series “The Rockford Files,” died on Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86.

His publicist, Jennifer Allen, said he died of natural causes.

He was a genuine star but as an actor something of a paradox: a lantern-jawed, brawny athlete whose physical appeal was both enhanced and undercut by a disarming wit. He appeared in more than 50 films, many of them dramas — but, as he established in one of his notable early performances, as a battle-shy naval officer in “The Americanization of Emily” (1964) and had shown before that in “Maverick” — he was most at home as an iconoclast, a flawed or unlikely hero.

An understated comic actor, he was especially adept at conveying life’s tiny bedevilments. One of his most memorable roles was as a perpetually flummoxed pitchman for Polaroid cameras in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in droll commercials in which he played a vexed husband and Mariette Hartley played his needling wife. They were so persuasive that Ms. Hartley had a shirt printed with the declaration “I am not Mrs. James Garner.”

His one Academy Award nomination was for the 1985 romantic comedy “Murphy’s Romance,” in which he played a small-town druggist who woos the new-in-town divorced mom (Sally Field) with a mixture of self-reliance, grouchy charm and lack of sympathy for fools.

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