The family of murdered American journalist James Foley says it was threatened by a US official with terrorism charges if they paid a ransom to his captors in Syria.
Foley's mother Diane told ABC News on Friday that a military officer working for Barack Obama's National Security Council had told them several times that they could face criminal charges if they paid a ransom.
"We took it as a threat and it was appalling," she said. "Three times he intimidated us with that message. We were horrified he would say that. He just told us we would be prosecuted. We knew we had to save our son, we had to try."
Almost makes you think there's more to the story than meets the eye, eh? Read below the fold...
Sorry to be turning this into a photo blog, but I'm having fun... Evening squash:
This little squash won't make it, though of course I'm projecting terribly; in fact, what I like about squash is that they keep pushing new growth toward the light no matter what, no matter the season. After all, you never know, and if the earth suddenly spirals into a new orbit and there turns out to be no winter, the squash will be totally ready! Read below the fold...
Hard to say this often enough. Radar:
’d like to make a few very brief points about net neutrality. For most readers of Radar, there’s probably nothing new here, but they address confusions that I’ve seen.
- Network neutrality isn’t about the bandwidth that Internet service providers deliver to your home. ISPs can charge more for more bandwidth, same as always.
- Nor is network neutrality about the bandwidth that Internet service providers deliver to information providers. Again, ISPs can charge more for more bandwidth, same as always. You’d better believe that Google pays a lot more for Internet service than your local online store.
- Nor is network neutrality about ISPs dealing with congestion. Network providers have always dealt with congestion — in the worst case, by dropping traffic. Remember the “fast busy” signal on the phone? That’s the network dealing with congestion.
- Network neutrality is entirely about treating all kinds of traffic equally. Video is the same as voice, the same as Facebook, the same as Amazon. Your ISP cannot penalize video traffic (or some other kind of traffic) because they’d like to get into that business or because they’re already in that business. In other words: when you buy Internet connectivity, you can use it for whatever you want. Your provider can’t tell you what kind of business to be in.
NY Post. Since it began 2 years ago Citi-Bike, the privatized bike-sharing program given by Ex-Mayor-for-Life "Mike" Bloomberg to the Canadian Alta company, has racked up $4 Million (!) dollars in "late" fees.
Citi-Bike had early on proven itself to be an operational #FAIL in the classic manner of neo-liberal enterprise (We Deliver the Most Craptastic Services!) early on, with docks not working, bikes being broken or unavailable, etc. Read below the fold...
U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data
The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user data that the company believed was unconstitutional, according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program.
The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the National Security Agency extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.
Gee, I feel honored. I've had a Yahoo address for years. I'm very pleased to have been one tiny reason for an out-of-control security apparatus and a lawless executive to gut the Fourth Amendment. Read below the fold...
Dani Rodrik (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton) on "How the Rich Rule":
The implication is clear: when the elites’ interests differ from those of the rest of society, it is their views that count – almost exclusively. (As Gilens and Page explain, we should think of the preferences of the top 10% as a proxy for the views of the truly wealthy, say, the top 1% – the genuine elite.)
Gilens and Page report similar results for organized interest groups, which wield a powerful influence on policy formation. As they point out, “it makes very little difference what the general public thinks” once interest-group alignments and the preferences of affluent Americans are taken into account.
These disheartening results raise an important question: How do politicians who are unresponsive to the interests of the vast majority of their constituents get elected and, more important, re-elected, while doing the bidding mostly of the wealthiest individuals?
Yes, that's a good question! Read below the fold...
Still learning how to work my spiffy new lenses. I've already misplaced the lens cap!
Here with the tele is a leaf from the remaining evil Norway Maple, from a branch that should really be trimmed back but I'd rather cut the whole tree down.