Sunday, December 16, 2007

Big Dan's Big News Dec 16, 2007 (frozen sleet edition)

(local NEPA guy with his snowblower)

· Pretty BAD here in NEPA!

· Winter Storm Rolls Across Northeast (bd: Yep! We got hit for the last several hours with frozen sleet…very dangerous! It's still sleeting, in fact!)

· Join Congressman Wexler's Call For The Impeachment Of Dick Cheney; The charges are too serious to ignore. There is credible evidence that the Vice President abused the power of his office, and not only brought us into an unneccesary war but violated the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to hold impeachment hearings.

· Chris Dodd: "Today, that FISA fight we've all been waiting for begins. In a few hours, Majority Leader Harry Reid will ask for something called a "motion to proceed" on FISA, effectively disregarding Chris Dodd's "hold" on the bill. Remember when this all started playing out? A lot of people rushed to send out strongly worded press releases about how committed they were to "supporting a filibuster." Call or email the Senators that pledged to support a filibuster and ask them to be there when it happens to pick up the ball after Chris Dodd can go no longer. Leadership is demonstrated through action. (bd: and CHRIS DODD goes up on the big board on the right, as someone I'd vote for, for president!)

· Dodd FISA Filibuster -- who will "support" it now?

· Markos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos and Newsweek joined Keith Olbermann on Friday’s Countdown to talk about the FISA fiasco and the feckless Senate Majority? Leader Harry Reid, who is prepared to once again cower to the worst president in American history and give him everything he wants in the new FISA bill, including amnesty for the telecommunications companies.

· A public-private partnership to establish a surveillance state

· The Lawless Surveillance State; There are several vital points raised by the new revelations in The New York Times that "the N.S.A.'s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before" and includes both pre-9/11 efforts to tap without warrants into the nation's domestic communications network as well as the collection of vast telephone records of American citizens in the name of the War on Drugs. The Executive Branch and the largest telecommunications companies work in virtually complete secrecy -- with no oversight and no notion of legal limits -- to spy on Americans, on our own soil, at will.

· For months, the Bush administration has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program. But the battle is really about something much bigger. At stake is the federal government’s extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime. The N.S.A.’s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before, according to government and industry officials, yet that alliance is strained by legal worries and the fear of public exposure. To detect narcotics trafficking, for example, the government has been collecting the phone records of thousands of Americans and others inside the United States who call people in Latin America, according to several government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. But in 2004, one major phone carrier balked at turning over its customers’ records. Worried about possible privacy violations or public relations problems, company executives declined to help the operation, which has not been previously disclosed.

· Perhaps ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program’ was a poor choice. With the Senate set to move on a revised FISA bill, and the renewed debate over retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with legally dubious NSA requests, the so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program” is on the front-burner again.

· Will Dem Presidential Candidates Filibuster Bush Demand to Immunize Telecom Corporations on Eavesdropping? /

· Are You Going to Pay for Bush's Wars?; How much of your tax payment this year would you like to allocate for waterboarding in Iraq or an invasion of Iran? How much of your tax payment this year would you like to allocate for waterboarding in Iraq or an invasion of Iran? Around the world, people are puzzled as to why the U.S. public allows the Bush administration to wage illegal wars and usurp our power. Why do we tolerate it and continue to pay for it?

· Report: Ohio voting machines have 'critical flaws,' could undermine ’08 electione

· PBS's NOW Takes A Look At Ron Paul This Week

· Oceans' growing acidity alarms scientists. Seven hundred miles west of Seattle in the Pacific at Ocean Station Papa, a first-of-its-kind buoy is anchored to monitor a looming environmental catastrophe. As the oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they're gradually becoming more acidic.

· 14 states reject funding for abstinence-only programs. (bd: IE: ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS HAVE CAUSED MORE TEENAGE PREGNANCIES & DISEASES, YOU RELIGIOUS FUCKS!!!)

· Rich are getting RICHER FASTER!

· Poll: Giuliani Tanks, Huckabee Pulls Ahead in Florida

· My health insurance premium just went up 22% "So I got a letter from Blue Cross yesterday. My health insurance premium just went up from $277/month to $340/month - that's a 23% increase. Why? I have no idea. Is it because I've had problems with my eyes this year and now am paying the price? Or is it simply that health care costs keep rising and someone has to pay? And what am I going to be paying for health insurance when I'm 60?"
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