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Friday, August 16, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 9:25 AM

After yesterday's massacre of hundreds of Islamists at the hands of cops, soldiers, and complicit protesters, Egypt is now in the midst of a "Day of Rage" that's already seen, by some reports, at least 50 more people killed. The army, pulling the strings after a coup this summer, has explicitly stated it will murder people who advance on government buildings. President Obama stopped being on vacation for a second to say "we appreciate the complexity of the situation" and also talk about how change is difficult.

The National Security Agency—SHOCK OF THE GODDAMNED CENTURY—runs afoul of its privacy rules thousands of times a year when spying on Americans and their communications, according to an audit leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Like the time when a bunch of calls from Washington, DC, were mistaken for a bunch of calls from Egypt. Or the time when the NSA waited months before telling the court that nominally oversees it about a new change in data collection.

The judge who leads that court, the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, admits that their oversight pretty much just amounts to trusting the government when it says it's doing things the right way.

Chuck Hagel, the defense secretary, has promised new measures meant to encourage victims of widespread sex abuse in the military to come forward. But he failed to promise the most important reform advocates are seeking: taking investigations outside the chain of command.

Area 51 was officially a thing that existed, the government now acknowledges—a testing ground for Cold War-era surveillance planes. Many people already knew this.

A capricious credit crisis is coursing through China's up-and-coming cities, cutting off what had been a cascade of conspicuous consumption. Nationally, growth is slowing, defaults are up, and industry is drowning in overcapacity.

The stalwart Kepler telescope, NASA's valiant hunter of distant planets, will be retired after scientists admit their inability to fix its busted pointing system. Kepler has turned up 135 planets outside our solar system, with 3,500 more "candidates" left to sift through.

The olinquito, mammal of mystery high in the Andes, has revealed itself. Surely this is the start of some prophecy fulfilled?

The French lawyer who defended Nazis and dictators and murderers—a rogues gallery including Klaus Barbie, Slobodan Milosevic, and Carlos the Jackal—has died. (He maybe also spent some time, during the eight years he went missing in the 1970s, helping Pol Pot or palling around with the KGB and Palestinian Liberation Organization.) Jacques Verges was 88.

Portland's decades-old gun law banning the possession of loaded firearms in public places has been upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court.

WATCH WITH ALARM AND WONDER AS THE DISEMBODIED HEAD OF A BLEEDING COPPERHEAD BITES ITS OWN FLAILING, TWITCHING TAIL!

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