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Friday, December 20, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM

It may not be legal—or even necessary—for the National Security Agency to fastidiously log telephone calls made by American citizens. Days after a judge called the program a stain on the Constitution, a White House panel has come out with a report admitting it wasn't much persuaded that the chilling, ripe-for-abuse database actually prevented terrorist attacks. Your move, Obama!

And if that truth holds up? If NSA programs revealed by Edward Snowden are undeniably found illegal? Then maybe we have treat Snowden like a whistle-blower, and not a traitor. Snowden's leaks, meanwhile, continue to take us deeper into the muck of obsessive surveillance, this time with hundreds of pages showing spy games in 60 countries, including several more American allies than previously revealed. Like Israel and charities and business people.

The US economy grew at a higher rate this summer than previously anticipated—4.1 percent, our second-strongest spurt of capitalist vitality since 2007. It probably won't continue, though.

If Obamacare canceled your substandard current insurance plan, and failed to provide you with an alternative in time for federal deadlines, you can float another year with the possibility of catastrophic coverage and the promise of no penalties.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, up for "re-election" after years of a genocidal civil war is sticking his fingers in his ears and extending his tongue and daring the world to tell him he's not allowed to run again.

Remember the plague? It's making a comeback in Madagascar—and not because of rats and fleas. It's spreading through viruses coughed into the air.

Ukraine's president, after days of sustained protests complaining about how the country has been nestling itself too far into Russia's embrace, is now nestling himself even further into Russia's embrace.

Uganda has pushed ahead, impervious to international rebuke, with a terrible law that hands out life sentences for the crime of "aggravated homosexuality." In one apparent concession, at the end of a legislative process allegedly influenced by American evangelists, lawmakers generously decided to strip out the promise of execution.

Back in America, those evangelicals have rallied around a TV-famous hillbilly who was kicked off basic cable for calling gay sex sinful. (Free speech, dummies, don't mean a TV network can't tell you not to disturb their advertisers.) In fact, it's become an easy, glib cause for Republican presidential candidates.

Aaaand a Methodist minister in Pennsylvania was defrocked solely because he presided over his son's marriage to the love of his life. Who just so happened to also be a man.

So thank you, New Mexico. The state mostly famous as the place where Bugs Bunny made wrong turns is now the 16th out of 50 where two people in love can get married no matter their genders.

"Planners under the watch of then-Commissioner Charlie Hales made wholesale zoning changes to push in higher density. East Portland went on to add more than its fair share of new homes while city leaders let affluent Southwest Portland, which staged a political firestorm against growth, shrug off its burden.... East Portland grew too quickly and without the sidewalks, parks and transportation system bestowed on other high-growth areas such as the Pearl District, Portland’s utopian planning playground."

A judge told Portland cops they weren't allowed to arrest an African American man on gun charges in part because they figured the hair pick they found with the guns belonged to him.

OH. OH. OH! GUESS WHAT! NORTH KOREA JUST THREATENED TO NUKE SOUTH KOREA "WITHOUT NOTICE." EXCEPT GUESS HOW THAT "WARNING" ARRIVED? OVER A GODDAMNED FAX MACHINE. HAW HAW HAW!

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