Links for 8-31-2013

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Links for 8-27-2013

  • Hans von Spakovsky studied the Department of Justice’s latest complaint against Texas’ voter photo ID law and found it full of misleading and irrelevant information.

  • The Russian newspaper Kommersant published an article claiming that Edward Snowden stayed at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow. Previously the Russians claimed they were surprised when Snowden appeared in Moscow.

  • Bruce Schneier wrote an interesting article wondering why the U.K. government decided to detain David Miranda as he changed planes at Heathrow. Miranda is Glenn Greenwald’s partner, one of two Guardian reporters (the other is Laura Poitras) who have been writing the newspaper’s Edward Snowden articles. To escape NSA surveillance, Greenwald and Poitras have been exchanging documents stored on USB flash drives, and it’s believed that Miranda was acting as a courier (Greenwald is based in Rio de Janeiro, Poitras in Berlin). Greenwald and Poitras are experienced enough to know how to encrypt documents, and they would have made certain Miranda didn’t know any encryption keys. That didn’t stop the U.K. government from detaining Miranda for nine hours and repeatedly asking him for encryption keys. Was the U.K. government trying to intimidate Greenwald and Poitras? Or were they just lashing out in anger?

  • The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir claims Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar met with Vladimir Putin in July and discussed “a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil”; the Saudis are looking for some arrangement that includes Russia dropping support for the Syrian government. It’s interesting how Obama’s feckless foreign policy is combining with the threat posed by expanded U.S. production of shale oil and gas (all of it on private land) to steer Saudi Arabia and Russia toward an alliance.

  • Mother Jones published an article by Mariah Blake explaining how the FBI intercepted emails between Nidal Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki and blew the subsequent investigation; had the FBI followed through, they might have prevented Hasan’s attack on Fort Hood. (via Hot Air)

  • Matt Walsh relates the tale of the disappearing “Anti-War Liberals.” Personally I think they were transported to another dimension, which they share with all the homeless people who disappeared around the same time.

  • The New York Post describes Chicago’s “Safe Passage” program, which is designed to insure that children safely cross gang boundaries on their way to school; this became important after the city closed about 50 elementary schools and redrew school boundaries. Unfortunately a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed near one of the “Safe Passage” routes on Monday, the day before school started. A 28-year-old man was shot along another route the same day.

  • Both houses of California’s legislature have passed bills that enable nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives to perform suction abortions in the first trimester. California places more stringent requirements on outpatient cosmetic surgery centers than on abortion clinics.

  • Sarah Murnaghan went home after enduring two adult lung transplants she wasn’t supposed to obtain thanks to pediatric transplant rules.

  • Beware the timber wolf that stalks the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish, for it will bite you on the head. Actually you don’t have to beware of it anymore because it was shot and killed after attacking a human, the first such (confirmed) attack in Minnesota history. (via Lucianne)

Links for 8-26-2013

  • President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter for his actions when the Taliban attacked Combat Outpost Keating in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009.

  • The Israeli Defense Force says they intercepted a Syrian army radio communication that initiated a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb. Secretary of State John Kerry claims there’s “undeniable” evidence that the Syrian army was responsible. Others aren’t so sure since the Syrian rebels have access to chemical weapons, too.

  • The “extraordinary measures” that the Treasury Department has been employing to work around the lack of a debt ceiling increase will cease being extraordinary in mid-October, at which time the Treasury will run short of cash and Obama will begin punishing his enemies (more so than usual). You can hear the “Perhaps if you hadn’t lobbed so many expensive cruise missiles at Syria without Congressional authorization…” arguments already.

  • Jed Babbin writes about “LOVEINT,” the practice of some NSA employees who illegally snoop on their love interests: “Our government, such as it is, preoccupies itself with avoiding responsibility for anything. Its primary goals are self-perpetuation and risk avoidance so it does nothing that would threaten either. People are rightly disgusted with it. And they are tuning out of politics to a dangerous degree. We can expect congressional outrage at the reports of LOVEINT shenanigans by the NSA. It’s easier to express outrage at what is probably a minuscule violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act than it is to do the hard work of what is apparently going wrong – badly wrong – at NSA.”

  • Oklahoma joined the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

  • James O’Keefe confronted Jim Letten, the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted him for malicious intent to damage Senator Mary Landrieu’s office phone system. Letten is now the dean of Tulane University’s School of Law. O’Keefe tried to give Letten a copy of his book, and Letten responded with multiple violations of Tulane’s speech policy.

  • Big Ethanol launched an advertising campaign aimed at Big Oil, criticizing it for challenging the subsidies and production mandates that keep Big Ethanol big.

  • China launched three small anti-satellite weapons that are sufficiently sophisticated that they can close to within 100 meters of another satellite with the apparent intent to damage or destroy it.

Links for 8-25-2013