March 23, 2015 archive

2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament: Round of 32 Day 2

Today’s Matchups-

Channel Time Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
ESPNU 6:00pm 2 Florida St. 30-4 7 FGCU 31-2 South
ESPN2 6:30pm 4 Stanford 25-9 5 Oklahoma 21-11 Mid-West
ESPN2 6:30pm 1 Maryland 30-2 8 Princeton 30-0 West
ESPN2 6:30pm 2 Tennessee 28-5 10 Pittsburgh 20-11 West
ESPN2 6:30pm 4 North Carolina 25-8 5 Ohio State 24-10 South
ESPN2 6:30pm 3 Arizona State 28-5 11 UALR 29-4 South
ESPN2 9:00pm 3 Louisville 26-8 6 South Florida 27-7 East
ESPN2 9:00pm 1 UConn 32-1 8 Rutgers 23-9 East

Who says I don’t report good news?

US to stop collecting bulk phone data if Congress lets law expire


Monday 23 March 2015 18.26 GMT

Congress’s efforts to extend the law so far have proved fruitless, and congressional aides said that little work on the issue was being done on Capitol Hill.

There are deeply divergent views among the Republicans who control Congress. Some object to bulk data collection as violating individual freedoms, while others consider it a vital tool for preventing terrorist attacks against America.

Ned Price, a national security council spokesman, told Reuters the administration had decided to stop bulk collection of domestic telephone call metadata unless Congress explicitly reauthorises it.

Some legal experts have suggested that even if Congress does not extend the law, the administration might be able to convince the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance court to authorise collection under other legal authorities.

But Price made clear the administration now has no intention of doing so and that the future of metadata collection after 1 June was up to Congress.

Price said the administration was encouraging Congress to enact legislation in the coming weeks that would allow the collection to continue.

But Price said: “If Section 215 [of the law which covers the collection] sunsets, we will not continue the bulk telephony metadata program.”

“Allowing Section 215 to sunset would result in the loss, going forward, of a critical national security tool that is used in a variety of additional contexts that do not involve the collection of bulk data,” he said.

Last year the administration proposed that if collection does continue, the data should be stored by telephone companies rather than NSA itself, but that approach was rejected by the phone companies.

US officials have said metadata collection had helped important counter-terrorism investigations.

However, a review panel appointed by Obama to examine the effectiveness of surveillance techniques Snowden revealed found that not a single counter-terrorism breakthrough could be attributed to the practice.

Thank goodness for a dysfunctional Congress!

Oh yeah, this worked.

Yemen in Crisis: U.S. Closes Key Drone Base & Withdraws Forces as U.N. Warns of Civil War

Democracy Now

Out of Yemen, U.S. Is Hobbled in Terror Fight

By ERIC SCHMITT, The New York Times

MARCH 22, 2015

The evacuation of 125 United States Special Operations advisers from Yemen in the past two days is the latest blow to the Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign, which is already struggling with significant setbacks in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the volatile region, American officials said Sunday.

The loss of Yemen as a base for American counterterrorism training, advising and intelligence-gathering carries major implications not just there, but throughout a region that officials say poses the most grievous threat to United States global interests and to the country itself.

Even after the withdrawal of American troops, the Central Intelligence Agency will still maintain some covert Yemeni agents in the country. Armed drones will carry out some airstrikes from bases in nearby Saudi Arabia or Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, as was done most recently on Feb. 20. Spy satellites will still lurk overhead and eavesdropping planes will try to suck up electronic communications.

About 2,000 of the approximately 10,000 troops that the United States is likely to carry over into 2016 – more than originally planned – are assigned to counterterrorism missions, mainly along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The C.I.A. relies on the American troops to provide security for its covert counterterrorism operations, including drone strikes in Pakistan.

The Islamic State began attracting pledges of allegiance from groups and individual fighters after it declared the formation of a caliphate, or religious state, in June 2014. Counterterrorism analysts say it is using Al Qaeda’s franchise structure to expand its geographic reach, but without Al Qaeda’s rigorous, multiyear application process. This could allow its franchises to grow faster, easier and farther.

It is a trend that American counterterrorism officials say they are struggling to understand and defeat. Indeed, John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, voiced deep concerns this month over “the emergence of a terrorist threat that is increasingly decentralized, difficult to track and even more difficult to thwart.”

With the Islamic State and its supporters producing as many as 90,000 Twitter posts and other social media responses every day, American officials also acknowledge the difficulty of blunting the group’s digital momentum in the same way a United States-led air campaign has slowed its advances on the battlefield in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, in Syria.

“We have an effective counternarrative, but the volume, the sheer volume, we are losing the battle today,” Michael B. Steinbach, the F.B.I.’s top counterterrorism official, told a House panel last month. “The amount of use of social media and other Internet-based activities eclipses our effort.”

What?  You mean a group of people who live there has become revolutionary and is kicking the ass of the best military in the world and its paid mercenaries?



TBC: Morning Musing 3.23.15

I have a triple play of Climate Change articles for you this morning!

First, I love this project:


When you hear “climate science” what do you picture? Charts, graphs, melting icebergs, or rising sea levels?

Most of us forget there are people behind all the climate data going into today’s news headlines. Regular people are working hard, every day, studying climate change and exploring solutions in order to improve the future we’re leaving our children.

For these scientists, it’s not about the numbers in studies and charts. It’s about what these numbers mean for the planet and the people who live there. Which is why we think it’s long past time to humanize climate science. So let’s get to know the faces behind the facts.


On This Day In History March 23

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 23 is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 283 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, Patrick Henry voices American opposition to British policy

During a speech before the second Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry responds to the increasingly oppressive British rule over the American colonies by declaring, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Following the signing of the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Patrick Henry was appointed governor of Virginia by the Continental Congress.

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is well remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he is remembered as one of the most influential exponents of Republicanism, promoters of the American Revolution and Independence, especially in his denunciations of corruption in government officials and his defense of historic rights. After the Revolution, Henry was a leader of the anti-federalists in Virginia who opposed the United States Constitution, fearing that it endangered the rights of the States, as well as the freedoms of individuals.

American Revolution

Responding to pleas from Massachusetts that the colonies create committees of correspondence to coordinate their reaction to the British, Henry took the lead in Virginia. In March 1773, along with Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee, Henry led the Virginia House of Burgesses to adopt resolutions providing for a standing committee of correspondents. Each colony set up such committees, and they led to the formation of the First Continental Congress in 1774, to which Henry was elected.

Patrick Henry is best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, in Saint John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. The House was undecided on whether to mobilize for military action against the encroaching British military force, and Henry argued in favor of mobilization. Forty-two years later, Henry’s first biographer, William Wirt, working from oral testimony, attempted to reconstruct what Henry said. According to Wirt, Henry ended his speech with words that have since become immortalized:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!”

The crowd, by Wirt’s account, jumped up and shouted “To Arms! To Arms!”. For 160 years Wirt’s account was taken at face value, but in the 1970s historians began to question the authenticity of Wirt’s reconstruction.[8] Historians today observe that Henry was known to have used fear of Indian and slave revolts in promoting military action against the British, and that according to the only written first-hand account of the speech, Henry used some graphic name-calling that failed to appear in Wirt’s heroic rendition.

In August 1775, Henry became colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment. At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Henry led militia against Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in defense of some disputed gunpowder, an event known as the Gunpowder Incident. During the war he served as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia and presided over several expeditions against the Cherokee Indians, who were allied with the British.

Henry lived during part of the War at his 10,000-acre Leatherwood Plantation in Henry County, Virginia, where he, his first cousin Ann Winston Carr and her husband Col. George Waller had settled. During the five years Henry lived at Leatherwood, from 1779 to 1784, he owned 75 slaves, and grew tobacco. During this time, he kept in close touch with his friend the explorer Joseph Martin, whom Henry had appointed agent to the Cherokee nation, and with whom Henry sometimes invested in real estate, and for whom the county seat of Henry County was later named.

In early November 1775 Henry and James Madison were elected founding trustees of Hampden-Sydney College, which opened for classes on November 10. He remained a trustee until his death in 1799. Henry was instrumental in achieving passage of the College’s Charter of 1783, an action delayed because of the war. He is probably the author of the Oath of Loyalty to the new Republic included in that charter. Seven of his sons attended the new college.

Ear Bugs (You Know The Words)

Just filling in.

Six On Sunday (Prime Time)

This piece is really by mishima who is experiencing some connectivity difficulties.  However I want to take this opportunity to thank him for what he’s contributed to this site.

He’s one of the originals, back from when it was buhdy and I and I’ll always be grateful for the fact he took Morning News Digest out of my hands because life on 3 hours of sleep was literally killing me.

In addition to Six in the Morning he also does Random Japan (because that’s where he lives duh) and Late Night Karaoke.

While the problems persist I’ll be taking over Late Night (who needs sleep anyway?) and I’ll be cross posting the other pieces under his name because I’m an Admin and can do stuff like that.

I’ll also be putting up tip jars even though he’s too modest for that kind of thing, but I really appreciate him and I hope he knows it.

You might want to visit his blog- Ignoring Asia.

On Sunday

Pentagon investigates ‘IS online threat’ to US military



The US defence department says it is investigating an online threat allegedly made by Islamic State (IS) to about 100 of its military personnel.

A list of names and addresses was posted on a website linked to the group alongside a call for them to be killed.

The group said it obtained the information by hacking servers and databases but US officials said most of the data was in the public domain.

A US security source told the BBC that those on the list were being contacted.

The group, which called itself the Islamic State Hacking Division, said the personnel named had participated in US missions against IS.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

The woman who leads a rebel Ukraine army unit

In Naples, Pope Francis encourages young to resist the Mafia

Indonesia leader eyes investment, defence on Japan trip

Tunisia airs video of gunmen in Bardo museum attack