NSA Actions Illegal, Gay Marriage in Virginia, and Other Tidbits of Info for Today

  • An independent review has found the NSA’s phone data collection to be illegal.  Whether the actions are legal or illegal, we must simply ask whether they are useful.  Still little to no evidence supporting that, as mentioned in the article:
    “Moreover, even in the dozen cases examined by the board where the metadata linked contacts to a terrorism suspect, most benefits were modest and “limited to corroborating information that was obtained independently by the FBI,” the board report found.”
  • Virginia’s new attorney general has decided not to defend the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.  Just like what has or will happen to every other ban such as this one, it will go down likely in the courts for the exact reason given by the AG:
    “Having exercised his independent constitutional judgment, consistent with his oath of office, the Attorney General has concluded that Virginia’s laws denying the right to marry to same-sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
  • An excellent op-ed by economics professor Daniel Altman appeared in Foreign Policy regarding the reasons why high levels of income inequality are actually very bad for the economy.  One of the biggest reasons:
    “…the allocation of opportunity is not determined solely by effort or ability. To a great degree, access to opportunity in the United States depends on wealth. Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and sexual discrimination may be on the wane in many countries, but discrimination based on wealth is still a powerful force. It opens doors, especially for people who may not boast the strongest talents or work ethic.”(Emphasis added)
    In short, defenders of the economic status quo haven’t figured out being the child of a wealthy or powerful person does not equal being as smart or talented as the parent.  I’m looking at you, former president youknowwhoyouare.
  • AG Eric Holder is calling for Congress to pass legislation reducing prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.  One of the clear realities of the failed drug war at this point is the huge economic cost on tax payers (along with the societal ones on the many victims):
    “The federal prison population has mushroomed by 500 percent, to 219,000, over the last 30 years, mainly because of the number and length of mandatory sentences, especially drug sentences…the Urban Institute said in a study that that reducing the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses by even 20 percent would save nearly $1.3 billion over 10 years and cutting the number of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses by half would save about $2.5 billion over the time span.”

    Just try controlling those libidos seeing, potentially, our next president, ladies! Try and fail, that is!
  • And finally, potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, took a break from apparently performing brain surgery on himself to try to court the votes of women…by insulting them.  Well done, sir.  I can almost hear the heavy flow of campaign money dumping into the Republican coffers of anyone-but-this-guy.  His quote:
    “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are hopeless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them with their prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/23/215518/holder-urges-congress-to-ease.html#storylink=cpy

 

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