politics { Pranksters give Karl Rove a send off

I approve.

Wonkette coverage.

Goodbye Rove you evil bastard, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. On a side note we need to start a Rovewatch to make sure this ass doesn't fuck us more as a country by manipulating other elections.

casual_friday { I can't wait...

Casual Friday...TODAY!


mercenary { Blackwater builds Airforce

Blackwater U.S.A. is a mercenary, excuse me, security firm that has a large military security contract in Iraq (as in a lot of taxpayer money funds these guys). They now want to expand their air force from a few armed helicopters to ground attack craft.

I've been reading, intermittently a book about Blackwater U.S.A.. There vision and mission statement gives me the creeps its so full of jingoism. Cut through the crap, they're hired guns who kill (provide security) for money.

To support security, peace, freedom, and democracy everywhere.

To support national and international security policies that protect those who are defenseless and provide a free voice for all with a dedication to providing ethical, efficient, and effective turnkey solutions that positively impact the lives of those still caught in desperate times.

Blackwater is committed to the foot soldiers -- the men and women who stand on the frontlines of the global war on terror and who believe in a peaceful future for their communities and nations. Whether serving in or out of uniform, Blackwater is committed to providing these men and women with the very best in training and tactical support to ensure they are fully prepared to meet current and future global security challenges.

This is a peek at what the future, corporate, privatized military will look like. They remind me a lot of an older South African based (formed out of an old South African special forces unit) called Executive Outcomes that basically would fight for anyone in exchange for mineral wealth.

politics { This headline caught my eye on my Wonkette RSS feed...

"And then he'll piss on everybody's grave, the end."


warcraft { Life at 70

I've not posted much about Pernox in a while. He's been level 70 now for sometime. I still play him the most, despite the efforts of my guildmates to play alts. I love you guys, but Pernox is my toon. I've hit a bit of a slump. Since leaving <Ashes of Empires> to help found <Medieval Metaphysicals> I've lost my ability to find good lvl 70 groups. Which means my goals to finish my Assassination Set armor, get my Tier 4 armor, and finally achieve an epic flying mount have been delayed. I've spent a lot of time, in game coin, and effort to try and get the new guild off the ground and I find it a worthy endeavor. Sadly it too seems to be floundering and we are on the brink of dissolution. But I do miss doing level 70 groups, good ones. I've joined a few pick up groups lately, but they've been terrible, when they happened. Usually you sit in LFG state for 2 hours, can usually get 4 members but can never find that last healer or tank, and in the later instances, you need to have a varied party with some kind of healing and damage absorbing ability. The only one that has been decent was the one where I went with four members of AoE. I'm happy to see I still have a good relationship with most of the members and officers of the old guild. I've even filled in for them when they came up one short for Karazhan. That was a fun time.

But despite all this I have achieved a few things:

  • Frostwolf Howler - I've wanted an epic riding wolf ever since I picked up 'Knockturne', my trusty Purple Skeletal Warhorse. I call him 'Ulysses'. It required a LOT of time in the Alterac Valley battleground which is no fun on the Horde-side for the lvl 61-70 bracket as most of the Horde raid (there can be 40 to a side) sit in the starting cave and just leech honor and AV marks. Supposedly this will be addressed in a future patch.

  • Honored with the Sha'tar. This brings me one step closer to 'revered' status which will allow me to craft the Alchemists epic item, the Alchemist's Stone.

  • I played around respeccing to see what the deep parts of the other talent trees for Rogues can provide and finally found a compromise spec of 7/41/13 that suits my play style and allows me to solo farm, which should make getting the mats I need for crafting (mainly primals) easier and let me achieve my epic flying mount skill faster. I miss the ability to step through shadows and ambush people, but the ability to rachet up the damage and hit more than one target at a time is quite useful. Yeah I know its not the most efficent in terms of energy and combo point generation, but it is a compromise, letting me be useful and maintain those elements I value highly (the ability to quickly and effectively sneak around). It actually does quite well against lvl 65-72 monsters and absolutely destroys things under lvl 64. I've been able to do something I've never been able to do previously, take on 4 mobs at once and kill them in the same time it would normally take to kill two, without dying.

  • I'm one quests away from neutral status with the Netherwing faction, however this quest requires a five man group, which is actually hard to find/start than one for an instance. I'll hopefully knock this out so I'm one step closer to getting a Netherdrake mount.

  • I've been doing the two daily quests I can to raise my Sha'tari Skyguard rep and get some gold. This puts me closer to getting a Nether Ray mount. (If you can't tell I like collecting mounts)

  • Old Content - I've started going back and keying and seeing the older content, even if they are not full dungeon runs. I've also been filling in the gaps in the quests I've skipped on my journey.

  • Sneaking the Alliance capital cities - Darnassus is done. I have some great screenshots of the two Night Elf leaders Tyrande and Staghelm as well as some of me fishing near the Night Elf character starting point. I also found I could get a quest from the Argent Dawn office to do a Blackfathom Deeps run. I couldn't finish the quest chain, as it was for Alliance only after the first part, but it gave me +350AD reputation! Up next Ironforge and Stormwind leaders.

If the guild thing fizzles I'll probably look for a raiding guild. I'd like to have at least one piece of epic armor and one epic weapon on Pernox.

I'm also fooling around with the idea of changing professions once I craft the Alchemists Stone, since its been hard to make money with herbalism/alchemy as opposed to someone who has skinning/mining.


politics { Alberto Gonzales resigns

And there was much rejoicing.

Some hope comes back.

But fear remains...I felt this way when Ashcroft resigned...and we got someone much, much, much, much worse.

Good riddance though. This is the man who crafted the legal justification for all the horrible things that have happened under Bush, from the Imperial grab for power, to our torture policy, to Abu'Gharab.

Its like rats on a sinking ship. It confirms that bad things have happened and as the hearings and investigations continue, these people suddenly feel the need to have more time 'with family.'


flood { Rushford, MN - 1 week later

On our way back from Lacrosse today I decided I had to see Rushford for myself. Not because I am a disaster junkie or anything like that, but because I needed to see something that has left a permanent mark on the history of this area. To see and remember.

Rushford is 10 miles off I-90. When you exit, you're surrounded by lush, rolling farmland. As you get closer to Rushford, you start descending from the plateau down into a deep river valley. As you hit the outskirts of town, you start noticing the damage, some houses with carpets outside, a fine layer of mud or silt on the road, but you're still quite a ways up and out of town. As you turn the corner and start entering the downtown district its like entering a different world. Everything is affected. The ground has a layer of silt, quite deep in places. Water level marks on houses, vehicles, trees, crops, anything shows that the water was at least 4' deep and it appears to have been 6' deep in areas. School buses parked in front of a mechanic shop had water marks up to half-way through their windshields, which is 2/3 of the way up the bus. Whole houses and businesses have been completely gutted, the contents laying on the street in large piles. A barn on the edge of town had one corner of its foundation washed out. A corn crop south of town appears to have been completely underwater. People looking wiped out physically and emotionally take breaks next to heaps of their belongings. I didn't bring a camera with and even if I did, I probably would not have taken pictures. Things here were personal. Power was in the form of generators and where the power lines could be patched in (some power line appear to have fallen). Sanitation was port-a-potties in neighborhoods.

I wept.

Monday I am going to see if work has volunteer efforts to go and help with the clean up.


musing { Death in the Virtual World

So I didn't mean for the theme of the blog this week to be such as downer. It just kind of happened that way. I just finished listening to episode 74b of 'The Instance', one of the many podcasts I listen to, this one with a World of Warcraft theme. It was a tribute to a guild member, who in IRL, died suddenly of a rare heart disease.

I mention this because everyone of the players I see on line, regardless if they are an elf, a dwarf, a beastman, an orc, an undead, even gnomes, on the other side of that character, on the other side of that screen is another human being. A spark of life. A soul that resonates in the fabric of existence. Even if some of them have the emotional maturity of a rock and the sensitivity of a twig and the tolerance of a forest fire. Granted because of the nature of the technologies of the Internet and the framework of a fantasy RPG game, we live as relatively anonymous personae of heroes fighting against the supernatural or as the supernatural, sharing only what we want with others. But that as well is not wholly true, many members of what I loving refer to as 'Team CubeZoo' have joined me in game. These are my 'real life' friends. Some of them, my oldest and dearest. I know the face behind the name/character/alias/personae. We've had good times and bad times together. We've supported each other through sorrow and joy. Dark times and light. I love them like family and have loyalty to them as friends.

In the game I have a person (Krieghund is his main's name), who I've never met in real life who I consider a friend. He and I have quested together for dozens of levels with multiple characters. We've shared sorrow and joy with each other as we're both technology professionals and have a lot in common, even if he is red leaning and I am blue leaning, we can respect each other positions and still have good times. Honestly its this relationship that has changed my opinion that not all right-wing aligned people are bad and some still can be rational. I feel bad when he's having a bad week at work, or a rough spot in his life. I share his joy when things are going well. And it works in reverse. Even though I only interact with this person through the framework of the game, he is no less a friend.

Since forming a guild, the guild members have become, not a part of my, family is not the right word but tribe works better. We're small, struggling, on the edge of failing, but we're loyal to each other and help each other.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that in our modern age, the line between reality and virtual reality had smear and blurred.

casual_friday { Angst

animation short


musings { my soul hurts

I'm not sure if its my upcoming birthday, our recent basement problems, the fact I didn't want to come back from our last vacation, or the multitude of work woes, but my soul's been hurting lately. Its been tired and worn.

On a side and more upbeat note, I think Disney's movie The Blackhole released in the early 80s is a remake of their interpretation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Think about it...it fits.


politics { Term Limits

This morning when I was going through my morning routine, I heard this on NPR: Venezuela May Remove Presidential Term Limits for Hugo Chavez.

I became skeptical and suspicious. The beauty of terms limits is that no single person remains in power forever. Even though FDR was a well loved President, I think it was right of Congress to impose a 2 term limit. Bush's limit is up, thank the maker. Even Clinton didn't need another term. Its good to get fresh blood and new ideas that comes with a change of President (or relief from a Tyrant). I think Venezuela is making a mistake. Sure it may look like a good idea right now, but absolute power corrupts absolutely and since they still have elections (assuming the gov't doesn't convert to a 1 party system) it could work in the favor of the opposition.

I've not liked the fact that my 32 years of life in this country, 21 years have been spent under Republican Presidents, and although with the Bush Sr/Jr thing it feels like Bush has had 3 terms, hopefully this nightmare ends next year.

Speaking of term limits, Mr. Walz, I'm disappointed with your response in the Post-Bulletin. The FISA amendments did not restore power to the FISA court, it in fact removed even more oversight. I've heard rumblings, some from sources I consider reliable, some from DFL/DNC apologists, that all junior Representatives and Senators in unsafe seats (like Walz and Klobuchar) were told by DNC leadership to vote 'yea'. I can't confirm this, but if this is in fact the case, this illustrates a fundamental problem with the Democratic Party. This means you put re-election above what's right and what's good or best for those you represent. If this is in fact the case, it confirms that you are indeed a bunch of poll watchers who have run out of ideas, and no longer stand for anything. I don't (want to) believe this, at least my time in the DFL has not lead me to (want to) believe this (well in the St. Paul DFL at least, the Olmsted County DFL has some major issues). But there is a disconnect between us, who live and work in the trenches, doing the grass and net roots things and those at the top who hobnob with rich and affluent lobbying interests, corporate sponsors, wealthy donors, and irrelevant (though still somehow powerful) media types. This is something the GOP has been able to prey upon. Mr. Walz, (and Ms. Klobuchar) I hope it is not too late to salvage the damage.


hiatus { I'll be away from the blog for a while

We in Rochester had a bit of a natural disaster last night. 11 inches of rain in less than six hours, which for this area is the equivalent of usual spring and summer rainfall in a single night. Ours, as well as most of our neighbors have wet basements and a lot of clean up. As a result I won't be on the blog much this week and possibly next.

Honestly, this was the worst thunderstorm I've experience in my life...ever.


travel { Day 1 - Vancouver, BC

I awoke at 6am local time promptly, even though I had gone to bed a few hours earlier because my body said it was 8am (my normal time of awakening). After a few minutes of my brain arguing with my body, I rolled over and promptly fell back asleep until 8am local time, which was 10am body time(my normal time of awakening on weekends). I was awake at this point and pumped!

Nerdwife and I talked briefly about what to do about our rental car and decided it could wait until after some breakfast. We dressed and do what we usually do when we travel, set out on foot to see more of the city around us. Damn! We're in an amazingly modern and hip part of the city (Yaletown). Modern high rises of amazing architecture towered above us, the smell of the sea wafted on the air. We picked a direction and started walking, soon discovering two things...we had hit the jackpot. Easily within four blocks of the hotel there are perhaps two dozen restaurants (of which at least 8 are sushi joints yay!) and, easily a dozen or more coffeehouses (more if you count Starbucks, which I don't)...I was in heaven. We walked and chose a restaurant at random, our random wanderings again paid off... we had found the world famous 'Elbow Room'. We didn't know what we had gotten into when we sat down. I looked around and started noticing things...signed pictures of people on the wall (and a large number of them pornstars), rules posted like "Rule #1 We'll bring the first cup, after that get a butler!" and they're motto "Food and service is our name. Abuse is our game." Also was a giant poster of George Bush with the words 'Stupid Fucking Moron' around his picture. In short this place was awesome. Our server was a bald middle aged man of incredible fabulousness. He was gentle on us as he could tell we were Elbow Room virgins, but the two primped and perfect women who sat next to us got such gems as 'Ladies just wait your food is like good sex, worth the wait, although if you live in this area, you haven't had sex in a while...I bet I get more than you do!". Next to us sat another couple, I think they were involved with the film business, at least from what I could discern eavesdropping and who were perhaps the most complicated food orderers I've ever seen anywhere. I always thought Nerdwife was embarrassing in the specificity of her ordering until these people sat next to us, Nerdwife I am sorry for judging you. He wanted an omelet, only not an omelet, scrambled eggs, whites only, no fat used in cooking, no meat, with vegetable combo and hashbrowns (not cooked with oil), no cheese and dry (unbuttered) multi-grain toast...and decaf...she (his wife, I'm assuming) ordered something equally extravagant...I didn't hear what it was exactly because I was laughing at the servers response to decaf coffee. 'We don't carry that shit here no more because you fucks wouldn't drink enough of it. We had to pour in the garbage all the time because coffee goes bad after 20 minutes.' She ordered something as complicated but stressed absolutely no meat to touch anything, to which server replied 'God fucking damn it I heard you the first time! You want no fucking meat in your fucking dish. If you don't fucking like meat so fucking much why did you fucking marry your husband, who I feel really sad for, you should just stayed with fish'. And he walked away. She asked quietly to her husband who was laughing his ass off, if she can respond, and he nodded and she said 'Well fuck you too!' to which the server, who heard it, from the kitchen yelled back 'Oh honey that's too lame to satisfy me!' and then came back to the table and said 'And you should know it only takes a pinky finger to satify me.' A little later after everyone's food arrived he returned and spoke to the 'perfect' women next to us (who also were complicated orderers) and said 'Oh you're a princess, but I'm a happy FUCKING QUEEN OH YEAH!'. The food was awesome (and served both our meaty and meatless tastes, the jalapeƱo sourdough toast is amazing). As we paid our bill to leave we were cashiered by the owner, who could tell we were new to town. He asked where we were from and we talked a little bit about the bridge collapse. He then went on to rant about how much of a fucking stupid moron our President is, and I agreed with him. He called Cheney something like 'Moron Jr.' As we were leaving he called out, 'Hey Minnesotans we like you, come back to see us again!' We plan to.

After the most excellent and entertaining breakfast I've had in longer than I can remember. We wandered a bit more constantly amazed by our location. I think we found the fabulous part of Canada.

Tonight, sushi awaits.

The sea air agrees with me and my allergies...as in I can breathe.

travel { Travel Day - Splat!

August 10, 2007

Nerdwife took off on a Cetacean adventure. After a hectic day of final preparation we launched for Rochester to the TC to begin our journey to Vancouver, BC. We grabbed our passports and arrived at the airport 2 hours early. After a delicious dinner at the 'French Meadow Bakery' (seriously the MSP airport has in many ways finer dining that Rochester), we proceeded to our gate and awaited our flight. Our plane pulled up and being the airplane geek that I am I went to look at it...and I saw a large red splat on the nose cone and thought...that can't be good. I called Nerdwife over to see...shortly thereafter they announced the flight would be delayed because the plane had hit a bird on landing and the radardrome was damaged. After they windexed the remains off, the used a variety of methods (from tapping a quarter on the skin, to shining a flash light) and were able to outline a six inch in diameter divet in the cone and a 4-5 inch crack along a seam near the divet. Maintenance for safety purposes wouldn't allow the plane to fly and we had to wait for another to arrive. We had to wait 2.5 hours. Once the new plane arrived the rest of the flight went smoothly other than we arrived well after 1am local time. It was my first time going through customs with a passport (previously I had driven to Canada and that was a non-event, but that was 1999). The customs officer was nice and asked a lot of questions and I told her about the delay due to bird strike and she chuckled. We picked up our luggage and found the rental place was closed, so off to find a taxi we went. But first I stopped at a cash machine and picked up some loonies. Canadian money is artistic. Bills are $5, $10, $20 and up. $1 and $2 values are coins. I have yet to see any coin under $1, mainly because all our purchases rounded off to the nearest dollar. $40CAN cab ride later we arrived at the Opus Hotel and our late flight had a silver lining, as they must have given our room away because we received a complimentary upgrade to the deluxe top floor courtyard suite. It has an awesome view, but we were dead tired as it was around 4am our body time and we went to bed.

casual_friday (on saturday) { Like a transmission on an empty channel, all lines are closed

'Evil', Ladytron


life { Life Lesson #53728

Do not put the burning hot bacon, egg and cheese biscuit out in your mouth with your just brewed burning hot cup of morning coffee.


politics { 2 days without newspaper delivery

And I find out that Tim Walz, whom I respect and supported, voted FOR the changes (see S 1927) to FISA provisions.

Can I ask why Mr. Walz?

How can this be good for our society?

How does this make us safer?

How can you ensure this will not be abused? (especially with an Administration that has proven it is not for the people)

Did you read the Act? If so, please what is your interpretation?

For that matter, Senator Klobuchar, I ask you the same questions, since you also voted Yes to the Senate version of the bill.

Full text of Act:

Protect America Act of 2007 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)



One Hundred Tenth Congress

of the

United States of America


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday,

the fourth day of January, two thousand and seven

An Act

To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Protect America Act of 2007'.


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105 the following:


`Sec. 105A. Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.


`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General determine, based on the information provided to them, that--

`(1) there are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition of foreign intelligence information under this section concerns persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, and such procedures will be subject to review of the Court pursuant to section 105C of this Act;

`(2) the acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance;

`(3) the acquisition involves obtaining the foreign intelligence information from or with the assistance of a communications service provider, custodian, or other person (including any officer, employee, agent, or other specified person of such service provider, custodian, or other person) who has access to communications, either as they are transmitted or while they are stored, or equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store such communications;

`(4) a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and

`(5) the minimization procedures to be used with respect to such acquisition activity meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 101(h).

`This determination shall be in the form of a written certification, under oath, supported as appropriate by affidavit of appropriate officials in the national security field occupying positions appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate, or the Head of any Agency of the Intelligence Community, unless immediate action by the Government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification. In such a case, the determination of the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall be reduced to a certification as soon as possible but in no event more than 72 hours after the determination is made.

`(b) A certification under subsection (a) is not required to identify the specific facilities, places, premises, or property at which the acquisition of foreign intelligence information will be directed.

`(c) The Attorney General shall transmit as soon as practicable under seal to the court established under section 103(a) a copy of a certification made under subsection (a). Such certification shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United States and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, and shall remain sealed unless the certification is necessary to determine the legality of the acquisition under section 105B.

`(d) An acquisition under this section may be conducted only in accordance with the certification of the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, or their oral instructions if time does not permit the preparation of a certification, and the minimization procedures adopted by the Attorney General. The Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall assess compliance with such procedures and shall report such assessments to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate under section 108(a).

`(e) With respect to an authorization of an acquisition under section 105B, the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may direct a person to--

`(1) immediately provide the Government with all information, facilities, and assistance necessary to accomplish the acquisition in such a manner as will protect the secrecy of the acquisition and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such person is providing to the target; and

`(2) maintain under security procedures approved by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence any records concerning the acquisition or the aid furnished that such person wishes to maintain.

`(f) The Government shall compensate, at the prevailing rate, a person for providing information, facilities, or assistance pursuant to subsection (e).

`(g) In the case of a failure to comply with a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e), the Attorney General may invoke the aid of the court established under section 103(a) to compel compliance with the directive. The court shall issue an order requiring the person to comply with the directive if it finds that the directive was issued in accordance with subsection (e) and is otherwise lawful. Failure to obey an order of the court may be punished by the court as contempt of court. Any process under this section may be served in any judicial district in which the person may be found.

`(h)(1)(A) A person receiving a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e) may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the pool established under section 103(e)(1).

`(B) The presiding judge designated pursuant to section 103(b) shall assign a petition filed under subparagraph (A) to one of the judges serving in the pool established by section 103(e)(1). Not later than 48 hours after the assignment of such petition, the assigned judge shall conduct an initial review of the directive. If the assigned judge determines that the petition is frivolous, the assigned judge shall immediately deny the petition and affirm the directive or any part of the directive that is the subject of the petition. If the assigned judge determines the petition is not frivolous, the assigned judge shall, within 72 hours, consider the petition in accordance with the procedures established under section 103(e)(2) and provide a written statement for the record of the reasons for any determination under this subsection.

`(2) A judge considering a petition to modify or set aside a directive may grant such petition only if the judge finds that such directive does not meet the requirements of this section or is otherwise unlawful. If the judge does not modify or set aside the directive, the judge shall immediately affirm such directive, and order the recipient to comply with such directive.

`(3) Any directive not explicitly modified or set aside under this subsection shall remain in full effect.

`(i) The Government or a person receiving a directive reviewed pursuant to subsection (h) may file a petition with the Court of Review established under section 103(b) for review of the decision issued pursuant to subsection (h) not later than 7 days after the issuance of such decision. Such court of review shall have jurisdiction to consider such petitions and shall provide for the record a written statement of the reasons for its decision. On petition for a writ of certiorari by the Government or any person receiving such directive, the record shall be transmitted under seal to the Supreme Court, which shall have jurisdiction to review such decision.

`(j) Judicial proceedings under this section shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible. The record of proceedings, including petitions filed, orders granted, and statements of reasons for decision, shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United States, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

`(k) All petitions under this section shall be filed under seal. In any proceedings under this section, the court shall, upon request of the Government, review ex parte and in camera any Government submission, or portions of a submission, which may include classified information.

`(l) Notwithstanding any other law, no cause of action shall lie in any court against any person for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under this section.

`(m) A directive made or an order granted under this section shall be retained for a period of not less than 10 years from the date on which such directive or such order is made.'.


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105B the following:


`Sec. 105C. (a) No later than 120 days after the effective date of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to the Court established under section 103(a), the procedures by which the Government determines that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic surveillance. The procedures submitted pursuant to this section shall be updated and submitted to the Court on an annual basis.

`(b) No later than 180 days after the effective date of this Act, the court established under section 103(a) shall assess the Government's determination under section 105B(a)(1) that those procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic surveillance. The court's review shall be limited to whether the Government's determination is clearly erroneous.

`(c) If the court concludes that the determination is not clearly erroneous, it shall enter an order approving the continued use of such procedures. If the court concludes that the determination is clearly erroneous, it shall issue an order directing the Government to submit new procedures within 30 days or cease any acquisitions under section 105B that are implicated by the court's order.

`(d) The Government may appeal any order issued under subsection (c) to the court established under section 103(b). If such court determines that the order was properly entered, the court shall immediately provide for the record a written statement of each reason for its decision, and, on petition of the United States for a writ of certiorari, the record shall be transmitted under seal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which shall have jurisdiction to review such decision. Any acquisitions affected by the order issued under subsection (c) of this section may continue during the pendency of any appeal, the period during which a petition for writ of certiorari may be pending, and any review by the Supreme Court of the United States.'.


On a semi-annual basis the Attorney General shall inform the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, concerning acquisitions under this section during the previous 6-month period. Each report made under this section shall include--

(1) a description of any incidents of non-compliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence under section 105B, to include--

(A) incidents of non-compliance by an element of the Intelligence Community with guidelines or procedures established for determining that the acquisition of foreign intelligence authorized by the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence concerns persons reasonably to be outside the United States; and

(B) incidents of noncompliance by a specified person to whom the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence issue a directive under this section; and

(2) the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.


(a) In General- Section 103(e) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(e)) is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'.

(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents in the first section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 105 the following:

`105A. Clarification of electronic surveillance of persons outside the United States.

`105B. Additional procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions concerning persons located outside the United States.

`105C. Submission to court review of procedures.'.


(a) Effective Date- Except as otherwise provided, the amendments made by this Act shall take effect immediately after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) Transition Procedures- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, any order in effect on the date of enactment of this Act issued pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) shall remain in effect until the date of expiration of such order, and, at the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall reauthorize such order as long as the facts and circumstances continue to justify issuance of such order under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as in effect on the day before the applicable effective date of this Act. The Government also may file new applications, and the court established under section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall enter orders granting such applications pursuant to such Act, as long as the application meets the requirements set forth under the provisions of such Act as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act. At the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)), shall extinguish any extant authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical search entered pursuant to such Act. Any surveillance conducted pursuant to an order entered under this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act.

(c) Sunset- Except as provided in subsection (d), sections 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall cease to have effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d) Authorizations in Effect- Authorizations for the acquisition of foreign intelligence information pursuant to the amendments made by this Act, and directives issued pursuant to such authorizations, shall remain in effect until their expiration. Such acquisitions shall be governed by the applicable provisions of such amendments and shall not be deemed to constitute electronic surveillance as that term is defined in section 101(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801(f)).

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

Additional commentary:



(note, in terms of Democrat Presidential Candidates: Obama = No, Clinton = No, Kucinich = No, no longer in Congress = Edwards, Gravel; I'd be curious to hear their views)


economics { iTuplip.com

Ran across the site after seeing this clip below on boingboing:

I may have to watch this site more often. I'm looking for a good source to help me understand that emotional, irrational beast that is Wall Street, especially since my employers over the years have saw fit to make me 'in control of my own money' by putting my retirement funds into the stock market.

People are wringing their hands and spouting DOOM since entities like the DOW Jones are down. Well no shit. Predatory sub-prime lending never seemed to make sense to me with what minimal economics I understand and now those who practiced it have to pay and sadly they're taking the rest of us with it. Remember the .com boom? Funded by hype. We had to pay in loss of jobs and erosion of various professions.

I don't trust the stock market and I don't think I ever will. Its based on emotion and greed. Very little is put into looking into cause and effect, or into the long term future. Its all about profit taking and the now. I wonder if there is a way to divorce our economy from this irrational machine?

I really likes these guys after watching a few of their 'Zombie Financial Media' clips:


casual_friday { Starfruit


Awesome video from Corneilus 'Starfruit-Surfrider'


sorrow { 'No More Collapses'

Nick Coleman had what I thought was a good article. I think he's right. Once the grieving is done and the sorrow has lessened people will be angry. They will want to know why. They will start to see that our government has been negligent and as he put it 'governing on the cheap'.

Its still too early, at least for me.

update { I-35W bridge collapse

First, the good news...

As of this morning, it is only 4 confirmed dead, not last night's 9. Some mistakes can work out for the better.

The bad news...

Still missing people, still a lot of injuries, still the tragedy really did happen.

Oh, and there is a big gaping hole where 100,000 cars used to drive every day. Which might not be as painful as the big gaping hole in Minnesota's heart over this tragic loss of life.


pics { 35W Bridge collapse

I'm still in shock about this.

I hope everyone I know is ok (and my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones). I have a lot of friends who live in Minneapolis and near there.

Everyone from Minneapolis (and elsewhere) please comment! Let us know you are ok.

news { Bridge collapse over Mississippi River

I was in downtown Minneapolis this evening going home from my cello lesson and saw a couple cop cars fly by me at high speed with the lights and sirens. Didn't think too much of it, but there were more police doing the same as I went home.

My grandmother called me shortly thereafter to know if I was alright.

The North and Southbound lanes of 35W collapsed over the Mississippi River this evening. Graphic here. Lots of cars and trucks on the span when it dropped, lots of injuries, no word of fatalities yet but my guess is there will be some. People in the water. What a mess. Phone lines are moderately jammed with all the people calling to check on loved ones.

Will update as more info becomes available. My heart goes out to all families with loved ones who were involved.

Update 19:45 - A little worried, my mother was going to Orchestra Hall this evening for a show, and she would have been passing over 35W south around the time the bridge collapsed. Her phone is going straight to voicemail, but that would be the case if the lines were jammed (which they are), or if she turned her phone off for the show.

Update 20:00 - Noah Kunin of Blanked-Out has an eyewitness account, bridge collapsed right by his house.

Update 20:10 - At least 3 confirmed dead.

Update 20:25 - Mom's mobile phone still going through to voicemail.

Update 21:20 - Confirmed 6 dead.

Update 22:00 - Mom is ok. She took an alternate route and not 35W.

Update 22:15 - All the info I'm hearing is that this is appears at first glance to be a structural collapse, with no terrorism involvement suspected.

Update 22:30 - A quick shout-out to my former coworker Doug, who is a part-time Hennepin County Water Patrol officer who does underwater body recovery. If you are working the site, be careful and know your work is appreciated.

Update 22:40 - Confirmed 7 dead, with that number likely to rise. If you want to help, check the Twin Cities Red Cross, although their server is getting pounded.

Update 22:55 - Aaron Landry posted Noah Kunin's amazing photos on Flikr.

Update 23:25 -
American Red Cross - Twin Cities Area Chapter
NW 5597
P.O. Box 1450
Minneapolis, MN 55485-5597

The Twin Cities Red Cross is asking for blood donations and financial donations.

Update 00:00 - Star Tribune has a gallery of photos.

Update 00:10 - Confimed 9 dead, with 60 injuries and at least 20 people missing.

Final Update tonight - Detail diagram of collapse.

Alternate routes for the commute, which is likely to be indefinite.

Its going to be really ugly tomorrow, but overall, I'm going to conjecture that this could have been much, much worse.

Off to bed.