Friday, June 07, 2013

That Data Dilemma – What Constitutes Protection versus Violation of Privacy – Administration Overreaches

The Patriot Act was purposefully written to attempt to balance the fine line between counter-terrorism and the rights of the individual as protected under the U.S. Constitution. The author Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, had expressed his concerns in a recent statement: “As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the F.B.I.’s interpretation of this legislation,” he said in a statement. “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.” He added: “Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.” (New York Times)

The seizing of phone records, among other data, on millions of American’s, with the administration going so far as to obtain a court order requiring Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries. (AP)

It would be one thing if those listening were specifically targeting incoming and outgoing calls to nations that have a potential for acts of terrorism, however, that is not the case. According to the Atlantic Wire:

"On its face, the document suggests that the U.S. government regularly collects and stores all domestic telephone records," The Week's Marc Ambinder writes of Glenn Greenwald's scoop last night. "My own understanding is that the NSA routinely collects millions of domestic-to-domestic phone records. It does not do anything with them unless there is a need to search through them for lawful purposes." Previous reporting from many outlets suggests that's true. In 2006, USA Today's Leslie Cauley reported the NSA was secretly collecting call records with data from AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth. A source told Cauley, "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world" and that the NSA wanted "to create a database of every call ever made" within U.S. territory. Likewise, in 2011, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer spoke to former NSA crypto-mathematician Bill Binney, who "believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later." He thinks the NSA wants all emails to be searchable, the same way we search with Google. "The agency reportedly has the capacity to intercept and download, every six hours, electronic communications equivalent to the contents of the Library of Congress," Mayer said. As Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Atlantic Wire last night, "This is confirmation of what we've long feared, that the NSA has been tracking the calling patterns of the entire country." Update: In defending the program, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein seems to indicate that the court order is a regular, quarterly thing. "There is nothing new in this program. The fact of the matter is, that this was a routine three-month approval under seal that was leaked," Feinstein said on Thursday. .

That’s jaw-dropping invasion of privacy.

From Facebook, to Yahoo, to Apple to Microsoft, and every server in-between – the the NSA has been mining data, from the video’s on posts, to the comment’s one makes from the majority of online providers. (Guardian UK)

Big Brother, apparently, is watching every move one makes, the question being raised is: to what end? The excuse of seeking terrorists would be completely appropriate, if the targets were selective, however, it is broad based, and, not unlike the IRS scandal, where groups were targeted for their political and religions affiliations by that agency, making life miserable for one’s perceived enemies by, what by now can be deemed a paranoid administration, is chilling.

These past few months revelations of multiple abuses of power, pale in comparison to the latest –over the top action. One might think some back peddling would be in short order. For one, it is of no concern if, in listing to a phone conversation, or reading one’s emails scouting for terrorists would keep one safe in the long run, however, if the data is used for other reason, shared between agencies, for example, one might find oneself on the wrong side of the IRS.

This is the reason the size and scope of the Federal government should be limited (let alone the massive bill they present to the American Taxpayer), and the 10th Amendment be applied across the board, giving each state the power to administer its own programs, from healthcare, to education, to environmental policies, without oversight of the Federal government.

If one did not care for the administration in one’s state, they could simply move to another – as it stands now, the long-arm of the Federal Government has taken on new meaning. This is a Libertarian mindset- and frankly, one which should be embraced by most concerned American’s – especially when the powers in Washington are increasingly encroaching on the masses. One might recall that there were those “Tea Party” people, on the fringe, who those on the left, and in the center thought were a bit ridiculous - turned out to be predictive - now, they not only sound valid, they are valid.

The fine line is the intent, and while the intent may have been to protect and defend, the lines must be drawn, the acknowledgements made, and the programs eliminated or downsized, with transparency – something that was promised in 2007 and 2008 – and has yet to take place – that course of action might restore the trust of the average citizen - which is dwindling by the day.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

High School Graduate – Roy Costner IV - Going against the Grain for One’s Faith – Since When Do Christians in the US need Courage to Express their Faith?

Roy Costner was the class valedictorian of Clemson’s, Liberty High School and he has done something that makes him a hero in some people’s eyes, and unethical in others. According to Local NBC 12, Costner, who had a prepared and approved speech for the graduation ceremonies, decided to go a different route. The school district had banned prayer, and Costner, in a display of passion only the young and devout can manage, gave a short speech, ripped up the prepared speech, and launched into a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The fact that the end of the prayer is barely audible due to the cheering of his fellow students (shown in the video below) (NBC News), speaks volumes about how the young of our nation understand the oppression of religion, or more specifically Christianity, in today’s politically correct society.

Link to You Tube Video Roy Costner Graduation Prayer


The headline from MSN “High school valedictorian rips up speech, says Lord's Prayer –

Roy Costner IV decided God was going to be part of his graduation regardless of what others thought” is telling of how the “mainstream” believes Christianity should be expressed – obviously not in public. The article’s final paragraph cites why this was such a “crime” against our society:

“Eby told Christian News that Costner was showing his opposition to the school district's decision to omit prayers from school-related events. The policy switch came after school officials received complaints from atheist activists and church-state separatists.”

Eby refers to the school districts spokesman, and there will be no action taken against Costner, according to the same article. Atheists who believe in no God, apparently misread the Constitution, along with so many others who have a lack of understanding of the document that guides our nation’s laws and practices. Separation of Church and State only means that no one religion would be established above all others. Therefore, expressing one’s faith in a public building or venue is certainly acceptable – regardless of that faith. It would be unacceptable if say Congress and a like minded Executive Branch made a law that stated everyone in the nation must practice “Veganism” – that would be against the Constitution, however, prayer, and religious displays, in public and private in our nation – are not.

Yet, each year, more religious symbols, especially those of a Christian nature, are found to be disappearing from the public square, as if, it is shameful, or worse, hurtful to others to be – Christian. In using the term Christian, this is being applied to all denominations. It is with this knowledge, that today’s youth are rebelling against the marginalization of their faith, regardless of how it is seen or is meant to be seen by government officials who are threatened by lawsuits by groups who have no idea of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Those officials take down Christmas objects from the public square, stop the singing of Christmas Carols in schools, go so far as to ban Christmas colors (red and green) at the “Holidays” – lest someone be offended.

It is the constant derision that is driving young men and women, to express themselves more openly – and to the youth who felt this young man was courageous for doing so – truth be told – he was. So often we are told to tone down our religious beliefs, by display or spoken word – by family members to strangers who find it “uncomfortable”. How on earth did this happen?

Most likely because Christians, turning the other cheek, in a biblically correct manner, never thought to protest the erosion of their rights. Or perhaps, it was due to those who would deride them publicly for doing so: A fine example comes from the blog: ironically titled: “Ethics”. The headline reads:”Bad Valedictorian Ethics In Pickens County”, and what follows is alarmingly bitter:

Roy Costner IV, honored with the opportunity to give the valedictory speech to fellow graduates of Liberty High School in Pickens County, South Carolina, decided to defy the School District’s decision to exclude prayers at graduation ceremonies. He began his prepared and approved graduation speech, then tore it up dramatically and segued into the Lord’s Prayer, to the apparent delight of many in attendance.


Roy accepted the invitation to give the speech under known conditions. He submitted text, supposedly in good faith. The school trusted him to meet his commitments. Instead, he hijacked the graduation ceremony for his own religious agenda.

Although, the writer obviously has a right to their opinion, it is just that, an opinion, and just as right is the young man’s decision to recite the Lord’s Prayer in lieu of a prepared speech. It was his honor, not the schools honor, it was his speech to make, and that particular prayer, the one given to all Christians by Jesus Christ himself, is more than appropriate today. This is especially true as these young men and women are faced with challenges that 2 or 3 generations ago were not even considered as egregious. The fact that they are now faced with college, and a huge debt, with much uncertainty as to whether or not they can find employment once they graduate, is a key factor, Let alone the state of moral decay into which our nation has fallen, in biblical terms, one might suggest we are as bad if not worse than Sodom and Gomorrah of the Old Testament. Therefore, with news of murders, gangs, injustices, wars, and poverty and corruption on every level of government, the need for religion is greater today than it has ever been. If one is a Christian, (Catholic, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, et. al.) one might be more prone to pray, for themselves and for everyone in this nation.

However, that might get them in some hot water, or derided by peers, or censored by a school. It should not, and for that reason, this young man’s act was heroic – he gave a gift to his classmates, as well as the world – the gift of saying, expressing one’s faith is ok. That young man taught a lesson all of us can appreciate, stand up for one’s self, one’s faith, and the U.S. Constitution. That is this bloggers opinion.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Governor Rick Perry – Texas Has a Place for You! – Teeing off Democrat in High-Tax Blue States

That rascally Governor of Texas - with his dog - photo daily caller

Apparently, Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas is doing his job, a fact which has those who live in high-tax, Democrat controlled states a bit unnerved. Perry, as Governor is compelled to increase both businesses in the State of Texas – and by doing so, creating more jobs. Texas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country – therefore, Perry is doing something right. It is the manner in which Perry is increasing the status of Texas that has a few Democrats feathers ruffled. He’s buying television advertising in states such as Illinois and California, touting the benefits of Texas while pointing out the deficiencies of their current home state. Over at the Huffington Post, the headline reads “Rick Perry faces Backlash…..which speaks to the said poaching of jobs and business from other states. Apparently, those posters suggest that by Perry’s taking of businesses an jobs from Illinois, and California, somehow, Texas will turn into a Democrat stronghold.

So there, Rick Perry!

The New York Post sums it up nicely in an article praising the good job Perry is doing for Texas:

“Poaching” jobs sounds pejorative, but it amounts to making it easier for people to do business. The waste hauler Waste Connections Inc. moved from Sacramento, Calif., to a location near Houston. Its CEO told the Web site The Fiscal Times that it took the company 16 months to design and build a new building in Texas, when the permitting alone would have taken three years in California.

If blue-state Democrats want Rick Perry to stop bothering them, they should quit whining and start learning from his example.


When did a third or more of the nation loose every shred of commen sense and the ability to think clearly?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Who Knew? High Flying Dogs – Making Sports Headlines – Mankind’s Best Friend Beats the MA Senate Race Any Da

From the Las Vegas Review Journal comes an article titled: “High Flying Dogs Make A Big Splash”. The article goes on to describe the sport of “Dock Diving” – and the participants are “Dock Dogs” For the most part, one reads a sports section and does not expect to find an article that deals with the world of canines – one which highlights their agility, and this is regardless of breed.

Looking over videos and finding events in one’s area appears to be quite easy – and once looking over the training and options, one begins to look at their beagle, which fetches like an outfield for the Yankees - and begins to think about putting in a water run. For more information about the sport in New England visit

On the political front – all one has to know is that Gabriel Gomez, the Republican challenger for John Kerry’s empty Senate Seat, is spending big on ads against Democrat, Ed Markey(Politico)

Markey is playing the usual “Republicans will take your Medicare” scam – all things considered that he voted for Obamacare, which is scavenging Medicare. Go Figure.

Ads can be seen on a variety of channels around the clock – with Markey taking credit for everything Al Gore has and has not, and Gomez, is being Gomez, a died in the wool – Republicrat – or better known as a Massachusetts voter – on the one hand voting for Democrats on the other an occasional Republican. Once the dust settles after the election – the race will be decided – and is rightly being called a toss-up by the Cook Report.

Herein lays Markey’s challenge (and the desperate tone of his ads underscore the dilemma) – he’s one-hundred years old, and rather unremarkable at that (unless one buys his Gore stories – Meanwhile, Gomez, Latino, U.S. Military Veteran, and for all intents and purposes, perfect for the part of a Massachusetts Senator.

That said, with the dead voting, and collecting Mass welfare to boot, one might have to call any race in MA a tossup.

Which is why dogs are much more interesting, reliable, loyal, dependable, loving.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Pope Francis – The Humble Servant – Leading by Example – Worldwide Prayer Hour - How Interpretations Vary - Opinion

Interpreting the Intention of the Pope - above washing of the prisoners feet - image New York Daily News - suggested meaning:

John 13-12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.(

The World Hour of Prayer

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has proven to be a remarkably biblical pontiff – Yesterday, the Pope led the faithfulin a worldwide holy hour of prayer. According to NBC News, those ”participants prayed at the same time around the globe for those suffering from war, slave labor, human trafficking and the economic crisis.”, and it was the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that “such an event had taken place.”(NBC News)

Pope Francis has left the trappings of the highest office in the Catholic Church, preferring a more humble approach, and his attention to the scripture, specifically relating to Christ, has been to the letter. Although some prefer to put their own “spin” on what the Pope is offering – in an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, it was suggested : “That simply, Pope Francis engaged an age-old question: Do we need God to be good? Religious people have emphasized Dostoyevsky’s aphorism that “if God does not exist, everything is permitted.” Look where the atheism of modernity led, they say, pointing to Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. In the United States, according to a 2012 Gallup poll, an atheist running for president would draw fewer votes than a member of any other minority, including Muslims. Atheists, with no transcendent horizon, are taken to lack the basis for moral choice. This is the last respectable prejudice. (Boston Globe) Granted everyone is entitled to their own interpretation – however, as biblically correct as the Pope has been thus far, one might take it to mean that all peoples are extended the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and to follow his tenants – rather than to abandon the teachings of the Gospels. For example, one must “love thy neighbor as thyself”, and in doing so, one is also obligated to behave in a manner that shows compassion, as well as giving. However, it is not to say, in any wise, that doing good, without the acceptance of Christ and the Holy Spirit, would allow one instant access to Paradise. It is a simple matter of understanding the point of the Gospels, and the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, are part and parcel of the road to salvation – either here, in an earthly sense, or in Paradise for those who believe in the saving Grace of Christ. Of course, that is only this opinion, believing that one might be better served by loving one’s neighbor, the atheist, and then through one’s actions and faith, and prayer, seeking salvation for all mankind – meaning to a soul a belief in the freedom of accepting Christ.

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