From an office on the Brooklyn waterfront in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York Police Department officials and a veteran CIA officer built an intelligence-gathering program with an ambitious goal: to map the region’s ethnic communities and dispatch teams of undercover officers to keep tabs on where Muslims shopped, ate and prayed.
The program was known as the Demographics Unit and, though the NYPD denies its existence, the squad maintained a long list of “ancestries of interest” and received daily reports on life in Muslim neighborhoods, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The documents offer a rare glimpse into an intelligence program shaped and steered by a CIA officer. It was an unusual partnership, one that occasionally blurred the line between domestic and foreign spying. The CIA is prohibited from gathering intelligence inside the U.S.
Undercover police officers, known as rakers, visited Islamic bookstores and cafes, businesses and clubs. Police looked for businesses that attracted certain minorities, such as taxi companies hiring Pakistanis. They were told to monitor current events, keep an eye on community bulletin boards inside houses of worship and look for “hot spots” of trouble.
The Demographics Unit, a team of 16 officers speaking at least five languages, is the only squad of its kind known to be operating in the country.
As more than 400,000 Americans found themselves jobless this past month, President Obama assures them he feels their pain. Of course, he places none of the blame on himself. It’s the Republicans in Congress, you see. But if you are one of the nearly half-million jobless Americans, fear…
Blah blah blah.
Here’s my question for the author of this post. Do you have a problem with people spending the money they’ve earned? Isn’t the idea behind free market theory that the more someone has, the more they will spend, and that money will hence “trickle down” to the Americans who “found themselves jobless this past month?” And if so, why on earth are you complaining when two lawyers, both of whom have held well-paying jobs, authored books and otherwise made substantial amounts of money, choose to spend that money?
“The 555-foot Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely after engineers found a crack near the top, presumably caused by Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake. The National Park Service said the closing of the 91,000-ton monument is to keep the public safe”—Politico
In 2010, Rethink Afghanistan created a tool on [Facebook] that allowed you to re-spend, as you saw fit, the trillion dollars in tax money that had, by that point, been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I clicked to add various items to my “shopping cart” and then checked to see what I’d acquired. I was able to hire every worker in Afghanistan for a year at $12 billion, build 3 million affordable housing units in the United States for $387 billion, provide healthcare for a million average Americans for $3.4 billion and for a million children at $2.3 billion.
Still within the $1 trillion limit, I managed to also hire a million music/arts teachers for a year for $58.5 billion, and a million elemtary school teachers for a year for $61.1 billion. I also placed a million kids in Head Start for a year for $7.3 billion. Then I gave 10 million students a one-year university scholarship for $79 billion. Finally, I decided to provide 5 million residences with renewable energy for $4.8 billion. Convinced I’d exceeded my spending limits, I proceeded to the shopping cart, only to be advised:
‘You still have $384.5 billion to spare.’
A trillion dollars sure does go a long way when you don’t have to kill anybody.
“If the notion that we are merely living through the aftereffects of a mere “recession” that ended in 2009 sounds somewhat ridiculous, that’s because it is. If we were being honest with ourselves, we would call this a depression. That would certainly better convey both the severity of our problems, and the fact that those problems have no evident solutions…”
I don’t agree with him about the debt: The debt number itself isn’t nearly as important as the debt-as-percentage-of-GDP number. (He seems to make this point later, but he’s not really clear what he’s saying about it.) However, the main point, about recession -vs- depression, is very good.
A very well written piece, which I for the most part agree with. I was an Edwards supporter in the early days (yes, I admit it), and then a marginal Obama supporter, so I’m not quite so embroiled in this debate as a lot of my friends are, but I can still see how ridiculous it is getting. Are there moments when I wish I had campaigned for Hillary after it became clear dear old John was going nowhere? Of course there were. Not least while I was sitting in a phone bank for Obama and watching this:
But there have been other moments, too. For example:
I look like a pretty happy camper there. (That’s me, on viewer’s left.)
Oh, and then there was this time, too:
Obama’s going through a bit of a rough patch now. Democrats should be glad of that. Because guess what? The country’s going through a bit of a rough patch, too. If Obama was all glitter and butterflies, he’d be an out-of-touch Republican, and Democrats would have reason to be ashamed of themselves.
But as it is, we followed a more-or-less democratic process to select our candidate, and now it’s time we live with it.
“If corporations have personhood then I demand to see their long form birth certificate, with the appropriate raised seal of the state and county they where born in. And I want it notarized by the Doctor and the Hospital where the birth occured. Hand and foot prints also.”
“She got a little upset. Girls do that.”—Ohio State Sen. Kris Jordan, a Republican, explaining to the Columbus Dispatch why his wife called 911 during a domestic dispute last month. Jordan said he “threw some things on the ground” but “didn’t hit her or anything.” (via TPM)
“SPOTTED Saturday night at The Machine Shed restaurant in Des Moines: Rep. Michele Bachmann, hugging DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, when they ran into each other during the Bachmann team’s post-straw-poll dinner. Wasserman Schultz said Bachmann is very nice, and her kids are great camp counselors.”—Mike Allen, Politico Playbook.
Even if Bachmann is cray-cray, this is still a good thing. It seems like the much-smaller group of women on the hill (don’t get me started) may be embracing a more old-school style of civility that has been distinctly lacking of late. You go girls.
ROMNEY:We have to make sure that the promises we make — and Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare — are promises we can keep. And there are various ways of doing that. One is, we could raise taxes on people.
ROMNEY:Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on —
AUDIENCE MEMBER:No, they’re not!
ROMNEY:Of course they are. Everything corporations earn also goes to people.
ROMNEY:Where do you think it goes?
AUDIENCE MEMBER:It goes into their pockets!
ROMNEY:Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets! Human beings, my friend.
“Q. Can I take food that is frozen?
A. In a frozen state, food is considered a solid and not subject to restrictions of liquids, gels, and aerosols. Frozen food will be examined for tampering and additional screening may be necessary. However, liquid-based foods that are frozen (such as gravy) but are partially melted are subject to TSA’s restrictions for liquids, gels, and aerosols.”—TSA Airport Security Guidelines.
So basically… Were I a terrorist, I could freeze three pounds of explosives, melt them in the airport bathroom and proceed as usual. What genius designed these rules again?
For those of you who think foreign aid is only for the third world:
[T]he United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington … has pledged a significant donation to Joplin Public Schools to assist the school district in meeting its goal to provide all enrolled high school students with laptops at the start of the 2011-12 academic year. These laptops will allow students to attend ‘virtual classrooms’ while Joplin High School is being rebuilt … The UAE Embassy is providing an initial $500,000 donation to support JPS’s ‘One-to-One’ initiative, which aims to provide all 2,200 Joplin High School students with a personal laptop computer…. In addition, the Embassy has issued a challenge grant, in which it will match, dollar-for-dollar, any funds donated to the ‘One-to-One’ initiative, up to an additional $500,000 … ‘The entire world was touched by the devastation caused in Joplin by the May 22 tornado. ‘Given the scale of the disaster, including the destruction of the community’s only high school, we felt it was important to provide assistance,’ said Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US. ‘The One-to-One initiative is a truly innovative idea that will not only give current students the tools they need to start the school year, but position future JPS students on the cutting-edge of learning.’ … JPS and the Embassy hope to work together to develop programming that will deepen cultural understating and awareness between the US and the UAE.
HopStop (for you non-public-transport people, that’s MapQuest for subways) has done a study on which Broadway theaters users of the service are most likely to search for. The results are included in the link above. The people behind the study assert
Although HopStop’s user base certainly includes tourists, it is most well-known among local residents. As a result, it would make sense that shows that are more popular among tourists would not do as well as those that are attracting New Yorkers, a trend that our analysis appears to validate.
I don’t have all the data, but the top three shows listed were Wicked, Sister Act, and The Book of Morman, which, while they may not be Spiderman: This Show Sucks (or whatever it’s called) and How To Succeed in Business if you’re Harry Potter (again, whatever) aren’t exactly the least popular/touristy shows on Broadway. For instance, I’d have expected New Yorkers to spend more time searching for Normal Heart than Wicked (although I love me some Elphaba, don’t get me wrong.)
Basically.. I think the methodology of this study is flawed. While overall usage of HopStop might in most part be driven by New Yorkers, I would hazard a guess most New Yorkers who attend theater know Midtown pretty well, and that a much larger of the portion of HopStop users searching for Broadway theaters are from outside of NY than, say, HopStop users searching for PS21.
“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who - who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”—Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)