It's appalling to hear the Washington bureaucrats and their media allies trash Edward Snowden as a traitor, when it's our leaders and the NSA who have betrayed us, writes Kirsten Powers.
Hell hath no fury like the Washington establishment scorned.
Since Edward Snowden came forward to identify himself as the leaker of the National Security Agency spying programs, the D.C. mandarins have been working overtime to discredit the man many view as a hero for revealing crucial information the government had wrongfully kept secret. Apparently, if you think hiding information about spying on Americans is bad, you are misguided. The real problem is that Snowden didn’t understand that his role is to sit and be quiet while the “best and the brightest” keep Americans in the dark about government snooping on private citizens.
John Boehner (top left), Edward Snowden and Dianne Feinstein. (Clockwise from top left: Getty (2); AP)
His divorce from the younger Wendi Deng had the media in a frenzy Thursday, but it’s not something his beloved tabloid will likely dwell on, writes David Freedlander.
If this were a story in the New York Post, the headline would blare: “SPLITSVILLE: Tab Tycoon Untying Knot With Young Lady Love.”
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng attend the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 7, 2011. (Scott Olson/Getty)
But since the New York Post is part of News Corp., and since News Corp is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and since the split in question is Murdoch’s own to Wendi Deng, his 44-year-old wife of 14 years, the coverage tomorrow should be, ahem, a bit more muted.
A judge for the southern district of New York ruled Wednesday that Fox Searchlight violated the law by not paying interns on ‘Black Swan.’ David Freedlander on whether unpaid internships are on their way out.
Is the unpaid internship dead?
That’s what corporate CEOs and employment law attorneys were trying to figure out Wednesday after a U.S. district court judge ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures had violated the law by not paying interns who worked on the film Black Swan.
Unpaid internships consisting of mostly menial tasks may be on the way out. (Dimitri Vervitsiotis, via Getty)
Hong Kong may not have been the best place for Edward Snowden to hide, but Europe could be his best choice, argues Geoffrey Robertson.
Edward Snowden can run, but according to his own revelations about ubiquitous U.S. surveillance, he cannot hide. He seems to fit the definition of a “whistleblower” rather than a criminal, having acted out of conscience to reveal an eavesdropping operation on such a scale that the public in his own democracy, and in others, should have a right to know about it, at least in the general terms in which he has described Prism. There is no evidence at this stage that he has deliberately or directly put lives at stake. Where could such a political fugitive be safe from extradition to face trial under the 1917 Espionage Act, with a death penalty possible but a more likely sentence being many years in a U.S. supermax prison?
Snowden might be safe in the U.K., despite Foreign Secretary William Hague’s aggressive defense of the Government Communications Headquarters because he could not be extradited from London to the U.S. without final approval from the European Court in Strasbourg. (Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty)
Hong Kong was not the best choice—its Court of Final Appeal is really a court of penultimate appeal, with decisions subject to reversal by the government in Beijing, which may find it convenient to do a deal with the U.S. Pyongyang would offer a safe sanctuary, but North Korea is a gulag. Algeria, the refuge of choice for American public enemies like Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary in the 1960s, is now keen for CIA support against al Qaeda affiliates. Moscow beckons, but although Snowden’s ballerina girlfriend might get to dance at the Kirov, the Magnitsky case (Sergei Magnitsky informed on the crimes of state officials, who detained him in prison where he was killed) shows the world that Putin is no friend to whistleblowers. He would be miserable in Iceland, which is vulnerable to U.S. pressure.
Kelly Slater scored a 20 out of 20 possible points in a quarterfinal heat for the Volcom Fiji Pro. He’s only the fourth person in history to do so. Mark Lukach on the beautiful spectacle.
Every sport has its dominant athlete—Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt—but few athletes can claim to have achieved perfection. After all, what exactly is a perfect basketball game?
On Tuesday, for a breathtaking 30 minutes, Kelly Slater showed the world that he is a perfect surfer, scoring 20 out of 20 possible points in a quarterfinal heat at the Volcom Fiji Pro. A perfect heat, surfed in pristine blue water and pumping barrels. A perfect heat, which has only happened four times before in the history of the sport.
The scary contradictions of the NSA mess.
IN 2011, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin stated that “as author of the Patriot Act,” he “applaud[ed] the House and Senate” for extending provisions of the controversial legislation, including Section 215 allowing investigators broad powers to monitor and seize “any tangible things” related to a terrorism investigation. Last week, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sensenbrenner—now apparently surprised at how his legislation was used by the National Security Agency (NSA)—wrote that “as the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely disturbed by what appears to be an overbroad interpretation of the Act.”
Sensenbrenner was responding to documents leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former contract worker at the NSA, that revealed a massive government data-mining program. The vague language of the Patriot Act, say the bill’s legion of critics, made the massive expansion of the surveillance state both possible and inevitable. Yet, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf noted, the congressman had previously shrugged off concerns that the law could be abused, arguing in 2006 that “congressional negotiators added more than 30 civil-liberty safeguards not included in current law to ensure that the Patriot Act’s authorities would not be abused in the future.”
Sensenbrenner isn’t alone in changing his tune. According to a new poll released by the Pew Research Center, Americans are remarkably fickle in their attitudes about domestic surveillance. During the Bush administration, only 37 percent of Democrats found NSA spying programs “acceptable,” while 75 percent of Republicans backed eavesdropping on “people suspected of involvement with terrorism ... without first getting court approval to do so.” The same question, asked days after Snowden’s revelations, saw 64 percent of Democrats now backing NSA snooping, with Republican support dropping to 53 percent.
Bill Maher takes on the racial divide oVER pot.
WHEN COMEDIAN Bill Maher talks about dope—using it, abusing it, legalizing it—most often he’s only half joking. And recently he made a very serious point indeed. Legalizing marijuana has become “the next civil-rights issue,” he said. Maher was riffing on a just-released report by the American Civil Liberties Union: “The War on Marijuana in Black and White.” Between 2001 and 2010, police made 8 million marijuana arrests, and 90 percent were for simple possession. Blacks were picked up at almost four times the rate of whites, and in some areas at eight times the rate, even though usage is about the same on each side of the racial divide. The ACLU deplored the billions of dollars wasted on a failed and racially biased policy that sucks otherwise innocent people into the criminal-justice system, crowds the jails, and has not reduced marijuana use or availability. But Maher went a step further. And, again, he was only half joking. He called this pattern of arrests “a subtle way to suppress the black vote,” because 48 states limit voting rights for convicted felons. “Only two states do not,” said Maher: “Maine and Vermont, and Maine’s black population consists of a bear.”
The iconic litigator, glorified by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie, was arrested for drunkenly handling a boat this weekend. Eliza Shapiro on the unglamorous trouble behind the famous name.
The last time most of us heard about legal crusader Erin Brockovich, she was being glamorously portrayed by Julia Roberts in an Academy Award–winning film.
Erin Brockovich, following her arrest, 2013. (HOPD)
Thirteen years later, she’s a household name again—for drunkenly driving a boat around a Nevada lake, an act that earned her a DUI citation and a very unflattering mug shot. Brockovich was booked at the Clark County Detention Center and released after posting $1,000 bond.
These metro areas are sandboxes for ideas.
Did you know that the majority of U.S. patents—63 percent—are developed by people living in just 20 metro areas, home to only 34 percent of the U.S. population? While it’s no surprise to see Silicon Valley topping the list of where innovators and inventors choose to call home, other lesser-known cities are punching above their weight to meet the demands of a new economy. Ski-friendly Burlington, Vermont, and university town Ann Arbor, Michigan, have transformed into hubs of creativity by capitalizing on local assets—semiconductor devices and motor parts, respectively. Drawn from a Brookings Institution report, the list below is a snapshot of the 10 most patent-intensive metro areas in the country between 2007 and 2011. And the research bears out a correlation between patents filed and economic growth; innovation may just be the key to leveling the bicoastal playing field of important and influential metros.
MOST PATENT-INTENSIVE METRO AREAS
- San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA
Avg. Patents*: 9,237
Patent Intensity**: 10.29
- Burlington–South Burlington, VT
Avg. Patents: 826
Patent Intensity: 6.86
- Rochester, MN
Avg. Patents: 606
Patent Intensity: 5.70
- Corvallis, OR
Avg. Patents: 194
Patent Intensity: 4.83
- Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, N.Y.
Avg. Patents: 1,226
Patent Intensity: 4.70
- Boulder, CO
Avg. Patents: 666
Patent Intensity: 4.04
- San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA
Avg. Patents: 7,003
Patent Intensity: 3.59
- Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA
Avg. Patents: 310
Patent Intensity: 3.20
- Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos, TX
Avg. Patents: 2,497
Patent Intensity: 3.09
- Ann Arbor, MI
Avg. Patents: 590
Patent Intensity: 2.93
Opinions of leaker Snowden and the NSA’s spying program are making strange bedfellows—when’s the last time Glenn Beck and Michael Moore agreed on something? Roll over to see who’s said what.
The respected young journalist died Tuesday in a car accident at age 33. In his too-short but impressive career, Hastings was never shy about voicing his convictions or opinions. Here are some of his most incisive on-air moments.