Obama Proposes FISC Reform – In the past couple of months there have been several alarming stories surrounding the governments use of and access to our electronic records including cell phone text messages, conversation and laptop use. Obama has proposed some changes to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court to put the nation’s mind at ease. One of his suggestions is to have an advocate that would challenge the government and collect certain information during court proceedings. Other reforms would be made to section 215 of the Patriot Act which as of right now has allowed the government’s bulk collection of American’s records. A Senator from Oregon supports Obama’s reforms saying “I have seen absolutely zero evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act has provided any unique value to intelligence gathering or actually made Americans any safer, so I believe that these reforms should ensure that bulk collection is ended.”
NSA Reveals How Much Of The Internet Is “Touched” – In response to the President’s speech about making reforms to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court and sections of the Patriot act, the National Security Agency released a paper that justified its legal authority for spying. The paper said that after 9/11 “Several programs were developed to address the U.S. Government’s need to connect the dots of information available to the intelligence community and to strengthen the coordination between foreign intelligence and domestic law enforcement agencies.” The NSA revealed that of the 1826 petabytes of information on the internet per day they touch 1.6% of that and that about .025% of that information is selected for review. They broke it down even further saying that the net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission. NSA’s total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.
Shopping Center Posts “No Muslim Parking” Signs – The Westview Shopping Center in Spring Branch, Texas was the site of some alarming signs over the weekend. Worshippers on their way to mosque noticed that there were posts around the parking lot that said “No Muslim Parking.” The signs were taken down within a few hours but it is unknown who put them up in the first place. The shopping center is apparently close to a mosque and there have been problems with people going to the mosque parking in the mall’s parking lot. Some believe that the mall’s owner Steve Kwon may be behind the signs.
NJ Drug Dealers Being Charged In Overdoses – As the number of heroin overdoses is skyrocketing across the country because of increased difficulty to get opiate pain killers. Law enforcement is using some different tactics to crack down on the drug distribution. If a person overdoses on heroin and dies prosecutors are now going to charge drug dealers in their death. They will be using cell phone and texting records to tie a victim to a particular drug dealer who will then be charged with local and federal crimes.
Mona Lisa’s Supposed Skeleton May Solve Mystery – Back in the 16th century an art historian identified a woman named Lisa Gheradini as the smirking woman in Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous piece ‘Mona Lisa.’ She apparently lived across the street from the famous artist. Researchers in Florence, Italy now believe they have found the Gheradini family tomb and have begun excavating the skeletal remains. After the remains are removed they will conduct DNA tests to determine if the remains belong to Gheradini and if so they will begin the process of using the bones to reconstruct her face based on the bone structure found in the Mona Lisa painting.
Russell Simmons Writes Don Lemon Open Letter – African American CNN anchor Don Lemon took Bill O’Reilly’s side a couple weeks ago when giving his reasons for why African American’s are poorer and incarcerated at a higher level than white people. Lemon gave black people 5 pieces of advice saying: 1) pull your pants up, 2) stop using the n-word, 3) don’t litter, 4) finish school, 5) don’t have a baby until you are ready. Russell Simmons wrote an open letter in response to Lemon’s comments. He said that while he respected Lemon’s opinions he was surprised by his take on the issue and did not agree with him labeling black teenagers as the source of their own demise. He went on to talk about how African American fashion is just that- fashion- and should not be attributed with the black struggle and that cities closing countless schools and building prisons in predominately black neighborhoods is also a huge factor.
I got a chance to see what you said over the weekend about black America. At first I thought it was Fox News, but then I remembered you’re a CNN dude. I have nothing against Fox News, as Roger Ailes is my man, but the gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings. Thank goodness my political director, Michael Skolnik, was on the show to stand up for African-Americans, because conservatives love when we blame ourselves for the conditions that have destroyed the fabric of the black community. I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands. Hip-hop language and clothing styles are expressions of frustration with the status quo. Young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rockin’ afros, dashikis or platform shoes in the ’60s and ’70s. And many of those rebellious youth grew up to be quite successful… bell bottom-wearing, pot-smoking, Barry Obama became the President of these United States of America and a long-hair, anti-war activist named John Kerry became Secretary of State defending our country in more creative ways than just using violence. They were knee-deep in a rebellious culture, and did anything but integrate into a world that they saw is filled with problems that needed fixing, filled with challenges, or in their mind, with problems that they could fix. And now they are fixing them. When this country closes 50 schools in black communities and continues to build more prisons, I know that young people see through the institutionalized bulls*** that is laid out in front of them every single day of their lives. The lucky ones, like you and me, owe a real explanation of the problems in our community to the ones who are still living in struggle, not some old, conservative talking points left in the garbage from Mitt Romney’s campaign. I understand personal responsibility far too well, but you can’t ask them to pull up their pants and then stand idle as they fear getting shot in the heart by wannabe cops while walking home to watch basketball games. If you want to tell the rest of America this weekend when you go back on CNN how we fix black America, tell them to re-start the “War on Poverty.” Tell them to end the failed “War on Drugs” that has cost this nation over one trillion dollars and unjustly incarcerated a generation of black men. Tell them to support the President’s plan for universal Pre-K, so no child enters elementary school having to play catch up with the other children who are fortunate enough to go to pre-school. Tell them make college affordable and obtainable for young students who come from low-income families. Tell them that the right to a healthy life should be universal and not just for the fortunate few. And lastly, tell them that young black men and women don’t just need “role models” or “mentors,” they need “sponsors” who are willing to offer them a job. I want the black kids to grow up and be like you. I want them to know that their imagination is god inside of them and I want all kids, but especially black kids, to have the freedom to dream as well to create their own language. After all, without their jazz, blues, rock n’ roll and now their hip-hop, America wouldn’t even have a language of its own, much less a culture.
Don Lemon Responds To Russell Simmons – Don Lemon has responded to Russel Simmons’ open letter with an open letter of his own. Simmons called Lemon out for his views on the causes behind the lack of progress in the black community. He said ““I’m glad you wrote the letter…not because I think you completely missed the point, not because, like many of the other critics, I thought you were just using the occasion as a promotion for one of your businesses, your website, but I wasn’t going to address it because, quite honestly, it was hard to take you, and it, seriously after you called me derogatory names like slave on Twitter.” Yikes. Lemon then called Simmons out for not appearing on the show after he had been invited to respond to the issues and ended his letter with a quote from Obama that in summary said that a person’s situation shouldn’t determine their future. He said, this is not a lesson on fixing, changing, or ending racism. The message is self-awareness and getting your mind right.” Check his full response below..
Weiner’s Sexting Partner Gets 6 Figure Deal – It’s no surprise that Anthony Weiner’s sexting partner was looking for some kind of fame when she came out as the woman who traded racy pictures with the politician. Sydney Leathers has signed a deal with IHookUp to be the face of their dating app which connects people in the same area to text and then ‘hook up’. Leathers will have to keep an active profile on the site and interact with the users. A representative from the company said, “It’s all about that instant gratification and hooking up with the right person at the right time. Sydney seems to have that nailed down!”
Miami Officers Who Tasered Teen To Death High Fived Each Other – An 18 year old was dying and police in Miami were reported to have been celebrating and high fiving each other in the street for about 10 minutes after the ultimately fatal taser was shot. The teen who was caught pepper spraying a McDonalds was stopped by police before being tasered. One of the officers has been placed on paid leave. One of the teen’s friends who was at the scene said that he heard one of the cops say “you should have seen how funny it was when his butt clenched when he got Tased.” A toxicology test was inconclusive and an investigation is underway.