There are no atheists in foxholes … or in cockpits

So the president of the United States went on television last night to tell us that 13 years haven’t been nearly enough, and we now have a whole new band of barbarians hellbent on killing us and we’ll be waging war against them for the foreseeable future, and then some.

That new group has lots of names, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what to call them. Pretty much every newspaper and television station I’ve seen is calling them ISIS, which apparently is upsetting lots of women named Isis, not to mention that it’s the name of a great Dylan song (which is redundant) and I’m sure this isn’t what he had in mind. And, besides, the second S stands for Syria, which nobody really wants to think about very much. Continue reading

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Finding the humor in it all

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Everyone’s up in arms about the NSA collecting records of every Verizon phone call, revealed by The Guardian and nicely summed up by The New York Times.

And rightfully so.

But it’s good to see the humor in things.

First, there’s Matt Drudge’s wonderful hed (above).

My friend Jelisa Castrodale writes on Facebook . . .

If the NSA does scan my phone records, they’ll realize that, for the past eleven months, I’ve been on hold with Time Warner Cable.

And then there’s this, by the incomparable Andy Borowitz:

A Letter to Verizon Customers From President Obama

All in all, not a fine day for this administration.

UPDATE, per Politico:

The top two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said today that the widespread monitoring of phone records revealed by Wednesday’s Guardian report has been going on for years and that Congress is regularly briefed about it.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss also defended the National Security Agency’s request to Verizon for all the metadata about phone calls made within the U.S. and from the U.S. to other countries.

“As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years,” Feinstein asid. “This renewal is carried out by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.”

Added Chambliss: “This is nothing new. This has been going on for seven years … every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this. To my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint. It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.”

SECOND UPDATE, per Politico:

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said today that phone records obtained by the National Security Agency “thwarted” a domestic terrorism plot “in the last few years.” His committee is working to declassify information on the plot, he said.

“Within the last few years, this program was used to stop a terrorist attack in the United States,” Rogers said. “We know that. It’s important. It fills in a little seam that we have, and it’s used to make sure that there’s not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States.”

He added: “In that regard, it is a very valuable thing. It is legal.”

THIRD UPDATE

Drudge has updated his front:

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