Patterico's Pontifications


It Now Takes “Courage” to Express Your Faith at a Graduation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Wonderful. And I mean that both sarcastically and sincerely. Sarcastically as a comment on our society — and sincerely as a comment on the valedictorian.

UPDATE: For non-clickers — and to get you to click:

A South Carolina valedictorian garnered wild applause after he ripped up his pre-approved speech and delivered the Lord’s prayer at his high school graduation on Saturday.

The act was apparently in protest of the Pickens County School District’s decision to no longer include prayer at graduation ceremonies, Christian News reported. Officials said the decision was made after the district was barraged with complaints by atheist groups.

But that didn’t stop Roy Costner IV of Liberty High School. He ripped up his graduation speech for all to see, before he started talking about his Christian upbringing, Christian News reported.

“Those that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today,” he said. “I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age.”

“And I think most of you will understand when I say…” he paused. “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”

The auditorium began to erupt with applause and cheers.


“Conversations With My Two Year Old”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:03 pm

These are very cute. It’s a shame they have disabled embedding, but following the links is worth it.

Episode One.

Episode Two.

Government Has Been Secretly Collecting Data from Internet Companies Too; UPDATE: And Credit Card Transactions!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:40 pm

New York Times:

The federal government has been secretly gathering information from the nation’s largest Internet companies going back nearly six years — including Google, Facebook and, most recently, Apple — according to documents that emerged on Thursday. A senior government official confirmed the program, but said it targeted only foreigners abroad.

While the data provided varies according to the online provider, it could include e-mail, chat services, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, video conferencing and logins — according to an apparently highly classified document describing the National Security Agency program called Prism.

The program is authorized under law and was recently reauthorized by Congress, said the senior official, who said it minimizes the collection and retention of information “incidentally acquired” about Americans and permanent residents. Several of the Internet companies issued statements strongly denying knowledge of or participation in the program.

“The law does not allow the targeting of any U.S. citizen or of any person located within the United States,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a highly classified program. “Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.”

But the disclosure of the documents by American and British newspapers came just hours after government officials acknowledged a separate seven-year effort to sweep up records of telephone calls inside the United States. Together, the unfolding disclosures opened an extraordinary window into the growth of government surveillance that began under the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has clearly been embraced and even expanded under the Obama administration.

The extraordinary revelations, in rapid succession, also suggested that someone with access to high-level intelligence secrets had decided to unveil them in the midst of furor over leak investigations. Both were reported by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, while The Washington Post, relying upon the same presentation, simultaneously reported the Internet company tapping. The Post said a disenchanted intelligence official provided it with the documents to expose government overreach.

Embraced “and even expanded.”

Didn’t Obama say he was going to be different from Bush when it came to surveillance?

I didn’t think that meant he was going to do even more intrusive collection of data.

UPDATE: Per the Wall Street Journal, they’re collecting information about credit card transactions too.

UPDATE x2: And every call in America.

You knew it couldn’t just be Verizon — but now it’s official.

L.A. Times: ObamaCare Spurring Hiring Blitz!! . . . of People to Explain the Law to Consumers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

They actually have an entire story devoted to this.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 7.14.35 AM

Here’s how the article starts:

The nation’s complicated healthcare overhaul is proving to be a surprising source of work: People are needed to explain the law’s provisions to consumers.

In addition to the expected demand for more nurses and doctors to treat millions of newly insured patients, the federal Affordable Care Act is feeding a cottage industry in call centers.

This is our current solution to unemployment: pass a law that is so complicated, you need to hire people to explain it.

So we have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs under Obama. How many jobs will this wonderful initiative to explain ObamaCare gain us?

The law, which represents the biggest expansion of health insurance in nearly half a century, has spawned a hiring blitz by the state, major health insurers and many community groups that have to decode a lot of insurance lingo in a short amount of time to an incredibly diverse population.

A hiring BLITZ, you say!

Before it rolls out its health insurance marketplace, called Covered California, the state is hiring hundreds of people at three call centers set to open this fall when enrollment begins Oct. 1.


Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 7.08.05 AM

Bonus: it’s government work, so we get to pay for this staggering new employment.

The story also says that nonprofit groups working with the state need 20,000 “enrollers” to explain options and penalties to people, and that the “enrollers” will get $58 for each “sign-up,” whatever that means. This sounds very transitory and not very helpful to the economy as a whole — but there I go, being a Gloomy Gus again.

If we can just pass a few hundred more impenetrable and freedom-crushing laws, we’ll need an army of explainers, and unemployment will disappear! Oh, except for all the layoffs that will be caused by the laws themselves. Kinda lost in the story about the “hiring blitz” is any mention of the crushing new burdens faced by businesses, and the inevitable spike in unemployment that everybody (except L.A. Times readers) knows will occur as a result. And by “kinda lost” I mean “not mentioned at all, anywhere in the story.”

Report: NSA Secretly Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Citizens Suspected of No Wrongdoing Whatsoever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 am

This sounds very responsible and not concerning at all: Obama’s NSA collected millions of phone records of people suspected of no wrongdoing:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

Many of you might know the Phil Hendrie show, where Hendrie interviews a guest (also secretly voiced by Hendrie) who espouses some ridiculous position or discusses some outrageous practice they supposedly engage in. Gullible listeners call in, enraged at the person — and the audience, being in the know, laughs at the suckers. As the hour goes on, the position or practice becomes more and more outrageous, until the end of the hour, when the absurdity grows and grows until it should be patently obvious it was all a joke.

Somehow it feels like this is all an hour of Phil Hendrie, who is manufacturing these scandals — each more outrageous than the last — as a test to see just how far Obama fans will go to defend their guy. By the end of the hour, we’ll be hearing that Obama conducted surveillance of all polling places in 2012, and secretly planned to have the military kill anyone who voted against him. David Plouffe will be along to talk about “overreach,” and Martin Bashir, responding to Republicans upset by Obama’s plan to have them murdered, will call them racists.

Allahpundit’s Twitter feed is a wonder this morning, and sums up my reactions better than I can. Here are a few choice ones:

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0586 secs.