Update at 2:50 p.m. ET on June 16: We’re pulling the plug on this story, following Rep. Nadler’s comments that debunk CNET’s story. In a statement to our sister site, Nadler said: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.” We’ve left the amended article (post the previous update, below) in tact for transparency, but corrected the headline.
No, that is not a headline from 2010. That’s from yesterday.
Struggling with the bad publicity and loss of federal funds, ACORN dissolved in early 2010. Just to be sure, however, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) included this language in a government funding bill introduced on May 28 of this year: “None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors.”
Section 545 of a bill put forward the next day by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) delves still deeper into faux certainty, extending the funding ban to “any prior appropriations Act.”
In fact, ACORN has no subsidiaries, because it has not existed for three years. Neither bill defines “successors,” but the broad language of the original 2009 funding ban left little room for leeway, extending to “Any State chapter of ACORN registered with the Secretary of State’s office in that State,” “any organization that shares directors, employees, or independent contractors with ACORN,” and any organization that “employs” someone “indicted” for violations that ACORN was initially charged with.
“Is it too late to defund Saddam Hussein?” mocked Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).
After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida’s North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn’t answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders. Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal.
The last straw was when he scanned his butt and hit Reply All.
A recent poll finds that a segment of the electorate thinks that Benghazi! is the Worst Scandal Ever. Really? Okay. As Charlie Pierce finds, that’s not the best part.
One interesting thing about the voters who think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history is that 39% of them don’t actually know where it is. 10% think it’s in Egypt, 9% in Iran, 6% in Cuba, 5% in Syria, 4% in Iraq, and 1% each in North Korea and Liberia with 4% not willing to venture a guess.
I knew the Castro brothers had something to do with it.
A bomb exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon seconds after Berti finished the race. Two days later, he was in his home state of Texas when he saw a fertilizer plant explode near Waco.
“I was just like, ‘I can’t believe this!’” said Berti, who said he had never witnessed an explosion before. Then he thought: “I just want to get out of here and get away from all these explosions.”
But Berti, as it turns out, is far from unlucky. Instead, he feels fortunate. He left both tragedies unscathed, while members of his running group and his wife — who was closer to the Boston explosion than he was — were also unhurt.
“It’s a miracle,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday. “People keep saying, ‘Don’t you feel unlucky?’ and I was actually the opposite — saying not only do I not feel unlucky, but I feel blessed that my wife could be 10 yards from the explosion and not have a scratch.”
I’m glad he’s okay, but it sounds like there’s a cosmic target on his back.
We’ve already had a terrible week with the Boston bombing, the Senate caving in spectacular cravenness to the wingnut lobby, and now death and destruction in Texas from an explosion at a fertilizer plant. (I give that a couple of hours before there’s a conspiracy theory floated about that.)
After a tough day at the Vatican, there’s just one place to go to relax:
A day ahead of the papal conclave, faces at the scandal-struck Vatican were even redder than usual after it emerged that the Holy See had purchased a €23 million (£21 million) share of a Rome apartment block that houses Europe’s biggest gay sauna.
The senior Vatican figure sweating the most due to the unlikely proximity of the gay Europa Multiclub is probably Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples, who is due to participate in tomorrow’s election at the Sistine Chapel.
This 76-year-old “prince of the church” enjoys a 12-room apartment on the first-floor of the imposing palazzo, at 2 Via Carducci, just yards from the ground floor entrance to the steamy flesh pot. There are 18 other Vatican apartments in the block, many of which house priests.
The surprise isn’t that the Vatican owns a gay bathhouse; it’s that they haven’t franchised it yet.
Here is why we need to spend a massive amount of money on education reform in this country.
Alabama state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R) is pushing legislation that would impose restrictions on abortion clinics — a move that she argues is necessary because the procedure is a major surgery that removes the largest “organ” in a woman’s body.
“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin told the Montgomery Advertiser on Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.”
Congratulations, Ms. McClurkin; you’ve just proved that the biggest organ in your body is your mouth.
(Actually, the biggest organ in the human body is your skin. I learned that in Grade 6.)
Who says those people over at FreedomWorks, the corporate entity behind the astroturf Tea Party, are a bunch of stuffy old bores who harrumph all day about Kenyan Socialism? These folks know how to get down.
An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe’s management of the organization, his use of its resources, and a controversial book deal he signed, according to former FreedomWorks officials who have met with the private lawyers conducting the probe. One potential topic for the inquiry is a promotional video produced last year under the supervision of Adam Brandon, executive vice president of the group and a Kibbe loyalist. The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton. [Author's note: The previous sentence contains no typos.]
Action film star Steven Seagal, who racks up big body counts in his on-screen battles with bad guys, took on a new role on Saturday, training posse volunteers for controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in how to use guns to protect schools in shooting incidents.
Arpaio, who styles himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” enlisted Seagal to train his Maricopa County posse members at a school in Fountain Hills, a suburb northeast of Phoenix, with children used as stand-ins for scared students.
In other news, Joe Pesci will be lecturing at Yale Law School on courtroom procedure.
Anti-immigrant firebrand and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) says he will make good on a past bet he made to smoke marijuana if Colorado legalized it by referendum. Tancredo, who supported the marijuana reform proposal but said he did not partake in drugs himself, made a bet in a promotional film advocating its passage that he would nonetheless smoke pot if it ended up becoming law. Since it passed, he told Fox News he will uphold his end of the bargain:
“Look, I made a bet with the producer of the film that if Amendment 64 passed ( I did not think it would) that I would smoke pot,” he said through his research and education institute, the Rocky Mountain Foundation. “I will therefore smoke pot under circumstances we both agree are legal under Colorado law. Hey, it’s better than having to do a stupid dance as (Denver) Mayor (Michael) Hancock must perform as a result of losing a bet on the Broncos beating the Ravens.”