Thursday, March 22, 2012

Attorney General Holder Enlarges Citizen Data Collection



The New York Times is reporting that  Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, a terrorism threat clearinghouse. 

The guidelines will lengthen to five years from the current 6 months the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans with no suspicion of being tied to terrorism. 

The center is making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat.  

They claim the new rules have grew out of reviews launched after the failure to connect the dots about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber,” before his Dec. 25, 2009, attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner. 

Sarkozy to Crack Down on People who Follow "Extremist" Websites

Reuters is reporting:
"Sarkozy called Merah's killings terrorist attacks and announced a crackdown on people following extremist websites."


"From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished," he said in a statement. "France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil."
http://goo.gl/z2BFW

BRICS bank next step to dollar independence



BRICS bank next step to dollar independence

Published: 20 March, 2012, 18:49
From left to right: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a BRICS leaders meeting in Cannes. (RIA Novosti / Dmitry Astakhov)
From left to right: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a BRICS leaders meeting in Cannes. (RIA Novosti / Dmitry Astakhov)
The ‘club’ of emerging economies known as the BRICS are strengthening their union. The countries are mulling over setting up a single development bank to promote joint investment initiatives, as well as their domestic currencies.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are set to discuss the idea at the coming BRICS meeting in New Delhi on March 29, Financial Times says.
This is mainly to get a louder say in international arena for the “great reserves,” Ivan Tchakarov, chief economist for Russia and CIS countries at Renaissance Capital, told Business RT. “All of these  economies, in particular China, Russia and Brazil and less so India are the countries that are not only growing at a significantly faster pace than the developed economies, but they also have a lot of reserves,” he said.

You Are the Greatest Story Ever Told


You Are the Greatest Story Ever Told

Photo by Rebecca Pollard 
I have great news.

You are the star of the most poignant film ever conceived. An unprecedented epic saga, it is filmed in one continuous shot, from the first-person perspective. The sets are rich with detail, the lighting always underlines the mood perfectly, the cinematography always magnificent yet unpretentious.

The supporting cast is top notch, too. There are no histrionics, no miscast actors, no flubbed lines. They all deliver the dialogue impeccably, each line timed and inflected perfectly for its respective scene. The protagonists’ friends and lovers will make you laugh out loud, swoon with desire, and feel a sense of belonging and respect. The villains make you feel afraid, furious, depressed, and alienated.

Often the people in the story will look right at the camera, and reveal the stunning depth and density of their character to you.  Why are they even in this story, and why in this particular chapter? What role are they here to play: the advisor, the fool, the expert, the disciple, the love interest, the diplomat, the instigator, the enemy, the martyr?

Why were they cast at all? Will they give our protagonist some much-needed perspective, or will they only create dilemmas to be overcome? If they do create trouble for the hero, what will she need to learn about herself or about humanity in order to get past it?  Some of the characters are only on screen just to flesh out the backdrop of civilization that makes all human stories so compelling and absurd. Whatever the reason, they are there and they have a purpose.

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