Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Federal government could balance the books earlier than thought, experts suggest

OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s fall economic update Tuesday is expected to show the federal government on track to balance the books by 2015-16, but some believe the federal government’s improved finances mean the Conservatives can eliminate the deficit a year earlier.

Recent financial data have shown the federal government’s deficit-elimination projections are ahead of schedule, leading many analysts to wonder whether the red ink — estimated in the budget at $18.7 billion for the current fiscal year — could be wiped out in the 2014-15 budget year.

Why the Conservatives are in no rush to end the deficit early

When Jim Flaherty delivers his fiscal update in Edmonton Tuesday, we can expect him to make the usual reference to not being “out of the woods” yet.

We have been stuck in these deep, dark woods for years but the Conservatives say they can see daylight. The years of post-recession deficits are coming to an end and the budget will be balanced by 2015.

Nothing will say Canada is finally out of the woods like a budget surplus. It will be the Conservative Party’s main pitch to voters at the next election — proof, they will say, that they remain safe hands on the economic tiller, unlike their unschooled and untested rivals.

Tax cuts on horizon as Flaherty expected to unveil surplus figures

The Conservative government’s fall economic update will set the stage for some big-ticket tax cuts ahead of the 2015 federal election.

The updated numbers that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unveil Tuesday in Edmonton are expected to show a surplus for 2015-16 that is significantly larger than earlier estimates. Mr. Flaherty has hinted that the number won’t be “tiny” and Treasury Board President Tony Clement said over the weekend that the update will show a “comfortable” surplus that year.

Is This the Best Humanity Can Do for the Philippines?

Now that a storm, perhaps the most powerful in recorded history, has struck the Philippines, with winds gusting to 170 mph, a storm surge exceeding 20 feet, and an estimated 10,000 people dead; now that bodies are piling up in such quantities that local officials are digging mass graves; now that desperate survivors are telling reporters things like "Help us, help us, we are very thirsty," and "There were people—babies, children, old people—lying out on the street, with blisters over their bodies … hundreds of them;" now the world is rushing to send help.

Twitter Isn't Spreading Democracy—Democracy Is Spreading Twitter

Last month I wrote about Chinese Internet censors, who seem less concerned about eliminating criticism of the government, and more concerned with preventing grassroots collective action. What the Communist Party most fears is organized protests and activities, even when they’re not political in nature.

In America, the right to assembly is guaranteed, so there’s no censoring of tweeted incitements to mass action, political or otherwise. But thanks to Edward Snowden, we now see how far the government goes to spy on our digital communications in the name of national security. Arguably, what the U.S. government fears most is threats to its citizens’ physical safety.

Internship regulations need 'a more co-ordinated effort'

When Vancouver's Fairmount Waterfront Hotel advertised last month for an intern to bus tables, labour groups and media commentators questioned if unpaid internships are exploitative.

As the number of internships available in Canada rises, it's critical to look at how governments protect youth in the transition from school to work, says Andrew Langille, a Toronto lawyer specializing in youth and workplace law.

Moving Beyond Our Obsession with Stephen Harper

Remember Brian Mulroney, the PM so many people loved to hate?  We need to remember him so we can learn a lesson from that period in our political history: there is a real danger in demonizing prime ministers to the exclusion of other longer term political objectives. Mulroney's unctuous manner, his arrogance and his shameless toadying to the U.S. and to corporate CEOs made some people crazed with anger at the man.

In the end, however, the corporate interests that Mulroney served so loyally could hardly have asked for a better outcome. Progressives, in particular, were so bent out of shape about the man that they forgot that once he was gone (they all go eventually) there would be someone else whose job it was to serve the same corporate interests. Those progressives actually forgot two things:

Harper Moves to Give Up More Canadian Sovereignty

The word ICSID sounds like a sneeze.

It stands for "International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes" which is part of the World Bank. ICSID was created in the 1960s to allow foreign companies to sue countries, especially in the developing world. It is relevant to Canada since the Harper government recently committed Canada to ratify the ICSID Convention.

Off with their heads

IT WAS clear what Canada's Conservative government was up to when its leader in the Senate moved on October 17th to suspend three former Conservative senators for “gross negligence”. The scandal, which involved fiddling of expenses, had been embarrassing the government for close to a year. For one thing, the three senators had been hand-picked by Stephen Harper, the prime minister (pictured). Then, Mr Harper's chief of staff had become embroiled and was forced to quit. Getting rid of the senators before the party convention at the end of October became a priority. This would draw a line under the affair and show core supporters that the prime minister still stood for accountability and transparency.

Rob Ford Booed At Remembrance Day Ceremony

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was booed by at least one person at a Remembrance Day ceremony in the city Monday morning.

Ford's speech at the Old City Hall cenotaph was his first public address since admitting to smoking crack cocaine last week.

While the mayor received some applause before his remarks, Globe and Mail reporter Jill Mahoney reported a boo erupted as he took the stage wearing the official chain of office.

Canadian Housing Bubble? 9 Signs We're In For A Major Correction

Maybe Canada doesn’t have a housing bubble.

Maybe this time, it really is different. Maybe life expectancies have grown, and with them, people’s willingness to take on more debt. That would mean house prices could stay up higher than history would suggest.

Maybe interest rates aren’t going back up. If there is no inflationary pressure, either in Canada or in the U.S., there isn’t much reason for central banks to push interest rates back up.

GOP Food Stamp Cuts Would Kick 170,000 Vets Out of the Program

Republicans will salute America's veterans Monday, while simultaneously trying to deny them benefits. In addition to reducing housing aid, and denying health care to vets, the GOP is also trying to remove thousands of vets from the food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

At least 900,000 veterans rely on SNAP. The House Republican version of the farm bill, the five-year piece of legislation that funds nutrition and agriculture provisions, would slash funding for the food stamps program by nearly $40 billion and boot 2.8 million people off the program next year. That includes 170,000 veterans, who would be removed through a provision in the bill that would eliminate food stamps eligibility for non-elderly jobless adults who can't find work or an opening in a job training program.

Yes, Typhoon Haiyan Was Caused by Climate Change

It seems these days that whenever Mother Nature wants to send an urgent message to humankind, it sends it via the Philippines. This year the messenger was Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda.

For the second year in a row, the world’s strongest typhoon barreled through the Philippines, Yolanda following on the footsteps steps of Pablo, a k a Bopha, in 2012. And for the third year in a row, a destructive storm deviated from the usual path taken by typhoons, striking communities that had not learned to live with these fearsome weather events because they were seldom hit by them in the past. Sendong in December 2011 and Bopha last year sliced Mindanao horizontally, while Yolanda drove through the Visayas, also in a horizontal direction.

Twice Betrayed, Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma Face Discrimination at the VA

According to Ruth Moore, she was 18, just months out of Navy boot camp when an officer raped her, twice. Although Moore reported the crimes to a chaplain, her attacker was never prosecuted. After a suicide attempt and a stay in a psychiatric facility, Moore was repeatedly denied disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, because the VA said she could not prove the rape.

The VA discriminates against thousands of military sexual trauma (MST) survivors like Moore each year, alleges a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Women’s Action Network and the Veterans Legal Service Clinic at Yale Law School. In trying to obtain compensation for the impact of sexual trauma on their mental health, survivors face bureaucratic hurdles and long delays. Ultimately, a disproportionate number of their claims are rejected.

Buyout packages allegedly silence Albertans struck with industry-related cancer

Locals living close to oil and gas projects in what is known as Alberta’s Industrial Heartland are not surprised that a recent study found that chemicals in the air cause blood-related cancers.

“There’s many people that have been diagnosed with cancer. Many of them have left. Some of them have died,” said Anne Brown, who lives in the Riverside Park subdivision, near Fort Saskatchewan, one of four counties part of the Industrial Heartland.

Sequestration Victims Have 2 Big Demands

WASHINGTON -- With negotiations intensifying to craft a federal budget deal by mid-December, opponents of spending cuts known as sequestration are making a two-pronged push.

They want relief from those cuts, which have already reduced government spending by $85 billion as part of roughly $1 trillion in chopping over the decade. And they want every affected government agency to be spared the pain -- not just select few.

Food Stamp Cut Wipes Out Some Americans' Social Security Increases

WASHINGTON -- A food stamp cut that took effect this month will negate cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits for some retirees and disabled Americans.

The Social Security Administration announced in October that starting next year, all 57 million Social Security beneficiaries will get a 1.5 percent boost in their benefits to protect them from rising prices. For some households that receive both Social Security and food stamp benefits, the Social Security boost will be smaller than a food stamp cut that took effect last week.

Wall Street’s nightmare: President Elizabeth Warren

NEW YORK — There are three words that strike terror in the hearts of Wall Street bankers and corporate executives across the land: President Elizabeth Warren.

The anxiety over Warren grew Monday after a magazine report suggested the bank-bashing Democratic senator from Massachusetts could mount a presidential bid in 2016 and would not necessarily defer to Hillary Clinton — who is viewed as far more business-friendly — for the party’s nomination.

The Last Word on Stop-and-Frisk?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

St. Peter is greeting new arrivals at the gates of Heaven. In the background, God is raging, barking orders, behaving irrationally. “Don’t pay any attention to Him,” St. Peter says. “He just thinks he’s a federal judge.”

The federal judiciary is one of the glories of our government. The judges, who are appointed by the President and serve for life, enjoy great independence and generally serve with distinction and honor. By the standards of the legal profession, they are paid poorly (less than two hundred thousand dollars a year), but they enjoy considerable prestige. In the light of this, perhaps understandably, there is an institutional weakness for arrogance, pomposity, and petulance in the federal judiciary. Exhibit A is the behavior of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the recent stop-and-frisk case.

'Growing up' behaviour too often labelled antisocial, says police chief

A senior police officer has warned that too many young people are being criminalised for behaviour that a generation ago would simply have been regarded as "growing up".

Jacqui Cheer, the chief constable of Cleveland, and the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on children and youth, said society was becoming "quite intolerant" of young people in public spaces, and the public and police were too ready to label "what looks like growing up to me as antisocial behaviour".

David Cameron makes leaner state a permanent goal

The government is to forge a "leaner, more efficient state" on a permanent basis, David Cameron has said as he signalled he had no intention of resuming spending once the structural deficit has been eliminated, a clear change to claims made after the last general election .

In a change of tack from saying in 2010 that he was imposing cuts out of necessity, rather than from "some ideological zeal", the prime minister told the Lord Mayor's banquet that the government has shown in the last three years that better services can be delivered with lower spending.

“What Crime Did I Commit Showing Up With My Flag?”

TORONTO, ON – Social media lit up with outrage this afternoon with video of an Onkwehon:we War Veteran, Davyn Calfchild, being arrested at a public Toronto Remembrance Day Ceremony. The video showed Davyn refusing to put away two traditional flags – the Hiawatha and the Unity Flag – and refusing to leave the public ceremony at the request of Toronto Police.

Davyn, who served in the Former Yugoslavia from 1992 – 1997, repeatedly tells the officer that he is a War Veteran and is defiant and adamant about his right to be at the ceremony. As the officer continues to make the ask to put away the flags and or leave – Davyn responds, “This is supposed to be for us – so fuck off!” The officer then moves to arrest and remove both Davyn and two friends with him – one of whom was videotaping the incident.

The Plot Against France

On Friday Standard & Poor’s, the bond-rating agency, downgraded France. The move made headlines, with many reports suggesting that France is in crisis. But markets yawned: French borrowing costs, which are near historic lows, barely budged.
So what’s going on here? The answer is that S.& P.’s action needs to be seen in the context of the broader politics of fiscal austerity. And I do mean politics, not economics. For the plot against France — I’m being a bit tongue in cheek here, but there really are a lot of people trying to bad-mouth the place — is one clear demonstration that in Europe, as in America, fiscal scolds don’t really care about deficits. Instead, they’re using debt fears to advance an ideological agenda. And France, which refuses to play along, has become the target of incessant negative propaganda.

How Republicans Rig the Game

As the nation recovers from the Republican shutdown of government, the question Americans should be asking is not "Why did the GOP do that to us?" but "Why were they even relevant in the first place?" So dramatically have the demographic and electoral tides in this country turned against the Republican Party that, in a representative democracy worthy of the designation, the Grand Old Party should be watching from the sidelines and licking its wounds. Not only did Barack Obama win a second term in an electoral landslide in 2012, but he is also just the fourth president in a century to have won two elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote. What's more, the party controls 55 seats in the Senate, and Democratic candidates for the House received well over a million more votes than their Republican counterparts in the election last year. And yet, John Boehner still wields the gavel in the House and Republican resistance remains a defining force in the Senate, frustrating Obama's ambitious agenda.

Williamsburg Shooting Leaves 4 Dead; NYPD Says Man Killed 3 Bandmates, Himself

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City police say a former member of a band fatally shot three of his bandmates and wounded a fourth in a Brooklyn row house before killing himself.

Police say it's not clear why the man opened fire early Monday at the three-story building in Williamsburg.

Police say the shooter had been kicked out of the band, but they aren't sure if that motivated the shooting.

The victims were found on the second and third floors. The shooter was discovered on the roof.

Police say the dead men are believed to be Iranian nationals living in the U.S.

Another bandmate was wounded on the arm and has been hospitalized in stable condition.

Police say officers didn't fire their weapons, and reports of sniper fire on them are incorrect.

Original Article
Author: --

North Korea 'Publicly Executed 80 People,' South Korean Paper Reports

North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday.

The conservative JoongAng Ilbo cited a single, unidentified source, but at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumours that lent credibility to the front-page report.

The source, said to be "familiar" with the North's internal affairs and recently returned from the country, said the executions were carried out in seven cities on November 3.

Organization That Seizes Properties Of Ordinary Iranians Key To Ayatollah Khamenei's Power

Nov 11 (Reuters) - The 82-year-old Iranian woman keeps the documents that upended her life in an old suitcase near her bed. She removes them carefully and peers at the tiny Persian script.

There's the court order authorizing the takeover of her children's three Tehran apartments in a multi-story building the family had owned for years. There's the letter announcing the sale of one of the units. And there's the notice demanding she pay rent on her own apartment on the top floor.

Pari Vahdat-e-Hagh ultimately lost her property. It was taken by an organization that is controlled by the most powerful man in Iran: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. She now lives alone in a cramped, three-room apartment in Europe, thousands of miles from Tehran.

Iran-U.N. Nuclear Deal To Allow Greater Monitoring Of Country's Sites

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran and the United States on Monday blamed each other for the failure to reach agreement on a deal to limit Iran's uranium enrichment in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions.

In spite of the accusations, there was some diplomatic progress as Iran promised to offer more information and expanded access to U.N. nuclear inspectors — including more openings at a planned reactor and uranium site.

The Untold Story of War: U.S. Veterans Face Staggering Epidemic of Unemployment, Trauma & Suicide

Today marks Veterans Day, the federal holiday honoring U.S. men and women who have fought in the armed forces. Veterans continue to face extremely high levels of unemployment, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and homelessness. Since 2000, nearly 6,000 servicemembers have experienced traumatic amputations from injuries caused by improvised explosive devices and other war-related dangers. Nearly one million active servicemembers have been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder since 2000; nearly half of those have been diagnosed with two or more. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Last year, more U.S. military personnel died by their own hands than the hands of others. On any given night, nearly 63,000 veterans are homeless. Many suffer chronic debilitating mental health problems. We are joined by longtime writer and photographer Ann Jones, author of the new book, "They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story."

Author: --

The Revolutionaries in Our Midst

NEW YORK—Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.

On Friday the 28-year-old activist will appear for sentencing in the Southern District Court of New York in Manhattan. After having made a plea agreement, he faces the possibility of a 10-year sentence for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor, which does work for the Homeland Security Department, the Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency and numerous corporations including Dow Chemical and Raytheon.

Veterans Day, 95 Years On

In a country that uses every possible occasion to celebrate its “warriors,” many have forgotten that today’s holiday originally marked a peace agreement. Veterans Day in the United States originally was called Armistice Day and commemorated the ceasefire which, at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, ended the First World War.

Up to that point, it had been the most destructive war in history,  with a total civilian and military death toll of roughly 20 million.  Millions more had been wounded, many of them missing arms, legs, eyes,  genitals; and because of an Allied naval blockade of the Central Powers,  millions more were near starvation: the average German civilian lost 20% of his or her body weight during the war.

Automatic Spending Cuts Would Bite More In 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just longstanding battles over taxes and curbing mandatory spending that are obstacles to a year-end pact on the budget. Another problem is a perception among some lawmakers that the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration haven't been as harsh as advertised.

Indeed, the first year of the automatic cuts didn't live up to the dire predictions from the Obama administration and others who warned of sweeping furloughs and big disruptions of government services.

Soaring Farmland Prices A Crisis In The Making: Don Pittis

If you knew there was a very safe Canadian investment that skyrocketed by 20 per cent last year, you'd probably say that was a good thing.

But when the thing that's going up in value is farmland, Christie Young says it's a crisis in the making.

The latest survey by Farm Credit Canada shows the price of farmland in Quebec rose by a staggering 19.4 per cent last year. Nationally, Canadian farmland from coast to coast has risen by an average of 12 per cent a year since 2008. That's more than five times the rate of inflation.

Canada's failure to take care of our veterans is a national shame

Good men and women give their lives daily for their people.

While I believe that we can eventually figure out a way to live that doesn't involve armed conflict, it's a reality today.

Wars and conflicts take away these bright young souls, or scar them so deeply that the pain will be with them their entire lives.

It's a deep national shame then, when a government sends our daughters and sons into battle to protect a national interest (be it humanitarian or corporate) but discard these same soldiers when they return.

Hoist with their own petard, Harper Tories face veterans' Remembrance Day protest

No Canadian government in living memory, and probably no Canadian government in history, has worked as hard as the Harper Conservatives to politicize the military, Canadians' perceptions of the armed services and the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers and sailors.

So it must seem ironic to many Canadians that some armed forces veterans across Canada are planning this morning to turn their backs when local Conservative politicians lay wreaths at their community cenotaphs -- and that the Tory politicians who are the targets of this protest are suddenly so astonishingly sensitive about the politicization of Remembrance Day.

To Home Ownership and Back Again

The cellphone rang. I pulled off to the shoulder of the road. Coverage is spotty on the Okanagan Connector, but the message came through loud and clear. "They took the offer!!!" It was my wife Sheila on the phone, from the house we were renting in the Okanagan.

It was the happiest God damn moment of my life. Sure, the day my wife said "yes" was fantastic. And of course, so were the birth of my son and daughter several years later. This, however, was the opportunity to lay down roots.

I had spent so many years telling myself that I didn't earn enough money to be a homeowner, and that somehow -- in Vancouver at any rate -- I hadn't quite "made the grade."

Former Soldier Who Lost Part Of His Brain For Canada Says Sacrifice Being Demeaned

As he lay dying, his brain exposed by a piece of shrapnel the size of a bottle cap, Cpl. Bruce Moncur's thoughts drifted to Pleasure Beach.

It was Labour Day weekend at home in Canada, which seemed like a different planet than the Panjwai district of Afghanistan.

He guessed his family had finished the chili cook-off at their spot by the water in Essex, Ontario. Maybe they were playing horseshoes.

John Major 'shocked' at privately educated elite's hold on power

Sir John Major has expressed his shock at the way in which every sphere of modern public life is dominated by a private school-educated elite and well-heeled middle class. He also suggested interest rates should go back to "normal levels of 3% to 5 %" as one way of helping pensioners deal with the recent squeeze on earnings.

The former prime minister has been warning for months about the threat of so-called net curtain poverty, and claimed the government needed to do more to address the quiet poverty gripping the responsible middle class. He blamed the slowdown in social mobility on Labour policies, including the abolition of grammar schools.

Harper’s Supreme Court nomination leads to rare legal mess at top bench

OTTAWA — Last April 22, Justice Morris Fish announced he was resigning from the Supreme Court of Canada at the end of the spring session.

More than six months later, his eight colleagues on the country’s highest court convene this Tuesday to hear an important constitutional reference on one of the Conservative government’s legacy policies: Senate reform.

Ted Cruz, the Hungover Thespian Years

The Boston Globe dived into Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's time at Harvard Law School, and what they found was an amateur actor with a weakness for cheap liquor.

We all know Ted Cruz as the disruptive, combative, two-faced freshman Texas Senator. A Tea Party hero and the bane of the establishment's existence. Turns out, according to the Boston Globe's investigation into Cruz's time at Harvard Law School from 1992 to 1995, he hasn't changed much since his school days. Cruz frustrated his former classmates and professors at the left-leaning liberal educational institution just as much as he frustrates Democrats establishment Republicans today. But there was one particular story, involving a 1992 performance of  Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and way too much Everclear, that really steals the story.

Arizona Firefighters Charge Family Nearly $20,000 After Home Burns Down

An Arizona couple recently left homeless when their mobile home burned to the ground couldn't believe their eyes when they received a bill for nearly $20,000 from a private fire department.

"I couldn't believe it," Justin Purcell told The Huffington Post. "We lost our home, we just had a baby and now we're going through this. It's crazy. We don't know how we are going to come up with the money."

Justin and Kasia Purcell's home went up in flames on the night of Aug. 12. The Purcells, who were staying with relatives because they were preparing for the birth of a child, were not home at the time of the fire. A neighbor notified them of the blaze, and they made the 45-minute drive to their home in Surprise, a city in Maricopa County. They arrived just in time to see firefighters extinguish flames from what was left of their house. The home was a total loss, and the cause of the blaze is undetermined.

Sarah Palin Compares Federal Debt To Slavery

Speaking at a conservative fundraiser in Iowa on Saturday evening, former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin compared the United States' debt to slavery, claiming that younger Americans will be shackled by the country's spending.

The Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs reports that Palin, speaking at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's fall fundraiser, warned of the allure of "free stuff" offered by the government.

"This free stuff, so seductive. Why do you think marketers use free stuff to bring people in? Free stuff is such a strong marketing ploy," Palin said. "But didn't you all learn too in Econ 101 there ain't no such thing as a free lunch? Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China."

Who Gained From Twitter’s Underpriced I.P.O.?

Here is a list of companies that were worth less than Twitter’s twenty billion dollars, as of Friday afternoon: Macy’s, the department-store chain; Adidas, the sportswear firm; and International Paper, the paper giant.

Macy’s and International Paper brought in twenty-eight billion dollars in revenue in their most recent fiscal years, while Adidas took in twenty billion dollars. Twitter, the virtual corkboard for one-liners, brought in less than half a billion dollars last year. Those who felt the company was overpriced even at the initial price it proposed, which would have valued it at eleven billion dollars, should be forgiven for the misjudgment. (If this sounds self-serving—I was among the misjudgers—mea culpa.)

Guardian faces fresh criticism over Edward Snowden revelations

The Guardian faced fresh criticism from the government over its handling of leaks from former NSA analyst Edward Snowden as two cabinet ministers said its revelations had endangered national security.

William Hague, the foreign secretary, and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, endorsed comments made at the recent intelligence and security committee hearing at which Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, said Britain's enemies were "rubbing their hands with glee" over the disclosures.

John McCain: Keith Alexander Should Resign As NSA Head

Der Spiegel's translation of the interview said McCain was asked if he felt Alexander, head of the NSA, should resign. The senator's office noted that McCain was asked whether "they" -- Alexander, Obama and the Congressional Intelligence Committees -- should resign, not just Alexander.

McCain's office released the following statement on the comment:

"Senator McCain believes that there needs to be accountability for the Snowden leaks, but he is not calling for the resignation of General Alexander, who is retiring soon."

Kash Delano Register Free After Judge Overturns Decades-Old Murder Conviction

LOS ANGELES -- LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man who spent 34 years behind bars for a decades-old killing was freed from jail Friday after his conviction was overturned.

Kash Delano Register, 53, walked out of the Twin Towers downtown jail at about 4:30 p.m. and was greeted by family members and attorneys.

"I'm just in a numb feeling right now," Register told reporters. "You know, it just hasn't really set in yet. I know it's real, but it just hasn't truly set in yet. It's a beautiful feeling, though."