Shorter Question Everything
• The drone story came out on the 4th of February, and I’ve been a little late, and a little leery, on speaking to it fully. Why? Because I’m questioning the timing of the release and what the fallout/meaning of that release means.
• Obama will allow lawmakers to see secret memo on targeted killings. Obama directed the Justice Department to hand over the document to the two intelligence committees “as part of the president’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters,” an administration official said. In written answers to the intelligence committee released by the panel Wednesday in advance of the hearing, Brennan hinted at concerns he has expressed before that the CIA has become too paramilitary in its focus and should not be in the killing business. Asked about the CIA’s expanded role in lethal operations, Brennan replied that the agency needs to maintain a paramilitary capability but said, “I would not be the director of a CIA that carries out missions that should be carried out by the U.S. military.” In the written answers, he suggested that the CIA’s focus on lethal operations has harmed its core mission of gathering intelligence. He also reiterated his assertion that he lodged private protests with CIA colleagues in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks over the agency’s embrace of brutal interrogation techniques, including “waterboarding.”
• Strange bedfellows: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. ‘Every member of Congress needs to get on board,’ Graham said. ‘It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.’”
• CNN Host Destroys Supporter Of Boy Scouts Discrimination For Equating Pedophilia With Being Gay. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien challenged the conservative opposition to keeping gays scouts and leaders out of the Boy Scouts on Wednesday morning, comparing the organization’s ban to past restrictions on African Americans and women.
• Fox anchor speculates about Hillary’s face-lift: “Is this the face of presidential ambition?” Steve Doocy asked in a segment on Fox & Friends this morning. “Days after retiring as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, somebody has launched a new website for her showing off this glamorous new face. Face-lift perhaps?” The line quickly drew criticism from many on the left, with cries of sexism. Doocy tried to do damage control after the segment, tweeting “I was saying the Hillary *WEBSITE* had a new pic, a facelift for site.” That’s a hard argument to buy. First of all, the website was brand new, created January 31st, last edited on Sunday. How can a website release a few days ago be getting the face-lift?
• Michigan Republicans Introduce Bill Mandating Transvaginal Ultrasound Before An Abortion. Michigan Republicans have introduced a bill requiring all women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, a move that rekindles last year’s firestorm when other GOP-led states were considering similar measures. The legislation introduced Tuesday in the state House ensures the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed” and requires her to sign a consent form prior to the abortion. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Joel Johnson (R) and cosponsored by 22 fellow lawmakers.
• The US government has spent $51billion on the Afghan security force–and nobody knows much at all about the force, including even its size. Worse, the Inspector General in charge of auditing taxpayers’ dollars used in Afghanistan thinks data available “could be a sham”.
• The chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee says that he introduced a bill to require all students to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” because the book “made my son a Republican.” State Sen. John Goedde (R) introduced the bill in committee on Tuesday to mandate that each student pass a test on the novel before they are able to graduate from high school, according to The Spokesman-Review.
• Canada’s immigration minister said Wednesday his government should consider stripping Canadians with dual citizenship who commit terrorist acts of their Canadian status. The remarks follow revelations that a Canadian with dual Lebanese citizenship is suspected of being involved in a bus attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year. A Conservative Canadian lawmaker has a bill before Parliament that would revoke citizenship from dual nationals if they engage in an act of war against the Canadian military. Kenney said could be amended to include acts of terrorism abroad.
• A trio of Canadians claimed Wednesday to have invented the world’s most energy-efficient bulb: a 12-watt LED light that shines as bright as a 100-watt incandescent one. Product developer Gimmy Chu told AFP the NanoLight design consists of a circuit board dotted with LED lights and folded into the shape of a bulb that plugs into a regular light fixture. [Cue right wing freak out in 3...2...1...]
In other news
• The Federal Reserve has confirmed that hackers penetrated the central bank’s security. The hackivist group Anonymous has claimed responsibility and has posted 4,000 bank executive credentials obtained from the hack.
• Two Russian fighter jets violated Japanese airspace on Thursday, as Tokyo scrambled jets to chase off the planes, the defence ministry said. The Russian planes were detected off the coast of northernmost Hokkaido island for just over a minute, shortly after Japan’s new prime minister said he wants to find a “mutually acceptable solution” to a decades-old territorial row with Russia and sign a long-delayed peace treaty with Moscow.