Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Last Call For Jersey Bob

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey officially got the hammer dropped on him this afternoon by the feds.

New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges in connection with an ongoing investigation into his business dealings with a Florida doctor, according to a district court clerk familiar with the case. 
Menendez, a Democrat, has held office since 2006. Specific charges in the grand jury indictment weren't immediately available and Menendez's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 
Previously, both Menendez and the doctor, Florida optometrist Salomon Melgen, have denied wrongdoing. It wasn't clear if Melgen was also charged in the indictment. Representatives for the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI declined comment.

The expected indictment of Menendez follows a months-long investigation into his relationship with Melgen. The senator has admitted he accepted free private plane trips from Melgen, including a 2008 trip to the luxury resort of Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Menendez claimed to have later repaid almost $70,000 for his trips on the doctor’s jet.

Doesn't look good for him at this point, although it's a bit harder to shame a US Senator into resignation rather than a mere Representative (Hey, David Vitter's still going strong, right?)

We'll see what happens, but with Gov Chris Christie itching to pull the ol' "Appoint a Republican then wait as long as possible to hold a special election" trick again and a GOP controlled Senate, I'm betting there's not going to be a deep well of support for keeping Menendez in office on the part of Republicans with a federal indictment hanging over his head, especially an indictment from a Democratic administration.

I expect things will happen quickly.

But We Would Never Do That

In a press conference yesterday, Indiana GOP Gov. Mike Pence blamed the media and Obamacare for the backlash against the state's new religious freedom law, vowing that Hoosiers would never discriminate openly like that.

Gov. Mike Pence pledged Tuesday to "fix" Indiana's controversial religious freedom law to clarify that it does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. 
But he insisted the problem isn't the law itself but how it's being perceived, saying a fix is needed only because of "frankly, the smear that's been leveled against this law."
And he said the fix won't involve statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers. 
The first-term Republican governor sought to tamp down the backlash Indiana has faced since he signed the law -- which its in-state supporters had claimed would allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers -- last week. He said he's asking state lawmakers to send him a followup measure before this week's end to ensure that's not the case. 
"It would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone," Pence said in a press conference in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

See, we don't need to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination they'll never face in Indiana, right?

A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The O'Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O'Connor of Memories Pizza.
She and her family are standing firm in their beliefs.

The O'Connor's have owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton for 9 years.

It's a small-town business, with small-town ideals.

“We are a Christian establishment,” says O'Connor. 
The O'Connor family prides themselves in owning a business that reflects their religious beliefs. 
“We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything,” says O'Connor.

Refusing to cater a gay wedding because the people getting married are gay isn't discrimination at all, see.  Memories Pizza says it would never refuse service to a gay customer, just refuse to cater a gay wedding.  So the new law doesn't allow discrimination.  Case closed!

Good job, Indiana!

National (Job) Security Agency

In a post-Dudebro Defector world, nobody wants to work for the NSA anymore because ILLEGAL SPYING.

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency would love to have working for it. The 22-year-old is a fourth-year concurrent bachelor's-master's student at Johns Hopkins University with a bright future in cybersecurity. 
And growing up in Annapolis, Md., not far from the NSA's headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called "signals intelligence" from U.S. adversaries. 
"When I was a senior in high school I thought I would end up working for a defense contractor or the NSA itself," Swann says. Then, in 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a treasure-trove of top-secret documents. They showed that the agency's programs to collect intelligence were far more sweeping than Americans realized. 
After Snowden's revelations, Swann's thinking changed. The NSA's tactics, which include retaining data from American citizens, raise too many questions in his mind: "I can't see myself working there," he says, "partially because of these moral reasons."

Partially, huh.  And what's the rest of the reason?

Ever since the Snowden leaks, cybersecurity has been hot in Silicon Valley. In part that's because the industry no longer trusts the government as much as it once did. Companies want to develop their own security, and they're willing to pay top dollar to get the same people the NSA is trying to recruit. 
Students like Swann. Last summer Microsoft paid him $7,000 a month to work as an intern. The company even rented him a car
"It was actually really nice," Swann says. "It was a Subaru Legacy."


Well then.

Yeah, I mean if Microsoft is going to offer you six figures and a Subaru to be a student intern in InfoSec, it's not like the NSA is going to be able to compete with that.  Kinda nice then that the whole morals thing isn't quite as important as that Silicon Valley paycheck so you can afford that place in San Francisco down the line.

Conveniently neat how that works out in the absolution department considering how big companies want their white hats to figure out how to use all that customer information as best they can.  You know, totally unlike the NSA.

Once again, if your major goal was long-term, lasting, amybe even generational damage to the US intelligence community and to the NSA in particular, you could not have done a better job than what Dudebro Defector did.


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