November 17th, 2010
In Interview With Barbara Walters, Palin Says She Is Seriously Considering Entering Race in 2012
By MARY BRUCE
Sarah Palin says she is seriously considering a run for the White House, and she believes she could beat President Obama in 2012, the former Alaska governor told ABC News' Barbara Walters.
"I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and ... trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing," Palin said in an interview scheduled to air in full Dec. 9 on ABC as part of Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People" of 2010.
Asked Walters: "If you ran for president, could you beat Barack Obama?"
"I believe so," Palin said.
Watch the full Sarah Palin interview Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. on "Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People"
Although Palin remains undecided about whether to run, the 2008 vice presidential nominee has now made clear in two interviews this week that she is seriously considering it.
In a profile to be published in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, Palin told reporter Robert Draper "I am," when asked if she was weighing a 2012 run. "I'm engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here."
Palin said her decision would involve "evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table," admitting the biggest challenge would be proving her record.
"I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn't have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record," the former Alaska governor told Draper. "That's the most frustrating thing for me -- the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades.
"It's been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven't faced these criticisms the way I have."
Palin also addressed criticisms that, by avoiding the media, she is partially responsible for the public's perception of her. "I'm on television nearly every single day with reporters. ... Now granted, that's mainly through my job at Fox News, and I'm very proud to be associated with them, but I'm not avoiding anything or anybody.
"I'm on Facebook and Twitter. I'm out there. I want to talk about my record, though."
The 2008 vice presidential nominee also recognized that, "yes, the organization would have to change. … I'd have to bring in more people -- more people who are trustworthy."
Draper's story, "The Palin Network," details the inner workings of the Palin political machine, which Draper described as a "guerrilla organization."
"The issue of trust informs Sarah Palin's every dealing with the world beyond Wasilla since her circular-firing-squad experience at the close of the 2008 presidential campaign," Draper wrote. "Her inner circle shuns the media and would speak to me only after Palin authorized it, a process that took months.
"They are content to labor in a world without hierarchy or even job descriptions -- 'None of us has titles,' [Palin's political adviser Andrew] Davis said -- and where the adhesive is a personal devotion to Palin rather than the furtherance of her political career."
Read more: Palin considering a run for President
November 17th, 2010
By TOM HAYS
The Washington Post
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 6:20 PM
NEW YORK -- The first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial was acquitted Wednesday of most charges he helped unleash death and destruction on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 - an opening salvo in al-Qaida's campaign to kill Americans.
A federal jury convicted Ahmed Ghailani of one count of conspiracy and acquitted him of all other counts, including murder and murder conspiracy, in the embassy bombings. The anonymous federal jury deliberated over seven days, with a juror writing a note to the judge saying she felt threatened by other jurors.
Prosecutors had branded Ghailani a cold-blooded terrorist. The defense portrayed him as a clueless errand boy, exploited by senior al-Qaida operatives and framed by evidence from contaminated crime scenes.
The trial at a lower Manhattan courthouse had been viewed as a possible test case for President Barack Obama administration's aim of putting other terror detainees - including self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - on trial on U.S. soil.
Ghailani's prosecution also demonstrated some of the constitutional challenges the government would face if that happens. On the eve of his trial last month, the judge barred the government from calling a key witness because the witness had been identified while Ghailani was being held at a secret CIA camp where harsh interrogation techniques were used.
After briefly considering an appeal of that ruling, prosecutors forged ahead with a case honed a decade ago in the prosecution of four other men charged in the same attacks in Tanzania and Kenya. All were convicted in the same courthouse and sentenced to life terms.
Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
The day before the bombings, Ghailani boarded a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for al-Qaida, authorities said.
He was captured in 2004 in Pakistan and held by the CIA at a secret overseas camp. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantanamo and held until the decision last year to bring him to New York.
Despite losing its key witness, the government was given broad latitude to reference al-Qaida and bin Laden. It did - again and again.
"This is Ahmed Ghailani. This is al-Qaida. This is a terrorist. This is a killer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Chernoff said in closing arguments.
The jury heard a former al-Qaida member who has cooperated with the government describe how bin Laden took the group in a more radical direction with a 1998 fatwa, or religious edict, against Americans.
Bin Laden accused the United States of killing innocent women and children in the Middle East and decided "we should do the same," L'Houssaine Kherchtou said on the witness stand.
A prosecutor read aloud the fatwa, which called on Muslims to rise up and "kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they can find it."
Other witnesses described how Ghailani bought gas tanks used in the truck bomb with cash supplied by the terror group, how the FBI found a blasting cap stashed in his room at a cell hideout and how he lied to family members about his escape, telling them he was going to Yemen to start a new life.
The defense never contested that Ghailani knew some of the plotters. But it claimed he was in the dark about their sinister intentions.
"Call him a fall guy. Call him a pawn," lawyer Peter Quijano said in his closing argument. "But don't call him guilty."
Quijano argued the investigation in Africa was too chaotic to produce reliable evidence. He said local authorities and the FBI "trampled all over" unsecured crime scenes during searches in Tanzania
November 17th, 2010
Monday's Facebook Messaging announcement wasn't quite what many had expected . It's not the latest step in some naively-imagined death-march of email. But it does have some interesting things to say to today's email developers, in enterprises and smaller businesses everywhere. Let's take a look, in The Long View ...
What can enterprise email developers and administrators learn from these new ideas? Essentially, Facebook announced a revamped messaging system that:
- replaces a subject-based list of email with a people-based list;
- unifies some media types, hinting at more to come;
- archives messages permanently.
These are interesting ideas, but nobody's suggesting that enterprises should replace their email systems with Facebook. In fact, each of the ideas would be disastrous for enterprise email. Wait... "disastrous?" Really, Richi?
Let's take the main points one at a time...
Replaces a subject-based list of messages with a people-based list.
Facebook would have us believe that the standard email paradigm of subject/recipients/text is broken. It proposes that the inbox is better organized as a list of conversations with people, not as a list of topics.
In the new Facebook Messaging, you'll see a list of people; when you click on a person, you'll see a list of all the messages you and that person have ever exchanged.
It's certainly possible that this idea would be useful for a social inbox, but it would be a disaster for business use. Enterprise users need to be able to follow the thread of a conversation, yet keep several conversations on different topics separate -- even if the conversations are with the same people.
It also looks like Facebook isn't providing control over the recipient list when replying to a thread. This, too, is bad for the enterprise -- it's important for users to be able to add and delete recipients and spawn side-conversations.
And anyone who's used enterprise email for a while will recognize the danger of being forced to reply-all! The resultant message storms can be enough to bring down all but the most hardened email servers.
Unifies some media and hints at more media types.
Facebook says it's unifying email, text messaging, and instant messaging with the existing Facebook messaging feature. In response to a question at the press conference, Mark Zuckerberg hinted we may see additional integration with telephony (e.g., Skype).
But, of course, enterprises already have unified messaging (UM) products that do this. They're interesting, but they haven't exactly set the world on fire.
In general, UM forces people to work in unnatural ways. It's a triumph of technology over utility -- just because we can do something, it doesn't mean we should.
It may be useful for Facebook to be able to help you choose the appropriate medium for your recipient in a social context. But it's much less important in business, where the tools are available for everyone to get email where and when they need it.
Archives messages permanently.
If you suggested to your corporate counsel that you were planning to archive every business message for all eternity, you'd quickly have your mind changed. It would open the enterprise to several kinds of legal risk.
Data retention policies vary by type of communication, business vertical, and geography, but "forever" is rarely an acceptable choice. The main problem is mitigating the cost of the discovery process in lawsuits.
The standard advice is, "If you don't need to keep it, delete it."
In summary, don't believe the hype.
Enterprise email still provides a useful service, even though some of its utility has been replaced with more specialized tools, such as Microsoft SharePoint. Businesses continue to see challenges when introducing young workers to a corporate communication culture, but that's not because email is, in some naively-imagined way, "dead."
More on Facebook from Conservative Refocus HERE...
November 17th, 2010
By ERIK SCHELZIG
The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 7:12 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Don't expect a Facebook friend request from Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer any time soon.
The 72-year-old justice said in a speech at Vanderbilt Law School on Tuesday that he was perplexed when he recently saw the film "The Social Network" about the origins of Facebook.
But Breyer said the film illustrates his argument that modern conditions - like the development of the social-networking site - should inform justices when interpreting a Constitution written in the 18th century.
"If I'm applying the First Amendment, I have to apply it to a world where there's an Internet, and there's Facebook, and there are movies like ... 'The Social Network,' which I couldn't even understand," he said.
Breyer said of the high court: "It's quite clear, we don't have a Facebook page."
Although Breyer was making a point about judicial philosophy, he also touched on the court's sometimes limited grasp of technological developments. For example, Chief Justice John Roberts in a public employee privacy case before the court earlier this year tried to figure out the role of a text-messaging service in enabling an exchange between two people.
"I thought, you know, you push a button; it goes right to the other thing," Roberts said. Responded Justice Antonin Scalia: "You mean it doesn't go right to the other thing?"
And in a recent case dealing with a California law regulating the sale or rental of violent video games to children, Justice Anthony Kennedy pressed a skeptical state lawyer on whether the v-chip blocking device, rather than a state law, could be used to keep children away from the games.
"V-chips won't work?" Kennedy asked, before the lawyer politely explained they are limited to television programming.
Breyer was in Nashville to speak to students, teach a class and promote his new book "Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View."
Breyer, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1994, said his views contrast with originalist members like Scalia, whose approach focuses on giving a fair reading to the words of the Constitution as they were meant when they were written.
Scalia and Breyer sparred over their philosophical differences in a joint appearance at the Texas Tech University Law School last week. Scalia, who was appointed in 1986 by Republican President Ronald Reagan, called the writing of the Constitution "providential."
Breyer said he disagrees with those who argue that originalism is "a good system because it will keep the subjective impulses of the judge under control."
"If you want to have history solve everything, let's get nine historians and not nine judges," Breyer said. "And you'll discover that the nine historians are fighting about the various points on which these cases turn anyway."
Associated Press writer Mark Sherman contributed to this report from Washington.
November 17th, 2010
The Huffington Post / 11/17/2010
WASHINGTON -- At a private meeting on Tuesday afternoon, George Soros, a longtime supporter of progressive causes, voiced blunt criticism of the Obama administration, going so far as to suggest that Democratic donors direct their support somewhere other than the president.
The Hungarian-American financier was speaking to a small side gathering of donors who had convened in Washington D.C. for the annual gathering of the Democracy Alliance -- a formal community of well-funded, progressive-minded individuals and activists.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of his remarks, Soros told those in attendance that he is "used to fighting losing battles but doesn't like to lose without fighting."
"We have just lost this election, we need to draw a line," he said, according to several Democratic sources. "And if this president can't do what we need, it is time to start looking somewhere else."
Michael Vachon, an adviser to Soros, did not dispute the comment, though he stressed that there was no transcript of a private gathering to check. Vachon also clarified that the longtime progressive giver was not referring to a primary challenge to the president.
"Mr. Soros fully supports the president as the leader of the Democratic Party," said Vachon. "He was not suggesting that we seek another candidate for 2012. His comments were made in a private, informal conversation that was about the need for progressives to be more forceful in promoting their agenda. He was stressing the importance of being heard by elected officials."
Dissatisfaction with the Obama administration was not limited to Soros's private gathering with donors. On Wednesday morning, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina received several tough questions during his address to the Democracy Alliance. According to a source in the room, he was pressed multiple times as to why the administration has declined to be more combative with Republicans, both in communication and legislative strategy. Another source in the room said the exchange was not entirely contentious as people were simply expressing frustration about the fact that "we just came out of an election where the right wing and the Republicans distorted what was going on."
Requests for comment from the White House were not returned, though a Democratic operative sympathetic to the administration said that Soros's dissatisfaction with the White House was "hardly news." Sources who relayed that and other exchanges insisted on anonymity, citing the strict rules against talking to the press that come with being part of the gathering.
The tone nevertheless was said to be notably different this year than in past years. In 2008, representatives for Obama were received relatively warmly when they pitched the need to shepherd funds to the presidential campaign. Other progressive institutions were left -- somewhat bitterly -- looking for scraps. But, by and large, the donor base felt their investment had been wise, with Democrats regaining control of the White House and padding their majorities in Congress.
This year, following a drubbing in the 2010 elections and some stalling on major legislative items, the dynamics were notably different. As one attendee put it: "It was a sober atmosphere... people are looking for answers but they are not unwilling to do the work."
While Soros's comment gave some attendees the impression that he'd cheer a primary challenge to the president, the point, sources say, was different. Rather, it is time to shuffle funds into a progressive infrastructure that will take on the tasks that the president can't or won't take on.
"People are determined to help build a progressive infrastructure and make sure it is there not just in the months ahead but one that will last in the long term," said Anna Burger, the retired treasury secretary of SEIU. "Instead of being pushed over by this election it has empowered people to stand up in a bigger way."
"There was frustration," said one Democratic operative who attended the meetings. The main concern was about messaging. I think they are frustrated that the president isn't being more direct. But I did not get the sense that anyone's commitment to the progressive movement was wavering... The general consensus is that support has to move beyond being about one person and more about a movement. I don't know if we've moved beyond there."
One of those "movement" ventures is an outside-government arm to match conservatives in the 2012 elections. For several weeks, discussions have been led by Media Matters for America founder David Brock about the need to create a group that will run advertisements, conduct opposition research and perform rapid response functions. Those talks continued this past week, though disputes have begun to emerge about the most effective role for such a group. As one activist who is involved with the Democracy Alliance noted:
"There are a handful of funders committed to the idea of taking on corporate interests in politics... I think the [Supreme Court's] Citizens United decision [allowing unlimited corporate donations in campaigns] intellectually caused a shift to want to deal with corporate money. The election results split the partners in the Democracy Alliance, not down the middle, between those who say let's fight back and those who say we have to change the rules."