The former Tory MP, who announced he was quitting late Wednesday night to sit as an Independent, said staff in Harper’s office — who are “half my age” — pressure the caucus to obey their talking points and vote “like trained seals.”
(Does that mean that once in a while Harper would throw them a fish ……………….., or if they don’t behave he clubs them?)
Villagers in Bolivia’s southern highlands buried a man alive in the grave of the woman he is suspected of having raped and murdered, an official said Thursday.
Police had identified 17-year-old Santos Ramos as the possible culprit in the attack on 35-year-old Leandra Arias Janco Sunday in a Quechua community near the municipality of Colquechaca, said Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province where the community is located.
Enraged, more than 200 community members seized Ramos and buried him alive alongside his alleged victim Wednesday night, according to Barrios. He said residents on Thursday blocked the road to the community, preventing police and prosecutors from reaching it.
2013-06-07T131244Z_1_CBRE95610PF00_RTROPTP_2_CITI-ALWALEED-SPLITSaudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has sued Forbes magazine for libel in a British court, alleging its valuation of his wealth at $20 billion was short of the mark by $9.6 billion, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.
moorejackhadenJack Haden of Moore, Okla., survived last month’s EF5 tornado with his pregnant wife in a storm cellar, and emerged to find his 2003 Ford Mustang flung across the road into a tree, coated with debris. But instead of leaving it where it lay and adding to the insurance claim, Haden climbed inside — and found it still ran. Since then, his Mustang has become a bit of comic relief for a town that desperately needs it.
Former Manson Family member Leslie van Houten, who was 17 when she participated in the cult’s killing of Los Angeles grocers Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, has again been denied parole.
At her 20th parole hearing the former homecoming princess went into details about her involvement in the 1969 murders. She said she had felt left out when Manson’s followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others people the night before, and volunteered to go along for the La Bianca murders.
Van Houten’s attorney argued that, during her 44 years in prison, his client has totally reformed herself. None of Manson’s former followers have succeeded in their bids for parole. Manson himself wants to remain in prision, saying it is his home.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With every phone call they make and every Web excursion they take, people are leaving a digital trail of revealing data that can be tracked by profit-seeking companies and terrorist-hunting government officials.
The revelations that the National Security Agency is perusing millions of U.S. customer phone records at Verizon Communications and snooping on the digital communications stored by nine major Internet services illustrate how aggressively personal data is being collected and analyzed.
bb4a8a15f7590312340f6a70670024bbVerizon is handing over so-called metadata, excerpts from millions of U.S. customer records, to the NSA under an order issued by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian. The report was confirmed Thursday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Former NSA employee William Binney told the Associated Press that he estimates the agency collects records on 3 billion phone calls each day.

Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama described the work being done by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to unravel the plot as “hard stuff.”
But judging by the uproar sparked by Wednesday’s revelation that the White House had sought a secret order for Verizon to turn over phone records on its customers to the National Security Agency, determining where to draw the line between an individual’s privacy and homeland security could well prove to be the hardest of the hard stuff.
That line is subject to tectonic shifts influenced not only by events, but also by public attitudes, a changing legal framework and technological advances that have given investigators ever-more ability to peer into our private comings and goings, says Daniel Byman, a counterterrorism and security expert at the Brookings Institution.
Byman, who says he has no special knowledge of what the goal of acquiring the phone records would be, says it could nonetheless give the NSA and FBI “the raw data to map a network of terrorist activity.”
“With modern computing power, they have the ability to sift a large mountain of data to distill a significant bit of refined data,” he says. “What I can imagine happening is for millions of telephone numbers to be refined to, say, a few dozen. A cellphone number that’s attached to a suspected militant might lead to other suspects simply by virtue of who’s calling whom.”
Kent Greenfield, a professor of constitutional law at Boston College, believes that the government’s request, which falls under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, looks like a “very broad and aggressive interpretation” of that provision.
“I think it’s evidence of surveillance creep,” Greenfield says. “We are becoming more and more used to having our data surveilled for public and private activities. … It’s hard for any individual to know if their data is swept up in it.”
But in a post-9/11 era of nearly complete information-sharing via social media and electronic commerce, does the public care that the government knows who you talked to (but, apparently not what you said), especially if handing that information over might reduce the risk of a terrorist attack?
A look at two polls conducted by The Washington Post shows the Catch-22 faced by any president when it comes to balancing these concerns:
In January 2010, 63 percent of Americans surveyed believed that the Obama administration would “not go far enough” to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights, while just 27 percent thought the president would go too far. In a similar poll conducted by the Post on April 18, just days after the Boston bombings, barely 40 percent thought the president would not go far enough to investigate terrorism, while nearly half feared he would go too far.
“There’s a political element to this,” says Byman. “The civilian liberties community, mainly on the left, took the Bush administration to task over this sort of perceived overreach. But now the libertarian right, which was largely silent then, has joined in the criticism.”
Matthew Dallek, a historian and public policy scholar at the Wilson Center, agrees that it is difficult for the White House to strike the right balance.
“I think we have this vast intelligence bureaucracy and it’s on the firing line,” he says. “If those guys get it wrong, they’re going to get the blame.
“The president and everyone else in his sphere believe that protecting Americans is their greatest responsibility,” he says. “By comparison, civil liberties usually take a back seat.”
There’s also a disconnect between how the public perceives the government’s collection of potentially sensitive data and how we view a corporation doing the same thing.
“As we are speaking, I have Google up on my computer,” says Byman. “I have no doubt that Google knows more about my electronic activities than does the government. But there seems to be this greater acceptance of that than of the government having the same information. Interestingly, in Europe, it’s the opposite, they are less concerned there about the government and more concerned about corporations.”
Although the Internet has accelerated the ability of intelligence agencies such as the NSA to collect data on individuals at the same time that the threat of terrorism has changed attitudes about privacy, it’s not a new issue, Dallek says.
“In World War II, there was a lot of concern about so-called fifth columnists,” he says, referring to a term used to describe people who were believed to be secret fascist sympathizers intent on attacking the U.S. from within.
“It was not uncommon for ordinary Americans to write to their government and ask, for example, that a German-speaking neighbor be monitored for possible subversive activity,” he says. “The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover took that sort of thing very seriously.”