The College-Loan Scandal: Matt Taibbi on the Ripping Off of Young America – Rolling Stone

The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education – saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy

Source: The College-Loan Scandal: Matt Taibbi on the Ripping Off of Young America – Rolling Stone

 

Could a college or university pledge to not raise tuition for 10 years and achieve that goal? What would it need to do and would any be willing to try?

Let’s Give Every NSA Employee an Anonymous Whistleblowing Opportunity – The Atlantic

A reform that would protect classified information even as it helped tip off Congress and the public to surveillance abuses

Source: Let’s Give Every NSA Employee an Anonymous Whistleblowing Opportunity – The Atlantic

 

This is an interesting idea. I think the general concept of an anonymous, multiple-choice-only quiz could also be used in a corporate environment to deal with other sensitive issues (e.g. waste, compensation, ethics vs. legality).

F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was meant to improve the U.S. air arsenal, but has made it more vulnerable instead

Sprey, the fighter engineer, said he expects the Pentagon to eventually come to terms with the unpleasant truth, that its new universal jet fighter with the foolhardy vertical-takeoff capability could spell the end of an epochal half-century in which America truly dominated the world’s skies. “My prediction is the F-35 will be such an embarrassment it will be cancelled before 500 are built,” he said.

Source: F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane

The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency – The Atlantic

His tone on Friday was inappropriately dismissive, while the substance was misleading at best and mendacious at worst.

By observing Obama’s condescension, I don’t mean to suggest tone was the most objectionable part of the speech. The disinformation should bother the American people most. The weasel words. The impossible-to-believe protestations. The factually inaccurate assertions.

Obama has always had it within his power to initiate a fully informed debate. The state secrets that he guards, rightly or wrongly, are the biggest obstacle to a fully informed debate. Love the leaks or hate them, they’ve indisputably made Americans, including some members of Congress, much better informed than they were before about NSA surveillance, not less informed. And as any student of the civil-rights era ought to know, debate need not be “orderly” to be salutary.

The official secrecy surrounding the NSA has already corroded U.S. democracy in real ways.

Source: The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency – The Atlantic

Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies | Glenn Greenwald | Opinion | The Guardian

Glenn Greenwald: Edward Snowden: ‘Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren’t fighting for our interests the same way’

Source: Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies | Glenn Greenwald | Opinion | The Guardian

 

I think it is interesting that some people are starting to take action (e.g. closing their businesses) in reaction to this, scare tactics or not. I also think it is somewhat concerning that the government did not just lean on the big firms, but has also started leaning on the little guys. Leaning on the big corporations is unsurprising to me because the government’s “reward” for succeeding is very high, with millions of records captured, and the risk is very low since the companies don’t have much choice but to comply if they lose legal appeals because their shareholders wouldn’t let them simply close up shop.

The politics of this certainly come across from both sides. However, I have a hard time damning them for doing what has worked in the recent past (slogans, tag lines, blowing things out of proportion, etc.) when a convincing case could be made that their position will *definitely* lose if they don’t politi-fight this way. This is annoying, but I really see no way around it.