Political Animal

Blog

June 16, 2013 10:02 AM Fathers’ Day hodge-podge

By Samuel Knight

*The AP published a lengthy report on NSA surveillance based on interviews with anonymous officials. It’s not clear to what extent reporters were being fed talking points (as a few sentences before the kicker notes, “it’s spycraft, after all”), but it does seem to confirm the warning that the disclosures thus far represent just the “tip of the iceberg.”

…while Prism has attracted the recent attention, the program actually is a relatively small part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort.
Americans who disapprove of the government reading their emails have more to worry about from a different and larger NSA effort that snatches data as it passes through the fiber optic cables that make up the Internet’s backbone. That program, which has been known for years, copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.

*While it is commonly believed that houses themselves constitute collateral for mortgages, the Washington Post detailed how this isn’t true when homeowners are underwater. After homeowners with negative equity are foreclosed on, banks can still take them to court for outstanding debts.

It’s all part of a legal process known as a “deficiency judgment,” which is allowed in the District and 40 of 50 states, including Maryland and Virginia. Since the start of the mortgage meltdown of 2008, at least 400 Maryland homeowners have been pursued in court, according to a Washington Post analysis of state court data. In the first four months of this year, 57 new court actions have been filed against homeowners — on pace to exceed last year’s total of 120.

*If you’re in the DC area and looking for something unique to do on Fathers’ Day (happy Fathers’ Day, dads!) consider a trip to Dulles airport. Seriously. You’ll be able to see a solar powered plane there this afternoon, as the aircraft takes a day off to go on public display amid a cross-country journey. Via the AP:

The plane, considered the world’s most advanced sun-powered aircraft, is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its enormous wings and charge its batteries during the day. The single-seat Solar Impulse flies around 40 mph and can’t go through clouds; weighing about as much as a car, the aircraft also took longer than a car to complete the journey from Ohio to the East Coast.

*From the Iraq is Still a Mess Desk: a series of bombings and shootings killed 30 people and wounded “scores” across the country today.

The attacks also came a day after the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq defiantly rejected an order from the terror network’s central command to stop claiming control over the organization’s Syria affiliate, according to a message purportedly from him. Comments from the Qaeda leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, showed his group’s determination to link its fight against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad with the cause of rebels trying to topple the Iran-backed Syrian regime.

No word on whether or not this affects President Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.

Comments

(You may use HTML tags for style)

comments powered by Disqus