Can the Dems Keep the Senate?

Leo, the NYT computer model for Senate races, currently gives Dems a 56% chance of keeping their majority.

Leo really doesn’t like Scott Brown.  He [It?] gives Brown only a 3% chance of beating Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.

As the election season draaaags on, it will be interesting to compare Josh Katz and his Leo with Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight.

Roger Ailes = Steve Jobs?

“The way I would think about Roger Ailes is that he is the Steve Jobs of television and politics. Steve Jobs came around and created Apple at a time when many other people were experimenting with personal computers and when Apple really found its success with the first iPod around the beginning of the last decade there were many other mp3 players in the marketplace. But Steve Jobs came along and because of his deep understanding of how people relate to technology, he was able to make this package work and it became this irresistible product.

“So, Ailes in his own way, although he’s a very different man than Steve Jobs politically and philosophically, he did the same thing with conservative media. He wasn’t the first. There had been these ideas percolating on the right for decades. But he came along and unlocked the secret because Ailes has this intrinsic understanding of how to talk to people and how to move people within the network to do his bidding. It took a charismatic personality like Ailes to unlock the secret in the same way Steve Jobs with Apple unlocked the secret of personal technology. Sometimes being the real visionary and the pioneer is not about being first. It’s about seeing what other people can’t see.”

Gabriel Sherman, author of The Loudest Voice in the Room, a biography of Fox News’ Roger Ailes, in an interview with Tom Kludt at Talking Points Memo.  The entire interview is well worth a read.

Quote of the Day

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight.  He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.  It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger over-sight of the runaway intelligence community.”

NYT Editorial, “Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”

I think our Founding Fathers would sign off on this.

Snowden Stuck

Edward Snowden is still at the airport in Moscow and doesn’t seem about to leave any time soon.

Ecuador says their decision on granting him asylum could take two months, which is how long it took them to decide on Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who lives at the Ecuador Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador says they could protect Snowden sooner if he got to their embassy in Moscow, but Russia won’t let him leave the transit area of the airport because he doesn’t have a visa to enter Russia.

Meanwhile, the U. S. is still trying to convince the Russians to turn Snowden over.

Hong Kong to Obama — Go F*** Yourself

From Hong Kong’s statement on Edward Snowden’s departure:

“Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the Hong Kong Government requested additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request met relevant legal conditions.

“As the Hong Kong Government did not yet have sufficient information to process the request, there was no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

“At the same time, it has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. It will follow up on the matter, to protect the legal rights of people of Hong Kong.”

Snowden Flees Hong Kong, in Moscow

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, having been charged with espionage by the U. S., has left Hong Kong for Moscow with the help of WikiLeaks.  Moscow apparently is a stopover on the way to his next destination.  Some reports say he is going to Ecuador, others say Venezuela via Cuba, while Iceland is also still in the mix.

He faces 30 years in prison (and perhaps more, if counts are added to the existing indictment) if he is extradicted back to the U. S.  He does not face the death penalty.

Perhaps we could offer Putin championship rings from the NBA, NHL, and MLB in exchange for Snowden.

Ecuador has confirmed a request for asylum.

Know Your Surveillance Programs

The NSA has four data collection programs.  Two collect “metadata,” and they are MAINWAY for phones and MARINA for the Internet.  The other two collect content, and they are NUCLEON for phone calls and PRISM for the Internet.

For more, see “U.S. surveillance architecture includes collection of revealing Internet, phone metadata,” Barton Gellman, WaPo