The Surveillance State, Tsarnaevs Under Siege & Drone Dollars‏: Apr. 29. 2015

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Tsarnaev Family Besieged by Media, Angry Bostonians
by Lara Turner
Tensions are running high with members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family now in the Boston area for the sentencing phase of his trial. Their hotel was besieged with cancellations and complaints—and bombing victims expressed outrage that the defense paid for the trip out of their taxpayer-funded budget. But this one is not a simple matter of wasteful spending, and the family is worth a closer look.

WHO

Americans Bomb Pew Test of Basic Political Knowledge
While their leaders use drones to bomb US citizens and “suspected militants” abroad, Americans bombed a test of their knowledge about the people they elected to fund all that bombing. You can take the Pew test here.

A Top Fundraiser for Obama Turns From Wall Street to Drones
Robert Wolf, a former executive with often-penalized banking giant UBS, has leveraged his cozy, cash-laden relationship with President Drones ’R Us into an “exciting” new business helping all sorts of other businesses adopt and use drones. Most importantly, his insider knowledge is a valuable asset for those who need help navigating governmental regulations on the way to filling the skies with flying robots. Ka-ching!

Dead Broke Libya Hires Million-Dollar American Lobbyist
Just about everyone in Libya is a big loser after America used NATO to topple Gaddafi. By one estimate some 50,000 Libyans died. The country is embroiled in civil war. ISIS rushed into the failing nation. And Libyans are dying in the Mediterranean Sea as they flee the hunger, death and chaos caused by yet-another American engineered regime change. So, what to do? Hire heavy-hitting DC lobbying firm Qorvis, of course! Hey, at least someone is “winning” something.

Jeb Bush Has The Cash, But Not The GOP Support
The Next Bush In Line is lining up piles of cash. But endorsements? Not so much. Notable number-cruncher Nate Silver takes a deep dive into the shallow support for Jeb’s candidacy. Although he is losing the “invisible primary,” it is still too early to count him out. Alas.

WHAT

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Pending Congressional Surveillance Bills
Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act is set to expire on the 1st of June. But Congress isn’t going to let the broad authority that provision gives the NSA just fade away. So, Ars Technica breaks down the three bills currently in play and details exactly how each would end, supposedly curtail or simply expand the Surveillance State.

WHY

Brewers Tasked with Turning Sewage into Suds
You’ve heard of the “water cycle,” right? Well, some craft brewers in Portland are working hard to generate something similar—with beer and the stuff that happens after you drink it. In this time of notable droughts and fears of water scarcity, the “toilet-to-tap” cycle might be more and more acceptable and necessary. As one water recycling advocate said, “We all live downstream from someone.” Ain’t that the truth!

Drug Testing, Now Without the Chimp
There are a lot of dystopian scenarios associated with genetic engineering and cloning… but this isn’t one of them. The ability to generate cells in the lab is rendering useless the experimental use of chimpanzees. The case in point here is “LiverChip”—a mock-up of a human liver that gives better results than a chimp’s liver. Finally, scientists have a non-sentient test subject that mirrors human cells and frees chimps from their torturous prisons. Win-win.

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