We’re pleased to introduce PICKS — stories selected by our editors because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They will appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. And we invite you to recommend articles, videos, podcasts, etc. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dalai Lama Weighs in on Ecosystem (Russ)
The pope, a rabbi, an imam and the Dalai Lama were in a rowboat together. Noticing that the water was getting higher, the Dalai Lama said…. But, folks, climate change is unfortunately no joke. Here’s the Tibetan spiritual leader’s video statement on the subject.
NYPD Stays Mum About Super-X-Ray Vans on Streets of Gotham (Gerry)
New York City police commissioner William Bratton won’t reveal anything about them unless compelled by a judge: “It falls into the range of security and counter-terrorism activity that we engage in.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a lawsuit brought by a ProPublica journalist. “People should be informed if military-grade X-ray vans are damaging their health with radiation or peering inside their homes or cars,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
Each Z Backscatter Van reportedly costs between $729,000 and $825,00.
Australia’s New Anti-Terrorism Database Could Use Facebook Photos (Klaus)
Australia is developing a new system that would allow facial biometric matching and the database could include photos mined from social media sites.
Reid Calls on House GOP to Reimburse Taxpayers for Benghazi Probe (Klaus)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on House Republicans to reimburse the American taxpayers for the funds they wasted on their Benghazi committee. The Nevada Democrat suggested in a letter to the Republican National Committee that this is only fair because the “so-called committee is clearly a Republican political organization.”
James Bond is Back, and He’s Pro-Snowden (Trevin)
According to The Guardian, the new Bond takes “a stoutly pro-Snowden line against the creepy voyeur surveillance that undermines the rights of a free individual.”
What did Bond-creator Ian Fleming really think about leaks and eavesdropping? Here are some CIA files on Fleming’s connection with Allen Dulles — including a Redbook magazine dialogue where they interview each other about these topics and more, including female spies, JFK and the Official Secrets Act.
Broad Subpoena Authority Allows Gov’t to Access Health Records (Klaus)
Administrative subpoenas, which do not require judicial approval, are used each year to access the medical records of thousands of Americans. These subpoenas allow the Department of Justice to circumvent safeguards put in place by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Trump Buddy Icahn Promises to Give Super PAC $150 Million (Klaus)
Billionaire Carl Icahn, a supporter of Donald Trump, has pledged to put up $150 million to fund a super PAC that aims hold Congress accountable for not preventing the “exodus” of companies from the US.
Terrifying Trump Masks a Halloween Hit in Mexico (Trevin)