Finally, a little pushback on NSA spying. Obama with brilliant choice to head Olympic delegation. And the year in photos is fabulous

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If it seems like the National Security Association has been doing whatever the hell it damn pleases since 9/11 without any pushback, well, they have.

But maybe, just maybe, there’s finally been a line drawn in the sand. On Monday a federal judge declared the NSA’s phone call data-mining system unconstitutional.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

Amen. Unfortunately, Leon’s ruling only applied to the case in front of him, but let’s hope it’s a precedent. It amazes me how many American citizens seem to be fine with the NSA doing whatever it wants “in the name of preventing terror.”

It is wrong, wrong, wrong to run roughshod over our civil liberties like the NSA does, and I have a feeling that thanks to Edward Snowden we’re going to be learning about even more heinous activities in the months and years to come.

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**Next up, haven’t linked to one of these in a while, but this is fantastic. The Big Picture, the photojournalism site of the Boston Globe, has put out their best photos of 2013, and there are so many amazing ones here.

Two of my favorites are at the top of this post and above (the little boy among the big boys made me laugh out loud).

Peep the whole gallery here.

**Finally today, I got a real good smile Tuesday night out of this story. We all know how incredibly anti-gay Vladimir Putin has made Russia in recent years, and a major story in the upcoming Winter Olympics will be that nation’s intolerance, and how gay athletes are treated in Sochi.

So with this such a hot button issue, who did Barack Obama appoint to lead the U.S. Delegation at the Olympics? Billie Jean King, legendary tennis player, and Caitlin Cahow, a female hockey player.

Both proudly, openly gay.

No idea if Obama was intentionally poking dictator Putin with this, but you’d have to think so, right?

A great honor for both women; thrilled to see BJK on a world stage like this, where she richly belongs.

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