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Current Topic: Current Events

Rush Limbaugh's forced conscripts
Topic: Current Events 9:23 am EDT, May 26, 2004

] "The government ought to make a greater effort to give a
] fair and balanced representation of political viewpoints
] on its airwaves to soldiers, sailors and airmen around
] the world listening," says Tom Athans, executive director
] of Democracy Radio, a nonprofit group in Washington that
] promotes political diversity on the airwaves. "It's
] important for the U.S. military, when using tax dollars,
] to not provide just one political perspective without
] giving consideration to opposing points of view."
] After the Florida recount in 2000, when overseas military
] ballots were an important element in Bush's narrow
] victory, the influence of what amounts to propaganda
] beamed daily to U.S. troops must be considered a domestic
] political factor of no small consequence. "There's no
] question when one-side programming like American Forces
] Network is presented to troops, it's going to impact
] their voting behavior," says Athans.

I thought it was bad enough letting Fox and Clear Channel buy up as many stations as they could afford. From this article it clearly sounds like those heading up the Armed Forces Networks are taking sides and forcing their views on the troops and their families.

Gee, wasn't there a movie made about this?

Rush Limbaugh's forced conscripts

Former Senator Max Cleland Interview: 'The President ought to be ashamed'
Topic: Current Events 8:41 am EST, Nov 21, 2003

Salon interviews former Georgia Senator Max Cleland about troubles the 9/11 Commission (which he is still a member of) is having in obtaining documents from not just the White House.

] Let me walk you through this thing here. First of all,
] we're not talking about a prescription drug plan under
] Medicare here. We're talking about the most serious
] assault on the homeland of the United States since the
] British invaded during the war of 1812. This is the deal.
] The joint inquiry made up of Democrats and Republican
] members of Congress, they issued a report [this summer],
] but they couldn't get at the PDB's. They kicked the can
] down the street so that the 9/11 commission could get at
] the full story. That's the reason for this independent
] commission, with the time and energy and staff to get at
] all of this. Had the Joint Intelligence Committee been
] able to do its job, there wouldn't have even been a 9/11
] commission.
] We're coming down to the final [months] of the commission
] and we're still messing around with access issues. This
] is a key item. I don't think any independent commission
] can let an agency or the White House dictate to it how
] many commissioners see what. So this "deal," we shouldn't
] be dealing. If somebody wants to deal, we issue
] subpoenas. That's the deal. That was the deal with the
] FAA, that was the deal with Norad.
] And the reason is principle. Clinton has agreed to
] cooperate with the commission and is eager to come before
] it. So why doesn't this White House, which was on the
] bridge when the ship got attacked, why doesn't this White
] House want to know everything that happened on their
] watch so that it can't happen again? Why they want to
] play games with this commission, to make deals, I don't
] know. It's information control. It's not transparency.
] I don't know if they're hiding something. But the public
] will never know and the 9/11 commission will never know
] because under the current deal, a minority of
] commissioners will see a small number of documents and
] then brief the White House on what they're going to tell
] the other commissioners. Wait a minute! That doesn't make
] any sense at all.

Former Senator Max Cleland Interview: 'The President ought to be ashamed'

'I thought the whole country was a free speech zone.'
Topic: Current Events 8:52 am EDT, Oct 16, 2003

] "He pointed out a relatively remote baseball diamond that
] was enclosed in a chain-link fence," Neel recalled in an
] interview with Salon. "I could see these people behind
] the fence, with their faces up against it, and their
] hands on the wire." (The ACLU posted photos of the
] demonstrators and supporters at that event on its Web
] site.) "It looked more like a concentration camp than a
] free speech area to me, so I said, 'I'm not going in
] there. I thought the whole country was a free speech
] area.'" The detective asked Neel, 66, to go to the area
] six or eight times, and when he politely refused, he
] handcuffed and arrested the retired steelworker on a
] charge of disorderly conduct. When Neel's sister argued
] against his arrest, she was cuffed and hauled off as
] well. The two spent the president's visit in a firehouse
] that was serving as Secret Service and police
] headquarters for the event.
] It appears that the Neels' experience is not unique. Late
] last month, on Sept. 23, the American Civil Liberties
] Union filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Philadelphia
] against the Secret Service, alleging that the agency, a
] unit of the new Homeland Security Department charged with
] protecting the president, vice president and other key
] government officials, instituted a policy in the months
] even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of instructing
] local police to cordon off protesters from the president
] and Vice President Dick Cheney. Plaintiffs include the
] National Organization for Women, ACORN, USA Action and
] United for Justice, and groups and individuals who have
] been penned up during presidential visits, or arrested
] for refusing to go into a "free speech area," in places
] ranging from California to New Mexico, Missouri,
] Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina and elsewhere in
] Pennsylvania.

'I thought the whole country was a free speech zone.'

Entertainer Bob Hope Dies at 100
Topic: Current Events 9:03 am EDT, Jul 28, 2003

Hope died late Sunday of pneumonia at his home in Toluca Lake, with his family at his bedside, longtime publicist Ward Grant said Monday.

It is a sad day, indeed, though expected due to his age.

Entertainer Bob Hope Dies at 100

The end of civilization
Topic: Current Events 11:15 pm EDT, Apr 16, 2003

On April 10, a day after Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed and Baghdad was in the hands of U.S. military forces, the National Museum of Iraq was ransacked. In a matter of hours, thousands of Iraqis, some thought to be working for art dealers, clambered into the museum that had been closed to the public for years. After two days of looting, almost all of the museum's 170,000 artifacts were either stolen or damaged. Ancient vases were smashed. Statues were beheaded. In the museum's collection were items from Ur and Uruk, the first city-states, settled around 4000 B.C., including art, jewelry and clay tablets containing cuneiform, considered to be the first examples of writing. The museum also housed giant alabaster and limestone carvings taken from palaces of ancient kings.


Coalition forces are trying to restore civil order in Baghdad, a city of 4.5 million, and the looting has almost ended. However, the pandemonium and destruction that occurred have cost the Bush administration credibility and trust in Iraq and across the Arab world. Silliman, who's now a law professor at Duke University and executive director of the Center for Law, Ethics and National Security, says the coalition forces may have violated the Fourth Geneva Convention, which calls for an occupying force to protect cultural property. Even if the coalition forces didn't intentionally breach the Geneva Conventions, he says, "the effect [of the looting] will be more in world opinion, than in legal sanctions."

It's amazing that we had troops stationed at the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad to protect it. There's no oil in that building, it's purely administrative.

Here we have literally thousands of years of culture being systematically disassembled and sold to the highest bidder while Rumsfeld chuckles and makes statements to the effect that boys will be boys.


The end of civilization Technology | Despite SARS genetic code, experts puzzled
Topic: Current Events 12:52 am EDT, Apr 15, 2003

] The newly revealed genetic code of the suspected SARS
] virus still doesn't explain how it arose or how to stop
] the spread of the deadly flu-like illness, federal
] officials said Monday. Technology | Despite SARS genetic code, experts puzzled

'Please step to the side, sir'
Topic: Current Events 9:06 am EDT, Apr 10, 2003

This article gives some insight into the flaws of the National No-Fly List associated with CAPPS and CAPPS II. Along with the horror stories of existing problems, there are examples of why the new plan for CAPPS II is even worse than the current one.

"Remember, this isn't just about privacy, it's also about accountability," Tien says. "It's not just Orwell -- it's Kafka."

A bigger problem with CAPPS II, though, is that it may not work very well at finding terrorists. In May 2002, Samidh Chakrabarti and Aaron Strauss, two graduate students in computer science (and a few other disciplines) at MIT, decided to see if they could come up with an algorithm that terrorists might use to beat a profiling system like the current version of CAPPS. After studying everything that is publicly known about CAPPS, the pair determined that anyone with the will and not very many resources could easily get around the system. They concluded that airlines would be safer if, instead of profiling, they instead selected a portion of fliers at random and subjected them to more thorough searches for weapons. (Chakrabarti and Strauss wrote up their findings in a term paper for a class, but it was picked up by First Monday, a peer-reviewed academic journal on the Web.)

'Please step to the side, sir' Life | Bushes against Bush
Topic: Current Events 12:33 pm EST, Mar 31, 2003

Yet another anti-Bush rally that I wish I could have attended.

The protesters would disrobe, form the Chinese symbol for peace, and a photographer would climb up into a cherry picker and take their picture from above. I wasn't really sure how nudity was going to help the peace movement, but I'd never gotten naked in front of more than two people at a time, and the idea of doing it for something I believed in seemed like a great idea. Life | Bushes against Bush

Daniel Ellsberg arrested at antiwar protest
Topic: Current Events 10:36 pm EST, Mar 26, 2003

Those arrested included Nobel laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement and Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, as well as Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Detroit archdiocese; Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church in the Chicago area; Dave Robinson, national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace movement, and Ellsberg.

Ellsberg is best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers, a top secret Defense Department study on the Vietnam War that he considered proof that American officials were lying about chances for victory. He said he hoped that his willingness to get arrested might encourage someone in the federal government to release more information about the war with Iraq.

I'd love to read about a demonstration with all of the recently resigned cabinet and upper administration members attending. I doubt that it would be enough for Bush to consider it more than a "focus group," though.

Daniel Ellsberg arrested at antiwar protest

Middle-school 'mafia boss' arrested on felony charges
Topic: Current Events 7:02 am EST, Mar 26, 2003

So there's this 14 year old, "The Boss", and all he wanted to to do was figure out "how he could make money, fast." The plan? "The Boss envisioned making as much as $100,000 by assigning various 'jobs' to his friends, then taking a 25 percent cut for himself. The Boss, according to one of the lists he compiled, envisioned his "family" making money in prostitution, weapons sales, money laundering, recruiting hit men - even candy sales." Well, atleast they new their market with the candy sales. So the story gets better. Another student "arrested on the misdemeanor charge was nicknamed 'The Hacker' because he was supposed to alter grades in the school's computer system." Now, I won't ruin the plot or climax for you but I'm thinking this should be a TV show or movie called Youngfellows.

Middle-school 'mafia boss' arrested on felony charges

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