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December 30th, 2012


06:22 pm - Warrantless wiretapping, now extended for your overhearing pleasure.
I've not been posting a lot lately - especially since the Republicans seem to be convinced they are the better decisionmakers. They have a pronounced "let us think for you, you idiot."

The Dems aren't a lot better. F'instance: I am a bit unhappy about Obama's support to extend warrantless wiretapping. It seems we are - overall - moving more and more toward being "parented" by our government.  I certainly don't agree government knows what's right or best - I mean, there's a reason J. Edgar wasn't canonized. Yeah?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Senate Approves Warrantless Electronic Spy Powers
BY DAVID KRAVETS12.28.1211:15 AM

The Senate on Friday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the President George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Monday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

The House approved the measure in September. President Barack Obama, who said the spy powers were a national security priority, is expected to quickly sign the package before the law Congress codified in 2008 expires in the coming days. Over the past two days, the Senate debated and voted down a handful of amendments in what was seen as largely political theater to get Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to lift a procedural hold on the FISA Amendments Act legislation that barred lawmakers from voting on the package.

In the end, the identical package the House passed 301-118 swept through the Senate on a 73-23 vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union immediately blasted the vote.

“The Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, once considered a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment, has become institutionalized for another five years,” said Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel.

Amendments senators refused to enact included extending the measure for just three years, another one requiring the government to account for how many times Americans’ communications have been intercepted, and one by Wyden prohibiting U.S. spy agencies from reviewing the communications of Americans ensnared in the program.

“The amendment I fought to include would have helped bring the constitutional principles of security and liberty back into balance and intend to work with my colleagues to see that the liberties of individual Americans are maintained,” Wyden said immediately after the vote.

The legislation does not require the government to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court’s rulings are not public.

The government has also interpreted the law to mean that as long as the real target is al-Qaeda, the government can wiretap purely domestic e-mails and phone calls without getting a warrant from a judge. That’s according to David Kris, a former top anti-terrorism attorney at the Justice Department.

In short, Kris said the FISA Amendments Act gives the government nearly carte blanche spying powers.

Kris, who headed the Justice Department’s National Security Division between 2009 and 2011, writes in the revised 2012 edition of National Security Investigations and Prosecutions:
For example, an authorization targeting ‘al Qaeda’ — which is a non-U.S. person located abroad—could allow the government to wiretap any telephone that it believes will yield information from or about al Qaeda, either because the telephone is registered to a person whom the government believes is affiliated with al Qaeda, or because the government believes that the person communicates with others who are affiliated with al Qaeda, regardless of the location of the telephone.

The National Security Agency told lawmakers that it would be a violation of Americans’ privacy to disclose how the measure is being used in practice.

After Obama signs the legislation Friday, the spy powers won’t expire until December 31, 2017.

The law is the subject of a Supreme Court challenge. The Obama administration argues that the American Civil Liberties Union and a host of other groups suing don’t have the legal standing to even bring a challenge.

A federal judge agreed, ruling the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the warrantless eavesdropping.

The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality. The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Without ruling on the merits of the case, the appeals court agreed with the plaintiffs last year that they have ample reason to fear the surveillance program, and thus have legal standing to pursue their claim.

The case, argued last month, is pending an opinion from the Supreme Court.

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Tags:

(Speak up!)

October 3rd, 2011


09:29 am - A public service message
The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This new system will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.

This page also contains links to any current NTAS Alerts and archived copies of expired alerts.
Current Mood: exanimateyer terroralerts need recoding

(Speak up!)

October 19th, 2008


08:41 am - Visually Inclined
I found this Pew Report to be of some interest.
Plus, I really like charts and graphs - like this one.



(2 opinions | Speak up!)

October 17th, 2008


04:32 pm
On my erranding today, I was listening to KQED - there was a forum with eight voters from New Mexico commenting on last night's debate. The Republican leaning voters said time and again that McCain presented a clear and concise plan to reduce the deficit and pull the nation out of economic turmoil, while Obama offered no such information. The Democratic leaning voters indicated that Obama was all about giving solid examples of a fiscal plan in the debate, what brought us to this point (bipartisan blame, not just Bush-bashing), while McCain seemed fuzzy on the details, danced around the questions, and pointed inane fingers at past Dem policy and Obama participation.

I tend to agree more with the Dem leaning voters regarding the outcome of the debate, however seems to me:
-- McCain must not employ ANY economists in his campaign team. He seemed to contradict his stated economic goals numerous times - well, either that or he really has no idea how the economy works in the real world. For instance: instituting an immediate spending freeze while crafting a robust economic rebound and reinstatement to the values in the housing market ? Um, how would that work, Senator?

-- Obama appeared to be a little more in touch, but seemed to hedge - saying he would want to go line by line through the budget. I admire the not making of empty promises, but I'd like a little more meat.

Is it only me, or does anyone else find a mild resemblance in this debate (and overall, judging the candidates on charisma more than substance) to the Nixon / Kennedy debates?



Also, I think extremely important facets of a president-to-be's makeup is one part personal ideology, one part willingness not to spin their decisions, and perhaps two parts comportment. In my understanding, the Presidency is not a position handled primarily via teleconference. One should be able to provide courteous facial expressions even during conversations where one feels their partner is full of it.

(Speak up!)

July 22nd, 2007


07:46 am - Ahead of the curve

Some may remember the 'oh-mi-god!' rantings of a couple years ago when politi_pet the nutcase was warning of the slippery slope America appeared to be climbing with such enthusiasm.

Hm. Turns out maybe those concerns were not so nutty after all.
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable

(2 opinions | Speak up!)

February 4th, 2007


12:11 am - happy cheers

((many thanking you's for the birthday greets and friendages))

I am very fortunate!


double fire-horsing takes a lot of energy!
Current Mood: thankfulthankful

(Speak up!)

February 3rd, 2007


11:04 pm - ...would you care to be a little clearer?

''Science is nothing without precision. You mislabel a larynx as a pharynx, call a nematode a trematode, and your career is done.

Political language, on the other hand, is a triumph of misrepresentation. A failure becomes a success when some little crumb of your plan has worked; winning a battle allows claims of victory even as the war slips away.''



Truth really is in the linguistics, I suppose.
Too bad we don't understand what people are really saying with this language thing.


Click the quote above for a story from the BBC on greenhouse emissions

Current Mood: crankycranky

(Speak up!)

January 27th, 2007


02:57 am - What happened to cooperation and consultation?

First, I thought declaring war required Congress' full consent and declarations wax seals and suchlike.... or am I thinking of a democracy....?

President Bush, on a collision course with Congress over Iraq, said Friday "I'm the decision-maker" about sending more troops to the war. He challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his plan. [more]



Second, are we picking more fights?
Seems our CIC has a bug up his butt....

U.S. troops allowed to kill Iranians plotting attacks in Iraq


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to capture or kill Iranian agents in Iraq who are plotting attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, a U.S. national security official said Friday.

The policy, approved by President Bush in the last couple of months, is aimed at Iranian agents planning attacks with Iraqi militiamen, the official said. Bush told reporters on Friday that he had no problem with the policy, if it protects U.S. soldiers.

(Watch Iraq's foreign minister on whether his government was consulted Video) [more]


Current Mood: curiouscurious

(10 opinions | Speak up!)

June 18th, 2006


04:13 pm - Check out the book. It has paper and words and weird things like that.
Since I'm sick, I have time to read.
A book lies beyond, with the publisher's blurb following.


State of war : the secret history of the CIA and the Bush administration
by James Risen

With relentless media coverage, it is hard to believe that we still might not know some of the most significant facts about the presidency of George W. Bush.

Yet beneath the surface events of the Bush presidency lies a secret history that involves domestic spying, abuses of power, and outrageous operations. It includes a CIA that became caught in a political crossfire that it could not withstand, and what it did to respond. It includes a Defense Department that made its own foreign policy, even against the wishes of the commander-in-chief. It features a president who created a sphere of deniability in which his top aides were briefed on matters of the utmost sensitivity -- but the president was carefully kept in ignorance.

Based on extraordinary sources in Washington and around the world, this book exposes an explosive chain of events and a series of troubling patterns.

An excellent sicktime sleepy read.


Why yes, Virginia, little secretive lizards do rule the world!

Addendum. Little Georgie is just two years older than my Mom.
Now that is a frightening thought.


(Speak up!)

May 13th, 2006


08:39 am - Can't we reign him in? Today the border, tomorrow your town.

So we gave him Iraq, we've let him shred the Constitution, now we are going to let him institute the first steps of what will turn into martial law if we aren't careful?

You should read this story and carefully consider the slippery slope of the megalomaniac in charge of the U.S.
-- and no, I am not the one who is nuts here...


Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Once again the Bush administration is turning to the military to help solve a domestic problem. But instead of hurricane aid or preparations to cope with avian flu, the Pentagon is being asked to possibly provide thousands of National Guard troops to shore up the U.S. border with Mexico, as part of President Bush's effort to gather support for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

...

Bush's speech Monday night is intended to build support for broad immigration overhaul by taking substantive steps to secure the border. His focus on the military echoes statements he made after Hurricane Katrina, saying the military may need to play a stronger role in disasters. He also later suggested he would consider using the military to enforce a quarantine in the event of a bird flu pandemic.

"We need to beef up those (border) operations and the cost will be substantial," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in an interview. "People are just not going to accept comprehensive immigration reform unless they are assured the government is going to secure the border. People have lost confidence in the federal government because they simply haven't addressed this in a dramatic and effective way."


I remain ashamed of my Texan birthright

*ahem* And, uh, just who defines when there really is a Bird Flu Pandemic, as opposed, to say, an unruly and rebelling township?
Current Mood: dirtydirty

(1 reply | Speak up!)

March 10th, 2006


06:09 am - *wails* I don't think that word means what they think it means.
Story by Jeff Bliss at bloomberg.net; released 3-8-06

Bush Logs Victory as Anti-Terror Patriot Act Passes Congress

With the 280-138 House vote, which followed the Senate's 89-10 approval on March 2, the legislation needs only Bush's signature to become law.

The Patriot Act "has made Americans safer, safeguarded our civil liberties, and upheld our constitutional values,'' House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a written statement. "The Justice Department and other agencies have properly utilized the Patriot Act to detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist cells,'' he said.



The legislation that extends the statute makes all but three of its provisions permanent.


Provisions allowing roving wiretaps,eavesdropping on "lone-wolf'' terrorists and FBI demands for business records will expire [[once again, *supposedly*]] in four years unless they are renewed again by Congress.


Read the story at Bloomberg.com


Take a minute to check out your Reps, too.
How did they vote? Too many in Congress abstained.
Do you agree with their representation of your interests?
Current Mood: distresseddistressed

(Speak up!)

March 6th, 2006


06:02 am - sorta latish

I wonder if the new system is functional for London and Manhattan transit?



London to explore new, varied technology after bombs
November 15, 2005 by Sapa - AFP and Sapa - DPA

London – Hi-tech systems capable of spotting suicide bombers are to be tested on London’s railways and Underground train network.
This was stated yesterday by Britain’s Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling.

Trials of CCTV technology, including an ''intelligent vision'' system - which can recognise suspicious behaviour - were already taking place, Darling saidCollapse )

(Speak up!)

March 5th, 2006


08:17 am - As if Brothers Bush and Cheney weren't enough.... how's this for grim?

A story to consider for those concerned about China in the coming years....

From this month's Foreign Policy:
Asia has too many boys. They can’t find wives, but they just might find extreme nationalism instead. It’s a dangerous imbalance for a region already on edge.
Story excerptCollapse )


Read the story: "The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration"
by Martin Walker, published in the March/April 2006 edition of Foreign Policy
Current Mood: crankycranky

(2 opinions | Speak up!)

December 31st, 2005


11:56 pm - apropos of .... well, this is a political journal, no?

I just lurves teal_cuttlefish's default icon
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied

(3 opinions | Speak up!)

09:39 am - The bark doesn't fall far from the tree -- unless the wind is really strong.
You think I'm sarcastic in choice of stories? You should meet my Pop.
He forwarded me this gem (yes, it's meant to be inflammatorily left-wing):


____________________________________________
From: It's my party and I'll spy if I want to - article posted by Glenn McAdoo in the Lahontan Valley News 12/26/05

For all of you who still claim this president doesn't lie, this must come as a shock. For the rest of us it just comes as another "we told you so." He admitted as much the other day when he vowed to continue the practice of spying on American citizens whom he suspects may have ties to Al Qaeda.

The problem is, who is deciding just what amounts to "ties to Al Qaeda?" Not the courts. George W. Bush is above the law. He and he alone will decide. Okay, he may consult with a crony or two.
As Richard Nixon once said, "if the president does it, it can't be illegal."
Right, George?

How times have changed. With a few exceptions, the most outspoken Republicans who were screaming for the head of Bill Clinton for lying about an extra-marital encounter, claiming no one was above the law, are singing a different tune now that it's their guy who seems to believe he is above the law.
...
President Bush can easily get court approval to allow the National Security Agency to spy on suspected terrorists collaborators. In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court. One of its judges has now resigned, apparently in protest of President Bush's actions. Since its establishment it has granted more than 19,000 requests for warrants, usually within hours, while denying only five.
What is George W. Bush afraid of?

What about emergencies, you ask? We might need to act quickly, you say. In such a case the president can go ahead without a warrant so long as he gets approval of the court within 72 hours.

Again, the president's actions make no sense unless he is conducting spying activities that he has reason to believe the court would not allow. That is not only scary, it is downright criminal.

The president's explanation continues to baffle most Americans. He claims that on numerous occasions congress was informed, as if that makes it alright [sic]. Eight members were briefed, but having been sworn to secrecy, they couldn't publicly object without breaking the law themselves and being subjected to criminal charges.

This is not the congressional oversight required by law.

....
Okay all you conservatives out there who have mistakenly claimed that all liberals want to take away your guns --try this on for size. President Bush's (hardly a liberal) interpretation of the Constitution would give him the power to disregard the Second Amendment, come into you home without a warrant, and take away your guns because he had intelligence that you might have ties to Al Qaeda. Oh, you don't have ties to Al Qaeda? Well shut my mouth, you mean the president's intelligence was faulty? Sorry, it's your word against his. Maybe you trust this president's intelligence, but I wouldn't if I were you. I don't.

____________________________________________

*clears throat*

Yanno, at this juncture, it does not really matter if you are Republican or Democrat - this boy seems headed down the path of usurping the Presidency for something a little less ...democratic... - and everyone should be concerned.

Really, take a minute and tick off the liberties and freedoms that have been amended or revoked since Clinton left office. I think You will be surprised.

The full article (in case you wanna read it)
http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com/article/20051226/Opinion/112260005

(2 opinions | Speak up!)

December 24th, 2005


10:14 pm - Castro -- no love for Rice

I never thought I'd see a point in political correctness, but gee.... there's some awfully frank language here.

I would suppose that the US and Cuba still have a few fences to mend, eh?

Castro weighs up Rice
Friday 23 December 2005 7:46 PM GMT

Castro gave a frank opinion of Rice and the commission

Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, has dismissed Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, as a mad woman deserving of pity.

His comments came in response to a meeting that Rice held this week with a US government commission intended to prepare for a "democratic transition" in Cuba after Castro.

"I am going to tell you what I think about this famous commission: they are a group of shit-eaters who do not deserve the world's respect," Castro told the Cuban parliament.

"In this context, it does not matter if it was the mad woman who talks of transition - it is a circus, they are completely depraved, they should be pitied."

Castro's assessment of Rice and the commission came after comments on Thursday, when he called Michael Parmly, head of the US interests section in Havana, a "little gangster".

Parmly had criticised the Cuban regime at a speech marking International Human Rights Day.

"The Cuban regime's hurling of angry and often violent groups against pro-democratic dissidents is particularly disgusting," Parmly had said.

He had also accused Castro's government of acting like Nazis against Cuban dissidents.

Castro, 79, said during another speech to the National Assembly that he did not know who was worse, "that little gangster", referring to Parmly or "the previous gangster", James Cason, Parmly's predecessor who Castro had earlier described as a "bully".

Earlier this week, a moderator on a state television discussion condemned "the cynical and provocative activities" of the two US diplomats.

The United States and Cuba broke off diplomatic relations in January 1961. The US interests section opened in September 1977, reoccupying the seven-story former US embassy building.

Reuters
Current Mood: depressedsuch naughty language!

(7 opinions | Speak up!)

10:05 pm - Bush - the SuperBoy

This news story from the AFP:

On the heels of revelations that Bush signed a secret order in 2002 enabling the National Security Agency to capture US citizens' international telephone calls and electronic mail without a court order, Bush has come under fire for allegedly overstepping his authority with "imperial" flair.

The rights defense group American Civil Liberties Union took out full-page notices in newspapers demanding a special counsel to investigate whether the President violated the Constitution and his oath of office.

"This man wasn't above the law," the ad said, under an image of former president Richard Nixon -- and "Neither is this one," it added next to another image, of Bush.
...
Vice President Dick Cheney argued that given the nature of the existing threats, the president of the United States needs a free hand in doing his job.

"George W. Bush has quipped several times during his political career that it would be so much easier to govern in a dictatorship; apparently he never told his vice president that this was a joke," The New York Times countered in an editorial.

Yet "there are finally signs that the democratic system is trying to rein in the imperial presidency," the daily added.


Read the entire story "Bush's 'imperial' drift could take at least short-term political toll" published 12/25/2005 02h27
Current Mood: crankycranky

(Speak up!)

August 13th, 2005


10:54 am - If it ain't one, it's the other.

Bush raises option of using force against Iran
Reuters; August 13, 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush said he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program.

But German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, one of the most prominent European opponents of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, told an election rally on Saturday the threat of force was not acceptable.

In what appeared to be a reference to Bush's remarks that "all options are on the table," Schroeder told the crowd in his home city of Hanover:

" ... let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work."

Iran angered the European Union and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant last Monday after rejecting an EU offer of political and economic incentives in return for giving up its nuclear program.

Tehran says it aims only to produce electricity and denies Western accusations it is seeking a nuclear bomb.

The EU -- represented by Britain, France and Germany -- has been trying to find a compromise for two years between arch foes Iran and the United States.

Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, was asked in the interview broadcast on Saturday whether possible options included the use of force.

Bush, never one to instigate other nations, replied to the state run Israeli tv, '' ...you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country''Collapse )
Current Mood: crankycranky

(Speak up!)

July 27th, 2005


10:12 am - Ha, and you thought I was left.

Check out the WhiteHouse.org - all I can say is OMG.
It's in shockingly bad taste, even for me.

Um, it's prolly NWS

(Speak up!)

10:05 am - Not the real news
it doesn't have to be legit news to be terrifying!

See Donald Rumsfeld in a granny-panty speedo!
*squeals and covers eyes, shaking*
Current Mood: scaredscared

(Speak up!)

July 25th, 2005


01:37 pm - Opinion editorial - SF Chronicle

Fun, games with right to know
Chip Johnson; SFgate.com; Monday, July 25, 2005; p. B-1 hardcopy

How easy -- or difficult -- is it for the average person to obtain information from Oakland's city record keepers? The Oakland chapter of the League of Women Voters found out.

It sent 27 testers, including league members and a half-dozen teenagers who volunteered from Oakland's Fremont High School, to City Hall to ask for public documents.

The results: City officials delivered on 70 percent of the requests overall -- but less than half the requests made by the kids.

"Using a bunch of little old white ladies to ask for information is a pretty thin slice of life, so I thought it would be good idea to use students to ask the same questions and see how they compared,'' said Barbara Newcombe, 82, who directed the league study.

Seniors were provided with the information 8 of 10 times that they asked, a far cry better than Newcombe fared 15 years earlier while doing research for a book. The high school students, on the other hand, made seven requests to city offices for information, but only three were honored.

Among the 12 Oakland city agencies and institutions queried, five of them -- the city's human resources department, public works, the city clerk, cultural arts and marketing departments -- dropped the ball on some or all of the requests made of them. The Oakland Unified School District failed to fulfill the lone records request asked of it.

Does that mean a simple request from a citizen must be vetted for violations of the Patriot Act before a decision is made whether to release something as innocuous as a list of directories of boards and commissions, campaign disclosure statements or members of a city council subcommittee?Collapse )

(Speak up!)

July 24th, 2005


09:42 am - It's about the $$ oil $$, stupid (which means it's really about global power positioning)

Venezuela's demand to U.S.: 'respect'
- by Monte Reel, Washington Post; Sunday, July 24, 2005
(as published in the San Francisco Chronicle p. A-3)


Caracas , Venezuela -- After the rumble of tanks died down and the last soldier high- stepped past the pavilion, President Hugo Chavez told the thousands of people attending Venezuela's Independence Day parade July 5 that no invading army could match the fighting force that had just marched by, "armed to the teeth."

The hypothetical invasion he invoked was patently clear: Two days before, Chavez had announced the discovery of evidence that the United States had drawn up blueprints to invade Venezuela, a plan he said was code-named "Operation Balboa."

American officials dismissed the claim as fiction, just as they have denied Chavez's repeated assertions that the CIA is trying to assassinate him, or that the Bush administration was behind a military coup that briefly toppled his government in April 2002.

Chavez has always been outspoken in condemning what he calls ''U.S. imperialism,'' mocking President Bush as ''Mr. Danger'' and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as ''Mr. War.''Collapse )

(Speak up!)

09:32 am - Eminent Domain, backlashing Feds v. Supreme Court (the courts were wrong here, methinks)
From Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle:

Eminent domain firestorm erupts
- by Kenneth Harney; Sunday, July 24, 2005

Washington -- To call it a backlash would hardly do it justice. Calling it an unprecedented uprising to nullify a decision of the highest court of the land would be more accurate.

In the four weeks since the Supreme Court sanctioned the seizure of private homes by municipal governments for private development, a firestorm has broken out in dozens of state legislatures and in Congress.

At the federal level, the House adopted by a 365-33 vote a highly unusual resolution deploring the court's ruling. The House also voted 231-189 for a bill that would prohibit expenditure of any federal housing, transportation or Treasury funds "to enforce the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Kelo vs. City of New London."

The court ruled that municipalities have the right to determine what constitutes a "public purpose" for eminent domain seizure -- even if that means taking privately owned real estate away from residents and handing it over to private developers who promise to increase the local tax base or increase employment.

In effect, the House told the court: You may have narrowly approved the Connecticut city's eminent domain seizures of homes for a privately developed and owned urban renewal project, but we have a weapon in this fight, too.

If the appropriations amendment passes the Senate, the city of New London will not be able to use federal funds in any way, directly or indirectly, to move that project forward. No transportation money, no housing subsidies, no assistance from the U.S. Treasury. [...read the rest of the story...]Collapse )

(Speak up!)

July 21st, 2005


02:22 pm - Wherein Condi disciplines a bratty militia and makes the country cry.

Sudan Security Roughs Up Rice Delegation
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer; KHARTOUM, Sudan

Sudanese security officers roughed up members of Condoleezza Rice's entourage Thursday and spoiled the African nation's hopes of showing off a new peace deal and improving a bruised reputation with the United States.

The secretary of state gave Sudan's foreign minister a 90-minute deadline to make a personal apology, and he met it.

Sudan got no promise from Rice that the United States would push to lift economic sanctions or remove the nation from the State Department's list of countries that sponsor terrorism. [...]


Read the whole story, it's worth it

(1 reply | Speak up!)

July 10th, 2005


09:35 am - *ahem* *chuckle* *snort* *ahem*
courtesy (or something) of my Pop *g*

Abbott & Costello have gotta be spinning in their graves!!Collapse )
Current Mood: amusedamused

(1 reply | Speak up!)

July 8th, 2005


07:38 pm - Dig deeper in those sofa cushions

Senators approve $1 raise in SF bridge tolls

State senators Thursday approved a deal reached with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would boost tolls at least $1 on most Bay Area bridges to help pay for earthquake safety upgrades, including a new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

The bill would raise tolls on the Bay Bridge and six other state-owned bridges from $3 to $4 starting Jan. 1, 2007. The toll on the Golden Gate Bridge, which is operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, would remain $5.

(Speak up!)

July 7th, 2005


07:47 am - Filed under: "huh?"
and so goes journalistic freedom and the right to protect sources.

Reporter Jailed After Refusing to Name Source
By ADAM LIPTAK; WASHINGTON, July 6

Judith Miller, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, was sent to jail on Wednesday after a federal judge declared that she was "defying the law" by refusing to divulge the name of a confidential source.

Another reporter who faced jail in the case, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, was spared after announcing a last-minute deal with a confidential source that he said would allow him to testify before a grand jury.

Before being taken into custody by three court officers, Ms. Miller said she could not in good conscience violate promises to her sources. "If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality," she told Judge Thomas F. Hogan, "then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press."

Ms. Miller, who conducted interviews but never wrote an article about the C.I.A. operative, joins a line of journalists who have accepted jail time rather than betray their sources' confidences. That tradition, according to Judge Hogan, does not deserve respect.Collapse )
[...] After listening to Ms. Miller, the judge ordered her sent to 'a suitable jail within the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia' until she decided to talk or until the term of the grand jury expired in October.Collapse )

"They put shackles on my hands and my feet," she said. "They put you in the back of this car. I passed the Capitol and all the office buildings I used to cover. And I thought, 'My God, how did it come to this?' "

(12 opinions | Speak up!)

June 25th, 2005


07:02 am - In case anyone else is interested...

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06:18 am - the US couldn't *possibly* have violated the sovereignty of another nation, could they?

Italy Judge Orders Arrest of 13 CIA Agents
Italian Judge says CIA's seizure violates Italian sovereignty
by AIDAN LEWIS, Associated Press Writer - Fri Jun 24,10:52 PM ET

An Italian judge on Friday ordered the arrests of 13 CIA officers for secretly transporting a Muslim preacher from Italy to Egypt as part of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts — a rare public objection to the practice by a close American ally.

The Egyptian was spirited away in 2003, purportedly as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program in which terror suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture.

The arrest warrants were announced Friday by the Milan prosecutor's office, which has called the disappearance a kidnapping and a blow to a terrorism investigation in ItalyCollapse )

Germano Dottori, a political analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies in Rome, said it is not unusual for intelligence agencies to have squabbles with allied countries but that he could not recall prosecutors directly involved in investigating or apprehending agents involved.

"At some point the Americans will begin to think they can't trust the Italians," Dottori said.

(story source)
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This needs a major snark, and I wish I could think of one that conveyed the level of outrage for the sheer macho ballsiness and disregard that the Bush administration is showing for the rest of the world.

I worry that the current US administration's cowboy ham handedness is going to not only bite American citizens in the ass, but wind up chewing them to a bloody pulp.

'Why didn't they just toss the loony out?' historians 50 years hence will ask in wonder and confusion.
I wonder, too.

(Speak up!)

June 23rd, 2005


10:03 am - Surprising, isn't it? Kettle, meet Mr Pot.... Pot, Mr Kettle. I'm sure you'll find a lot in common.

U.N. Uncovers Torture at Guantanamo Bay
Jun 23, 12:04 PM (ET); by BRADLEY S. KLAPPER

GENEVA (AP) -
U.N. human rights investigators said Thursday they had reliable accounts of detainees being tortured at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but the United States had not responded to repeated requests to check conditions there.

"The time is up," one investigator said.

The four independent specialists told reporters that U.N. experts had made numerous requests since early 2002 to check on the conditions of terror suspects at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba, as well as at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

They cited "information, from reliable sources, of serious allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, arbitrary detention, violations of their right to health and their due process rights.

"Many of these allegations have come to light through declassified (U.S.) government documents," said a statement from the four, who report to U.N. bodies on different human rights issues.

The United States has criticized the commission because its members include countries with tyrannical governments and poor human rights recordsCollapse )

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