Tuesday, December 20, 2005

F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show - Who will be next?

F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show - New York Times

Some people may thought I was joking with yesterday's story comment. Apparently not.

Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

Groups like PETA, Greenpeace, and the Catholic Workers group have all been targeted by the FBI. Why?

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I am particularly intrigued by the equation of Catholic Workers with Communists. Catholic Workers group is anti-poverty. Communists are anti-poverty. Therefore, Catholic Workers group is Communist!

No, they're really not.

Monday, December 19, 2005

U.S. military appears to be spying on 'don't ask, don't tell' protests | News | Advocate.com

U.S. military appears to be spying on 'don't ask, don't tell' protests | News | Advocate.com

Ok, so we have the NSA caught spying on American citizens, the CIA and FBI involved in covert activities in the U.S., and now the Department of Defense is spying on citizens, looking for "credible threats" at gay demonstrations.

How many government departments are there with their own intelligence-gathering divisions, anyway? I'm half expecting to hear a news story about the U.S. Postal Service spying on recipients of the Victoria Secret catalog.

Time Honors Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono - Yahoo! News

Time Honors Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono - Yahoo! News

I've never been a huge Microsoft fan, but even I have to admit that everything that Bill and Melinda Gates are doing to advance the cause of world poverty relief is admirable and should be emulated by everyone who has more money than God.

And I've always been a huge Bono fan, so I'm happy about his inclusion as well.

I'm hoping that a charitable spirit becomes "in vogue" once again in America.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Religious Leaders Arrested in Opposition to Bush's False Morality

Not to put too fine a point on it:

114 religious leaders were arrested in front of the Cannon House Office Building while kneeling in prayer to protest the immoral budget and tax agenda which slashes spending on the poor to finance tax breaks for the rich.

Yes, folks, poverty is a moral issue. In fact, there are thousands more passages in the Bible addressing the immorality of poverty and social inequality than there are addressing homosexuality, or the War on Christmas.

Maybe Falwell needs to realize that Jesus would rather there be one less poor person in the world than one less person saying "Happy Holidays".

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FrontPage magazine.com: Buying Fox News

FrontPage magazine.com :: Buying Fox News by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen

A fascinating quote:

After bin Talal purchased his voting shares in News Corp., on September 23, 2005, he stated in an advertising supplement to the New York Times, “When I invest in a group like CITICROUP, the Four Seasons, the News Corp. or Time Warner, my objective is not to manage those companies.” But this is not quite accurate, considering the Prince’s December 5, 2005 statement given to Middle East Online regarding his ability to change what viewers see on Fox News. Covering the riots in Paris last November, Fox ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots." Bin Talal was not happy. "I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said. "Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."

The Gospel according to Fox News: poor Muslim immigrants = terrorists; wealthy Muslim financier = Rupert Murdoch's sugar daddy.

Maureen Dowd: W. Won't Read This

She certainly has a way of skewering those who should be skewered. And occassionally those who don't.

The president's bubble requires constant care. It's not easy to keep out huge tragedies like Katrina, or flawed policies like Iraq. As Newsweek noted, a foreign diplomat "was startled when Secretary of State Rice warned him not to lay bad news on the president. 'Don't upset him,' she said."

Meanwhile, Katrina, or should we say FEMA, continues to victimize the poor people of New Orleans. But I'm sure if Bush realized these peoples' plight, he'd do something about it. Like give a 15-second prayer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

North County Times - Vista - Spotty Internet connections a problem for some Vista schools

North County Times - Vista - Spotty Internet connections a problem for some Vista schools

The American people really need to ask themselves, "What is government good for?" For a long time now, one of the more obvious answers to that question, in addition to "defense", and "National security", has been "Freely available quality education for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status."

Well, guess what, people. If you want quality education for your kids, you have to pay for it. Prop 13, as much as people love it because it saves them in property taxes, is killing our schools. Read the article, folks -- even the schools that were retrofitted with new network infrastructure had to borrow the money to do it. In a society that supposedly values education and abolishing ignorance, this is a crime.

Bill would restrict children's access to violent video games

Coming to you straight from North County Times reporter William Bennett (no relation to the genocidal-racist-loving freak) is this latest example of government being forced to parent in absence of parents.

I admit to being of two minds on this. On one hand, I'm disturbed that the Dems in California are once again leaving themselves open to charges of wanting to create a "nanny state", on the other hand, it's obvious that parents as a whole aren't living up to their responsibilities to monitor what their children watch or play. As an adult video game player myself (that is, an adult who plays video games, not someone who plays "adult games"), it's obvious that the video game industry is on a collision course with government, thanks to pushing the envelope of good taste and allowing themselves to be scapegoated for society's ills.

All told, I'd rather have mature video games able to be distributed, albeit in an age-restricted fashion, than not have any mature video games at all.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: September 04, 2005 - September 10, 2005 Archives

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: September 04, 2005 - September 10, 2005 Archives

He's right, you can't make that stuff up. Bush pulled Firefighters, Coast Guard, and other first responders away from their jobs so that they could be used as props in his photo-ops. Just when you think the politicking can't get more disgusting, they go and up the ante.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

TIME.com: Dipping His Toe Into Disaster

TIME.com: Dipping His Toe Into Disaster -- Sep. 12, 2005 -- Page 1

My favorite Bush quote thus far:

"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house, there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

Maybe Trent Lott qualifies to have Habitat for Humanity build it. Or perhaps not.

New bankruptcy law a problem for Katrina victims

New bankruptcy law a problem for Katrina victims

Really nothing more to add.

Bush's FEMA

News in brief...

"The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region - and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents."

All last week, FEMA bureaucrats gave prominent placement on the agency's Web site to Operation Blessing, the Virginia-based charity run by controversial right-wing evangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson."

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, several witnesses have alleged that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) turned away volunteers who were ready to help New Orleans residents people trapped in their flooded homes. Other witnesses have said that FEMA turned away offers of aid, prevented water and fuel from reaching people on the ground, and cut emergency communications lines."

And this list is worth looking at, just for the sheer horror:

FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters

FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks

FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel

FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food

FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid

FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board

FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck

FEMA turns away generators (See entry from 3:32 P.M. by Ben Morris, Slidell mayor)

FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"