Thursday, April 17, 2008

note on goings on

I am working on a pair of posts that discuss the Yoo torture memo/discussion that top white house staff were expressly invloved in the decition making process for torturing captives. See this ABC news link for a little more.

The second is a breakdown of the recent revelations that white house legal thought that the 4th ammendment did not necessisarily apply. Nice writeup from the EFF:
"The EFF has uncovered a troubling footnote in a newly declassified Bush Administration memo, which asserts that 'our Office recently [in 2001] concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.' This could mean that the Administration believes the NSA's warrantless wiretapping and data mining programs are not governed by the Constitution, which would cast Administration claims that the programs did not violate the Fourth Amendment in a whole new light — after all, you can't violate a law that doesn't apply. The claimed immunity would also cover other DoD agencies, such as CIFA, which carry out offline surveillance of political groups within the United States."

More later ...

Spit please!

Another quick post.

Short version: Having completely lost the distinction between an individual accused of committing a crime and an individual convicted of said offense, Congress has authorized the justice department (no big 'J' for you!) to gather DNA samples from anybody who gets arrested.

This includes all those international travelers who have not even been charged with anything.

See DNA is the new duct tape of law enforcement. Just like all the wire tap infrastructure, we have nothing to fear with regard to our privacy given that there are rules by which law enforcement has to follow in order to get at the data.

Interesting quote:
Ablin said the DNA collection would be subject to the same privacy laws applied to current DNA sampling. That means none of it would be used for identifying genetic traits, diseases or disorders.
Perhaps I have been drinking the paranoid juice just a little too long, but that disclaimer is quite specific. Think for a moment of things not in that list that you would not like the justice department to be able to do in a large dragnet database sort of way. Do you have something to hide?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Money for Nothin'

Just in case you thought the state of the educational system was not quite crappy enough, I bring you a sad tale of the big corporation and the Really Stupid Book. This book is a favorite amongst the up by the bootstraps middle class, but alas, it is no Frankenstein.

Perhaps more of an ideological bodice ripper.

This may all be an act of fiction since I did not bother to track down the original sources. It would surprise me somewhat if that was the case. With that in mind I leave you with the complete quote:

The charitable arm of BB&T Corp., a banking company, pledged $1 million to the University of North Carolina Charlotte in 2005 and obtained an agreement that Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” would become required reading for students. Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, say they also took grants and agreed to teach Rand….

“A corporation crosses a line and a university is complicit in crossing the line if it accepts money” and accedes to a request to assign specific books, said Jonathan Knight, director of the program on academic freedom, tenure and governance for the American Association of University Professors, in Washington. “It’s unique in my experience.” Knight has worked in the field for 31 years….

After BB&T mandated that some schools teach “Atlas Shrugged,” grant seekers became aware of Allison’s interest and now tailor their applications by stating up front their interest in Rand, Denham said.

Scholars scoff at the Rand bounty, saying her ideas are too shallow to build courses around her.

That last line has got to hurt just a little though...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Grown up Pants

Life has been just stupidly busy, so I have not had the pleasure of sharing my wit and charm with the legions of loyal readers across the globe. While waiting for some numbers to crunch for a homework set, I had the misfortune of reading a few political blogs. Jesus Mary and Joseph, what the fuck is wrong with the democrats? Do they have to shaft themselves at every opportunity?

From team O we seem to be getting a recycling of old Right Wing talking points about the Clintons. Did you not read my previous post? * The only thing that this is doing is providing free cannon fodder for the right.

From team C we get sentence dissection and other sophomoric crap. People mis-speak - if I had every thing I said or did dissected to this degree it would be a real horrorshow. To make my point clear, I will provide context for the quote since it is yet another stupid question script derived from a 24 like mentality. By the way, can someone please tell me just exactly why "Hardball" (sweet jebus...) is relevant.

MATTHEWS: Let me give you a scene that may face you in the next year or two, where the national security adviser calls you at 3:00 in the morning and tells that you a couple of jet — commercial jets have been hijacked. And they believe it is al Qaeda. And, as we know, al Qaeda always tries a second time. They tried for the World Trade Center after ‘93. They came back in ‘01. They’re heading for the Capitol. What do you do?

OBAMA: Well, look, I am hesitant to engage in hypotheticals like that, because…

MATTHEWS: But it has been predictable.

OBAMA: Oh, well, the — I don’t think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don’t know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.

Let me make my point - issues issues issues. The more time the left spends tearing itself up over sound bytes and fluff, the more disgusted actual people are getting with them. I want to know what the candidates are going to do about the economy, the war, the constitutional crisis, health care, corporate welfare, the mortgage crisis, New Orleans, the debt, jobs and what not. Do not fucking tell me about anything else. Quit with the racism and the misogamy and get it together because we do not have four more years to give to John McCain.

For the record, you get some really crazy shit for putting 'pants' into googles image search.
* Three people read it actually.