Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis"

Hopefully, everyone caught the news roundup that all of us working on posted at our sites
("Wally, Rebecca, Mike, Kat, Jim, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, and C.I").

I am equally hopeful that everyone had a good weekend. I did and want to again thank the McKinnons for their hospitality. Remember to check Mike's comments at Mikey Likes It! for the Democracy Now! headlines.

Student Admits to Book Watch List Hoax (Democracy Now!):
And in Massachusetts a college student has admitted he fabricated a story about being questioned by federal agents for seeking to borrow a book by written by Mao. The report first appeared in the Standard-Times in New Bedford Massachusetts and was picked up around the world. The student initially told his professors about the visit and claimed Mao's Little Red Book was on a watch list of books.

I don't know why the student lied. He may have needed an excuse for not finishing an assignment, he might have wanted some attention. But he lied and that's sad because a lot of people trusted him. It will be hard for the next person who truly is on a watch list because the student lied. It's sad and I feel sorry for the student but it's also rather sad for the next victim, a real victim.

Telcoms Reportedly Aided NSA in Domestic Surveillance (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile new questions are being raised about the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance program inside the United States. Both the New York Times and Boston Globe have run a series of articles suggesting the extent of unchecked domestic surveillance is far greater than previously reported. The White House has admitted the NSA has monitored the calls of individuals with suspected ties to Al Qaeda but the Globe is reporting that in fact the NSA has been using computers to monitor and datamine all international phone and Internet communications by Americans. The Times also revealed that the U.S. telecom companies agreed to give the NSA "backdoor access" to all of their networks.

How does that feel to know that your phone company may have sold you out? The people you pay a monthly fee to? It's disgusting and we need Congress to hold hearings and address this. It needs to be addressed in terms of the Bully Boy (who broke the law) but also in terms of the phone company which betrayed their customers.

Editors of Barrons Suggests Bush Committed Impeachable Offenses (Democracy Now!):
The latest call for the possible impeachment of President Bush is coming from an unexpected quarter - the prominent business publication Barrons. The editors of Barrons have criticized Bush for authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without court warrants. The editors wrote "Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. ... Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later."

I wish I could see some of that bravery in our big newspapers. As it is, it seems like they've already moved on to other stories. Maybe that's just due to the holiday break and everyone wanting time off?

Remember that this weekend, Kat did not one, not two, but three wonderful essays on music. Her topics were Carly Simon's No Secrets, James Blunt's Back to Bedlam and Bright Eyes' Motion Sickness. On the topic of Kat's wonderful taste and talent, those aware of the attacks will probably enjoy something. Here's a taste of it.

"All Puff No Politics (parody)" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
We Finally Weigh in on the War (Our Official Statement)
A number of critics have expressed disappointment that we've had nothing to say about the war after all this time. I want to note first off that we couldn't provide you with the much needed coverage of Wentworth Miller and snaps for Veronica Mars if we took the time to weigh in on every issue some nut case has.
But as the chorus has grown louder, I felt that possibly, perhaps, maybe we needed to weigh in.
So a number of us sat down to come up with an official statement on the war.
We've been accused of ignoring the deaths and destruction. We've been accused of silence at a time when brave voices were needed.
Not true, say I! Nobody can question our bravery. Not all that long ago, I wrote a piece on pies and Thanksgiving. That wasn't easy for me. I prefer cakes to pies. I would have been happier writing about cakes. But pies matter to a lot of people. And pies were a big issue in circles around the water cooler. So I stepped up to the plate, I bit the bullet, and I found my voice.
You'd think I'd get a little credit for that. I don't know that a great number of other blogs addressed the very important issue of pies and Thanksgiving.
But I did. I did it here. So no one has a right to ever question my stance on the issues.
For those who have been critical, here is this site's official position on the war:
After much soul searching and consulting our leatherbound editions of The New Republic, we have concluded that the war was both necessary and needed. If Americans had not gotten into the war, what kind of world would we live in? Here at All Puff No Politics, we will stand up and state loudly and clearly that we support the actions taken in World War II.

It wasn't easy to come to that conclusion because we are majorly uninformed on most topics that aren't discussed at the A-list table in any high school cafeteria. But we did our work and we are proud to offer our statement on the war. Hopefully, that settles the issue.
-- Pristine

Again, members know what was done to Kat. I think they'll get a kick out of the parody above. This inability on the part of some to find their voice brings us to this evening's peace quote.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.
Edmund Burke