Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Rise, hope of ages, arise like the sun!"

I've got a light
Though it refuses to burn
I've got a life
It ain't over
It ain't over
I've got a way
It's the only thing that's mine

Rebecca quoted the song above last night. It's from Eurythmics' Ultimate Collection and Kat recommended it to her. I got the CD today and I'm listening to it and another one. The song seemed to have something to say about what's going on right now. You've got so much going on regarding the spying. The Bully Boy's out of control and they offer spin one moment and the next reporters actually refute it. It's how the press is supposed to work. I think Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! are providing the best perspective, no surprise, but it's good to see the mainstream media actually pay a little bit of attention to a story that actually matters.

I mentioned that I'm listening to two CDs tonight. The other one? We all picked our favorite Christmas song at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Mike: "Away In A Manger" by Joan Baez, off her Noel CD. My parents play that CD like crazy. They got it for Christmas two Christmas ago to replace their worn out vinyl version.
Cedric: Aaron Neville's "Bells Of St. Mary." I know it from the radio and have no idea what album it would be on.
Kat: I'll go with Joni Mitchell's "River" which isn't technically a Christmas song but it opens with, "It's coming on Christmas/ They're cutting down trees . . ." It originally appeared on Blue.
Elaine: Stevie Nicks' "Silent Night" off A Very Special Christmas. "Well it was a" and "You know it was a" and other vamps plus Stevie's voice make it my must hear every Christmas.
Rebecca: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" off Barbra Streisand's Christmas Album.
Ty: "Ava Maria" by Diana Ross on A Very Special Season. I love that whole album. The production is really light and there's no attempt to smother her voice. It's a really great CD and one that my family has listened to forever.
Dona: I'll go with a song from Noel as well and imagine that Ava will too. We've become big Joan Baez fans and in our joint CD collection this is the only Christmas album we have. I'll go with "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" because that's always a song I enjoyed singing at Christmas.
Jim: Don't know an album it's on but Marvin Gaye's "I Want To Come Home For Christmas." It's always been a favorite of mine.
Jess: "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I've always loved the song. "So this is Christmas and what have you done . . ." I think it asks us to think beyond ourselves. And it's a song worth listening to.
Wally: My mom loves Carly Simon so I'll go with "Twelve Gates To The City" from Christmas Is Almost Here. It's got a really strong beat to it.
Ava: I think I'll go with Carly as well. We've got the soundtrack to This Is My Life and she has a song on that entitled "The Night Before Christmas." I'll also note that although Dona and I were building a joint collection that we intend to split up evenly when we graduate, it's to be split in half. Hint to Jim who's been eyeing some of the CDs.
C.I.: We're talking about what we listen to at Christmas time and, since it's already been noted before by Elaine, Christmas to me is always the Doors. For the last ten years, it would be The Best Of The Doors, double disc. Prior to that it was The Best Of The Doors single disc collection.
Betty: "Silver Bells" by the Supremes off their Merry Christmas CD.
And, yes, we asked our reader's sister for her pick as well.
Cathy: "Adeste fideles" by Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras primarily but any recording will do.

I was familiar with almost all the songs above. You can't decorate the Christmas tree with C.I., for instance, without having the Doors on the background. (That's not a joke. In e-mails and in person, people ask me if that's true? It is true.) All of the songs are good selections that I enjoy except for one that I didn't know. Ty's pick was one he felt really strong about and we were all saying, "You should have talked about that!" Because he mentions the song in the feature but after we were done with it and the editorial, Betty asked him about the song and Ty went into five minutes on it. He really loves that song.

Ty and I may be the ones who say the least in any discussion. We're fine with listening. But I really wish Ty had talked about why he enjoyed "Ava Marie" when we were noting our
reason(s) for the feature. He sold me on the song.

I've been attempting to find it all week. It's an import and not easy to locate (or wasn't for me).
So finally today, I was able to locate it and, since Rebecca had talked about Eurythmics the night before, I grabbed their CD too. I'll probably write about the Diana Ross CD next time. Not the way Kat would. It won't be a review. Kat's the musical genuis. But this really is a wonderful album.

Now let's focus on an important issue in the news. You know which one, the one Rebecca's covering, C.I. is covering, and of course, my blog twin continues to cover it so remember to check out Mike's site (Mikey Likes It!) for his commentary. Don't forget that Wally's covering it to. He was planning on taking a bit of a break this week but this issue is important to him and so he's been weighing in at The Daily Jot when he could have been relaxing and enjoying the holiday time with his family. Let's get to the issue.

Surveillance Court Judge Resigns in Protest of Bush Spy Program (Democracy Now!):
This news on the Bush administration's domestic espionage program: the Washington Post is reporting a judge has resigned from the country's top spy court in protest of the secret program in which the National Security Agency has eavesdropped on Americans without court-approved warrants. U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, submitted his resignation Monday. The court is regarded as the only authority to authorize wire-taps for domestic espionage.

Why would a judge resign a post? Because the judge is obviously dismayed to learn that FISA's been circumvented by the Bully Boy. Also because some of the warrents FISA did issue may have been issued after Bully Boy learned of things via illegal eavesdropping. For more on this,
see Carol D. Leonnig and Dafna Linzer 's Washington Post article entitled"Spy Court Judge Quits In ProtestJurist Concerned Bush Order Tainted Work of Secret Panel."

Bush in 2004: "Wiretap Requires A Court Order" (Democracy Now!):
President Bush has argued eavesdropping without court-approved warrants is legal under authority granted by Congress shortly after 9/11. But in April of last year President Bush told reporters wire-taps were only conducted with court approval.
President Bush, April 20, 2004: "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
The White House is now claiming Bush was referring only to actions taken under the Patriot Act.

In 2004, he publicly said it required a court order. Of course, while he was saying that, the NSA was already listening in without one. By the way, while we're noting the foolish (Bully Boy is criminally foolish), let's note Fact Check Org which is foolish and useless and could use some fact checking of it's own. Let's note their scolding of the ACLU in September 2004. Predominately the focus was the Patriot Act the ACLU ran. But note this howler of embarrassing proportions in light of the news:

The ad implies the government is "treating us all like suspects," but so far there's no evidence of that.

So quick to carry water for the Bully Boy, so quick to bend over and attack the ad that "They lied" -- uh, yes, Bully Boy said it, but he, uh, thought WMD were found in Iraq, yes, uh Condi did say of Saddam "We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon" but that's not a lie and it's not a lie because we say so.

They are beyond useless. Kerry is wrong because he went by an Oct. 9th Washington Post article in a debate on the night of the 9th. The Washington Post retracted the story days later. So Kerry is wrong. But with Bully Boy they bent over backwards to avoid stating the obvious. Here's an obvious statement, Fact Check Org. needs a fact checker.

Fact Check Org's attitude seems to be "We say Condi didn't lie because (shaped) intelligence backed her up and we ignore that intelligence was shaped and the fact that in real time her comments were disputed." They can't synthesize information and while reports from the BBC or other mainstream foreign media outlets are ignored, they rush to cite The Washington Times as if that's a reputable paper. They bent over backwards in what appears to be an effort to demonstrate that they had no bias. They just look now like they had no brains.

They look foolish now but if they'd paid attention to reports at the time they wouldn't.

Now I'm going to note something Mike's mother had noted at The Common Ills.

"Bush Takes the Crown" (Matthew Rothschild, This Just In, The Progressive):
Add this to the long list of impeachable offenses that George W. Bush has committed, and put it at the top.
The President swears an oath of office that he will uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of the land.
The law against domestic spying without a warrant he has executed, all right. He shot it in the head.
When The New York Times revealed on December 16 (after sitting on the story for a year and omitting details at the request of Administration officials!) that Bush ordered the National Security Agency to monitor "the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years," I expected Bush to deny it or to say he was going to review the policy.
Instead, he is vehemently defending that policy, citing his authority under the Constitution as commander in chief and Congress's authorization to go after Al Qaeda. He did so in his radio address on Saturday and in his press conference on Monday.
But these were the very same rationales that the Bush Administration put forward last year at the Supreme Court in the case of Yaser Hamdi, one of the U.S. citizens Bush detained without charge or trial.
The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, did not buy those arguments at all. "A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens," O'Connor wrote.

It's an article worth noting but I'm also noting it in reply to some questions in e-mails: will I be posting Thursday night? I intend to. I'll be staying with Mike's family for Christmas at the kind invitation of Mike's mother who asked me after Thanksgiving. I always have a standing offer with C.I. but I prefer to grab Thanksgiving because Christmas is more elaborate. You have more house guests and you've got even more cooking to do. (C.I. does that. You're lucky to be able to help peel potatoes. But I always feel guilty when I turn in for the night knowing that C.I.'s up the entire night making sure everything's perfect.) I met Mike's parents when we were all protesting in D.C. back in September. His mother had actually invited me to Thanksgiving then but, unless my brother's in the country, I usually grab that holiday with C.I. But it was a sincere invitation.

So I'll get there Thursday night and hopefully be able to put something up at some point Thursday night. Mike says we'll both post after each other but I would like to spend some time with Mike's mother who is very cool. So is his father but Mike's mother and I share an interest in the same books and we're looking forward to swapping out some of the ones we kept telling each other, "Well if you liked that, you have to read this book called . . ."

If I'm not able to post Thursday night, this was a pretty long entry for me.

Be sure to check out C.I.'s "Governmental spying/snooping" which talks about what's going on today and what went on under Richard Nixon.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
The dark night is over and dawn has begun. Rise, hope of the ages, arise like the sun! All speech, flow to music; all hearts, beat as one.
John Greenleaf Whittier