February 1, 2006

You and James Read the News

Some may be funny. Some May Not be. But, nonetheless, you and James read the news.

EFF Sues AT&T to Stop Illegal Surveillance

“AT&T’s customers reasonably expect that their communications are private and have long trusted AT&T to follow the law and protect that privacy. Unfortunately, AT&T has betrayed that trust,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “At the NSA’s request, AT&T eviscerated the legal safeguards required by Congress and the courts with a keystroke.”
I almost feel bad for AT&T. The government comes knocking on the door for this information and surely the Bush administration can make it difficult for them if they don’t roll over and give up the access.

But then I remember that AT&T is a huge company with lawyers and is in a unique position to help protect the privacy of Americans. And suddenly I don’t feel like they need my sympathy.

One big plus of this lawsuit: we will get to see just how AT&T was approached by the government. And what, if anything, they considered doing by way of resisting the request.

State of the Union Address


I didn’t watch it this year. But if you’re into masochism, you likely sat yourself down for a dose.

Maureen Dowd says:

But, hey, how could the Bushies have known that occupying a Middle East country — and flipping the balance of power from one sect to another — without enough troops to secure it could go wrong? Who on earth could predict the inevitable?

Bush wants constructive criticism. He also wants to paint his detractors as having 20/20 hindsight. What a display of gall! People opposed to Iraqi invasion all along had foresight, not hindsight. Maybe our president doesn’t know the difference.

Should I be astonished that, the day after the State of the Union address, I have to dig for stories about it? No, it was that bland. The Mail and Guardian Online sums it up perfectly:

World commentators have characterised United States President George Bush’s State of the Union speech as an obstinate bid to regain popularity with unrealistic promises, suggesting on Wednesday that his pledge to break the US’s dependence on Mideast oil offered the only surprise in an otherwise bland speech.
and then continued to analyze the oil promises:

“The big concern for Republican senators is … the idea that Middle East producers are making so much money from high oil prices. This money they feel could, and will, fund terrorism against the US,” she said. However, she cautioned against expecting anything dramatic.

“In contrast to Europe, what George Bush’s speech reflects is that there is no question of changing lifestyles in the US,” she said. “It is only about finding new energy that isn’t so politically costly that can maintain this lifestyle. People can keep buying the SUVs [sports utility vehicles] but they can run them on ethanol instead.”

When Bush has the occasional, inevitable sensible thought in his head, I wonder: does it feel lonely?

Moving on.

Unsettling Ingredients List


Sinking to a scatological level, I pass on this story to you:

Mick Woods soon lost his appetite when he opened a packet of ham - and found “dog shit” listed among the ingredients. […] “Obviously I haven’t eaten it. It sort of puts you off.”


States list of ‘critical assets’ trimmed


When you think of homeland assets which need to be protected from terrorism, what do you think of? Energy production? Sure. Transportation? Quite. Water supply? Definitely! Donuts? Eh?

A decision by emergency-management officials to keep a watchful eye on food-production facilities resulted in critical-asset designations for Sprouts Unlimited Inc., a vegetable producer in Marion; Snappy Popcorn Co. in Breda; and a Krispy Kreme drive-through in Clive.

“Food-borne illnesses, whether they’re naturally introduced or terrorist-introduced, are of a concern,” Miller said. “It is a method of attack that the terrorists have at least given some thought to.”

Some observers said it is futile and wasteful to try to protect every facility that makes a doughnut or raises a steer.

You think?

Bee said 1,360 critical assets “is way too high” for Iowa.

“If you have more than 50, 100 max, you’re kidding yourself,” he said.

Pilot Dumps Drunk Man on Island


A drunken air passenger was cast away on an island more than 1,000 miles from home after abusing cabin staff.

The unidentified man swore at crew and passengers after being refused a bottle of wine on the four-hour flight from Manchester to Tenerife.


I feel for the crew and passengers. Sounds like this fellow was a piece of work. But you’ve got to love their first attempt to calm him down:

“He was given the chance to calm down and he declined it. He was given a form, a caution for his behaviour, and he refused to sign it.”
Does that usually work for them?


That’s actually all the news I can take at the moment. Weee-heee!

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Comments

I still don't understand why Cindy Sheehan was arrested. What was the charge? Freedom of speech is not allowed at the SotU?

Posted by: briwei at February 1, 2006 2:47 PM

The charge was, um... violation of the dress code? I don't know. I suppose it was "disorderly conduct" or something vague like that. Of course it was nonsense. It was just harrassment to keep her out of there during the speech.

Posted by: Julie at February 1, 2006 2:53 PM

There is an update: the charge was "unlawful behavior" (LOL, what kind of lame charge is that?) and Sheehan was not the only person thrown out for having a T-shirt. Another woman was wearing a Support Our Troops (yep, pro-war) shirt and was also arrested. Today the Capitol police admit that neither woman was breaking the law and should not have been arrested. They say it was a training issue. They are apologizing for the "mistake" and promise to do better next time. Uh-huh.

Posted by: Julie at February 2, 2006 9:30 AM

Yup. They had to drop the charges though because they also inadvertently arrested a Republican Rep's wie for the same violation of the dress code. Apparently, you aren't allowed to protest inside the Capitol. That must not be a designated Free Speech Zone (tm)

Posted by: briwei at February 2, 2006 9:31 AM

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