Blogressive February 21, 2006
White House chooses to emphasize the "oversight" in the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
"For Americans troubled by the prospect of federal agents eavesdropping on their phone conversations or combing through their Internet records, there is good news: A little-known board exists in the White House whose purpose is to ensure that privacy and civil liberties are protected in the fight against terrorism. Someday, it might actually meet. Initially proposed by the bipartisan commission that investigated the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created by the intelligence overhaul that President Bush signed into law in December 2004. More than a year later, it exists only on paper. Foot-dragging, debate over its budget and powers, and concern over the qualifications of some of its members — one was treasurer of Bush's first campaign for Texas governor — has kept the board from doing a single day of work."
Blogettes Fragments from headlines and blogs you may have missed
"If he'd been in the military, he would have learned gun safety."
Sen. Chuck Hagel on Vice-President Cheney via Ruth Conniff
"Don’t mess with me Condoleezza. Don’t mess with me, girl.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warns Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after she recently described Venezuela as a menace to regional democracy.
Can't find a job? Become a human billboard. "Among the ranks of this quirky labor pool: men and women pitching new condo developments, a new offering at a restaurant or sandwich shop and for those in the throes of sleep deprivation, the men at a bustling corner of U.S. 1 , who pitch the virtues of the new Tempur-Pedic mattress. The sidewalk-based enterprise has even gained momentum off the streets. The Internet-based casino company, Goldenpalace.com, has hired celebrities -- such as former NBA star Dennis Rodman -- to wear its logo on their bodies. Last year, the company paid $10,000 to a Utah woman who offered to have the company name tattooed to her forehead. Companies can even rent body parts -- arms, legs -- to advertise their businesses through the website bodybillboardz.com" Source: miami.com
Student quits after being told to produce "more smarter writing.""Former Queensland University of Technology Master of Business Marketing student Rohan Duggan, 38, said his nine-month ordeal included seven meetings and hundreds of pages of correspondence, some farcical. The original marking of a 2000-word paper included a comment from lecturer Edwina Luck advising Mr Duggan to present 'more smarter writing.' " Source: news.com.au
Bikers attending military funerals. "Wearing leather chaps and vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls from one soldier’s funeral to another in hopes their respectful cheers and revving engines will drown out the insults of protesters. The motorcycle club members calling themselves Patriot Guard Riders are trying to shield mourners from cruel jeers by adherents of a tiny fundamentalist church who picket military funerals to reflect their belief that U.S. combat deaths are a sign God is punishing the United States for harboring homosexuals. Some protesters’ signs said, 'Thank God for IEDs,' the improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs, that kill many U.S. soldiers. Across the nation, Patriot Guard Riders number more than 5,000. They show up at soldiers’ funerals to chant patriotic slogans and wave red, white and blue flags in hopes of overshadowing backers of a Kansas clergyman named the Rev. Fred Phelps. Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church have caused such a fuss that at least 14 states are considering laws aimed at the funeral protests. During the 1990s, church members were known mostly for picketing funerals of AIDS victims, and they have long been tracked as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project in Montgomery, Alabama." Source: armytimes.com
Yahoo! bans the use of "Allah" in email addresses. (Dirty Harry Callahan unavailable for comment.) "Yahoo! is banning the use of allah in email names - even if the letters are included within another name. This was uncovered by [The Register] reader Ed Callahan whose mother Linda Callahan was trying to sign up for a Verizon email address. She could not get it to accept her surname. Inquiries to Verizon revealed that a partnership with Yahoo! was to blame. Yahoo! will not accept any identities which include the letters "allah".Nor will Yahoo! accept yahoo, osama or binladen. But it will accept god, messiah, jesus, jehova, buddha, satan and both priest and pedophile. Ed Callahan told us: 'On one level this is just silliness. But we have a war on terrorism and it's migrating to be a war on Muslims - this just shows the confusion there is between the two and how pervasive this is.' " Source: theregister.co.uk
I'll have a "Rose of the Prophet Mohammad" with that order of "Freedom Fries?" "Iranians wishing to buy Danish pastries will now have to ask for 'Roses of the Prophet Muhammad'. Bakeries across the capital, Tehran, are covering up signs advertising the pastries and replacing them with ones bearing the dessert's new name. The confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper." Source: bbc.co.uk
Former prostitute stays in Texas House race... hopes for huge turnout by voters who love irony. "A Dallas Democrat seeking election to the Texas House of Representatives has acknowledged that he once worked as a prostitute.Tom Malin, a salesman and actor, said he no longer works as a prostitute but conceded that his previous life could cost him the nomination in the March 7 Democratic primary. 'I've made mistakes in my life, and I've stood before my creator and I've accepted responsibility for my behavior,' Malin told The Dallas Morning News. Source: chron.com
Who knew? In Congress, "Hustler" is not a trade publication. "The porn magazine arrives every month at your congressman's office. Tucked in a conservative-looking manila envelope, the latest edition of Hustler goes to all 535 members of Congress. Free of charge. Not that most members want it. It usually gets thrown in the circular file marked 'trash.' But like clockwork, it keeps coming, despite efforts to have it stop. The spokesman for Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, recently tried to halt the mailing. Nope. Several members of Congress have sued to make it stop, only to lose. Something about the public being able to seek redress from Congress means they have to take it, apparently. But that doesn't mean they have to be happy about it. 'It's a disgusting abuse of the system,' Cannon says. 'It's a nasty, tricky little thing to do by a person with no conscience.' " Source: sltrib.com
Today's Video: The Empire Brokeback
Because every cultural phenomenon deserves a Star Wars parody. See the untold story of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Video at ifim.com
Today's (belated President's Day) Site: George W's head
Not that George W. The one who couldn't tell a lie. The founders are spinning in their graves too fast to get a good look but a million dollars and a team of scientists are on the case. sciencecentral.com