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September 06, 2002
Random bits

It seems we're not entirely anti-terrorist. Like the teacher who allows one student to misbehave in return for informing about the other students' misdemeanors, the USofA is allowing Syria to defy a UN embargo on buying oil from Iraq in return for Syria sharing inside knowledge about al-Qaida.

I don't know how I feel about that kind of thing. I don't think the USofA should take it upon itself to violate UN sanctions. If we don't respect the UN, why should we expect others to?

I also always wonder how these highly secret deals wind up on the nightly news. Who told Tom Brokaw that this was happening?

Also on MSNBC, I read that while the world leaders at the World Summit might not have been able to accomplish as much as some of us would have liked, it seems like the grass-roots movement toward international cooperation is alive and well.

I like Paul Krugman's The Bully's Pulpit today, but then I'm pretty much sure to like anyone taking bitter potshots at the Bushleaguer and his disinformation team.

I cannot believe the furor over the NEA and the amount of discussion over what teachers are supposed to say about 9/11 in their classrooms this year.

First, it's not just the teachers who are going to decide how this is presented to the kids. Do these children not have parents? Watch television? Listen to the radio? Talk to their friends? I'd imagine that most children old enough to comprehend what happened have already formed some kind of rudimentary opinion on it.

Second, I naturally disagree with the idea of targeting one religion or one ethnic group and painting them as the spawn of the devil in this matter. A few psychopaths do not define the world.

The NEA wasn't ducking the bullet, no matter what idiot conservatives with a history of dissing the teacher's union, might want us to believe. A touch of Reason might add some balance to this debate. Granted, the NEA's website seems to be short on suggesting teaching the facts and long on some of the touchy-feely therapeutic things, but I think it's a bit hypocritical to sit around pretending that most of the country hasn't been wallowing in group therapy since 9/11, so let's don't pretend to be all superior and, just the facts, ma'am, okay? Why is it considered so evil to accept that kids might still have some unanswered questions? I still have issues and unanswered questions, so why shouldn't a seven year-old?

I doubt that most teachers need to be told to teach the facts. What they need to know is what, if anything, else they should cover. The much-reviled website is a source for where some information might be found on the web. If the teachers need something more, here's a resource site.

Somehow I'm not surprised that it was the Washington Times that started all of this. I mean, we're talking about a newspaper that thinks a new hairstyle on Hillary Clinton was worth putting on the front page.

(While I'm at it, can I just say that if some information exists about the state of Iraq's weapons development that might be a convincing reason to go to war on them, that this be shared with the general public? What's with the secrecy? If the Bushleaguer wants a war, he's going to have to cough up with some facts.)

And I'm all about bile and spleen, but George Will is just being a jerk.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)
September 04, 2002
Colin Powell

In a lot of ways, I'm a fan of his, so I don't envy the Secretary of State's job to speak in front of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Especially when it's mentioned that he was jeered for pretending that the Bush Administration cares, really cares, about AIDS in underdeveloped countries and has put a lot of time and money into the problem.

Still, the Summit, which the Bushleaguer chose not to attend does seem to have produced a little progress. Not enough and I'm dismayed by the lack of timetables and targets for moving toward cleaner fuels, but at least it happened.

And I think it's a good sign that over 100 world leaders showed up.

Even if our own halfwitted leader chose to stay home and try to convince Congress that when he said he didn't need their permission to declare war on Iraq, he didn't really mean it and of course he cares what they think.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)
FISA, NEPA

And other potentially dangerous acronyms.

The NEPA task force should concern us all. Go. Read. Decide if you really think that George Bush has decided that the best way to prevent forest fires is to eliminate the forests or if maybe a little judicious logging might be a good thing. Also decide if you want the Republicans in charge of deciding what a little judicious logging consists of. You can make comments and, in theory, someone will actually read them.

Do you know what the FISA court is? You need to.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)
September 03, 2002
When Hell Freezes Over

Move over, McCarthy. George Bush wants the throne.

For those living in outer Mongolia or someplace else where the daily USofA news isn't particularly relevant, I present "Operation TIPS", as originally reported by the Australian press, the Bushleaguer's attempt to enroll an army of unpaid, civilian spies to watch us all for suspicious behavior.

Even the Germans, no slouches when it comes to citizen-informants, found Bush's plan just a little over the top. (This translated version is occasionally hard to follow, but I think the sentiment is pretty clear.)

Fortunately for us all, not all Republicans are minions of Satan and House Majority Leader Dick Armey actually submitted a bill that rejected a national identification card and scrapped a program that would use volunteers in domestic surveillance.

Thanks also go to organizations like the US Postal Service who flatly announced that their carriers would not participate in such a program.

Anyhow, the whole TIPS thing is pretty much dying on the vine, as witnessed by the Justice Department's quiet re-writing of the original text on their website advertising the program.

Why am I dragging all of it up again now?

#1 I don't think Bush has given up the idea, so we should all stay alert. I suggest reading the Australian press since they seem to have a better grip on what's happening in the White House than many of us inside the USofA's borders.

#2 While searching for information on this project, I found a website that just plain made me happy. Go and check out Everything Political. Go ahead. Buy something.

Their slogan is, "The World's Rotten. Change it."

Posted by AnneZook at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)
Half-Baked Homeland Idiocy

From CNN today, I learn that

"The Senate began debate Tuesday on establishing a Cabinet-level homeland security office as the White House argued for more authority over managing an estimated 170,000 workers in the proposed department."

Say what you will about the Democrats being in love with Big Government, but notice that it's not a Democratic President who is attempting to create and control a department of informants and home-grown spies with an employee roster bigger than that of the IRS.

Spread out as they now are, our intelligence agencies may be less than 100% efficient, but what's wrong with that? I fear an excess of efficiency in government a helluva lot more than I fear the possibility of a bunch of extremist radicals taking over the country, okay?

The Constitution isn't the only thing keeping the Average American free. The loopholes in the government's ability to keep track of each of us individually helps a lot.

And I loathe the man who found $37.4 Billion Dollars to fund this pet project, but couldn't spare the money to buy safety equipment for firefighters, fund health care tests for the workers at New York's Ground Zero, improve mine safety, and a host of other necessary but unRepublican projects.

My world will be a better place when Bush goes home to Daddy in Texas and stays there.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)