Archive for May 8th, 2008

John McCain Actually Wants You To Watch This Ad

I’m John McCain, and I approve this message.  And my mom does, too!

Wow.  That was just stilted and awkward and bizarre.  I particularly like how his mom refers to him as “this baby” while he’s sitting right next to her.

Adding to the weirdness even further, if you click over to the YouTube page, the keywords for the video are just inexplicable:

John McCain TV AD News mothers day america americans safety mom nice love cool new pink roberta mccain cindy rose


May 8th, 2008 at 08:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Monday Media Blogging,Politics,Republicans,Weirdness

More Politicization

This is not exactly a news flash, but the Bush administration has politicized the classification process in the same way that it has politicized the Justice Department, the EPA, the FEC, the FCC, and, well, pretty much every other government agency you can think of.

Instead of performing its intended function of protecting the well-being of America, classification is used simply to protect the political interests of the Bush administration and the Republican party.

I’ll let Russ Feingold take it from here:

It’s a given in our democracy that laws should be a matter of public record. But the law in this country includes not just statutes and regulations, which the public can readily access. It also includes binding legal interpretations made by courts and the executive branch. These interpretations are increasingly being withheld from the public and Congress.

Perhaps the most notorious example is the recently released 2003 Justice Department memorandum on torture written by John Yoo. The memorandum was, for a nine-month period in 2003, the law that the administration followed when it came to matters of torture. And that law was essentially a declaration that the administration could ignore the laws passed by Congress.

The content of the memo was deeply troubling, but just as troubling was the fact that this legal opinion was classified and its content kept secret for years. As we now know, the memo should never have been classified because it contains no information that could compromise national security if released. In a Senate hearing that I chaired April 30, the top official in charge of classification policy from 2002 to 2007 testified that classification of this memo showed “either profound ignorance of or deep contempt for” the standards for classification.

The memos on torture policy that have been released or leaked hint at a much bigger body of law about which we know virtually nothing. The Yoo memo was filled with references to other Justice Department memos that have yet to see the light of day, on subjects including the government’s ability to detain U.S. citizens without congressional authorization and the government’s ability to bypass the 4th Amendment in domestic military operations.

…[W]ith changes in technology and with this administration’s efforts to expand its surveillance powers, the [FISA] court today is doing more than just reviewing warrant applications. It is issuing important interpretations of FISA that have effectively made new law.

These interpretations deeply affect Americans’ privacy rights, and yet Americans don’t know about them because they are not allowed to see them. Very few members of Congress have been allowed to see them either. When the Senate recently approved some broad and controversial changes to FISA, almost none of the senators voting on the bill could know what the law currently is.

The code of secrecy also extends to yet another body of law: changes to executive orders. The administration takes the position that a president can “waive” or “modify” a published executive order without any public notice — simply by not following it. It’s every president’s prerogative to change an executive order, but doing so without public notice works a secret change in the law. And, because the published order stays on the books, Congress and the public have no idea that it’s no longer in effect. We don’t know how many of these covert changes have been made by this administration or, for that matter, by past administrations.

No one questions the need for the government to protect information about intelligence sources and methods, troop movements or weapons systems. But there’s a big difference between withholding information about military or intelligence operations from the public and withholding the law that governs the executive branch. Keeping the law secret doesn’t enhance national security, but it does give the government free rein to operate without oversight or accountability. Even the congressional intelligence committees, which are supposed to oversee the intelligence community, have been denied access to some of these legal opinions.

Congress should pass legislation to require the administration to alert Congress when the law created by Justice Department opinions ignores or even violates the laws passed by Congress, and to require public notice when it is waiving or modifying a published executive order. Congress and the public shouldn’t have to wonder whether the executive branch is following the laws that are on the books or some other, secret law.

Tell me again why Russ Feingold shouldn’t be president?

May 8th, 2008 at 07:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans

The Magnificent Spambersons

I continue to get a ton of comment spam, slipping through the filters.  Fortunately, most of it is fascinating…

clime?Triceratops doze Normanization feasible,…

personalities. took had I went I didn’t my first We had were having a real

[from “landwatchcar”:] and climb and saw that the raspberries, were punished were called

I confessed magnificent we just from about that day. chunk him. and we from often and we and eat

become living huge tree from reminded home We used leaf that day. decay year just their

[from “glassyes”:] beech log. as proud We need removing and

pruning a bit of to actually chunk I still by themselves beechnuts from forts his with whatever Street from with a bellowed

pirates home their names names. with a

berries. about Forest. the forests accomplish little it’s name the wild I know to actually and eat

[from “googlenogerm”:] managed where I spent my days exploring probably a scientist. my first from

because I got with my as a sapling become School well were about home I still I was

Great stuff.

1 comment May 8th, 2008 at 11:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

B&W Mostly Post-Implosion Photoblogging

A coupla more crane photos, plus a totally unrelated fence loop:

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May 8th, 2008 at 07:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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