Thursday, May 11, 2006

Different stuff

Thursdays, so I'm blogging. (If you're new, I try to blog Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

"Telecom Companies Helped NSA Spy on Millions of US Citizens" (Democracy Now):
Three of the country's largest telecom companies have provided the National Security Agency with the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. This according to a report in USA Today. One source with direct knowledge of the program called it "the largest database ever assembled in the world" whose goal is to collect a record of "every call ever made" within the United States. The Bush administration has insisted its spy program focuses solely on international calls. The companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- have been under contract since after the 9/11 attacks. Only one major telecom company declined to participate in the program. The company, Qwest, reportedly asked the NSA to get FISA-court approval before it would hand over the records. The NSA refused. Although the program does not involve the direct monitoring of phone conservations, it amasses detailed records on who people have called and when they've called them. At least one company had already been implicated in the program. In a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier this year, former AT&T technician Mark Klein said AT&T has been working with the National Security Agency to spy on Americans. In addition to raising new questions about the extent of the NSA spy program and the companies involved, the disclosure also raises new questions about CIA Director-nominee Michael Hayden. Hayden headed the National Security Agency at the time the spy program was implemented. He declined USA Today's request for comment.

If you're thinking, "What's going on?" Well, Elaine's off on Thursdays and I called to check on Mike and he suggested that we both cover the same items. I can't turn down my sick friend. (He said the fever's gone and the chicken pox is going down. I kidded him about having a kid's disease.) So remember how Bully Boy keeps covering up? Remember how Alberto Gonzales told the Judiciary Committee in the Senate that he couldn't talk about all the programs that were going on? This is just one more that we didn't know of. Just one more. There's a lot more going on and if more of it starts coming out, you're going to see the Bully Boy (who has a 31% approval rating right now) look more and more like the crook he is.

"UK Attorney General Calls For Guantanamo Closure" (Democracy Now):
Britain's Attorney General has called for the closure of the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a speech in London, Lord Peter Goldsmith said: "The existence of Guantanamo remains unacceptable."

Here's my problem, if we close Guantanamo, where are we going to send the Bush Crime Family after the war crimes tribunal? I'm only half-way joking. I think Bully Boy is in real danger of being tried for war crimes. Not just because he's committed them. But because so many people are outraged by them. I think this is like Anita Hill where people tried to dismiss her and act as though her charges weren't a big deal or weren't true. And that worked during the confirmation hearing for Clarence Thomas, but a year later, there was this huge number of people who believed she told the truth. I think we're going to see something similar when Bully Boy leaves office. All these people who've been silent because they didn't know what they thought or felt that they couldn't think that way about our leader or whatever. When he's out of office, there will be so much disgust expressed openly by people you'd never expect to hear it from.

Go check out Mikey Likes It! to hear Mike's take from his sick bed in the children's ward. (I'm joking with him.)

I listened to KPFA's The Morning Show today and they had an interesting discussion on race issues (they had a great one last week too that C.I., Kat and I were trying to make part of "Where do you get your information?" but everyone was tired. I'm going to push for that topic this weekend. So I'll talk instead about this Canadian documentary they broadcast. It was about the harmful things in the environment -- and the environment is your home. Philip Malderi said in the introduction that it was in a kind of Leave It To Beaver form and it was. I think they named the toddler Sam and I forget the mother, father and older sister's name. But it was a family, and they had a dog, and it addressed the stuff that was in their home without them ever realizing it. Like the dust mites and the dust in the carpet but also things that get tracked in. They used the dog there. He'd been having a blast in the next door neighbor's yard and when he comes back into the house, he's tracking in all the chemicals that they were using in their garden to try to get rid of weeds. And did you know that some of the most pollution you're exposed to is in your car? Sick building disease was talked about too. It was really informative and I'm trying to think of a comment Andrea Lewis made because when I was listening, I thought, "I need to put that in." Now I'm forgetting it. It wasn't about the dust mites. She made some comments on that but it was on something else.

They also talked about how many chemicals children were exposed to. Oh, Andrea Lewis made the point that the air outside was cleaner than the air in many homes. Which also reminds me of Andrea and Philip talking about this one section on air freshners. When people use those, the products usually either just mask the odor or they deaden the nerves (I think it was nerves) in your nose that allow you to smell.

So that was pretty interesting. If you missed it and are interested in hearing it you can go to
KPFA and check out the archives for Thursday or click on The Morning Show and pull up Thursday's show.

Philip almost didn't get mentioned when we were writing "Where do you get your information?" because people were going, "How do you spell it?" (Watch, I'll have mispelled it in this.) "Is it two 'L's?" (C.I. and Kat knew how to spell it.)

Speaking of Kat, I hope everyone's read her four reviews in the last few days:

"Kat's Korner: Pink's not dead or silent"
"Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Living With War -- key word 'Living'"
"Kat's Korner: Richie Havens: The Economical Collection"
"Kat's Korner: Need deeper? Check out Josh Ritter's The Animal Years."

She's done that since Saturday. (She'll have a new review this Saturday.) I've always been a been a big fan of Kat's writing. If you go through the old entries at The Common Ills, you'll see that from before I had my own site. As early as December 2004, I'm praising her because she's a really incredible reviewer. She's doing all these reviews lately for two stated reasons. 1) Ruth is on vacation and music reviews can't replace Ruth but they can provide us with some really interesting things to read. 2) There's so much coming out now that so many have stopped playing "War Got Your Tongue?" (I saw a dopey thing about Bob Dylan and how he performed "Masters of War" in concert -- yeah, and he didn't say one word about the current war. He performed a moldy, golden oldy. He does that on all of his tours because no one's coming to hear the new stuff -- and by "new" I mean anything from the 90s, 80s or 70s. It wasn't a "statement." It was more cowardly acts from the King of Cowards.)

I think there's a third reason. Remember when Kat got attacked by the idiot that she hadn't even written about? And how he e-mailed her with what she needed to put up at her site, only to act like she was saying it and not him? I think she's more than over the All Puff No Politics crowd. They really had a lot of nerve attacking Kat. But that's really the sort of thing they can do -- attack people who speak out against the war while they hide in silence. Grown ups, acting like 12 year-olds addicted to their TVs and putting out puff on really bad TV shows while acting like they're a political site.

They're just a joke. (And a nasty two people, there was this idiotic, screaming rant that one of them sent Ava that could best be summed up as the writer needs therapy.)

So while the Puff crowd have made themselves useless, here's Kat still keeping it real, doing her thing, contributing and refusing to be made useless. Two more things to check out are Betty's "The hopping mad Thomas Friedman" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HILLARY CLINTON LOVES THE BOYZ WHO CHEAT ON HER!" That's it for me tonight.

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