The Google subpoenas remain in people’s minds, indicating that this search might actually have more traction than the FISA debacle- it’s harder to paint as related to the “War on Terror.” And speaking of the “War on Terror,” is there one if we aren’t really doing anything about our dependence on foreign oil, the lifeblood of our terrorist foes? Finally, The Daily Pulse drives north across the border to check up on Canada’s reaction to their elections, and perhaps the news is not as bad as we think.
I’m still looking for new blood to front page at The Daily Pulse, so let me know if you’re interested. Details at the end.
This piece makes two interesting points about the Google subpoenas. The first is that the government could generate its own searches if it wanted to show what pops up on Google- so why do they need what we searched? The second is that the whole issue exists because everything stays in the search engines’ databases. Nothing gets erased. That’s scary in its own right (and makes you wonder if there is a market opportunity for an erasing search enginge).
With apologies to Willie Sutton: Why is the federal government trying to rob Google’s data bank?
Because that’s where the information is. Your information, probably. …
What the government is after is a little mysterious. The official line is that the Justice Department is trying to defend the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress aimed at protecting minors from internet pornography. A worthy goal, to be sure, but one that parents and private industry are better equipped than Congress to work toward. …
In any event, no matter where that distinction is drawn, everyone can agree there is objectionable material on the internet. Tons of it. But the Justice Department doesn’t need search logs from Google and the rest to prove that. The government can generate its own random searches and find for itself just how much smut is out there.
So root for Google. In resisting what amounts to a ridiculously broad raid on its private records, the company is fighting the good fight. …
But whether Google is right isn’t the only question you ought to be asking. If you use Google – which is a little like saying, if you drink coffee – you need to think about what’s in that giant data bank the government wants to get its hands on. …
Nothing gets deleted. That’s a truism of the internet age, but face it: Most people don’t act like they know it. They should.
There is no “War on Terror,” merely a propaganda tool at the expense of our fighting men and women. Why do I say something so extreme? Because any real war on terror will start with, not new subsidies to oil companies, but an Apollo-like commitment to alternative fuels combined with a new gasoline tax. Islamicist terror is funded with oil money, and everybody knows it. The answer might be as simple as small bio-diesel hybrids (the technology is already there, combining the European small diesels with Toyota’s hybrid system), and it might some new whiz-bang idea nobody knows about today, but until we are serious we are just throwing away lives.
Sen. John McCain’s call for U.S. energy independence highlights a problem whose solution should be a top priority for Congress and the president. …
“We’ve got to get quickly on a track to energy independence from foreign oil …” Sen. McCain said on Fox News Sunday. “We better understand the vulnerabilities that our economy, and our very lives, have when we’re dependent on Iranian mullahs and wackos in Venezuela.” …
He’s right. The United States is more dependent on oil imports than when Jimmy Carter donned his cardigan and declared the energy crisis the moral equivalent of war. In 1970s, the United States imported 36 percent of its oil; today, it’s 62 percent. With world oil production already running at 97 percent of capacity, any disruption in supply could produce a global economic shock. …
Electricity can be generated by coal, natural gas, solar, wind or nuclear. But cars and trucks don’t run on electricity (at least not yet). Almost all our imported oil is used to make vehicle fuels. More nuclear power simply won’t wean the U.S. from foreign oil.
The congressional election of 2006 and the presidential election of 2008, should include a hard-nosed discussion of steps to lessen America’s dangerous dependance on fuel from volatile regions of the world.
Gwinnett Daily Post
Rumsfeld came to Defense with an idea- smaller lighter more mobile forces. Unfortunately, he didn’t come to Defense with what he considered a testable hypothesis, willing to experiment and accept whatever result he found. Instead, he came to Defense with a mission, and closed his eyes to the results. What is happening to our fighting forces might be the best example of all of the difference between dogmatic Republicans and reality-based Democrats- we might have wild-eyed ideas, but we are willing to test them, instead of treating them as scripture.
Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon’s decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended. …
The 136-page report represents a more sobering picture of the Army’s condition than military officials offer in public. While not released publicly, a copy of the report was provided in response to an Associated Press inquiry. …
Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam veteran, created a political storm last fall when he called for an early exit from Iraq, arguing that the Army was “broken, worn out” and fueling the insurgency by its mere presence. Administration officials have hotly contested that view.
George Joulwan, a retired four-star Army general and former NATO commander, agrees the Army is stretched thin. …
Krepinevich said in the interview that he understands why Pentagon officials do not state publicly that they are being forced to reduce troop levels in Iraq because of stress on the Army. “That gives too much encouragement to the enemy,” he said, even if a number of signs, such as a recruiting slump, point in that direction. …
St. Louis Post Dispatch
The Administration is on the offensive, reacting as they usually do to a problem- choosing offense rather than defense. I only hope that rather than allowing them to do so we, too, remain on the offensive, because, frankly, we suck at defense. Also, this is our issue, the fact that George W. Bush thinks he is king, and if we let the Republicans control the conversation, the conversation is already over.
IT WAS SAID of Gen. George S. Patton that when he arrived in Normandy with the Third Army in 1944, “He attacked in all directions at once.”
Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s political adviser, is the Gen. Patton of politics. With his boss’s approval ratings stuck at 43 percent, with his own neck grazed by a grand jury investigation into national security leaks, with a major battle looming in Congress over the president’s authorization of warrantless electronic surveillance on Americans and with Republicans in Congress nervous about facing voters in November, Mr. Rove is doing what he always does when his president is in trouble: He is attacking in all directions at once. …
Mr. Bush is scheduled to rejoin the battle today with a speech at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. Other events are scheduled later in the week, all designed to place Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans in box: Love America? Hate terrorism? Then shut up about the wiretaps.
Someone in Congress – Republican, Democrat, doesn’t matter – must stand up and insist that the president obey the law. Congress passed the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978. The special court that it set up can issue all the warrants that intelligence agencies need as quickly as they’re needed. For Mr. Bush and his lawyers to claim otherwise is not merely arrogant, it is dangerous.
Where, exactly, do the president’s powers end?
If the first five years of the Bush administration have proved anything, it’s that when an administration official says we don’t need to worry, we need to worry.
The Norman Transcript
We are not going to see reform. The Republican plan is a farce, mandating bribery on top of bribery. The new rules they propose go like this- you can’t bribe me with fine wines and fancy trips … unless you also make a campaign contribution. How on God’s Green Earth is that an improvement?
There’s a popular euphemism about folks finding religion about the time they meet their maker.
That seems to be what’s happening in Congress these days. House leaders this week announced they had now found a map to the high road and would set up principles to govern what lobbyists can and cannot do for them. …
The American people want meaningful reform but let’s not strike the hammer only on lobbyists. They often perform a valuable service and provide information that Congressional staff members don’t have. But lobbyists can’t push the envelope on ethics without a willing member of Congress.
Both sides of the political aisle have fingerprints from lobbying practices that seem to defy some basic principles of representative democracy. If members don’t get caught up worrying about who gets credit for them, the American public could see some real reform this year.
The St. Louis American
This is one of the finer African American papers in the country, and I’m always delighted when it pops up on the randomizer (I’m still looking for somebody to do a regular alternative paper feature. If you’re interested, drop me a line). Here, it opines on Alito, and as you might expect, not with enthusiasm.
The dubious confirmation hearings and impending Senate approval of Samuel Alito Jr. as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court are affronts to those who ascribe to the values and revere the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court provides another rock-solid anchor for the George Bush Republican Party that already has a stranglehold on the national government.
Alito’s record as a member of the Reagan administration and as a judge on the Court of Appeals leaves little doubt that he will align himself with the other extreme right wingers on the court to help roll back the hard-fought gains of the King era, gains that extended beyond African Americans to Latinos, white women, gays and lesbians as well as the physically challenged. The blessings of freedom have brought benefits to the entire society, extending far beyond black victims of bias. …
Based on his record Alito is a threat to the future of civil rights in the country. After his certain confirmation to the Supreme Court, Alito will vote on already pending cases alleging minority vote dilution. Despite his benign manner, Alito’s indisputable record on and off the bench shows a constant pattern of bigotry that is almost certain to continue after he joins the Supreme Court.
Today’s foreign entry is a short trip north, across the border. Let’s not go to insane about the election of conservatives in Canada. This election was far more a response to corruption than a desire to turn Canada into Kansas. Here is an editorial listing ten reasons why the vote was a good thing. Follow the link for all of them.
Not every Canadian woke up yesterday morning with a smile on his face and a song in her heart after watching the federal election results on Monday evening. At the Star, we endorsed the Liberals last week in an editorial and felt a Liberal victory would have been better for Canada, Ontario and Toronto than a Conservative win under their leader, Stephen Harper. …
Here, in no particular order, is our list of 10 things to celebrate from Monday night’s result:
- In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois under leader Gilles Duceppe fell well short of breaking the 50 per cent mark in popular votes. The Bloc garnered 42 per cent of the vote, down from 48.9 per cent in the 2004 election. It also dropped from 54 seats won in 2004 to 51 seats Monday. The result shows the majority of Quebecers still prefer the federalist option.
- The Conservatives with 124 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons have a mandate to lead the delivery of cleaner government in Ottawa that Canadians demand, but their power is subject to a healthy check by 103 Liberals, 51 Bloc Québécois, 29 New Democrats and one Independent. …
- Canadians went to the polls in large numbers to cast ballots. Turnout was 65 per cent, up almost four percentage points from the 2004 election. We were particularly pleased the turnout at Poll 37, which the Star followed during the campaign, was 40 per cent. In the last election, just 18.5 per cent voted at Poll 37, the lowest turnout in the riding of Etobicoke-Centre, which itself had the second-lowest turnout in 2004 in Ontario. …
These are gains for Canadians of all federalist political stripes. The election that few voters initially wanted, especially over the Christmas holidays, ultimately delivered a little something for almost everyone.
I’m ramping The Daily Pulse back up, and viewership has increased significantly. It took 4 months to get the first 3000, and about two weeks for the next thousand. If you’re interested in being a front-page contributor, let me know. Ideally, we’re looking for the following, all to be surveys of different editorial sites like the above:
* Letters to the Editor. I’ve been doing it once a week, but think a daily column gives the best picture of all what people outside the beltway or the political junkie blogs are thinking. Daily is ideal
* Foreign editorials. The best would be to have several different people, each posting once a week. I’d love to have a European Pulse, an Asian Pulse, a Middle Eastern, etc. Now, I try to include one foreign per main entry, but think the blog would be more valuable with a wider voice.
* Alternative editorials. I include GLBT, African American, Jewish, etc., newspapers in my database, from which randomly select editorial pages. But they are such a minority, they rarely pop up. If somebody dedicated themselves to an alternative column, that would be incredibly cool. It could also be broken up- weekly or semi-weekly GLBT, ditto African American, etc.
* Local columnists. Local columnists tend to have their fingers on the pulse of their communities, even better sometimes than the editorials. The editor gets to write whatever s/he wants. Columns sell, and they don’t sell if they’re too far from the community. Daily is best, but a couple of times per week would be cool.
* Other content, esp. local radio and television.
*Whatever else might fit in the format.