SCOTUS to Hear Secret 9/11 Cases

Justice, et. al., have insisted on a number of secret hearings and trials in the wake of 9/11. Some of these cases are finally headed to the Supremes for review, as the Christian Science Monitor reports. The primary case involves a man identified only as MKB, a waiter in south Florida detained by INS and questioned by the FBI. Secrecy is anathema to democracy, period. If you’re not scared yet, read this:

MKB v. Warden is the first indication that the Justice Department is extending its total secrecy policy to proceedings in federal courts dealing with habeas corpus – that is, an individual’s right to force the government to justify his or her detention.

Until somebody shows me different, I continue to view John Ashcroft and his Department of “Justice” as a far bigger threat to American freedoms than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Over two years after the towers fell, we’re still doing the terrorists’ work for them as we allow our freedoms to be dismantled in the name of “security.” Remember what Ben Franklin said about trading one for the other, right?

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.

How they handle dissent in Jacksonville

A group of anti-war veterans were ejected from the Veteran’s Day parade despite being paid, registered participants. The stated reason? They’re anti-war. Wow. The parade organizer says the police wanted ‘em out, but the cops deny it.

Way to go, Jacksonville. Please reread the First Amendment and get back to us; marginalizing dissent is just about the most UNpatriotic thing I can think of.

Dept. of Small Gripes

There is no way I can complain about my housekeeper’s new assistant storing our flatware incorrectly — e.g., she cannot seem to differentiate between dinner and salad forks, or between tea and soup spoons, nor has it dawned on her why the drawer has four such compartments (she blithely fills two with assorted spoons, and the other two with assorted forks) — without sounding like an asshole, is there?

Yet another story the “liberal media” is ignoring

The Toledo Blade — and independent, family owned paper — ran a four-part series last month uncovering perhaps one of our bleakest military episodes: the war crimes of the Tiger Force unit in Vietnam. Briefly, in 1967, this unit went on a seven-month killing spree that was by no means confined to “enemy combatants;” they killed unarmed men, women, and children. Salon:

The paper also uncovered for the first time that a secret four-year Army investigation had concluded that 18 members of Tiger Force had committed war crimes, but no charges were ever brought. Instead, the investigation was simply filed away in 1975, during Donald Rumsfeld’s first run as secretary of defense.

Given this, you’d think the story would be all over the national press. Today, Salon wonders why this Pulitzer contender isn’t on a TV near you.

Another great American industry, falling on hard times

Is it regressive taxation doing them in? Nope. How about all those jobs running off to China and wherever else they’re going? Nope, not that either.

No, the problem with good old American smut peddlin’ is that old print boys can’t seem to keep (it) up with the Internet, since the dirty bookstore is now effectively inside your computer. After 35 years, Al Goldstein’s Screw has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, figuring reorganization may allow him to stay a going concern. More famously, the elder Bob Guccione took those same steps recently, and Guccione himself has stepped down as CEO of Penthouse International (he remains the editor, natch). Their circulation has dropped by nearly half, down to 575k from nearly a million. Even stalwart Playboy is feeling the pinch, though they’re in better shape than these two.

That, at least, should be enough to keep the fundies irritated.

“See, Free Speech is an American thing, an y’all are FOREIGNERS.”

White House security officials are demanding that Scotland Yard effectively shut down central London for Bush’s three day visit later this month.

American officials want a virtual three-day shutdown of central London in a bid to foil disruption of the visit by anti-war protestors. They are demanding that police ban all marches and seal off the city centre. But senior Yard officers say the powers requested by US security chiefs would be unprecedented on British soil. While the Met wants to prevent violence, it is sensitive to accusations of trying to curtail legitimate protest.

(Via BoingBoing, who appear to finally have a stable server.)

Ouch.

This has been passed around a bunch, but it’s still funny:

The consecration of Gene Robison as bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal Church is an affront to Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church’s founder, Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon, and his wife Anne Boleyn, and his wife Jane Seymour, and his wife Anne of Cleves, and his wife Katherine Howard, and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this assault on traditional Christian marriage. Paul Emmons, West Chester University

Teaching Kids to be Compliant and Docile in South Carolina

A high school in South Carolina conducted a drug sweep with local officers — who entered the school with guns drawn, and restrained some students face down on the floor for the duration of the raid. CNN and CBS News are also on the story.

They found nothing beyond the suspicions of K-9 officers that some backpacks had at some point had drugs in them. Or liver treats, I guess. No arrests were made.

Apparantly, “avoiding the surveillance cameras” was one of the things that tipped the administration off to the enormous amount of drug activity in the school. Think carefully about that: it’s basically the “if you’ve got nothing to hide, then why worry about privacy?” argument, and now they’re teaching it in high schools. Good God.

Time Revises History

Back in 1998, former President George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft published a piece in Time called “Why We Didn’t Remove Saddam.” It contained several points that continue to apply today, 12 years after Bush’s famously secong-guessed decision not to roll to Baghdad after ejecting Iraq from Kuwait.

Well, the article — often cited by war opponents in the run up to the new invasion — has been removed from the Time web site. Not only that; the archived table of contents for the issue in question no longer lists the article.

Fortunately, the folks at the Memory Hole have a copy, along with a scan of the original magazine pages. I suppose Time could insist it be removed on copyright grounds, but that would just be creepy, wouldn’t it?

Well, here’s a really, really bad idea

“How about we let the U.N. run the Internet?”

Well, dictatorships would love it, but the rest of us, well, not so much. The net has thrived on the dyanmic ad-hocracy that runs it; anything that puts control in the hands of governments is bound to fuck it up. There’s a (shelved) plan on the table, so the idea is out there; let’s make sure it never happens.

If he’d been as clear and compelling as this three years ago, I’d still be posting about funny web sites.

MoveOn has the text of a speech given by Al Gore yesterday. Some choice quotes:

[F]or the first time in our history, American citizens have been seized by the executive branch of government and put in prison without being charged with a crime, without having the right to a trial, without being able to see a lawyer, and without even being able to contact their families. President Bush is claiming the unilateral right to do that to any American citizen he believes is an “enemy combatant.” Those are the magic words.ÊIf the President alone decides that those two words accurately describe someone, then that person can be immediately locked up and held incommunicado for as long as the President wants, with no court having the right to determine whether the facts actually justify his imprisonment. Now if the President makes a mistake, or is given faulty information by somebody working for him, and locks up the wrong person, then itÕs almost impossible for that person to prove his innocence Ð because he canÕt talk to a lawyer or his family or anyone else and he doesnÕt even have the right to know what specific crime he is accused of committing. So a constitutional right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we used to think of in an old-fashioned way as ÒinalienableÓ can now be instantly stripped from any American by the President with no meaningful review by any other branch of government. How do we feel about that? Is that OK?

There’s also a fine quote from the Israeli high court in 1999:

This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it.ÊAlthough a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. ÊPreserving the Rule of Law and recognition of an individualÕs liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security.ÊAt the end of the day they (add to) its strength.

Just a reminder, dear readers. Just a reminder.

It’s a single source, but certainly seems plausible

A Marine Corps Intelligence Analyst may have been forced out of the service because he has “liberal views.”

I know the military gets to play by its own rules, but this seems absurd. Well, only sort of, now that I think about it; this is also the military that discharged six Arabic linguists last year because, you know, they’re gay, and never mind that whole “we have a shortage of Arabic expertise” thing.

Goodbye, Greymatter…

…Hello, Blosxom.

For lots of reasons, not the least which being my tendency to tweak shit, I’ve moved Miscellaneous Heathen to another new system. If you’re the sort who keeps score on these things, this makes our third since spring, 2001. My “Some Arrant Knaves I Know” mailing list became the initial, Blogger-driven version; then, in July, 2001, I switched to the more tweak-friendly and stable Greymatter.This isn’t a reflection on Greymatter per se (though GM did seem to have trouble rebuilding all 650+ entries without timing out); it’s more a question of right tools. Noah Grey has moved on to his “real” career (photography) and is no longer maintaining Greymatter, which means updates and improvements are unlikely. On the other hand, Blosxom is a community effort centered around a simple core application plus a growing body of plug-ins that seem to Just Plain Work. It also renders all the pages dynamically, which means no more rebuilding pages when I tweak the templates.

None of this matters to 90% of the Heathen Public, of course. In the event you do care about this sort of thing, I have a Greymatter-to-Blosxom + WriteBack Perl script you may want; I could find no such thing on the net, so I had to build my own.

What’s in a name?

So earlier today, an astute reader noted there there exists another Miscellaneous Heathen weblog, over on Blogspot, at http://miscellaneousheathen.blogspot.com. Her site wasn’t too similar to ours here, but the name thing was a little odd, and we’re kind of attached to being the only Miscellaneous Heathen weblog around.

After being needlessly flip about her in a reply to a comment this morning (since redacted, and for which I have apologized), I decided to email her and ask if she’d mind changing her blog name. Hers was 2 months old in its current incarnation, but longtime Heathen know we’ve been using this name since scandals meant “blow jobs” and not “manufactured casus bellli.”

Gennifer was nothing but gracious, and agreed immediately to change her site’s name. If you somehow arrived here looking for her site, or you just want to read funny stuff of another stripe, head over to Unsweet, hosted at Blogspot. I get the idea she’s some sort of TV writer person, and that’s got to be a gold mine for material. Thanks again, Gennifer, for understanding our unnatural attraction to the this particular oddball phrase.

Bizarre Feats of Mendacity

Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the one investigating the Iraqi prewar intelligence and our march to war, which we now see as founded on errors if not outright lies). Apparantly, one of his staff members wrote a memo which “laid out options for handling a report the committee is preparing that will largely focus on weaknesses in intelligence gathering and analysis by the intelligence community.”

The plan, according to this memo, was first to work within the committee, which, as the Post notes, has a strong and unusual history for bipartisanship, in order to explore the allegations and suspicians rampant in D.C. and elsewhere that there was improper or questionable behavior on the part of White House officials.

A second option, the memo continues, is to loudly dissent if the report is too narrow, and “castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry.”

Finally, the memo discusses the possibility of an independent, Democrat-only invesigation, “when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority.”

Put another way, it seems to be a contingincy plan for what they can do to encourage an real investigation, which must include White House actions, particularly in light of their ongoing battle with the CIA. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? I mean, after all, it’s completely reasonable for them to suspect that the Majority might obstruct efforts to investigate one of their own, particularly in the climate we have now; the Democrats — and concerned Republicans — should be planning for other ways to get to the bottom of this.

Well, the memo was never approved or formally circulated, but it’s been leaked somehow. Or, perhaps, nefariously acquired by the opposition; Sen. Rockefeller even suggests such an acquisition would have required trash-sifting or improper computer access.

Now, of course, the GOP is hopping mad at this “politicization” of the intelligence process. So horrifying and awful was this memo to Senante Majority Leader Bill Frist that he cancelled all business of said committee, pending an “apology.” Newt Gingrich said yesterday that he thinks the President should refuse to cooperate with the investigation altogether.

That’s just plain bizarre. You don’t have to take my word, or anyone’s word, for what’s actually in this unsent, unapproved memo; the text is available online (at Fox, no less). It’s no smoking gun, and I think my summary above is fair. The GOP’s response to it is frankly astounding, and suggests some very scary things about what such an investigation might find.

Do you see what’s happening here? Josh Marshall does:

The Republicans are trying to protect the administration from a host of disclosures about shenanigans in the lead up to the war. They’ve seized on this memo (which is a bit embarrassing for the Dems, certainly, but hardly more than that) and are trying to use it to secure even further partisan control over the intelligence oversight process — or, in other words, to prevent any serious inquiry into what happened in the lead-up to the war.

The GOP knows, or at least suspects and fears, that the “proof” for WMDs in Iraq never existed, or was based on manifestly inferior intelligence and analysis that the CIA tried to contain (part of their job is to prevent misleading data from setting policy, which is appropriate; this Administration has been rabid for the raw data, and analysis be damned — partly, I suspect, so that PNAC policies could become flesh). They also know what they did to a sitting president over a blow job, when no weapons of any kind were in the mix, and they fear payback — particularly in an investigation based on something other than being sore losers in ’92 and ’96.

There’s more discussion, if you want it, over at Whiskey Bar, where they see a pattern emerging that’s pretty scary.

Dept. of Backup Software that SUCKS

Okay, this is a rant. It’s a rant about some specific software, but it’s also a rant about the fact that normal humans still can’t just buy software that does a job and expect it to work, for the most part. Companies market these products as easy-to-use, but a huge percentage of the time, it’s so broken, unusable, or just plain confusing that someone like me has to get involved. For esoteric database servers, that’s okay. For backup software — something everyone ought to be using — it’s absolutely inexcusable.

Yesterday, I got a call from one of my clients to come out and help him with his backups. He’s the odd duck in my client roster, since I do no development for him; I just do desktop support. Since he’s a friend’s dad (and a friend in his own right), I really see him socially more than I see him professionally, but a week or so ago he called me and asked what sort of backup software I suggest to folks. He wanted total fire-and-forget, and he wanted to be able to span CDs, since his user directory had grown beyond a single CD’s capacity (due primarily to pictures of a certain baby girl, I’m certain).

Well, I don’t really have a favorite. I mirror my stuff across a couple drives, and I burn CDs of key directories pretty regularly, so that software niche isn’t something I have firsthand knowledge of, and I told him so. Then I said something I regret: “I hear good things about Retrospect.”

Ooops.

Well, as I said, he called me yesterday, and I went out to his office this morning. He’d been getting all sorts of weird errors when he tried to do backups, and his computer crashed when he tried to run DiskWarrior to investigate the claims Retrospect made about various failures. In no case did Retrospect make a usable backup.

I ran some tests, since I feared the worst, but I couldn’t find anything wrong with the machine, either with the hardware or the drive itself. I killed a few stray processes, and then tried to do a backup. Retrospect dutifully started copying his user directory to a CD, ran out of space, asked for a second one, finished the backup, and then asked for the first one again in order to verify the backup.

“Hm,” I thought, “perhaps [CLIENT] just did something weird.”

Ah, no. Retrospect refused to recognize the first disc, despite having written to it only moments before. A second try at a backup yielded the same results 15 minutes later, so I called Dantz, the company that makes Retrospect.

Now, [CLIENT] is not a power user. He’s been a Mac guy since the early eighties (he had a Lisa, for crying out loud), and doesn’t ask too much of his systems. He’s got no goofy software on the thing, and it’s a nice, newish 17″ iMac — I actually helped him move into it last year, from an old Power Computing machine. There’s no reason to think it’s gone nuts in any way.

When I finally got to speak to a smart human at Retrospect (half an hour later), I gave them [CLIENT]‘s serial number, the version of the software, the version of OS X, and the model name of the computer. I then described Retrospect’s behavior, whereupon the “tech” asked me to verify what model CD-R drive the iMac had. I told him.

Tech: “Oh, you can’t use CD-Rs in that drive.” Me: “Actually, he can burn CDs from the Finder just fine.” Tech: “I mean that Retrospect won’t work with CD-Rs or CD-RWs in that particular drive.” Me: “You mean to say that your backup software doesn’t work properly in one of Apple’s most mainstream computers, and that there’s no way to make it do so?” Tech: “Sorry. You can use DVD-Rs, though.” Me: (Unprintable)

(The problem with that solution was that (a) I wasn’t sure he had a DVD burner and (b) since DVDs have a 4.7GB capacity, he didn’t need $80 worth of backup software to get his 1.4GB of data on a single disc. He can just drop one in, drag is user folder to it, hit “Go”, and be done with it. Period. As it happens, he did spring for the Superdrive, so DVDs it would be.)

I expressed my amazement AGAIN at how ridiculous this was, since there was nowhere I’d yet found that said this incompatibility existed. Tech’s feeble response was that it was included “on a compatibility list on the web site.” Folks, I’ve looked on the site — I had half an hour to search the site while I was on hold — and I never saw such a list. Even if I had, I’m not sure if it would have occurred to me to check it, since the drive in question was a STOCK DRIVE FROM APPLE that is commonly found on their iMacs (it’s an upgrade, sure, but a pretty damn common one). Who doesn’t work with stock equipment? I mean, it’s not like a bunch of companies make iMacs. (Incidentally, I just tried to link to that list, and it appears their support site is now down. Appropriate, I guess.)

I expressed to the Tech precisely how weasely it was that they don’t actively exclude iMac Superdrives from their compatibilty list on the fucking BOX instead of on a page buried on their website that’s full of technical mumbo jumbo people like [CLIENT] shouldn’t be expected to understand. He’s an oil guy, for the love of Mike; he’s got no idea what model drive Apple put in his iMac. After all, I don’t need to know anything about drilling for oil to put gas in my car, right?

I advised [CLIENT] to return the software to PC/Mac Mall (something he had zero trouble doing; they’re eating the shipping both ways, too; since I’m slamming Dantz, I may as well note how impressed I am that PC/Mac Mall does business this way). I advise anyone reading this to avoid Dantz until they get their act together, if they ever do.

Of course, “go get some recordable DVDs and use them instead” wasn’t quite the end of the story. Don’t get me started on the whole DVD-R vs. DVD+R quagmire. Suffice it to say I forgot it existed, and poor [CLIENT] emailed me a bit later asking if he’d done something wrong, since his computer wouldn’t recognize the DVD+R (“dee vee dee PLUS arr”) media he bought. Macs, of course, use DVD-R (“dee vee dee DASH arr”) media. The only thing he did wrong was assume consumer electronics companies were rational, or that they gave a shit about being comprehensible. The fact that the only difference between the two is a subtle, unpronounceable, nonalphabetic character is nothing short of criminal; what the hell were they thinking?

But that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

Excellent, but sure to piss off at least somebody

Mark Morford, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle explains how important “Protection from Pornography Week” is, or was. An excerpt:

After all, porn ruins families. And communities. And children. And puppies. And the upholstery. This is the government line. This is what they would like you to believe. This is why they invented Protection from Pornography Week. Because you need to know They Care. They are on guard. Because you, as always, are under attack. Here is the message: Despite how porn is a multibillion-dollar, record-breaking, insanely popular, widely accepted, gigglingly discussed, generally harmless, often exceedingly sexy and fun and unstoppable force of skin and fake orgasm and cheesy background music and money shots and thrust thrust thrust, it doesn’t really matter. It is pure evil, they say. And it’s coming for your children. Unless, you know, it’s not. Unless porn remains merely that beloved slippery devil so reviled by every sanctimonious group in modern history, that final frontier of bogus moralism and excessive alarmism and puffed-chest indignation and oh my God who pray who will save the children. Statistics are of little use over at the official government PPW site. They do not talk about anything so frivolous as details, such as the porn biz raking in upward of $12 billion per annum, which is more than ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox combined. Or that the combined subscriber base of Penthouse and Playboy exceeds that of Newsweek and Time . Or that more money is spent on porn than on, say, church. Or the NFL. Or Starbucks. Or socks.

Heh.

Another Company to Avoid: Belkin

Belkin Routers, according to the Register, are now redirecting some HTTP requests from their owner’s networks to an advertisement for Belkin’s censorware/parental control software. You can opt-out, but it’s still pretty nasty.

Read the original news.admin.net-abuse.email post here, and the follow-up, from the Belkin marketing droid, here. His position seems to be “but you can turn it off!” Uh, right. Routers are supposed to route data, not hijaak my packets so you can advertise at me.

White House to Democrats: No Questions

The White House has announced a new policy on questions from lawmakers, particularly with regard to questions about how it’s spending money.

Now, all such questions must be submitted in writing through the relevant Congressional committees. It is of course a complete coincidence that the chairs of all these committees — and therefore the gatekeepers for all questions — will be Republicans, and that said chairs will be unlikely to forward any Democrat-authored queries to 1600 Pennsylvania.

Lynch Speaks

Former POW Jessica Lynch is now a civilian, and is not shy about speaking her mind in re: the Pentagon’s portrayal of her capture and, in particular, her rescue.

In an ABC interview quoted in this Washington Post story, she says “I’m no hero. . . I’m just a survivor.” She also laments the over-dramatic rescue coverage (“Yeah, I don’t think it happened quite like that”) and expresses her irritation at being used as the Pentagon’s poster soldier.

CNN covers the same interview, as does the New York Times, which includes this quote, absent from the other two stories:

“From the time I woke up in that hospital, no one beat me, no one slapped me, no one, nothing,” Ms. Lynch told Diane Sawyer, adding, “I’m so thankful for those people, because that’s why I’m alive today.”

It would have been very, very easy for her to just accept and support the Pentagon’s initial version — a blonde Rambo bravely fighting off Iraqi hordes, only to be captured and held in an enemy prison hospital, under heavy guard, awaiting her fate until a daring commando rescue spirited her away — instead of telling the truth, especially in light of the gung-ho war effort. There were no other survivors from her group; hers would be the only voice. It’s impressive that instead of doing so, she tells the truth — that she was terrified, that her gun jammed, that she fired not a shot, that she remembers no mistreatment in the hospital, and that the treatment she did receive saved her life. She thanks her rescuers, too, of course, though she still wonders why they filmed her rescue.

Surely the reason isn’t “calculated PR,” right? I mean, we can completely discount the reports from hospital officials that they attempted to alert US forces of Lych’s whereabouts as soon as she was stable, right? Surely the Pentagon wouldn’t manipulate something like this for public opinion, right?

I just wish I was sure.

Stealing from Mike

Mike points out this link (a post by Linux luminary Doc Seals) that shows what each candidate’s web site is built on. It’s no surprise that the lion’s share run Linux, but I share Mike’s amusement that Sharpton is running Solaris instead of something Free.

The link also includes this quote, which could very well tell you all you need to know about the difference between Microsoft’s servers and Linux/Apache servers:

For what it’s worth, the Republican National Committee is running Microsoft IIS on Windows 2000, while the Democratic National Committee is running Apache on Linux. As of this writing, November 5, 2003, the RNC has an uptime of 4.26 days (maximum of 39.04) and a 90-day moving average of 16.91. The DNC has an uptime of 445.02 days (also the maximum) and a 90-day moving average of 395.38 days. Draw your own conclusions.

Dirty Harry would get one, except I’m pretty sure his ancient wrists wouldn’t take it.

Smith & Wesson has introduced a brand new pistol, the Model 500 S&W Magnum, that reclaims its former title as manufacturer of what Inspector Callahan once called “the most powerful handgun in the world.” Of course, that was more than a quarter century ago, and inflation has taken old. This new beast produces about three times the muzzle energy of that scourge of San Francisco “punks.” Now, I reckon, they’ll need to be that much luckier.

Seriously, though, the sheer engineering challenges here had to be fascinating. The article — from Popular Mechanics, not the gun press — goes into some detail on those points, and it’s pretty interesting.

You know, I was just IN Louisiana, and this surprises me

A Shreveport man has been found guilty of obscenity for selling X-rated tapes to undercover officers. Dan Birman, 23, is the owner of Fantasy Video, and now faces 6 months to 3 years in prison, and a fine of up to $2,500. Lincoln Parish DA Bob Levy appears to be on some sort of Ashcroftian anti-porn crusade, and set out to prove that Shreveport’s community standards don’t allow for explicit sexual behavior on tape. The conviction is on appeal.

Now community standards are notoriously fluid things; I suspect it’s possible to show that question to be settled either way, depending on the evidence brought to trial (how about those in-room motel movie rental records?). The bigger problem here isn’t porn vs. puritans; it’s the fact that the D.A. and the state troopers apparently don’t have enough actual crime to pursue — you know, with victims, and maybe even violence — so they decided on an undercover porn operation. I’m sure the good people of Lincoln parish feel much safer now.

More bad news.

The FCC has approved the controversial Broadcast Flag, ignoring thousands and thousands of protest letters. This is a profoundly bad idea; it puts technological innovation in the hands of the content providers, and strikes another blow against the whole idea of Fair Use (a copyright doctrine the RIAA, MPAA and Broadcasters would dearly love to destroy). It also creates a huge class of “legacy” equipment: for example, a DVD recorder purchased next summer (if the rule stands) won’t be able to create DVDs that will play on your current player.

Coverage:

Fortunately, a legal challenge is already in the works. Keep your fingers crossed, folks.

This Is Being Done In Our Name

And we’ve got to stop it. Maher Arar is a Syrian-born Canadian. Returning to Canada from vacation in Tunis last September, he flew from there to Zurich to New York, intending to continue on to Montreal. US officials detained him in New York, refused his requests for an attorney, would not tell him what charges or allegations resulted in his arrest, and eventually deported him — to SYRIA, where they knew he would be tortured or killed. He was held for over a year in total — ten months in Syria — before finally being released on October 5, thanks to the efforts of his wife and Canadian authorities.

This is his statement. Read it, and try to figure out why our Shining City on the Hill decided to detain a Canadian citizen on nebulous grounds and ultimately — and deliberately — subject him to the treatment they knew Syria would provide.

Dammit.

Longtime Heathen and fellow Mississippi expatriate R.N. called my attention to this entry at Talking Points Memo. Apparently, the Mississippi Secretary of State has already notified Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore and both Mississippi district US Attorneys about allegations of voter intimidation in minority counties. Here’s a PDF of the letter sent by Secretary Clark.

I’m very glad Clark has taken quick action here, but the fact that he needed to makes me feel ill.