Friday, September 29, 2006

More Viciousness

Here's one more example why the Bush Administration and most of the GOP don't believe in any of the ideals that separated Americans from much of the world for most of our existence.

If you can believe it, Republicans and a minority of Democrats have rebuked an Amendment to the detainee bill that would've allowed terror suspects the right to argue their innocence before a court. This is an essential right in any society dedicated to philosophical Enlightenment and classical liberal ideals or the foundations of modern Western democracy.

The NYTs puts it succinctly:
[The detainee bill] strips detainees of a habeas corpus right to challenge their detentions in court and broadly defines what kind of treatment of detainees is prosecutable as a war crime.
If I'm not mistaken, the last time habeas corpus was suspended was by President Lincoln during the Civil War.

It seems the Bush Administration and its new breed of conservatives, which are anything but in philosophic terms, believe betting on bad precedents is the way to win this war on Islamo-fascists -- a term I applaud despite the backlash against it.

I believe history will show them wrong.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Costa Rica

If there's any interest in why the blog's been silent for a little over two weeks, it's because I'm in sunny Costa Rica -- Playa Hermosa or "Beautiful Beach" -- attempting to learn how to surf, but the waves are truly monstrous, almost double overhead somedays.

I'll attempt to post some of my impressions of Playa Hermosa and the nearby town of Jaco when the mood strikes me a bit more. The latter though is a haven of hookers and a den of depravity. I think it's safe to say it resembles Bangkok, Thailand in its penchant for sex tourism and easy drug-use.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

A Day to Remember

Everyone knows what today is -- it needs no introduction.

It's important to remember the ying and yang of heroism and viciousness that occurred. By simple circumstance, ordinary people discovered a courage unparalleled while the hijackers fed a fire reason could not dampen. Every atrocity shows us the great battle between humaneness and misanthropic hatred tussling in each of us. 9/11 is one of the greatest indictments and greatest redeemers of humanity.

It's also important that our foreign policy be oriented toward preserving humanity and not aiding our destruction. 5 years after the smoke rose like a funeral pyre up above Manhattan, DC, and PA we must vow to wage our war with Al-Qaeda and other Islamist fanatics with more humaneness. It is only then that the world with again align with us and defeat a movement more concerned with the afterlife than this life.

We must act like the great protector of the Enlightenment we believe ourselves to be and not the Great Satan much of the Muslim world rages about.

On days like today it's important to remember Thomas Paine's famous declaration, "We have it in our power to start the world again."

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stalker Central

For those too old and not in the know, there's a younger online social networking alternative to called I heard about last year while attending the University of St. Andrews and was told it was a must have to stay in the loop socially among classmates.

One of the weirdest aspects of Generation Y for older Americans is the rampant voyeurism whereby young people will do and say anything to get noticed, because you never know, a talent agent might be digitally snooping around your profile. That's why you'll find compromising pics and videos uploaded willingly and enthusiastically by Myspacers and Facebookians.

But finally Facebook has tested how much information they can release of their customers and it has led to a revolt. Via The Nation's Notion blog:
On September 5, Facebook-- the social networking site made up of 9 million users, mostly college students, who post and share personal information in online profiles-- unveiled a major change.

A new feature called "News Feed" instantaneously broadcasts virtually every move a Facebook user makes to his online "friends." For example, now, when a user logs on, he will immediately see that "Tim changed his relationship status to 'It's Complicated'" or "Sarah removed Kelly Clarkson from her 'Favorite Music'" or "Randy posted a comment on Jean's wall: 'U rock my world.'" Each alteration to one's profile is even time-stamped, so others can know if "Jenny removed Bill as a friend" while she was supposed to be in her 11 am chemistry class.

Generation Y had previously been shockingly devil-may-care in its attitude towards privacy, but News Feed seems to be the last straw. Within hours of the change, dozens of online protest groups were launched, ironically, some say, on Facebook itself. One group, "Students Against Facebook News Feed," already has more than half a million members, and several other groups boast thousands each. Students are calling News Feed "creepy" and "stalker-ish" and demanding that the feature be promptly removed; others are vowing to spend "A Day Without Facebook" next week, and some have removed their profiles altogether (not an easy thing to do-- ask any college student how vital Facebook has become to campus life).
This is scary when you think about it, especially when people know you've demoted them as a friend. Oh, the awkward silences and social tensions.

But on the other hand, all Facebook has done is make it easy to see the changes your friends have made to their profile. You could do this anyway by reviewing your friends' profiles every so often although it would be time consuming. Ironically, by merely consolidating these updates in one space, may have finally shown young adults how important privacy is in a U.S. marked by government wire-taps and the steady erosion of our civil liberties.

It's a good lesson for apathetic college students, however disastrous it may be to

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tragic but Forseeable

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's death was a tragedy but I'm tired of hearing how unbelievable it was. It was apt and almost scripted beforehand.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

A Cry from the 9th Ward

If you have HBO, watch Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke." It's haunting.

The head of one of the major networks needs to buy this documentary and air it in primetime so everyone can see how the U.S. government failed the people of New Orleans and how, now, politicians and developers are trying to shiv the survivors of the 9th ward by stealing their land.

Check out Mike Davis' Mother Jones article from last October for more on this disgusting land grab.

Greed conquers all.

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