Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

The following is a quote from a speech Bush gave in Buffalo, in April of 2004. It is available from the whitehouse website.

So the first thing I want you to think about is, when you hear Patriot Act, is that we changed the law and the bureaucratic mind-set to allow for the sharing of information. It’s vital. And others will describe what that means.

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

This is more than a year after he started the procedure of the NSA wiretapping American citizens without getting a constitutionally mandated warrant.

Lying Bastard.

If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention!

And I was worried about the pentagon…

This is the presidential oath of office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Apparently the President has directly authorized the NSA to spy on Americans, without first obtaining a warrant.

Last time I checked, the 4th amendment was still part of the constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Even worse than radical militant librarians – a dozen Quakers


WASHINGTON – A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn’t know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

Why does it not terrify people to know the military is spying on peaceful civilian activities?

If they believe it is a worthwhile expenditure of resources to investigate the “threat” of Quaker activities, someone should give the geniuses in charge a dictionary with the word “Pacifist” bookmarked and highlighted.

Radical Militant Librarians

Quoting an FBI Agent, from an article in the NY Times:

“While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR’s failure to let us use the tools given to us,” read the e-mail message, which was sent by an unidentified F.B.I. official. “This should be an OIPR priority!!!”

Doesn’t that phrase trip lightly off the tongue, conjuring an assortment of images? “Radical Militant Librarians.”

Whisper, and you might be beheaded.

In fairness, the article discusses the reluctance of the FBI to authorize use of any portion of the Patriot Act, to some extent because of the widespread objections to its less accepted provisions.

But still, Radical Militant Librarians?? I guess it goes along with the greater war on terror, including Secretary Ron Paige calling the NEA a “Terrorist Organization.”. Terrorists are where you find them, I suppose.

Incompetent Design

I like this interview with Don Wise.

Don Wise advocates a theory of “Incompetent Design” which argues basically that if a higher intelligence is responsible for the design of the universe, and the human species, why did he/she/it screw it up so badly?

Their theme song, sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic::

My bones proclaim a story of incompetent design.
My back still hurts, my sinus clogs, my teeth just won’t align.
If I had drawn the blueprint, I would cer-tain-ly resign.
Incompetent Design!
Evo-Evo-Evo-lution! Design is but a mere illusion.
Darwin sparked our revolution. Science SHALL prevail!

It’s worth a read, and a chuckle.

Col. Westhusing

I recommend this article from the LA Times, which discusses the life and death of Colonel Ted Westhusing. Colonel Westhusing graduated third in his class from West Point, and is described in the article thus:

Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

With one month left to go in his tour in Iraq, Westhusing committed suicide.

The details of how this honorable man came to feel so violated in Iraq that death was preferable to the dishonor he felt there are discussed in the article.

No war is “good.” Reasonable people can argue that some are justified or necessary.

Iraq is not one of them.

Thank you, General.

The normally satirical weblog Jesus’ General typically provides a devastating satire of the right wing. Today the author drops out of that mode, and posts a message that describes my angst in a better way than I ever could.

Thank you, General.

Keep up the good fight.

Editted to update the link

Food Banks

From USA Today:

As Hurricane Katrina donations reach near-record levels, some food banks in the USA are seeing bare shelves as they prepare for Thanksgiving and winter.

Food donations are down 12% in Los Angeles, 30% in New York City and more than 50% in Milwaukee and Denver, according to America’s Second Harvest network, which accounts for 80% of the nation’s food banks for the needy.

“People just aren’t able to do it,” says Shannon Cardellina, spokeswoman for the Food Bank of the Rockies. “Our community is feeling tapped out.” She says the food bank received 50,000 pounds of donated food in October 2004 but only 17,000 pounds last month.

“It’s pretty much a direct result of Katrina,” says Lisa Jakobsberg, spokeswoman for the Food Bank for New York City, which diverted some of its food and staff to the Gulf to help hurricane victims.

“We have a lot of empty shelves now. I’ve not seen that before,” says Jakobsberg, who has worked at the food bank for five years.

“People saw a need (with Katrina) and responded,” says Karen Ford, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. “It’s difficult to respond in the same manner when the need is not as visible.”

Three out of four agencies that help the poor say it will be harder to do so this holiday season because the need is greater, according to a survey of 70 agencies to be released today by Catholic Charities.

The Department of Agriculture says 11.9% of households lack year-round access to sufficient food.

Find your local Foodbank.
Donate to it.

Local to me are:
73 Downey Drive
Warminster, PA 18974
My Quaker meeting regularly collects donations for this group

New Britain Baptist Church
Route 202 & Tamanend Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901
This is the church which sponsors my scout troop. They also coordinate one of the largest foodbanks in Bucks County.

Read Luke 14:12-14
Find your local Foodbank.
Donate to it.

PA Progressive!

Congratulations to the PA Progessive for being named one of the best political blogs in Pennsylvania.

Good job. Fight the good fight.


As long as I’m referencing old music, how about an old book? Specifically, Orwell’s 1984

This from the Jesus’ General blog. I like it.