28 May 2007
Tony Blair, in the last bit of his time in office, is trying to get British police war-time powers to stop people and ask them where they’re going, where they’re coming from, and who they are, according to the New Zealand Herald. Police already have the power to stop and search people.
Blair’s other idea, allowing detainment for up to ninety days with no charges, was not accepted by Parliament and the courts.
22 May 2007
Juma Mohammed Al-Dossar, a detainee at Gitmo, says he’ll commit suicide if he gets the chance, according to USA Today. He’s been held since January of 2002 without charges there, and is 33 years old, meaning he’s spent around 15% of his life there. Assuming detainees are not tortured, apparently indefinite confinement for reasons you’re not told makes you feel suicidal. Who would have guessed.
Currently about 380 people are held at Guantanamo,80 of which have been cleared for release but are waiting for agreements to be made for countries to accept them.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Enemy Combatants, Human Rights, Secret Prisons, Guantanamo, Juma Mohammed Al-Dossar, Suicide, Gitmo
16 April 2007
A woman in Missouri was fired for wearing a button saying “I (heart) being black” among other buttons commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, according to the Progressive. The human resources director said it was offensive, and compared it to wearing a swastika to work, because, obviously, MLK Jr. was known for his fascism and belief in the superiority of the Aryan race.
As the woman, Daphne Jones, pointed out, “Workers here wear ‘I love being Irish’ buttons on St. Patrick’s Day. And he said that was acceptable.”
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Free Speech, Race, Daphne Jones, Missouri, I Love Being Black
15 April 2007
Texas may become the first state to require an elective Bible course in a school if 15 students sign up, according to the Los Angeles Times. Religion is a major force in the world, and something the religious and non-religious should both have an understanding of, so in some ways this does make sense. Even with teacher training aside however, I see two major problems.
1. All major religions are a major force in world events, so any reasoning that applies to the Bible applies to the Koran, Rigveda, etc. Either there should be electives for other world religions equally available, or it should be an elective that covers religions as a whole.
2. The primary textbook for the course would apparently be the Bible. According to Represenative Warren Chisum, “It just makes sense to use the Bible if that’s the course that you’re talking about, it’s the most available book in the world.” Firstly, availability is not an issue, that’s what FedEx is for. More importantly, learning about the Bible primarily from the Bible is obviously going to be biased. In high school, I read only excerpts from the Communist Manifesto for school, we learned about communism primarily from the textbook. Primary sources are great, they should not be, so to speak, the primary source in a public classroom.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Education, Religion, Texas, Bible
14 April 2007
The Justice Department wants FISA to be “modernized,” according to the ACLU. From Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
Congress shouldn’t reward a president who continuously disregards the rule of law. FISA has already been amended numerous times. It doesn’t need to be ‘modernized,’ it needs to be followed.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Executive Power, Right to Privacy, Warrants, FISA, DoJ, Department of Justice
13 April 2007
Nigeria is holding the first of the year’s elections tomorrow, according to BBC News, which will determine state legislatures and governors. The president and national assembly are being elected on the 21st.
The government says that thousands on police and army will be out to keep the peace.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Outside US, Voting Rights, Nigeria, Elections
12 April 2007
The White House says that e-mails possibly related to the attorney firings were deleted, according to Yahoo. The e-mails were in accounts not provided by the government, but by the Republican Party. This would go around the requirement that presidential records be preserved and eventually released.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said “This sounds like the administration’s version of the dog ate my homework.”
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Executive Power, Attorney Firings, White House, Republican Party, GOP, E-Mails
11 April 2007
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is filing a FOIL request for documents relating to the abuse of national security letters, according to their website. In order to further the national discussion of the issue, the EFF says, this information must be available. Though the Justice Department agrees the information should be available, the 20-day deadline set by Congress has not been met.
Among other things, the EFF is asking for any communications regarding different interpretations, and the contracts the FBI made with phone companies.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Right to Privacy, National Security Letters, Department of Justice, FBI, Electronic Frontier Foundation
10 April 2007
The RSF has an article on Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who was murdered but whose killer was never found. She was a critic of Putin, and was well-known for reporting on Chechnya.
In 2001 she went into exile after receiving death threats, but later returned. She was killed on October 7th last year in Moscow.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Free Speech, Press Freedom, Outside US, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Anna Politkovskaya
9 April 2007
The first elections in East Timor since it gained independence in 2002 were held today, according to BBC News. Though the UN did have to fly in extra ballots to some areas, the voting was calm and ordered, officials say.
Official results will be in April 16. There is not expected to be an outright winner, so a run-off is likely.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Current Events, Bush, Current Affairs, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Outside US, Voting Rights, East Timor, Elections