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Saturday, July 31, 2004

check your race: you might be a terrorist

Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer [arizona daily star, july 31, 2004]

A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign asked Teri Hayt, the Star’s managing editor, to disclose the journalist’s race on Friday. After Hayt refused, the organizer called back and said the journalist probably would be allowed to photograph the vice president.

“It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted,” Hayt said later.

Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the president’s re-election campaign, said the information was needed for security purposes.

“All the information requested of staff, volunteers and participants for the event has been done so to ensure the safety of all those involved, including the vice president of the United States,” he said.

this, of course, is yet another interesting combination of race and photography. i imagine we won’t hear much about this, because the secret service will function as a convenient black hole for any questions. “is it true?” “the secret service does not comment on operational matters”

since this is patently offensive, we’re going to put christine walton on the record.

just some food for thought, in case any of you terrorists decide to get close to bush and/or cheney during any of the fundraising events before the big rnc party.

update: also covered at brown equals terrorist.

posted by roj at 7:57 pm  

Saturday, July 31, 2004

watch your camera [2]: you might be a terrorist

reported in the boston globe…

Sikh student detained by Secret Service [boston globe, july 30, 2004]

A Boston College student leader who wears a turban and full beard in accord with his Sikh religion says he was detained and interrogated for seven hours Saturday night by Secret Service agents for doing nothing more than taking photographs of the campus.

Boston College officials said they are giving [Sundeep] Sahni their full support and are attempting to arrange a meeting between the student and the Secret Service.

“We want to arrange a conversation, which we hope will result in an apology,” said Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn.

A Secret Service spokesman, however, said there will be no such meeting or apology.

“During the course of the DNC, law enforcement is in a heightened state of awareness in response to suspicious activity,” Secret Service spokesman Charles Bopp said. “He [Sahni] was interviewed, and our security concerns were addressed. The case is closed. There are no charges; there is no further investigation.”

according to his resume, he knows linux and macromedia so maybe that’s the terrorist angle.

i guess i just keep coming back to this… we’re never going to make much progress in this “war on terror” if we can’t face up to our own mistakes. what’s the downside of apologizing for ruining someone’s day? we’re supposed to be better than this.

sundeep – on behalf of the secret service, that is acting in my name as an american, i apologize.

oh, and by the way, if that’s a picture of sundeep’s turban, there is no way to fit an uzi in there.

update: also covered at brown equals terrorist.

posted by roj at 9:46 am  

Saturday, July 31, 2004

the 9/11 commission tour

i have to imagine this is unprecedented, but i don’t know enough history to make that call with confidence.

the members of the 9/11 commission, having issued their final report [pdf], made their last statement [pdf] and generally wrapped up their business, have apparently decided that their work is not yet complete.

i admit, particularly given the opposition to creating this commission, that i had very low expectations of both the sorts of people that would participate and the results. i figured this was a “bury it in bureaucracy” compromise by the time everything was done.

i was wrong.

so, i’m going to take some of my time, some of my space, and thank the members of the commission: Thomas H. Kean, Lee H. Hamilton, Richard Ben-Veniste, Fred F. Fielding, Jamie S. Gorelick, Slade Gorton, Bob Kerrey, John F. Lehman, Timothy J. Roemer, and James R. Thompson.

i’m also going to mention the staff – the people that undoubtedly did the heavy lifting on this job: Joanne Accolla, Alexis Albion, Scott Allan, John Azzarello, Caroline Barnes, Warren Bass, Ann Bennett, Mark Bittinger, Madeleine Blot, Antwion Blount, Geoff Brown, Daniel Byman, Dianna Campagna, Sam Caspersen, Melissa Coffey, Lance Cole, Marquittia Coleman, Marco Cordero, Raj De, George Delgrosso, Gerald L. Dillingham, Thomas Dowling, Steven Dunne, Thomas Eldridge, John Farmer, Alvin Felzenberg, Lorry Fenner, Susan Ginsburg, T. Graham Giusti, Nicole Grandrimo, Doug Greenburg, Barbara Grewe, Elinore Hartz, Len Hawley, Christine Healey, Karen Heitkotter, Walt Hempel, Michael Hurley, Dana Hyde, Michael Jacobson, Bonnie Jenkins, Reginald Johnson, William Johnstone, Stephanie Kaplan, Miles Kara, Janice Kephart-Roberts, Hyon Kim, Christopher Kojm, Katarzyna (Kasia) Kozaczuk, Gordon Lederman, Daniel Leopold, Sarah Linden, Douglas MacEachin, Daniel Marcus, Ernest May, James Miller, Kelly Moore, Charles Pereira, John Raidt, John Roth, Peter Rundlet, Lloyd Salvetti, Kevin Scheid, Kevin Shaeffer, Tracy Shycoff, Dietrich Snell, Jonathan Stull, Lisa Sullivan, John Tamm, Cate Taylor, Yoel Tobin, Emily Walker, Garth Wermter, Serena Wille and Philip Zelikow.

why would i make such a statement?

because these commissioners haven’t just done their bureaucratic paper-wrangling job, packed up and gone home with an impressive line-item on their fresh resume.

Timothy Roemer

We want to continue this helpful and encouraging momentum not only with education, but with results, so commission members will be traveling around the country talking to the American people to try and make sure we not only read the report, but implement it.

they have established a goal of producing legislation by october 1, which, it is probably worth noting, is eerily similar to the usa patriot act rollout after september 11. the difference, i think, is that this new law will have been well-vetted, both by the congress and by ordinary americans, between now and then. there won’t be any “i voted for it, but i didn’t know what i was voting for” excuses this time.

the commission officially dissolves on august 26, but the commissioners are seeking private funding to continue their work after the plug is officially pulled.

so thank you, commission-members and staff, for taking this task seriously, and for going beyond the production of paper to make a difference.

posted by roj at 1:19 am  

Saturday, July 31, 2004

don’t steal the gas

Woman Who Stole Fuel Ordered to Wear Sign [ap via abc, july 30, 2004]

A woman who stole $4.52 worth of fuel was ordered to stand outside the gas station Friday wearing a sandwich board sign that declared: “I was caught stealing gas.”

this means that there’s no mandatory sentence for stealing less than $5 of fuel, giving the judge in the case some room for… judgement.

at least she wasn’t put in prison.

i imagine the sandwich board cost more than the gas, tho…

posted by roj at 12:47 am  

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Eugene Roche


posted by roj at 12:39 am  

Friday, July 30, 2004

record budget deficit – it’s the [non]recession

i guess the theme this week is going to be the economy, i found another gem.

The White House blames the 2001 recession and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks for ushering in the deficits

yes, except that the 2001 recession doesn’t look like a recession so much. i wonder if anyone at the white house is reading the reports coming out of the commerce department? this administration used to be so good at keeping everyone on the same page…

The U.S. budget deficit will hit a record $445 billion this year, according to a White House report on Friday that is sure to fuel election-year wrangles about President Bush’s economic policies.

The figure is well above the 2003 shortfall of $374 billion, the prior record in dollar terms. But the midsession review forecast is $76 billion less than the $521 billion the White House projected in February.

so things (well, projections) are improving, and the rest of the article goes on to discuss the scope of the deficit in percentage-of-gdp terms. the peak in those terms was 1983 (that’s a reagan administration budget). some quick math tells me that’s about $1500 per living american to cover the gap for 2004. plus any extra emergency war money that comes up.

ok, with that, i hand it over to the experts…

posted by roj at 3:22 pm  

Friday, July 30, 2004

it wasn’t a recession?

a few days ago, i mentioned the two-year decline in american incomes. the “escape clause” was that the income decline occured during a recession. nevermind that other recessions since 1953 hadn’t produced income declines. today, that escape clause vanishes in the face of new economic data from the department of commerce.

Not only was the U.S. recession in 2001 the shallowest on record, it may not have been one at all — at least in the classic sense of two straight quarterly declines, new government data show.

so american incomes fell, despite a “flat” economy.

update (2004.07.31): somehow, i knew a “non-recession recession” would be irresistable over there. barry brings a different perspective (of course).

posted by roj at 11:41 am  

Friday, July 30, 2004

fries with your hvt, mister president?

in june, i talked vaguely about the coming surprises. even earlier, in may, others were talking about july surprises. it seems that while the chain of command in iraq is questionable, afghanistan knows how to deliver on a request.

but that’s just random bloggers talking about wild “left wing conspiracy theories.” is there substance? let’s turn to some “real” journalists (john b. judis, spencer ackerman & massoud ansari)….

July Surprise? [new republic, july 19, 2004 / updated july 29, 2004]

But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that “it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT [high value targets] were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July”–the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

well, afghanistan almost delivered – instead of the 26-28th of july window, they missed by a day, putting it on kerry nomination acceptance day. but you can’t control the timing of these things. the war on terror is an ongoing effort, operations are continuous, and the capture of crafty terrorist leaders is always a priority.

how you interpret this, of course is going to depend a lot on your personal political leanings. some call it a straw man and even rush had to poke at it – any success in the war on terror is a political move. but then they’ll have to face the question about this person being captured on the 25th, but the capture not announced until the 29th. and that announcement did make interesting news.

in contrast, the saddam capture (that’s another hvt), was reported by fox and announced by the president himself within hours of the capture.

is pakistan supporting the bush administration by delivering a high-value target on schedule, or is pakistan supporting the opposition by playing into a pre-sold conspiracy theory? or is it really just all a coincidence?

sadly, there’s a long trail of breadcrumbs… so i’m pretty sure i didn’t make this whole thing up as some strange dystopian movie script… you couldn’t sell that sort of conspiracy theory to hollywood.

posted by roj at 9:25 am  

Friday, July 30, 2004

census bureau tells dhs where to find arabs

i’ll need to come back to this to make appropriate comments, but this was important enough that i thought i should get it “out there” fast.

The Census Bureau has provided specially tabulated population statistics on Arab-Americans to the Department of Homeland Security, including detailed information on how many people of Arab backgrounds live in certain ZIP codes.

it will be interesting to see if trust can be restored by 2010, or if that census data is already compromised.

update: also covered at brown equals terrorist.

posted by roj at 5:56 am  

Friday, July 30, 2004

apple doesn’t like hacker tactics

i didn’t post anything on the news that realnetworks found their way into the ipods – because i was sure this would either fizzle (not likely) or explode. i think we got the explosion.

“We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, ” said Apple in a statement.

“We are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and other laws.”

“We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real’s Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.”

“outsider cool” company apple has become the institution on this one. rip, mix, burn – on our terms.

posted by roj at 5:28 am  
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