prolost

vivere est cogitare

Tag: privacy

va, tosca

Two weeks ago I saw Seattle Opera’s production of Tosca. It is quite an amazing opera, and this production was marvelous, if not especially distinct. Greer Grimsley made an amazing Scarpia, and I definitely want that cloak from the Te Deum scene (of which no pictures can be found on the internet, sadly).

The United States House of Representatives has managed to maintain a strong stand against the lies and fear-mongering of the Republican party and the Bush Administration on the issue of retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations. Of this I am glad, though often it seems as though not enough is being done. In this and many issues, it is exceedingly clear that ignorance plagues Americans. The case against retroactive immunity is so blatantly compelling that no informed citizen with a functional brain should support immunity; yet somehow it does not draw sufficiently widespread and scathing criticism as to kill the idea entirely.

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Ich bin ein Berliner

As a matter of principle I believe it is important to evaluate all information from primary sources when making decisions of significance (e.g. the presidential election, the question of whether the event is actually significant notwithstanding, i.e. accepting the assumption that it is). This is the only way to avoid being misled by deliberate or accidental misinformation. Examples of the former include basically anything from Faux News, anything out of the Bush administration regarding FISA/PAA, and so on. Of the latter, a general example would be inaccurate popular science, such as the “Equal Transit theory.”

But a tremendous hindrance exists, making this principle difficult to put into practice: we (as a people) are not well educated. To be sure, many of us will come to be proficient in a particular discipline, while some will never be very knowledgeable about anything at all. But we are called upon to make decisions that would ideally require extensive knowledge in practically every discipline. This makes it incredibly difficult to evaluate all issues with which we will be faced, unless we manage to confine ourselves to a world in which all we have to decide is whether Britney Spears should ever have more children.

For instance, who actually understands global warming? In attempting to weigh the consensus view against dissenting ones, I realized that I don’t know the first thing about how to analyze or approach the data. And I would be highly skeptical of anyone who claims to understand the scientific bases of the global warming issue, unless they are able to support such a claim by explaining the mathematics behind the models.

The right of the people…against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is wonderful.

I’m glad the Democrats in the House of Representatives refused to pass Bush’s bullshit wiretapping bill. Unlike the Senate. Though Obama, Murray and Cantwell all voted to strike the retroactive immunity provision (o/), the motion to do so failed.

It’s almost surprising that the White House and even those Republicans in Congress would be so stubborn about something that is so blatantly ludicrous. But politicking prevails, and the rights and interests of the American people are swept under the rug in favor of corporate interests and government power. These pieces highlight how completely full of shit this bill – and especially the Republicans’ insistence on passing it – really is.

Once again, the unrelenting idiocy/evilness of the right-wing politicians delivers what would be top-notch entertainment – if we weren’t living in it. Even more depressing is that there are people who agree with them.

Sometimes the batshit-crazy right-wingers invoke the ever-popular argument that the “Liberals” are not thankful for these rights that our soldiers are so valiantly “defending.” The truth is, we are thankful enough for these precious rights that we bother to use them. Only someone without a functioning brain could conclude that the only appropriate way to express gratitude for our rights is to give them all up.

the truth

At around 0720 GMT, a bomb was detonated in Baghdad’s al-Ghazl animal market. 20 minutes later, a bomb was set off in another crowded market in the al-Jadida district, southeast of Baghdad. The figures below are accurate as of the posting of this entry.

The BBC reports that the first explosion killed at least 46 and injured another 80, and that the second explosion killed at least 27 and injuring 67. That adds up to at least 73 dead, 147 wounded.

CNN reports that the first killed 69 and injured more than 140, and that the second killed 29 and injured 67. The sum is 98 dead, and at least 207 wounded.

Al Jazeera English reports that the first bomb killed 38 and the second at least 27. They estimate about 149 injured total. That is at least 65 dead, 149 wounded.

The New York Times gives the same figures as Al Jazeera.

U.S. officials, according to CNN, reported a dramatically lower death toll: 27 dead and 53 wounded.

This is all very interesting, but whatever. The most interesting difference between the reports is that the BBC and CNN stories refer to Qassem Ata al-Moussawi (and any number of alternate spellings), “a spokesman for Baghdad’s security plan,” (what does that mean, anyway?) stating that the bombers, both women, were likely mentally disabled and the bombs detonated remotely. Both of them incorporated this prominently into their stories and headlines.

However, neither the Al Jazeera story nor the U.S. military make any mentions of the women’s mental states. The NY Times article vaguely mentions Iraqi officials’ comments about the women potentially being mentally disabled, but essentially disregards it, noting that “…Iraqi officials have made similar claims in the past….”

Also, Keith Olbermann gets very angry-like and then finishes up by pretending he’s Edward R. Murrow. Sort of. He happens to be right, though. Also, in case you ever wondered what constitutes Fair Use. Because not knowing the exact wording of that law is the sort of thing you lose sleep over.