Archive for May 26th, 2006

USA Today is as mad as h*ll and isn’t going to take it anymore!

Well…maybe they’re just mildly irritated. But they’ve come out swinging against Congress in the wake of the standoff against the FBI’s search of Rep. William Jefferson’s office.

Now we know what it takes to make Congress mad enough to stand up for constitutional rights.

When the government snoops on your phone calls and records without warrants, lawmakers barely kick up a fuss. But when the target is a fellow congressman — one under investigation for taking a bribe, no less — they're ready to rumble.

[snip]

If only those leaders were as profoundly disturbed about executive branch incursions on the rights of average citizens. You certainly have to wonder where they've been for the past several years while the Bush administration ran roughshod over the legislative branch and launched anti-terror programs of questionable legality.

Indeed.

The good news is that, if this grantor of graphs, purveyor of pap, and messenger of the masses is speaking harshly about Congress, then public opinion is pretty much in lock-step.

That can only be a good thing. The media has sometimes been called the “fourth branch” of US government for its duty to challenge, question, and prod lawmakers into telling the truth, and to expose their lies and misdeeds. The media failed us after 9/11 abdicating its duties to the administration, and even now traditional media sources are slow to call attention to the failure of the President and Congress.

I like my civil liberties. How about you? (Still no word from “What’s Right…”)

Apparently there is a psychological experiment unfolding at my house. It involves two full-time agents of the malicious researcher – let’s call them X and Y — and a subject, who feels very tired and beaten down today.

The experiment seems to involve breaking down the subject by attacking his capacity to operate under stressful situations while sleep-deprived. I’ve managed to attain the researcher’s notes for the last 14 hours. Here’s an excerpt:

Operation “Sleep Time”

11:45 pm. The subject retires for the night. When he drifts off to sleep, Agent X begins to cry at an elevated volume. Agent X demands the subject’s presence. When the subject enters the room and asks Agent X what she wants, Agent X demands a gesture of affection from the subject. The subject provides Agent X with an embrace. Agent X demands that the subject hold her hand while she drifts off to sleep. The subject holds Agent X’s hand. Agent X falls asleep. The subject releases Agent X’s hand in preparation for returning to sleep. Agent X wakes and demands that the subject hold her hand. The subject refuses. Agent X cries at an elevated volume. Agent Y wakes and asks why Agent X is crying. The subject informs Agent Y of the situation. Agent Y demands that the subject hold his hand, too.

1:00 am. Agent X begins to cry at an elevated volume. Agent X demands the subject’s presence. When the subject enters the room and asks Agent X what she wants, Agent X demands a gesture of affection from the subject. The subject refuses. Agent X cries. The subject gives Agent X a stuffed lion. Agent X informs the subject that she prefers a gesture of affection from the subject than the lion. The subject refuses. The subject claims that providing Agent X with a gesture of affection at 1 am would only encourage her to repeat the experiment. Agent X clutches her lion. The subject returns to bed.

2:30 am. Agent X begins to cry at an elevated volume. Agent X demands the subject’s presence. When the subject enters Agent X’s room, Agent X reiterates her demands, and the 1:00 am scenario is repeated in full, with the exception that a stuffed cat replaces the lion.

4:30 am. Agent X repeats her performance from 1:00 am and 2:30 am, again with the lion.

6:00 am. Agent Y wakes the subject with loud thumping. When the subject goes to Agent Y’s room, Agent Y is kicking his bed with his feet. The subject informs Agent Y that he has woken too early, that Agent Y still has 90 minutes of sleep time remaining.

Agent Y demands books. The subject gives Agent Y several books. Agent Y declares that he doesn’t, in fact, want the books. The subject removes the books from Agent Y’s crib and places them on the floor. Agent Y reissues his demand for the books. The subject turns to go. Agent Y redoubles the effort of demanding books. Fearful of waking Agent X, the subject returns the books to Agent Y, who promptly refuses to accept them. The subject offers Agent Y a choice – in or out? – and indicates that this is the last time Agent Y will be able to make a demand. Agent Y refuses the books.

Operation “Breakfast”

Agent X demands a spoon. The subject brings Agent X a green spoon. Agent X demands a purple spoon and raises her voice. The subject says there are no purple spoons available. Agent X shouts, then cries. Agent X reiterates her demand for the purple spoon. The subject repeats his claim. Agent X repeats her request. The subject says Agent X can use the green spoon or eat with her hands. The subject places the spoon on the table. Agent X picks up the spoon and throws it to the floor. The subject picks up the spoon and puts it on the table. Agent X throws it on the floor again. The subject leaves the spoon on the floor and turns away. Agent X demands the spoon on the floor.

Agent Y, meanwhile, demands cereal. The subject fills Agent Y’s bowl with cereal. The subject picks up the milk and begins to pour milk into Agent Y’s bowl. Agent Y cries. Agent Y indicates his preference for cereal without milk. The subject lifts Agent Y’s bowl and drinks the milk from the bowl and resets the cereal in front of Agent Y. Agent Y demands new cereal and a new bowl. The subject eats the cereal from the bowl, washes the bowl in the sink, and returns the bowl to Agent Y. The subject fills the bowl with cereal. Agent Y demands that the subject put milk in his bowl.

Operation “Playtime”

Agent X demands that the subject carry her. The subject denies her request. The subject explains that he needs to tidy the breakfast dishes and the kitchen area. Agent X retires to the couch and reads. Agent Y demands that the subject carry him. The subject denies his request. The subject explains that he needs to tidy the breakfast dishes and the kitchen area. Agent Y repeats his request. The subject repeats his refusal. Agent Y goes over to the couch and kicks the book Agent X is reading, provoking a strong response from Agent X, which requires intervention by the subject.

After the subject removes the breakfast dishes, cereal, yoghurt, banana peel, granola, milk cups and milk jug, the spoons, plate, and wipes the table and kitchen counter, Agent X demands a second breakfast. The subject provides Agent X with a fresh bowl, cereal, and milk. Agent X eats her cereal.

Agent Y demands that the subject read him a book. The subject complies. When Agent Y is seated upon the subject’s lap and the book has been selected for reading, Agent Y demands a second breakfast. The subject lifts Agent Y and brings him to the table where Agent X is eating. Agent Y demands to read a book. The subject turns and returns to the couch. Agent Y reissues his demand for a second breakfast. The subject returns Agent Y to his chair at the table, whereupon Agent Y expresses his heartfelt desire to read. The subject offers Agent Y a choice – reading or eating? – and insists that whatever Agent Y chooses, he will do that, regardless of how his sentiments may change. Agent Y demands to play outside. The subject refuses the demand; Agent X is still eating. Agent Y must wait for Agent X to finish her cereal.

Agent Y repeats his demand to play outside.

Links…

Christy Hardin Smith agrees with me about Congress’ standoff against the President. It seems like they’re finally getting it. Digby chimes in.

Congress acts against unwarranted eavesdropping! Specter and Feinstein submit a bill that bars using any federal funds for NSA activity that doesn’t comply with FISA! Congress avoids a showdown with the administration…but if it works, it’ll keep the feds off our phones.

The federal government builds another database to track every citizen in the United States, ostensibly to ensure that employers don’t hire illegal aliens. Of course, it can be used for other reasons…

Matt Singer has the fundraising numbers from the Montana Senate race: Tester has outraised Morrison in the past six weeks.

The Cunning Realist on the Iranian Badge story. If this free-market conservative is on the far-left, I must be on the right…

Canada’s press shows us how it’s done. Remember, the government is obligated to give us accurate information.

Where should you buy your gas?

Sex offender gets lenient sentence – for being short. National Organization of Short Statured Adults celebrates. The short-tempered, however, are angry.

Um. I’ll just use the Guardian’s headline, because it’s stupendous: “Invisibility Cloaks in Sight.”




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