Thursday, December 16, 2010

News, Some Good, Some Bad, Some Absurd

Let's give the good news first. The House has voted to REPEAL the DADT regulation for the US military. Now it is time for the Senate also to acknowledge that you can defend your country whoever you may happen to prefer as a sex partner!

House votes again to end 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Ed O'Keefe Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, December 15, 2010; 11:16 PM
House lawmakers on Wednesday again approved a bill to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law, delivering renewed momentum to the years-long campaign to end the ban on gays in the military ahead of a possible Senate vote next week.
Next, there is indeed some very bad news, the continuing effort of the US government to block WikiLeaks. This is no terrorist organization; quite the contrary, it is dedicated to making available to all any information that is left in the open by any organization anywhere. That there is so much from the US and so little from other countries indicates no bias, but rather that the US is perhaps much laxer about how many people get to read all those things they don't want anyone to read.
I continue to maintain that the information I have attained via the research that Le Monde, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel have done on those leaked documents is all news that I find important to know and wish I had had access to sooner. Perhaps the bushbaby wouldn't have been able to start an illegal war in Iraq if such had flooded the media back then! Even more alarming is the news that Pentagon computers and military branch computers are now blocking access to sites reporting from those files, such as The New York Times. I wonder if they include The Guardian (British after all) or recognize what's in El Pais. These efforts remind me very disturbingly of what China does to censor the internet and to block its citizens access to information and their right to express their opinions. Protecting freedoms against the encroachment of exaggerated security concerns is one of the reasons I voted for you, Mr. Obama, so do something NOW to stop this encroachment on freedom of speech!
by Charles Savage, The New York Times, Dec. 15,2010
Since WikiLeaks began making public large caches of classified United States government documents this year, Justice Department officials have been struggling to come up with a way to charge Mr. Assange with a crime. Among other things, they have studied several statutes that criminalize the dissemination of restricted information under certain circumstances, including the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
But while prosecutors have used such laws to go after leakers and hackers, they have never successfully prosecuted recipients of leaked information for passing it on to others — an activity that can fall under the First Amendment’s strong protections of speech and press freedoms.
And the last bit is a ridiculous item about fundamentalists again banning art. What is alarming this time is that the fundamentalists are Catholics and that they are banning art in Washington, DC, while skipping out on the discussion about that art in New York City. No religion has the right to determine what is art, nor do they have the right to block anyone's access to any form of expression. Let them preach from their own pulpits, pound on their own altars, raise their voices from their own minarets, but leave me free to look at whatever I want to, even a picture of a man from Nazareth or one from Medina/Mecca covered with anything they may find objectionable.
The Washington Post
Local arts activists led a protest march from the Transformer art space at 14th and P streets NW to the National Portrait Gallery, where officials recently removed a work of video art depicting Christ with ants crawling over him after complaints from a Catholic organization and members of Congress.

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