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September 25, 2010

Obama is really trying to have the worst record on civil liberties ever now

So when the government is presented with a court case and screams "State Secret!" they get basically a get-out-of-court free card. This is despite the fact that the original state secrets court case contained no real state secrets, and instead was just trying to avoid embarrassment over a stupid military failure. ANYWAYS. Now the father of a US citizen whose son been slated for being murdered despite having no trial or due process has raised a court case to get the government to, y'know, NOT MURDER HIS SON WITHOUT CAUSE and the government has screamed State Secrets! again and so, yeah, this guy's kid--an innocent American--is totally going to be murdered by our troops. Thanks, Obama. Obama argues his assassination program is a "state secret" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration last late night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That's not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate its legality. . . .

September 23, 2010

Google Blacklist - Words That Google Instant Doesn't Like

This is via Violet Blue, who has the bizarre honor of being one of the few non-porn stars to be blacklisted by Google. The only other non-porn people who get this treatment are other sex educators and Philip K Dick.
Google Instant is the latest incarnation of the search engine that fills in potential responses as you type them into the Google search bar. Some people think this is great while others feel like Google is reading their minds and are freaked out by it. We believe it's fun for at least one reason. Like everything these days, great care must be taken to ensure that as few people as possible are offended by anything. Google Instant is no exception. Somewhere within Google there exists a master list of "bad words" and evil concepts that Google Instant is programmed to not act upon, lest someone see something offensive in the instant results... even if that's exactly what they typed into the search bar. We call it Google Blacklist. Give it a try. Go to the Google home page. Type in "puppy" and see the many results that fill your screen. Now type "bitch" and admire the blank screen. In this case, the two words could mean the exact same thing. But Google Instant is erring on the side of caution, protecting the searcher from seeing something they may not want to see. . . .
Click through for the list, which reads like an updated version of George Carlin's "An Incomplete List of Impolite Words."

September 16, 2010

Circuit court rules that Christian charities can engage in religious discrimination

World Vision decided to fire all of their non-Christian employees. The employees sued and lost. The charity receives federal funding.

September 14, 2010

Famous Civil Rights photographer was paid FBI informant

Civil Rights Photographer Unmasked as Informer - NYTimes.com
ATLANTA — That photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. riding one of the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, Ala.? He took it. The well-known image of black sanitation workers carrying “I Am a Man” signs in Memphis? His. He was the only photojournalist to document the entire trial in the murder of Emmett Till, and he was there in Room 306 of the Lorraine Hotel, Dr. King’s room, on the night he was assassinated. But now an unsettling asterisk must be added to the legacy of Ernest C. Withers, one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era: He was a paid F.B.I. informer. On Sunday, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis published the results of a two-year investigation that showed Mr. Withers, who died in 2007 at age 85, had collaborated closely with two F.B.I. agents in the 1960s to keep tabs on the civil rights movement. It was an astonishing revelation about a former police officer nicknamed the Original Civil Rights Photographer, whose previous claim to fame had been the trust he engendered among high-ranking civil rights leaders, including Dr. King. “It is an amazing betrayal,” said Athan Theoharis, a historian at Marquette University who has written books about the F.B.I. “It really speaks to the degree that the F.B.I. was able to engage individuals within the civil rights movement. This man was so well trusted.” . . .