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Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request [...] He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

"I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for the official Peking version of the book," Professor Pontbriand said. "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."

Although there are abridged versions available, the student asked for a version translated directly from the original book.

The Homeland Security agents [...] brought the book with them, but did not leave it with the student.

Remember when this was a plot element in Se7en and you thought, "oh, that's bullshit?"

Update: Ok, so turns out it was bullshit.

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Information Society vs. VH1

Kurt told me about this a while ago, but I hadn't read his full write-up of it until now. Wow, isn't TV awesome? VH1 has this horrid show where they go harass former members of 80s bands and try to browbeat them into doing a reunion show for free. They tried that with Information Society, and it... didn't go well:

InSoc vs. TV!

What irritated me throughout this process, but especially when they intruded into my company's building, was that they seemed to be walking in this cloud of unreality about the true nature of what was going on. Somehow they just seemed to think that once everyone realized that "it's for TV! it's for TV!", that suddenly no one would really mind the disruption and lack of respect for real people doing real work to create real content. As though they were just above the hum-drum reality of real people leading real lives, and that they were exempt from all social constraints because it's FOR TV! It offended me. If they wanted to do this, they could have told the truth up front, they could have made a damned appointment, they could have cleared it with my company's management. And god, they lured Paul to Burbank from Topanga telling him they were going to give him WORK! OMG! He has two kids to support, ferchrissakes. Paul didn't seem too upset by it, but I felt outraged for him.
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Today In Treason News

I'm sure you've heard by now, but Bush has admitted to breaking federal law and violating the Constitution by authorizing the NSA to spy on Americans within the US, without warrants:

  • President Bush secretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying.

  • Bush says he signed NSA wiretap order. "He's trying to claim somehow that the authorization for the Afghanistan attack after 9/11 permitted this, and that's just absurd," Sen. Russ Feingold said. "There's not a single senator or member of Congress who thought we were authorizing wiretaps."

  • Bush's unchecked Executive power v. the Founding principles of the U.S.: "Underlying all of the excesses and abuses of executive power claimed by the Bush Administration is a theory of absolute, unchecked power vested in the Presidency which literally could not be any more at odds with the central, founding principles of this country."

  • Washington Monthly: "For a President to order violations of the law meets my criteria for impeachment. This is exactly what got Nixon in trouble: he ordered his subordinates to obstruct justice. To the extent that the two cases differ, the differences make what Bush did worse: after all, it's not as though warrants are hard to get, or the law makes no provision for emergencies. Bush could have followed the law had he wanted to. He chose to set it aside. And this is something that no American should tolerate."

This is surely the most impeachable thing he's done yet. But let me remind you why that is maybe not such a good strategy:

  1. Vice President - Dick Cheney
  2. Speaker of the House of Representatives - Dennis Hastert
  3. President Pro Tempore of the Senate - Ted Stevens
    (See also "Who The Fuck Is Ted Stevens?")
  4. Secretary of State - Condoleeza Rice
  5. Secretary of the Treasury - John W. Snow
  6. Secretary of Defense - Donald Rumsfeld
  7. Attorney General - Alberto "Torture Lawyer" Gonzalez
  8. Secretary of the Interior
  9. Secretary of Agriculture
  10. Secretary of Commerce
  11. Secretary of Labor
  12. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  14. Secretary of Transportation
  15. Secretary of Energy
  16. Secretary of Education
  17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
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