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House of Reps Banned from Wikipedia

Looks like the House overstepped its bounds.

The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on [Wikipedia]…

Matt Vogel, Meehan’s chief of staff, said he authorized an intern in July to replace existing Wikipedia content with a staff-written biography of the lawmaker.

Looks like it becomes a question of ethics particularly considering that the logs show vandalic changes to other political profiles coming from the House ip addresses.

the sheer breadth of changes emanating from the House reflects an abuse of public time and equipment, said Stephen Potts, former director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, now chairman of the Ethics Resource Center.

When will integrity return to politics?

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Like freedom? It’s going away.

Here’s a must read article by Tennessee Guerilla Women discussing Bush’s censorship of NASA’s leading climate scientist.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA’s mission statement includes the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet.”

After speaking that significant cuts in emissions, particulars motor vehicles must be made or “climate change would eventually leave the earth ‘a different planet.'” Dr. Hansen received phone calls warning that there would be “dire consequences” if such statements continued. So this is what it was like under McCarthy!

UPDATE: MSNBC reports “Some scientist worry it’s too late to reverse climate change.

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What does the Google subpoena mean?

Here is a fantastic summation of the Google subpoena. In short, the government is once again trying to pass a law with vague terms in the name of protecting our children.

The Child Online Protection Act makes it a crime for a commercial Web site to post material that some jurors might find “harmful” if a minor stumbled across it.

The problem comes in deciding just what is harmful.

even portions of a “collection of Renaissance artwork” could be viewed as harmful to minors if a prosecutor was sufficiently zealous.

So, people that believe in abstinance teaching may find medical information about the male and female bodies offense while people trying to teach their children about sex may find that same information very important.

We should not be creating laws to make up for bad parenting! Parents should be talking to their children. The Internet is a reflection of the real world and while we can keep our children from seeing adult magazines and movies in our own houses that does not prevent them from going to a friend’s house, cracking open a beer, sitting down with a Playboy magazine (since it makes you go blind, nice of them to publish in Braille), and watching a hardcore sex dvd. Only through talking to our children and teaching them can we give them the tools to make the right choices and police themselves.

If we let our government become too involved in dictating morals to the people, the generation that grows up under such government will know nothing different and when that generation steps up to run our country they will see no problem in further limiting rights and civil liberties in the name of “protecting the people” and it will dominoe us right out of democracy!

see also: White House: DOJ Request for Google Data Is ‘Narrow’ “You know… “Narrow” like a wedge is narrow on one end.”

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White House: DOJ Request For Google Data Is ‘Narrow’

Today’s headline regarding Bush’s realization of Orwell’s world:
White House: DOJ Request For Google Data Is ‘Narrow’

You know… “Narrow” like a wedge is narrow on one end. Remember, the goal here is to censor the Internet on the premise that we are fighting child pornography. So far the government’s approach online has been to scare people in the pornography industry (or anything that might have to do with nudity) into self-policing but that would be like scaring Borders into not selling any books that show a baby’s butt (most parenting books and magazines) for fear of prosecution.

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Get that television out of the bedroom!

And here I was thinking we needed “his” and “hers” tv sets.

A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t.

On average, Italians who live without TV in the bedroom have sex twice a week, or eight times a month. This drops to an average of four times a month for those with a TV and just 1.5 times if you are over 50 with a TV.

I feel bad for those poor older folks that only make it half way through. Now, I’m all for getting rid of the tv, but what do you watch your porn on?


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Breaking Down Handicap Barriers – Braille Playboy

So, I accidentally came across a reference to a Playboy magazine in Braille published by none other than The Library of Congress! Hoax radar went off so I started prodding around. Snopes turned up nothing. Then I found more pictures (safe for work) complete with a reference to eBay removing the item citing “mature audiences.”

My next stop was The Library of Congress to see their January-February 2006 Braille Book Review and sure enough, there sits Playboy! I found references dating back to March of 1997.

The following is a list of braille magazines in the Library of Congress program. Readers may obtain free personal subscriptions to these magazines. …

This page includes Web-Braille links to full-text braille versions of magazines. …

Isn’t it every young man’s dream to have a 3-D version of Playboy?

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MLK, battle for freedom

In December of 1988 I drove a beautiful, restored 1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500 under a disabled car in Memphis, TN. I was saved from decapitation because in 1980 British Leyland installed a safety hook on the bonnet (hood for the Americans) that crumped it rather than allowing it to slice through the windshield and occupants of the vehicle.

On this day in 1989 I drank away that car and all its symbolism, straying from a path of righteousness and entering into a 4 year period of blackout drinking. I’d give almost anything to have those braincells back, to have those 4 years without the impact of alcohol. I documented those years in a journal that was later stolen out of my car in the parking lot of West Town Mall, the first sign that time had come to move on.

For roughly a decade a good friend and I used this day as a reunion for friends. We hosted some outrageous parties on the premise that our friends could be assured on this 3 day weekend, there would be a celebration of friendship in Knoxville. In reality, we threw some huge keggers and held onto the past. As time went on fewer friends showed and more strangers trashed our homes. Sometimes my friend and I get together for a game of pool and tea although now-a-days I prefer Lipton over Long Island.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Essential Writings talks of mental formations, “things we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, imagine, or think can all give rise to internal formations – desire, irritation, anger, confusion, fear, anxiety, suspicion, and so on.” These are also called fretters.

If we live in forgetfulness, if we lose ourselves in the past or in the future, if we allow ourselves to be tossed about by our desires, anger, and ignorance, we will not be able to live each moment of our life deeply. We will not be in contact with what is happening in the present moment, and our relations with others will become shallow and impoverished.

I find Buddha’s teachings never truer.

Buddha taught that we should not pursue the past “because the past no longer is.” When we are lost in thoughts about the past, we lose the present. Life exists only in the present moment. To lose the present is to lose life. The Buddha’s meaning is very clear: we must say good-bye to the past so that we may return to the present. To return to the present is to be in touch with life.

I was at odds with such thinking because I have always felt that to “forget the past means we are doomed to repeat it” but Buddha does not say “forget” rather “should not pursue.”

The present contains the past … When the Buddha said, “Do not pursue the past,” he was telling us not to be overwhelmed by the past. He did not mean that we should stop looking at the past in order to observe it deeply. When we review the past and observe it deeply, if we are standing firmly in the present, we are not overwhelmed by it. The materials of the past which make up the prsent become clear when they express themselves in the present. We can learn from them. If we observe these materials deeply, we can arrive at a new understanding of them. That is called “looking again at something old in order to learn something new.”

Escaping to the future is so easy. I can look ahead and see our much improved lives with so few troubles and all the luxuries.

Sometimes, because the present is so difficult, we give our attention to the future, hoping that the situation will improve in the future. Imagining the future will be better, we are better able to accept the suffering and hardship of the present. But at other times, thinking about the future may cause us a lot of fear and anxiety, and yet we cannot stop doing it. The reason we continue to think about the future, even when we do not want to, is due to the presence of internal formations. Although not yet here, the future is already producing ghosts which haunt us. In fact, these ghosts are not produced by the future or the past. It is our consciousness which creates them. The past and the future are creations of our consciousness.

The present really is all that matters.

To return to the present moment is to discover life and to realize truth. … Only the present moment is real.

If we do not stand firmly in the present moment, we may feel ungrounded when we look at the future…bring[ing] about unease, anxiety, and fear, and do[es] not help us at all in taking care of the present moment. … The best way of preparing for the future is to take good care of the present, because we know that if the present is made up of the past, then the future will be made up of the present. All we need to be responsible for is the present moment. … To care for the present is to care for the future.

I once read a No Fear t-shirt “There is nothing more painful than regret.” I have spent a terrible amount of my life pursuing the past and fixating on the future. As I place more effort on living in the present moment, such a wonderful moment, I feel more whole, like I am standing on solid ground. The regrets of the past vanish including the regret that the time spent pursuing the past could have been spent being alive in the present moment.

To return to the present moment is to be in contact with life. Life can be found only in the present moment, because “the past no longer is” and “the future has not yet to come.” …

… Life is not a particular place or a destination. Life is a path. … Every step can bring us peach, joy, and liberation.

My wife often reminds me that “it is not about the destination. Life is a journey.” I am glad we now walk the same road and that we share an adventure! On the weekend we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, I celebrate the present moment, wonderful moment!

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Bush Throws Out The First Ammendment – Again

“Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime”

Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

I like this exerpt from the article giving some real life scenerios that now could have legal problems:

Think about it: A woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors wants to blog about it without divulging her full name. An aspiring pundit hopes to set up the next A frustrated citizen wants to send e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

What I find funny is that our government in their lack of understanding keeps trying to create laws for an entity (the Internet) that spans the world and operates within and without our political boundaries and that is in addition to taking away our freedoms as outlined in the Constitution.

If President Bush truly believed in the principle of limited government (it is in his official bio), he’d realize that the law he signed cannot be squared with the Constitution he swore to uphold.

The full law from The Library of Congress. Be sure to read the complete C|Net article.