Aug 08 2008
On March 5th, dailykos denizen norahc (Ben Plunkett) obtained permits in the name of “Swift Students for Truthiness” from the St. Paul Parks Department for use of Hamm’s Plaza for non-partisan issue oriented expressive activity on Sept. 3d and 4th, 8AM to 8PM. Planned, a Shutdown Guantanamo Stop Torture event the 3d, Stop Government Spying on the 4th, both starting at 4:00. I’m co-ordinating the “spying” event.
Hamm’s is tiny, not much more than a traffic island, so the limit of 91 in attendance at any time was acceptable.
Yesterday, Ben received a Certified Mail from the Parks Department, dated August 5th, indicating that the permits had been revoked, offering alternative space at Ecolab Plaza or Mears Park, both much less visible. Hamm’s is 2 blocks from the Convention site at the Excel Center, and faces the St. Paul Hotel, a major delegate hub. I’ve just lined up an attorney, we’ll be seeking a Temporary Restraining Order directing that the Parks Dept. honor the original permit.
Jul 22 2008
I flew United, Milwaukee>Ohare>Austin for the Netroots Nation bloggers convention last week.
Landing, 2 bags out of 66 passengers were not on the carousel, mine and agnostic’s, another raucous Dailykos poster. We were told they’d been mistakenly sent to Scranton, would be delivered to out hotel around midnight. Actually arrived 4:00 the next afternoon, with 2 pieces of tape, one from TSA, and another from Homeland Security. Missing, my hairbrush, and Ms. Agnostic’s scarf.
As I connect the dots, when our dossiers were run, an alert HSA drone noticed empty datafields for our DNA. No longer empty.
Jun 30 2008
I'm as disappointed as the next that Obama's not jumped into the fray, but in the meantime, we've got a damn good quarterback on the field in Russ Feingold, and instead of whining that your favorite's on the bench, let's get to work with the team we've got.
Russ' strategy here is more than a classic filibuster. The real fight comes before the cloture vote on the bill itself. Russ has announce that he plans to introduce 6 Amendments. If even one passes (or for that matter even Specter's) the Bill returns to the House. Only if the 2 Chambers pass identical legislation does it move to the President's desk. If we send a bill sufficiently not to his liking to draw a veto, that kicks the can further down the road. If this mess can be stalled through Labor Day, when the Congress breaks for campaign season, it's dead.
Jun 29 2008
First, print the thing out, all 114 pages (pdf), and hand it to your Senators. Best if you can say “I’ve read it, I expect you to take the time to do so yourself.” For extra credit, take a highlighter to the printout and mark up the sections you consider problematic.
Bring an accomplice with a vidcam. An admission that they haven’t and won’t read the bill makes nice youtube, come re-election time.
“I’m pleased we were able to delay a vote on FISA until after the July 4th holiday instead of having it jammed through. I hope that over the July 4th holiday, Senators will take a closer look at this deeply flawed legislation and understand how it threatens the civil liberties of the American people. It is possible to defend this country from terrorists while also protecting the rights and freedoms that define our nation.”
How to find your Senators’ appearances? Start with their Senate and Campaign websites. Next, search Google News for “YourSenator’sname Parade” “YourSenator’s name Barbeque” “YourSenator’sname Picnic” “YourSenator’sname fundraiser” If you don’t get hits, make a Google Alert. Post any scheduled events you find below in comments.
Senator Feingold plans to introduce 6 Amendments. He explains them, not in great detail, in Fact Sheet: Potential Feingold Amendments to FISA Bill. Print it out too, and when you catch your Senator, ask that they support them all.
Dodd-Feingold Amendment Stripping Retroactive Immunity
Feingold-Webb-Tester Amendment to Provide Protections for Americans
Use Limits Amendment
Prohibiting “Reverse Targeting”
Prohibiting “Bulk Collection”
Congress Access to FISA Court Materials
If your Senator won’t budge on immunity shift the conversation to the problems with the parts that go forward. If any Amendments pass, and the Senate approves the revised version, it throws the whole deal back to re-negotiation with the House, which would then have to start it’s process all over again. The package can not go to Bush’s desk until both the House and Senate pass identical versions.
May 22 2008
May 21 2008
Liveblogging a presentation at the 19th Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy by tech advisors to the Obama and McCain campaigns, entitled the Clinton Campaign was invited to participate, but declined. The official title of the session, Presidential Technology Policy: Priorities for the Next Executive
In attendance a blend of academics, dotgovs, corporados, civil liberties orgs, cyberpunks.
Opening, Conference Chair Eddan Katz of Yale reminds that the only tech question of the 2000 Predidential debate cycle, asked at the MYV/CNN debate, was “Mac or PC.” Apparently, the questioner had a more sophisticated question in mind, but was told to use the softball by debate organizers.
May 20 2008
I’m at the Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy in New Haven for the week, with the first
session tutorial about to get underway, Mike Godwin of the Wikimedia Foundation presenting on “Constitutional Law in Cyberspace.”
(Mike’s best known as author of “Godwin’s Law.” Any references to Hitler or Nazis will be noted.)
My 1st effort at liveblogging, we’ll see how it goes.
Mar 05 2008
While 1500 delegates to the Michigan Democratic State Convention were approving, by acclamation, a resolution supporting legal access to cannabis as medication (On Monday, an Initiative was approved for the Statewide November Ballot), Iowa Senator Tom Harkin replied to letter from a constituent/patient with hyperbole that would make even a Republican White House Drug Czar blush.
Feb 15 2008
Just back from Bill Clinton’s appearance at the historic Stock Pavilion on the University of Wisconsin Campus. When Gary Storck and I approached, we were directed across the street by the most polite pair of Secret Service agents I’ve ever dealt with, but, as it’s a narrow street, not an unreasonable “Free Speech Zone.”
Our signs referred to Bill’s encounter, as a Candidate, with Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, Wisconsin in 1992. Jacki had been approved for the federal medical marijuana program, but not yet admitted when Bush I closed the program to new admissions in 1989. She caught up with Bill in Osseo on his post-Convention Mississippi River bus tour. After she explained her odyssey through the federal bureaucracy, Bill “I feel your pain” promised “When I’m President, you’ll get your medicine.”
Come the Inaugural, Jacki sent letters, made calls seeking fulfillment of that commitment, but got back only form letters. “If drugs were legal, my brother Roger would be dead.”
Delivering on this promise would not have required action by the Congress, as the Controlled Substances Act does not prohibit medical use of Cannabis, rather, it requires a permit, issued at the discretion of the Secretary of HHS. At the time Jacki was blocked, there were 14 patients receiving medical marijuana from the government’s pot farm in Mississippi. They were grandfathered in. 4 survive, and get monthly deliveries.
As Bill disembarked today, we caught his eye, and I was close enough to shout, “You priomised Jacki Rickert you’d get her Medical Marijuana in 1992.”
If I’m correctly reading body language, he turned to State Democratic Chair Joe Wineke, asking “what’s that about?” Joe knows Jacki’s story, he was around for the ceremony last fall on the introduction in the Wisconsin Assembly of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.
Jan 31 2008
Jan 29 2008
The President thinks this is an emergency? There’s already a FISA bill which has passed the House of Representatives, without either telco amnesty or Blanket warrants. Call it up next. If the Republicans want to filibuster it, fine. Let ’em. And when the Protect Act’s authorization to monitor calls between Canadians expires, well you can blame the Republicans for the delay.
Not exactly a new procedural play. When the House Judiciary Committee came up with a version of the Patriot Act much less damaging than the version the Senate had passed, Hastert reneged on his promise to Sensenbrenner to bring the Committee draft to a vote, and instead placed the Senate bill first on the Calendar.
Personally, I don’t see why we should be spying on personal calls between our neighbors to the north. Kinda curious as to why there hasn’t been a bigger stink coming out of Canada.
Jan 11 2008
So what if he’s withdrawn, he’s still on the ballot, and there’s no delegates at stake anyhow.
15% for Dodd would send a message to Michigan’s Senators, Reps, and hopefully the rest of the Congressional Dems that an extension of wiretap authority is unaccesptable. It’s not just immunity, Reid’s now, according to the Wall Street Journal, going to put up an 18 month extension of the Protect America Act, extending authority for warrantless taps.
The “problem” the bill was intended to fix, a FISA Court decision requiring warrants for foreign to foreign calls transiting US soil, is no big deal. If there’s reason to believe the calls sare terrorist communications, there’s still a process for getting FISA warrants.
Pass nothing, let the stinker expire.