Closing the Internet

Don’t let it happen.

One particular problem, [the White House] noted, is an “increasingly sophisticated use of the Internet and media” by terrorists and would-be terrorists, saying these tactics have allowed enemies of the United States to “rally support, proselytize and spread their propaganda without risking personal contact.”

Sadly, No! has more.

Best comment by I, Christian: “There it is: a couple of bad apples just had to go and ruin all the fun for everybody. Now bring the internet up here. That’s right. none of you gets to play with it now. You’ll get it back at the end of the school year.”

Mike and Edie were on this bus

E.D. Hill

Whatever happened to WPXI’s Edie Tarbox?

Hat-tip to the Rude Pundit.

Altering consciousness

Everyone has to alter their consciousness sometimes. What does it mean? What are you conscious of right now?

Do you believe there are things that are going on that you are unconscious of? There are, of course. Always.

Do you want to be conscious of more things? Then you have to alter your present consciousness.

Now it is possible to do this with nothing but meditation. A little bit of induced dreaming. It’s hard work and unpredictable in its success. But if that is your only alternative it is something you will probably do.

Most people prefer to be able to change their perceptions with some reliability. So they take drugs, and by drugs I mean alcohol, cigarettes, anti-depressants, sedatives, and everything that is legally prescribed or available over the counter. Most of these drugs are pretty bad for you. They can wreck your internal organs, they can ruin your life in many ways.

Alcohol is particularly disastrous. There are so many drunk drivers on the road that 13% of adults acknowledged driving drunk in the last year. That’s not including the people who don’t acknowledge it, even to themselves, when they’ve had a few. And there isn’t any doubt about the deaths caused by drinking and driving.

So the question isn’t whether cannabis is good. I think it is, and I’ll continue to talk a lot more about how it is medicine and not a poison. The question isn’t whether cannabis is harmless. It could cause some problems for some people. The question is, if people are going to alter their consciousness in some manner, if they are going to take some kind of drug on a regular basis, hadn’t it better be cannabis than something toxic and which causes so much illness and death as alcohol and cigarettes?

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson speaks out

This is an address given on Wednesday, August 30, 2006, on the occasion of a visit by George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld to Salt Lake City, Utah. It is worth reading in the entirety, and I have taken the liberty of copying the entire text below the fold, which can also be found at Common Dreams.

A patriot is a person who loves his or her country. Who among you loves your country so much that you have come here today to raise your voice out of deep concern for our nation–and for our world?

And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation’s leaders tell us the truth?

Let’s hear it: “Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!”

Let no one deny we are patriots. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President, his Administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our great nation.

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating President.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience–a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid–afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure. Read the rest of this entry »

The return of conversation

One of the interesting things about the founding of the United States as an historical event is the amount of written conversation that took place before, during and after the revolution. There were no radios or televisions to carry news or debates live, and it was an inconvenience for people to gather from great distances to speak with one another directly.

Mass media is poisoning our ability to carefully construct and consider what is going on in the world. Ill-considered views and overly simplified explanations dominate all discourse. While newspapers continue to exist they are not flourishing, the few who still read them are exasperated in being fed the same corporate voices that dominate the airwaves, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are important, because the press continues to be the only organ capable of reporting many stories the government wants to keep quiet, but at the same time the interests of the publishers prevent the disclosure of information that implicates their own involvement in things. And the conversation is almost entirely one direction, with letters to the editor mercilessly cut for length and content.

One of the interesting things about the social transformation that is occurring now is that it is taking place largely on the net, between people writing on messageboards and blogs. We are having written conversation again.

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