Thursday, January 19, 2006

Morning Edition

Creatures are stirring as our time zone rolls into wake state -- though I've been pretty sleepless (lots of transceiver brain traffic, as Bucky might say). The clock face to my left is still flashing; I need to reset it after the recent power down (I was in some coffee shop when it hit, watched it reboot some computers). Our Oregonian sits unopened -- maybe I'll have time for it today.

An evolving story (for those of you reading in time zones far distant): USAers are really wanting Congress to start those hearings on NSA wiretapping. So many Americans lead lives of petty crime, ignoring those serious FBI warnings against piracy, against drug use, and they can't quite believe government assurances that these interceptions are only Al Qaeda tied. That's not been the pattern in the past, whenever the government has assumed unlimited powers to snoop.

Now in some countries, digital media copying is a less worrisome business, even if it's a favorite movie. And the Amsterdam transit lounge flaunts that country's different approach to substance control, at least with regard to cannibus (my Ideas book club has noticed its use by various ancient cultures, along with carbon dioxide, and we've noted that most of those cultures are no longer with us (one can't help but suspect the evil weed is to blame, given how it interferes with the brain's metabolism)).

But those other countries aren't America. We have strong law enforcement here, or thought we did. The trouble is: Congress is having a hard time reconstituting its legitimate powers to get going on these hearings. It's wallowing in scandal, perhaps afraid of what NSA wiretapping might reveal about it (although in DC people are more sophisticated, and more likely to believe that only Al Qaeda is the target (on the other hand, its crimes haven't been so petty)).

So that's the story: Americans impatient to have their worst fears confirmed (about government abuses of power); Congress unable to get going on those confirmations (having already abused its powers considerably).

I'm confidant those hearings will get going soon. I've heard various senatorial promises to that effect. I still have faith in most senators, men and women of their word. On the other hand, I'm not especially interested in the NSA story (as I mentioned on some Quaker group awhile back). Don't expect this blog to focus on it. Many other blogs do, so you shouldn't feel your human rights are being violated if I say I don't give a damn.