Saturday, April 01, 2006


Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the censor resolution against President Bush introduced by Senator Russ Feingold. The resolution was directed against the eavesdropping conducted without compliance with the law requiring a court warrant.

In the course of hostile questioning by Republican senators, reference was made to the need to support this wartime president. So, in what sense is this a wartime presidency? Is it the Iraq war? But, hurtful as it is for our troops, this is an occupation turmoil, not a war. Is it the war on terror? Yes, terrorist groups have staged attacks against us and other countries around the world. We must aggressively protect and defend against possible further incidents, but is it wise to consider this as a war? (Using the label of war on terror invites comparison with the war on drugs).

The danger of terrorist attacks may well go on for years and years. In addition to homeland defense, any long term solution lies in the realm of culture, foreign policy, and actions coordinated with other countries of the West. Considering this danger a war runs the risk of claims of presidential wartime powers lasting for decades.

As an aside, it does not seem like wartime in the U.S. Except for sacrifice by members of the armed forces and their families, life here is mostly business as usual. Tax cuts continue, no belt tightening, the mounting deficits to be the burden of our children and grandchildren.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

NEWS ITEM - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that same-sex couples from states where gay marriage is banned cannot legally marry in Massachusetts.

COMMENT - I wonder what the ruling would be if the marriage were sought by an interracial couple from a state that banned such marriages, as some once did.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Fresh from the reams of criticism of its cooperation with Chinese censorship, search engine giant Google has greatly increased its presence in Washington. It has opened an office there for political relations with the government and has been hiring lobbyists and consultants to further its interests.

Thus, the ultimate internet outsider has linked with the K Street gang and is morphing into a beltway insider. It is saddening to see Google lose its renegade status, but, given the power of Washington to affect an industry's success, Google cannot really be faulted for adopting this course. More troubling is Google's drift toward the Republicans. Of course, it must deal with the party in power but its engagement of the DCI Group, with its strong ties to Karl Rove, its plans to hire a Republican political director, and its hiring of the well-connected Republican management consultant, Harry W. Clark, seem counter to its presumed philosophy.

Evidence of a possible rightward drift was noted today in the New York Times. Mr. Clark is dismayed at the fact that in 2004 nearly all of Google's employees' contributions went to Democrats. Mr.Clark is quoted as stating that "everybody recognizes that the employee contributions were weighted heavily toward Democrats, and they're waiting to see a course correction."

So will the peoples search engine now pressure its employees to contribute the right way?