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With iPhone frenzy in full effect and the spotlight once again on AT&T, the device's exclusive service provider, it bears remembering the circumstances under which the company last faced serious scrutiny--then for its cooperation with unconstitutional government surveillance.

In the wake of revelations that the NSA was conducting warrantless domestic spying on American citizens, proponents of the program echoed a ubiquitous refrain in its defense. It's a soundbyte-ready response we've heard all too often--"why should I worry, I've got nothing to hide."

Daniel Solove, associate professor of law at George Washington University Law School, has argued alongside privacy advocates against abuses of executive power in the name of national security. In his latest essay featured in the San Diego Law Review, Solove deconstructs the simplistic "nothing to hide" argument in favor of surveillance, exposing its premise as based on false assumptions and a narrow meaning of privacy.

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I keep harping on politicians' quickness to fault the Iraqi people themselves for the chaos wrought by invasion and occupation.  It's an abhorrent excuse, and its bipartisan popularity is sickening.

This morning Hillary Clinton was booed by the "hard left" (nice touch, ABC) at the Take Back America conference for passing the buck on Iraq:

"The American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government, which has failed to make the tough decisions that are important for their own people."

Clinton's not the only Democratic Presidential candidate to rationalize much-needed withdrawal by putting the onus on those suffering most...

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From In These Times:  

When College Ends, So Does Activism
Why selling out is a depressingly rational choice for many graduates

I'm headed to my alma mater to see my best friends graduate this weekend, and happily this article doesn't apply to them--I'm confident that they'll make successful careers out of their commitment to the larger progressive movement. And I've been really fortunate myself to find a job that's in line with my ideals.

But I think we're the exceptions, not the rule. In the last year, I've seen too many peers--truly dedicated activists--left with no choice but to take less fulfilling, higher-paying, no-experience-required jobs in the corporate world to offset the cost of living, student loan debt, etc.

Adam Doster addresses some contributors to the private sector siphon on the progressive movements' young, energetic base...

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Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 03:15 PM PST

Our wasted--yes, wasted--treasure.

by heatherb

McCain unintentionally delivers one of the most candid and meaningful comments to come out of the "Straight Talk Express."  If he were a principled candidate (and he's not), and truly disapproved of Bush's handling of the war (he voted for it, before he...didn't show up to vote against it), he should have stuck by his remark.  That goes for Obama, too--especially running on an ostensibly antiwar platform (minus his suggestion to increase defense spending post-withdrawal).

One simply cannot simultaneously advocate withdrawal on the grounds that the invasion was illegal, the "mission" ill-defined, and the occupation a bloody disaster and still defend the notion that such a debacle somehow warranted the loss of thousands of lives.   If you believe the war is unjustified, a cause not worthy of death, then the sacrifices made in prolonging it are also tragically unjust.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 04:26 PM PST

Be cool, stay in school--Army of One.

by heatherb

The Ad Council has teamed up with the United Negro College Fund, United Way, Adopt Us Kids, and the U.S. Army.  One of these things is not like the others. is the offspring of an Ad Council/Army partnership to develop "a public service advertising campaign to motivate kids and demonstrate the importance of staying in school and obtaining a high school diploma."

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Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 09:28 PM PST

What clash of civilizations?

by heatherb

A global majority rebuffs Samuel P. Huntington's theory of an inevitable "clash of civilizations" along religious and cultural fault lines.

A poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries has found most believe political and economic interests - not religious and cultural diversity - are the underlying cause of violent conflict in the world today.

The Harvard academic's thesis struck a chord with Westerners looking for an easy explanation of global violence in the 21st century.   The appeal of Huntington's dubious clash lies in its invocation of history, how it adds apparent depth to lazy pundritry analysis, and how it maps easily into simplistic, essentialist notions of the unfamiliar "other."

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Iran's uranium enrichment program appears stalleddespite tough talk from the Tehran leadership, leaving intelligence services guessing about why it has not made good on plans to press ahead with activities that the West fears could be used to make nuclear arms, diplomats said Thursday.

Of course there's tough talk--Bush's speech last night deliberately excluded diplomatic language, likely provoking Iran to go on the offensive, rather than seek deterence as defense against preemptive strikes from Isreal and the U.S.  I'm always reminded of the catch-22 posed by the original premise for invading Iraq--if WMD had really existed in the first place, a U.S. attack would have never happened, for fear of nuclear retaliation.  

More after the jump.

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Mon Jan 08, 2007 at 12:18 PM PST

What post-partisanship, Guv?

by heatherb

In spite of all the press fanfare last week over Schwarzenegger's proposal to insure all children in CA, I was skeptical that it signalled a move towards real healthcare reform, or that it could possibly be anything more than a political gesture.  After all--

"It's the low-hanging fruit of the health-care reform debate," said Dr. Bob Ross, president of the California Endowment, a private foundation in Los Angeles that was created to push for expanded access to health care.

Now on the day before his address to the state, Schwarzenegger reveals his true colors:

Gov. to seek cuts in aid to families on welfare

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Another thinly veiled argument backing the religious right's anti-women's empowerment agenda debunked by science:

Raymond's group discounts the possibility that emergency contraceptive is not very efficacious. Moreover, the theory that emergency contraceptive is counteracted by increased risk-taking was proven not to be the case in their study.

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Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 11:35 AM PST

Bipartisan buck-passing on Iraq

by heatherb

"We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves." This from Carl Levin, newly anointed Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, the congressman in control of legislative oversight of the military.  Levin, like other Dems, wants to demonstrate that conditions in Iraq are beyond the scope of an armed solution, and the sooner the military draws down, the better.

I agree.  But he could've said it differently--maybe something along the lines of "we cannot mend the chaos caused by negligent Bush administration policy."  But instead his statement comes off as patronizing, imperialist, and irresponsible.  

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Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:13 PM PDT

RNC says vote or die

by heatherb

GOP to Air Ad Warning of Terror Attacks

See the ad here.

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Over half a million students and counting are rallying, holding decision-makers accountable and demanding real change...on Facebook.

The Facebook frenzy has left many student organizers (myself included) in awe, if not a little frustrated.  "Great, now can you get this excited about things that actually matter?"  

The answer is yes.  Figuring there'd be few opportunities to reach such a broad audience, a handful of activists commandeered the mushrooming discussion forums and torrent of wall posts in hopes of channeling some of that energy into a forum for substantive social change.  

In a matter of hours, over 300 students had formed a global network based on the idea of an umbrella group capable of uniting thousands of progressive-themed groups on Facebook and streamlining the potential power of single-minded students into affecting REAL change.  It's not a new struggle (after all, isn't that what netroots was made for?) but we concluded that it's all in the attempt.        

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