Significant news stories of the day (Another experiment)

As part of the ongoing quest to find the right voice in which to stick things on LiveJournal… (a much harder task than I’d initially supposed!) Some random news articles that struck me as particularly significant for today.

The (unfortunate) winner: Expanding the FBI’s surveillance authority (NY Times) to help it hunt for terrorist organizations within the US. Now, I’m as big a proponent as anyone of maintaining a competent intelligence service, but this new Justice Department policy seems to just release all bounds on when the FBI can monitor people, tap phones, and so on. This is clearly going to have to be whittled down by the courts, but given the Supreme Court of late I’ve got a bad feeling that we’re about to return to the Bad Old Days of the 1930’s-70’s, when the FBI’s main interest was hunting down “subversives,” including actively searching for “damaging material” which could be used to smear them. (Those are ol’ J. Edgar’s words…)

On a happier note: More details on the discovery of large amounts of ice beneath the Martian poles. (NASA) The official word is that this is a very preliminary result, we still need to take careful measurements and so on… the unofficial word is that there is no way in hell the gamma spectrometers would have spotted anything at all now unless there was an enormous amount of ice there, on the order of a frozen ocean. In some places, data indicates that it may be as close as a foot below the surface, but on this number watch out; that may be changed (upwards) as more data comes in. While this may not affect geopolitics much, it’s certainly the most cheering thing I’ve heard from a news service in a while…

Israel and India had no major developments today, just various diplomatic initiatives that don’t look likely to have any effect whatsoever. Medium-low significance for these stories.

…… ok, end of experimental post. I still need to figure out what to really do with a LiveJournal, so bear with my highly random junk a bit longer…

Published in: on May 30, 2002 at 15:22  Comments (7)  


  1. great minds think…
    heh. those are the selfsame news items that caught my interest, too. so you have at least not annoyed me. yet. whine about claws, however… ;P

  2. Re: great minds think…
    You knew I was going to see that, didn’t you…

  3. you knowit, baybee! 😉

  4. If you don’t read … you should.

  5. WRT the India story, I’m increasingly concerned about a “limited” nuclear engagement. Nothing in the dialoge seems to be pulling away from that in a meaningful way.
    Maybe part of it is sort of a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-fall syndrome. It sounds strange, but for some reason it just feels like this is going to happen… that a nuclear exchange will happen, that it will involve an Islamic state going against a non-Islamic state…
    I don’t know why, and while I could get into a longer diatribe involving complex theories… it just seems like this is going to get bad.
    On some level, maybe it’s just an evolution of the old war as distraction school of thought which makes it so scary. If you have such massive inequality of the system, and you need a scapegoat in the form of a foreign nation, but you aren’t willing to actually go to war… at what point does the Cold War become hot? Especially given the theoretical arguement that now is the only time when a “limited” exchange can actually result in a victory, before the stockpiles are such as to wipe out that option?
    I do find it interesting how utterly ineffective the US seems to be at coping will all of this. It’s clearly a stated aim of Bush Jr. to reengage Iraq, and both this and the Israel/Palestein affair are (from a certain perspective) huge distractions.
    Of course, another theory would hold that this is truly the first stage of a civilizational war between, well, the Islamic states and everyone else.
    Maybe that Mars ice is showing up just in time. I sure as hell would volunteer to go.
    As a final note, I view the loss of our civil liberties as just one more repercussion of the last election. Yeah, Gore and Bush are the same… sure, buddy, whatever you say. [Not spoken as a huge Gore fan… but considering the options… sigh.]

  6. Patience, patience! Mayhem soon. 🙂

  7. *sigh* Well, it’s good/bad to see that I’m not the only one having these thoughts. (Good that I’m glad someone else is thinking the same, bad that these are not quite comforting thoughts) I’m not as certain that this particular episode of saber-rattling will be the one that leads to nuclear war; it may take a few more cycles of India and Pakistan heating up and calming down. But if there was any one place in the world that looks like a likely spot for that…
    On the other hand: For various reasons, I’ve got an increasing feeling that the next 10-15 years will see the hostile use of nonconventional weapons, either as part of a war or as a terror act. Would getting it over with now help defuse tensions? Or perhaps cause them to boil over quickly, before they’ve had time to get stronger? Or contrarily, would this just be the signal that the use of such weapons is now somehow legitimate?
    I don’t know… either way, I’m concerned. Which is why I’m following those two, and why I’m going to post any events that seem like they may make a difference, one way or another.

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