Friday, October 07, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Laura Rozen points to a Newsweek article on a provision snuck into a Senate appropriations bill that critics say would allow the Pentagon to spy on U.S. citizens. Troubling as that is, the real problem of this is that there has been no debate on the topic and it's being rushed in at the last minute. Rozen's link also has a link to the actual bill, if you want to read the PDF.

The provision was included in last year’s version of the same bill, but was knocked out after its details were reported by NEWSWEEK and critics charged it could lead to “spying” on U.S. citizens. But late last month, with no public hearings or debate, a similar amendment was put back into the same authorization bill—an annual measure governing U.S. intelligence agencies—at the request of the Pentagon. A copy of the 104-page committee bill, which has yet to be voted on by the full Senate, did not become public until last week.

At the same time, the Senate intelligence panel also included in the bill two other potentially controversial amendments—one that would allow the Pentagon and other U.S. intelligence agencies greater access to federal government databases on U.S. citizens, and another granting the DIA new exemptions from disclosing any “operational files” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). “What they are doing is expanding the Defense Department’s domestic intelligence activities in secret—with no public discussion,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, a civil-liberties group that is often critical of government actions in the fight against terrorism...

The Seattle Times reports today on a new vaccine that Merck has produced which seems to prevent cervical cancer. While such an advance might seem like a great step forward for most of us, the social conservatives have a different take on it:

Bachmann, of the Women's Health Institute, said that to fight the disease, youngsters would have to be vaccinated before they become sexually active, in high school, middle school, even elementary school.

Conservative groups including the Family Research Council have raised concerns that giving a sex-related vaccine to young people might encourage them to have sex.

These nuts would rather be worried about kids having sex (an almost inevitability) rather than them dying of cancer. Remember, they take the same attitude when it comes to using condoms and birth control pills rather than face pregnancy, syphilis, and AIDS. These people are NOT interested in public health, but rather are an anti-sex lobby that wants to impose their views of God and morality on the rest of society. Merck is not likely to give into this minority, but the rest of us should remain vigilant just in case.

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