Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Washington Independent » Al Franken Reads the 4th Amendment to Justice Department Official:
"Noting that he received a copy of the Constitution when he was sworn in as a senator, he proceeded to read it to Kris, emphasizing this part: “no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
“That’s pretty explicit language,” noted Franken, asking Kris how the “roving wiretap” provision of the Patriot Act can meet that requirement if it doesn’t require the government to name its target.
Kris looked flustered and mumbled that “this is surreal,” apparently referring to having to respond to Franken’s question."
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"...a brief overview of the evidence that the ancient Greeks and Romans were both aware and tolerant of the use of psychoactive substances: opiates, cannabis and other plant-based drugs, while they simultaneously warned of the dangers of “poisoning” (what we would refer to as overdose) and prescribed precautionary remedies for it. In fact, according to Hillman, the only aspect of drug use that was criminal in these societies was the intentional poisoning of another person with a drug.
Hillman is mostly interested in presenting his case from a civil libertarian standpoint; since our own imperfect understanding of civil liberties is largely derived from Classical society via the Enlightenment, he wonders how we can have descended to a position so much less enlightened in this regard than our primitive forebears in the ancient world.
But in his defense of Greek and Roman recreational drug use, Hillman barely touches on what is to me, the heart of the matter: drugs may have stimulated the very visions and insights that gave early poets and philosophers levels of understanding that Western civilization has built on ever since, while systematically purging the parts of those understandings that didn’t gibe with any practice not useful to refining social control and/or increasing the production of profit. Hillman does make note of the pre-Socratics, chief among them Pythagoras and Empedocles, for whom mysticism and rigorous investigation of the natural world were no contradiction. He says: “the roots of Western philosophy reach deep into the fertile soil of the human imagination, where shamanism, divination, and narcotic experiences have held sway for thousands of years.” While this idea alone could easily be the subject of a book, Hillman is more interested in documenting classical references to drug use than to linking it to the production of important concepts and archetypes, from mathematics to theology..."
Monday, September 21, 2009
"...the hottest thing in real estate in the United States is gated communities for the wealthy and prisons for the poor."
"Even if you're motivated only by greed, you don't want to be filthy rich in a desperately poor world... you don't want to live behind designer fortifications... it's coming our way... the hottest thing in real estate in the United States is gated communities for the wealthy and prisons for the poor. That's the symptom of a society that has to take a hard look at things..."
Sunday, September 20, 2009
"(386): after he passed out we removed everything electronic from his room, stuck in some old books and an ancient typewriter from goodwill. for 20 min. we had him convinced he'd drunk himself backward in time."