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Not A Question of Guilt

Friday, Aug. 17, 2007 3:49 AM

The conviction of Jose Padilla on charges of providing material support to a terrorist organization is not being disputed.

What is important to remember is that the government held a U.S. citizen for over three years, refusing to file charges or provide him with access to counsel. Padilla may also have been interrogated in an aggressive manner.

Instead of persisting in their claims that Padilla was instrumental in a plot to detonate a 'dirty bomb' in the middle of Washington, D.C., the government backed off of their claims and stapled Padilla's case to that of two other men.

The freedoms we enjoy as Americans cannot be protected by taking them away from someone else.

Given the open architecture of Wikipedia, it should come as no surprise that people might seek to edit things they shouldn't. (It's also one of the reasons I like books: print doesn't change.)

In this case, FOX News Channel has been editing not only the pages of their own staffers, but that of Keith Olbermann, whose nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment often nets the paranoid ramblings of Bill O'Reilly and other FOX News personalities.

Then, as if to discount their own hackery, FOX's Chris Wallace does a piece on Wikipedia, noting that companies and individuals often polish their own pages.

Hmmm. Another collapse at the Utah mine where six workers remain missing after over a week of drilling and digging. Three rescue workers were killed and six others injured.

And the media remains AWOL as far as the owner's safety record, as well as the non-existant oversight of President Bush's 'mine safety czar.'

White House spokesman Tony Snow hinted that there may be more departures from the White House staff, including his own. Snow pointed out that he never said he would be there until the fat lady sings. He alluded to financial concerns and that he's simply running out of money.

On a $168,000 salary.

Now, admittedly, Snow has had recent medical issues that could put a dent in anyone's savings, but isn't that more of a comment on the cost of healtcare in this country when a prominent member of the administration, as well as a former television news personality, can't afford things?

Karl Rove, on the other hand, suggests that 'Bush haters' are elitist snobs who dislike ol' George's 'middle America' ways.

Middle America is not a bunch of plutocrats who have ranches in Texas and vacation homes in Maine. They don't have a resume that includes ownership of a baseball team and several oil companies. Their sons and daughters don't go to Yale and belong to Skull and Bones.

But then, Karl has always been a spin master. It shouldn't surprise us that he's still trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

We're not doomsaying by any means, but NASA has decided astronauts will not make a final spacewalk to effect repairs on the gouge to the protective heat tiles on the shuttle's underbelly.

The official line is that it is too risky and too expensive, with a little flourish added after a small rip was found in one astronaut's glove after the last spacewalk. (The suit maintained its integrity, thus it performed adequately, right?)

NASA expects that the heat of re-entry will not damage the unprotected area. (So, like, if it can take the heat unshielded, why is the damn thing covered in protective tiles?)

Better hope your low-ball engineering doesn't bite you in the ass, guys.

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