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01/05/2003 Archived Entry: "A good work day"

On the privacy front:

Just one of Ashcroft's many incursions against privacy rights is his flaunting of the Freedom of Information Act, by which those who have been placed under government surveillance for their political views are able to document that fact and, so, effectively protest. The secrecy also prevents people from taking government agencies to court because they cannot access the necessary evidence.

To quote from the news item:

"John Ashcroft announced the new policy on the Freedom of Information Act, a move that attracted relatively little public attention. [...] The Ashcroft directive encouraged federal agencies to reject requests for documents if there was any legal basis to do so, promising that the Justice Department would defend them in court.

"In the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2001, most of which came during the Bush presidency, 260,978 documents were classified, up 18 percent from the previous year. And since Sept. 11, three new agencies were given the power to stamp documents as 'Secret' the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services."

Meanwhile, a U.S. District judge haas ruled that the Office of Homeland Security cannot dismiss a privacy group's lawsuit seeking material under the Freedom of Information Act. "The Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center last March requested Office of Homeland Security records on proposals for standardized U.S. driver's licenses, records associated with a 'trusted-flier' program and other proposals concerning biometric technology for identifying individuals."

On a more personal note:

It feels like a slow, steady work day with my FOX column in good rough-draft shape, a new article off to Bumper (Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation), Brad grappling with the installation of a SPAM filter in our firewall, and nothing more demanding than breaking up a dog fight in my immediate future.

About one "faux" fight a day has been erupting between my two dogs and those of my neighbor, all of which follow the same pattern. The dogs patrol up and down their respective sides of the post-and-wire fence that separates our two farms. They make feints, bark challenges, until one of them gets brave enough to do something stupid...like jump over a low point in the fence and be chased up-close and personal by the "other" side. Sooner or later, my neighbor or I respond to the unholy fracas and break-up the "fight," which leaves four very happy dogs who are pleased with the amount of fuss they've managed to cause. If "good fences make good neighbors," we've got to get a better fence. Or maybe not. My neighbor and I get along extremely well and the dogs...well, they were quite candid with me about being canine when I got them. For all their histrionics, they've yet to actually bite each other...

Best to all,

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