Jesus warned that in the last days hearts would grow cold and it seems that every day we see more examples of the cold hearted way that more and more people think and act. A prime example is the recent refusal of Gov. Schwarzenegger to spare the life of a person sentenced to death when the man's supporters had a new witness that could prove his innocence.
Evidence of a person's potential innocence SHOULD be heard... Especially in a death penalty case. It's at least possible that if this witness had been heard this man would not have been executed.
The cold hearted nature of the situation is that in spite of this new witness, the powers that be chose to go ahead and execute him even though there is at least a chance that this witness could have proven him innocent.
Calif. High Court Refuses Williams' Stay
Dec 12, 1:16 AM (ET)
By DAVID KRAVETS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court late Sunday refused to grant a stay of execution for convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, meaning the former gang leader who became an outspoken critic of gang violence will be executed early Tuesday unless the governor grants clemency or a last-ditch federal appeal succeeds.
Williams' supporters also made another pitch directly to the governor Sunday to spare his life, telling Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a letter that they had a new witness who could help prove Williams' innocence.
"All we need now is time to investigate to make sure this story is real," said NAACP California President Alice Huffman. "We're hoping and praying for clemency, but we're not going to leave any stone unturned."
Schwarzenegger said last week that he was agonizing over Williams' request for clemency.
Just in case there is any doubt, the practice of spying on law-abiding citizens is not new. The police in Denver Colorado have been doing it since the mid-1950's.
Police will still gather intelligence
But 'spy files' settlement places restrictions on how it can be done
By Kevin Vaughan, Rocky Mountain News
April 18, 2003
Denver will put new restrictions on police intelligence gathering but won't abandon the practice under terms of an agreement reached Thursday to settle the "spy files" lawsuit.
The deal ends more than a year of legal wrangling between the city and the American Civil Liberties Union, which accused officers in the Police Department's intelligence bureau of routinely gathering information on peaceful, law-abiding demonstrators as part of a practice that goes back to at least the mid-1950s.
Data retention. This is where phone records of date, time, duration, origin and destination of calls and Email records of From, To, Subject, message size (and probably attachment information) and the date it was sent will all be kept for anywhere from six months to two years.
Along with these directives there are the usual claims that the actuall content of phone calls and emails will not be saved. However it would be easy to include the content since mass storage continues to become cheaper and more efficient. Not only that, but somehow it's hard to take the word of agencies that say "We wont keep or look at the content, even though it's almost too easy for us to do it without anyone knowing untill it's too late."
December 08, 2005
EU Likely To Approve Data Retention Bill
By The Associated Press
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP)--The European Parliament's two biggest groups have reached a preliminary agreement to support proposed EU legislation requiring telecommunications companies to retain phone and e-mail data, officials said Wednesday.
As the groups have a total of 468 seats in the 732-seat assembly, the bill is likely to be approved by the parliament.
MEPs approve Data Retention Directive
OUT-LAW News, 15/12/2005
The European Parliament yesterday approved a draft Directive on data retention that will see ISPs and telcos retain phone and internet records for up to two years for use in investigation of criminal and terrorist offences.
MEPs had been under pressure to approve the proposals, which have formed a key part of the agenda of the UK Presidency. The UK Presidency comes to an end in the New Year, and Home Secretary Charles Clarke had made it a priority to reach agreement on the Directive before the handover.
RFID is in the news again. This time New Hampshire lawmakers are working on the first effort to regulate the things.
Hopefully they will require that customers know when there is an RFID chip in a product or it's package and include the ability to remove and permanently disable them after an item is purchased. I also hope that other states follow up with similar laws.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
New chips called a danger to privacy
By ROBERT M. COOK
State lawmakers have crafted a bill that, if passed, would make New Hampshire the first state in the nation to regulate so-called "spy chips" in an effort to protect consumer privacy.
The full House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the measure, House Bill 203, in January.
State lawmakers and advocates say it represents the most complete effort so far among the states to address the use of radio frequency identification, or RFID, microchips.
RFID microchips are smaller than grains of sand. Each chip is linked to an ultrathin antenna strip that can be printed on product packaging labels or built into products themselves. Retailers can use them to track products at a distance.
The antennas pick up electromagnetic energy beamed at them from reader devices stores or other businesses can install. When they pick up the energy, the chips send a unique identification number back to the reader device, remotely identifying the item, potentially unknown to customers.
They work up to 30 feet away and continue to operate long after the initial sale. If shoppers buy the item with a credit card, connecting their names with the product numbers, a record of their travels could be constructed automatically, then shared, as the technology becomes more widespread
If you live in the UK, Big Brother starts watching the roads in April of '06
Britain to Deploy Roadside 'Big Brother' System
By Bill Christensen
ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are being used to create a "24x7 national vehicle movement database" that will log the movement of every vehicle on the United Kingdom's roads. Your every move will be retained in the system for two years.
According to an article in The Register, the system will go live in April of next year and will process 50 million number plates per day by year's end. ANPR camera systems are to be placed every 400 yards along motorways.
Lets not leave out the US, Which also plans to track motorists everywhere they go.
Commentary--Trust federal bureaucrats to take a good idea and transform it into a frightening proposal to track Americans wherever they drive.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has been handing millions of dollars to state governments for GPS-tracking pilot projects designed to track vehicles wherever they go. So far, Washington state and Oregon have received fat federal checks to figure out how to levy these "mileage-based road user fees."
Now electronic tracking and taxing may be coming to a DMV near you. The Office of Transportation Policy Studies, part of the Federal Highway Administration, is about to announce another round of grants totaling some $11 million. A spokeswoman on Friday said the office is "shooting for the end of the year" for the announcement, and more money is expected for GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking efforts.
Here's another good look at the future of a society plagued with RFID technology.
All Eyes On You
How Spy Chips Are Quietly Reshaping Privacy
By Martin H. Bosworth
December 15, 2005
You may not realize it, but that pack of disposable razors you just bought can enable you to be tracked wherever you go. Same with that discount card you used to buy the razors in the first place.
Somewhere, a computer is collating and tabulating all of your information from the moment you step into the store, and using it to generate a "profile" of you for unknown purposes.
Not only that, but one day in the near future, you could have a little microchip implanted in your body. Like something out of "Blade Runner" or "The Matrix," you could be electronically "tagged" and identified in order to build a record of your medical information, accessible anywhere in the world -- and for other purposes you may not know about.
Now is the time to write your senators and representatives and urge them not to allow the Patriot Act to be extended again in any form or for any length of time.
Congress Extends Patriot Act for One Month
Dec 22, 11:04 PM (ET)
By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress on Thursday approved a one-month extension of the Patriot Act and sent it to President Bush in a pre-Christmas scramble to prevent many of its anti-terrorism provisions from expiring Dec. 31.
The Senate, with only Sen. John Warner, R-Va., present, approved the Feb. 3 expiration date four hours after the House, with a nearly empty chamber, bowed to Rep. James Sensenbrenner's refusal to agree to a six-month extension.
Congress can pass legislation with only a few lawmakers present as long as no member of the House or Senate objects. The Senate session lasted four minutes.
Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the shorter extension would force swifter Senate action and had the support of the White House and Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. The Senate reconvenes Jan. 18 and the House Jan. 26.
For the First Time a Seal with Hebrew Writing
from the First Temple was Discovered on the Temple Mount
Archeologists: "This is an Exciting Greeting from the House of King David"
Recently, an unprecedented archeological find was made among the rubble removed from the Temple Mount. This rare discovery, made by archeologists Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Tzachi Sweig while sifting this rubble is a broken seal, impression, or bulla written in Hebrew from the time of the First Temple. It was discovered among the earth that the Arabs removed from the Temple Mount during illegal diggings in the area of Solomon's Stables on the Temple Mount. The discovering of the seal raised great excitement in Israel. The seal was made of baked mud and its size is less than one centimetre. It was drawn on a string that tied documents, certificates, and letters. One of the names on the seal ended with the Hebrew letters "yehu". Dr. Barkay stated that this is a direct greeting from the house of King David. He dated the seal to the 6th Century B.C.E. He also said that we can learn new things from the three lines on the seal. The tremendous importance of this discovery is this is the first time that we have a written discovery with Hebrew text from the First Temple age that was discovered on the Temple Mount.
It's hard to say which is worse. The fact that this kind of thing happens at all, or the fact that some of the worst things seem to happen in the Chistmas season so much more thanv it used to.
CHRISTMAS SLAYINGS SHOCK D.C. SUBURBS
Monday, December 26, 2005; Posted: 6:20 p.m. EST (23:20 GMT)
GREAT FALLS, Virginia (CNN) -- Police said Monday they were trying to determine what prompted a 27-year-old man to kill his mother on Christmas and then drive to another home in suburban Washington, where he killed three others before committing suicide.
"This is a tragedy and would be on any day, but its occurrence on Christmas Day only seems to highlight our sense of loss and makes our ability to comprehend that much more difficult," Fairfax County Police Chief Col. Dave Rohrer told reporters.
I ran across this recently. Given the coming last days, Christians would do well to learn about how to publish safely in spite of those who would stop at nothing to silence any Christian message. The best time to learn these things is now while it's still legal and reletively easy to do so.
Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents
Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, theyare tremendous tools of freedom of expression. Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.
How to blog anonymously
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