Quote of the Day

“I really do believe President Bush is the worst president we’ve ever had.” —Harry Reid on Meet the Press

Massachusetts Police Don’t Want To Bother With New Marijuana Law

The Boston Globe reports that the police in Massachusetts are unhappy with the new state law which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana. Many police chiefs will not bother issuing citations for possession, which carry a $100 fine, calling the law unenforceable.

In principle there is a problem in a democracy when police decide which laws they will or will not enforce, however in this case it is a plus if they are no longer going to waste government resources trying to prevent possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Police Spying More Extensive Than Previously Known

The Washington Post shows the extent to which surveillance was being abused by the Maryland State Police:

The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored — and labeled as terrorists — activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a “security threat” because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.

One of the possible “crimes” in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: “civil rights.”

According to hundreds of pages of newly obtained police documents, the groups were swept into a broad surveillance operation that started in 2005 with routine preparations for the scheduled executions of two men on death row.

The operation has been called a “waste of resources” by the current police superintendent and “undemocratic” by the governor.

Over-reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks created the atmosphere which led to such abuses of civil liberties. Stephen H. Sachs, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general appointed to review the case noted that “…9/11 created an atmosphere where cutting corners was easier.” By responding to 9/11 in this manner in Maryland, as well as in other states, agencies of the government played right into al Qaeda’s hands.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Terrorism. Tags: , . 1 Comment »

SciFi Weekend: The Eleventh Doctor; Rumored Battlestar Galactica Ending; Star Trek Parallel Universes; and Torchwood


The BBC has revealed the identity of the eleventh Doctor–Matt Smith. Smith, at age 26, will be the youngest actor to star in Doctor Who, being three years younger than Peter Davison when he started playing The Doctor. The above video shows an interview with Smith on his reactions to getting the role.

Smith sort of already has a connection to Doctor Who. His TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke. The episode  starred former  Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart.


There is a spoiler floating around on line regarding the ending of Battlestar Galactica, assuming the rumors are  true.  The rumor is that the series ends with a scene with music but no dialog as Six walks through Times Square in a red dress. Of course this still leaves open plenty of possibilities as to how we get to this point. There has been speculation that the mid-season cliff hanger took place on an alternative Earth and perhaps they reach the real Earth at the end. Another possibility is that the fleet settles on the planet we see in the distant past, with this taking place centuries later. Regardless of how this takes place, is Six plotting to leave this Earth open to yet another Cylon invasion?


High resolution pictures have been released of the upcoming Star Trek movie. A set is available at TrekMovie.com (or click on the picture above for a larger version).

In another post, TrekMovie.com discussed how the movie manages to avoid conflicts with Star Trek canon while also being free to go in different directions:

Earlier this month in an interview TrekMovie.com, Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci confirmed that Star Trek starts in the same canon universe that we are familiar with, but that much of the new film takes place in an alternative universe/timeline, which was created when the villain Nero goes back in time from the TNG era and destroys the USS Kelvin (a ship with both of James T. Kirk’s parents on board)…

Although Orci noted that this is not necessarily something that needs to be understood to enjoy the film, it could have implications with regard to future films or the ‘extended universe’ of Star Trek. For example it would be perfectly within canon for there to be books, comics and games set in either universe, including the ‘original’ universe after Nero and Spock left for the ‘alternative’ universe. It also shows that the film makers do not see the new film as ‘overwriting’ Star Trek canon and history as we know it.

The post proceeds to consider the science behind the use of parallel universes and time travel.


The People has an interview with John Barrowman. Here’s a portion with information on the upcoming Torchwood miniseries, along with cuts made for the U.S. audience.

He denied speculation he wants to quit Torchwood – in fact he’d like each series to be TWICE as long.

He said: “I love playing Captain Jack and if I could play him until I’m 90, I would. But I’d rather do a series of 10 or 13 episodes because it’s a lot of work for just five.

“The next series is about Torchwood fighting the government rather than just aliens and is a lot darker.

“Jack has to make a decision no parent – that’s a big hint – should have to make.”

But the show is also going to be toned down for America.

John said: “We’re not swearing or doing anything close to the bone because it’s been a huge success in the US and the networks won’t accept it with all that stuff in it.”

Does that mean John’s going to keep his clothes on for once?

Actually, no.

He said: “I’ll still be getting naked and it will still be saucy – but it’s done with taste.

We’ll doing everything so it doesn’t have to be heavily edited for the US.”