Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian reports that the Obama Administration requested, and received, FISA permission to collect phone log data of all Verizon customers. Now Senators from both sides of the aisle have been quick to respond that data-vacuuming program isn't a new one, that they've been briefed on its existence for seven long years now, that it's authorized by Sec. 215 of the PATRIOT Act, and that, in Mr. Chambliss's words, "we have collected significant information on bad guys." I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit on that, and not just because Mr. Chambliss didn't name any "bad guys" or even because "collecting significant information" on bad guys isn't the same as stopping bad guys -- plenty of government officials have testified that all this data-vacuuming we're doing has overwhelmed them with bad intel. When we demand warrants and probable cause, we're not merely protecting the innocent from government oppression -- we're setting a bar that sifts the malcontents from the real terrorists. Demand Progress, the ACLU, and Free Press have the action alerts.
Meanwhile, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the USDA to halt all field trials of unapproved genetically-modified crops, Organic Consumers still helps you do that. You could get away with planting unapproved GE crops in the field if and only if you could be absolutely sure that none of the Frankenseed will escape the field and find its way onto someone else's field. Given the fact that wind blows seed just about everywhere, and animals carry seed just about everywhere, how likely does that seem? The Frankenwheat found in an Oregon wheat field got field-tested in 15 other states. And Monsanto is now doing open-air field tests of a slightly-different glyphosate-resistant Frankenwheat in North Dakota and Hawaii. The USDA has responded with its best Alfred E. Neumann impression, telling us that the FDA found the Frankenwheat safe in 2004. The FDA in 2004? My God, that was Mr. Bush's FDA! An FDA even worse than Mr. Obama's! Why should I take their word for a damn thing?