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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu LXX

The Washington Post reports that the Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists, opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects.

The state police superintendent who authorized the operation, Thomas E. Hutchins, defended the program in testimony yesterday, alleging that the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists “fringe people.”


The Guardian reports on the Palinistas and their chameleon. Headed by a striking photograph of the vice presidential candidate behind an ugly-looking automatic weapon, Ian Cobain reports from Anchorage, Alaska, where Sarah Palin seems to be scaring the hell out of everybody.:

The churches are places where many of the faithful see signs that judgement day cannot be far away and where the infallibility of the Bible is rarely, if ever, questioned. The gun stores are places where you can pick up the new Ruger 10/22 carbine, the one that comes in bright pink with a 10-round magazine – “perfect for your wife or daughter”.


Forty two of the UK’s most celebrated writers each published a short story, essay or poem on the 13th October attacking the government’s determination to proceed with legislation to hold terrorist suspects without charge for 42 days.

Philip Pullman, the author of the trilogy His Dark Materials, said: ‘We don’t know how lucky we are to live in a nation where police officers have all of six weeks to discover why they’ve locked us up. Ask them after 41 days why a prisoner is still behind bars and they can honestly and innocently say, “No idea, mate.” But give them that extra day, and they’ll crack it.’

The plan was defeated in the House of Lords and the UK government announced that it would be dropped.


In the latest government move to create a surveillance society, everyone who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under UK government plans to massively extend the powers of state surveillance.

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