Monday, August 06, 2007

The past few weeks have once again been a tizzy of commotion and emotion. In the past three weeks I have made major progress on my dissertation, seen old friends, and new friends, cheered on/worried over/and consoled family, gotten sick, read great books and seen good movies.

One of my dear friends from Camp of the Woods stopped by Nyon for a few days on his world-wind tour of Europe. He and his travel companion and I had a great time basking in the sun while at the spa, bashing around Geneva and laughing over wine, kirsch and fondue. Once again our topics of conversation were not in short supply. We covered all manor of subjects, as is the usual with us.

While my camp friend was here my book came. The book the whole world waited for in anxious anticipation. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. My giddy anticipation of this book has been well documented and sympathized with by friend and family alike, on both sides of the Atlantic. I did not wait long upon its arrival to delve into its pages. All I have to say on that note is that J.K. knows how to write a page turner, and I cried my eyes out. I am ashamed to say that I only just saw the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Through a number of uncontrollable events I was unable to see the movie on the opening night at midnight or the successive weeks after. I loved the movie on the whole, however was disappointed with the variations from the book and with what I felt like were many key elements that were left out of the film. Yet, this will hardly stop me from seeing the film on an IMAX screen once I get home and probably successive viewings after that.

It was not long after my friend’s departure that I became sick. I spent a day and a half feeling awful before I spent a full day completely miserable in bed with a fever. The last week I have been in recover mode, constantly blowing my nose, followed by coughing up a lung here and there. I have literally gone through three full tissue boxes at this point…and counting.

Through all of this I have been working on my dissertation, despite I may add the doubts of family in the states. Yes I am working hard on the final stages of my education. Thus far the dissertation is about 27 pages long with a total of roughly 10,000 words. Which leaves me with about 5,000 words to compare the two countries and their civil societies and then conclude with a brilliance unknown to me at this moment in time. Mind you it will be a very rough draft but I hope to be finished with the majority of it by the time I depart for the States at the end of the month.

Yesterday I rose extra early to cheer on my cousin and her husband in a mini relay triathlon here in Nyon. It was originally suggested that I too take part in the running section of it. But thankfully my illness came at just the right time for me to reasonable duck out of the ridicules idea that I take part in a timed physical activity (not to mention my running has been sporadic at best this summer). Other family members have been on my mind of late as well. All I have to say on this is ‘trying times’.

Disclaimer: Reading the article suggested by the author of this blog may induce outrage and a sickening feeling in the gut due to the loss of your civil rights. Any comments found in brackets [ ] are the thoughts and opinions of the me and not the NY Times.

And now on to something I read about this morning in the NY Times that outraged me.
For those who want to read the article for themselves the article is entitled “Bush Signs Law to Widen Legal Reach for Wiretapping” by James Risen. The title should indicate enough of the substance of the article to sufficiently explain my outrage, contempt and frustration. International wiretappings are now easier and legal. Phone calls and emails to and from the US are now legally tapped without such pesky things as search warrants and the like. Here are a few highlights from the article-

“By changing the legal definition of what is considered “electronic surveillance,” the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants—latching on to those giant switches—as long as the target of the government’s surveillance is “reasonably believed” to be overseas”.

“The new law gives the attorney general [a Voldermort fan no doubt, considering the Geneva Conventions to be “quaint”] and the director of the national intelligence the power to approve the international surveillance, rather than the special intelligence court. The court’s only role will be to review and approve the procedures used by the government in the surveillance after it has been conducted. It will not scrutinize the cases of the individuals being monitored”.

And those ladies and gentlemen were your civil rights- being flushed away. I encourage you to now send international emails and phone calls containing commentary and opinions concerning this horrendous new development and your general displeasure with humanities current predicament. Best of luck to you all.


Blogger beholdhowfree said...

Hey - I made it on your blog! Sorry you got sick. And we REALLY need to talk on the phone. I just have to figure out what time it is over there in Nyon!

1:17 PM  

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