Showing posts from 2013

What circus is it?

Recently, I found  an undated, unidentified photograph of a circus parade in front of the first Congregational Church, which stood on the corner of Lockwood and 2nd streets, in Alpena, Mich. This version of the building was there from 1868 to 1888. The image clearly shows two circus wagons, the first drawn by 6 black horses, the second by 4 white horses. Costumed riders are in between them. The street and many second story windows are crowded with people. The clothing styles and a baby carriage look more late 19th than early 20th century. The only readable sign says Bazaar Music Store. A poster on a white building's wall reads, in part, cash paid for furs.

Circus and Alpena books are not helping me identify this circus. I requested copies of information in a circus folder in the Alpena News archives Collection, 1915-1995, which may prove illuminating. Digitized Alpena newspaper should be loaded into Chronicling America ( )  soon and may also prove…

UN against US spying; White House Task Force recommends curbing NSA spying

The UN General Assembly voted for a resolution against spying. The resolution affirms the privacy rights of people using the internet and/or electronic communications. It supports ideas floated by the leaders of Brazil and Germany who strongly protested the NSA's spying activities, particularly those directed against foreign leaders, following release of information proving this had happened by Snowden. While the Assembly's resolution does not have legal status, it has strong ethical and diplomatic pull. How will this affect the current debate in the US and world about the NSA's spying? Of course, other nations are spying as well, maybe not so egregiously as the NSA, but we know they are. I'm thinking Israel, China, Russia, France, England minimally. It just hasn't been proven in a release by Snowden.  To read more about it click here

I just love it when the news is coordinated. In a related article, a White H…

tech companies fight back

Major technology companies Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo, have formed an alliance called Reform Government Surveillance group. This organization wants to change in government control, access, monitoring of internet sites. They think there is too, too much surveillance of an illegal, intrusive, unnecessary nature that is uncalled for and it interferes with our rights. The companies are on record as fighting individual demands for access, but they signed agreements with the government to allow front access to their sites and info and the government also went in the back way, without the knowledge or permission of the sites, which obviously ticks everyone off. I want the government to follow known criminals and criminal networks as well as terrorists, but I doubt they not need to follow all of us. Their argument is who is the future terrorist, I'm sure. And they can do it, so, why not?  What will happen? This is exciting. Especially considerin…

NSA surveillance declared "Orwellian"

A fascinating case which may affect access to our information, civil rights, and anti-terrorism efforts is happening. On Monday in federal district court a case concerning spying by the NSA which sought a release of a huge amount of data by Verizon was ruled "an arbitrary invasion" [of privacy], "likely unconstitutional," and "Orwellian" in nature by Judge Leon. Don't you love a judge who has read thought-provoking literature? He noted that the mass surveillance constituted irreparable harm to the claimants' Fourth Amendment constitutional rights (the right to not endure unreasonable search and seizure by the government). Judge Leon issued a preliminary injunction to stop the surveillance, but suspended it to allow the US Justice Dept. to appeal the decision. That means that until the appeal is finished, the NSA may continue to collect data from its sources. I supposed he had to do that to give the US Justice Dept. a chance to be above board in se…

fired Chinese journalist rebels against state censorship

What will happen next in China? The recent firing of a state-run TV journalist, Wang Qinglei, resulted in support for him from state-run newspapers, much to the state's displeasure. He was fired after being forced to publicly confess he used prostitutes, and now is protesting publicly about censorship. According to him, journalists receive up to 1,000 directives yearly from the state's propaganda office. A popular blogger, his latest posts have been copied and re-posted by his fans. Journalists are forced to practice self-censorship. This is very interesting in light of recent re-education seminars Chinese journalists are now forced to attend. Has an educated, westernized Chinese population begun to question the state way more than the state wishes to be questioned?  To read more click here

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