Dick Tuck

From The Museum of Hoaxes:

Dick Tuck was a legendary political hoaxer who made a career out of making life miserable for Richard Nixon.

In 1950 both Nixon and Tuck were near the start of their careers. Nixon was running for a California senate seat against democratic opponent Helen Gagahan Douglas, and Tuck was working for Douglas’s campaign.

Nixon was running an extremely dirty campaign, making every effort to portray his opponent as a communist-sympathizer. This red-bashing had already worked successfully for him in a 1946 congressional race against the democrat Jerry Voorhis, and had propelled him to national fame as a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Tuck decided that he would undermine Nixon by getting himself hired as a campaign worker in Nixon’s campaign, where he would secretly operate as a mole for Douglas.

As a campaign worker for Nixon, Tuck was responsible for organizing campaign rallies. He organized one such rally at UC Santa Barbara, and he booked the largest auditorium possible. However, he purposefully booked it on a day that few students would be able to attend, and then he barely publicized it at all. Therefore, when Nixon showed up to speak there were only 40 students waiting to hear him in a 4000 seat auditorium. Tuck got up on the stage to introduce Nixon and proceeded to deliver a long, rambling monologue in which he made frequent references to Nixon’s cut-throat, red-bashing campaign tactics against Jerry Voorhis. Finally he announced that Nixon would now speak about the International Monetary Fund. Nixon, of course, had not planned to speak about the IMF. Therefore, when he got up to the podium he was momentarily speechless.

Laptops can be seized at the U.S. border

From InterGovWorld.com:

Travelers beware: U.S. agents now have the authority to seize and retain laptops indefinitely, according to a new policy detailed in documents issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

As part of border search policy, government agents are now authorized to seize electronic devices and inspect documents in them, the document states. The electronic devices might include laptops, cell phones, portable music players or storage devices such as portable hard drives.

Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also be allowed to translate and share documents with other government agencies.

The DHS document, issued July 16, appears to state publicly a policy that has already existed. Laptops and electronic devices have been subject to search in the past, and travelers have reported not getting their devices back. The policy has drawn strong criticism from lawmakers and nonprofit groups, who charged that the searches were invasive and a violation of an individual’s privacy rights. Computers contain a vast amount of private information about family, finances and health, which could be easily copied and stored in government databases, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has complained.

The policy document states that being able to examine documents and electronic devices is crucial for “detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling … contraband including child pornography, and … other import or export control laws.”

The new DHS policies allow customs agents to analyze the contents of laptops without any suspicion of wrongdoing, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold said in a statement.

Iraq proposes timetable for 2010 U.S. withdrawal

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi negotiators have proposed a timetable for U.S. withdrawals that would see combat troops leave the country by October 2010, although Washington has not yet agreed to it, a senior Iraqi official said on Friday.

If agreed, the timetable would mean the administration of President George W. Bush effectively adopting a schedule very close to that proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

“As of last night that was one of the issues being discussed between the two sides. There is no agreement yet, but this is what the Iraqis are asking for,” said the official who is close to the negotiations.

The schedule proposed by Iraqi negotiators would see U.S. forces withdraw from the streets of Iraqi cities by the middle of next year and combat troops return home by October 2010. Some American support units could stay on for another few years.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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All the martyrs in the history of the world are not sufficient to establish the correctness of an opinion. Martyrdom, as a rule, establishes the sincerity of the martyr, — never the correctness of his thought. Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “The Great Infidels” (1881)