January 28th, 2009

headshot

Our Rights Continue To Disappear: Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree

I both love and hate reading Bruce Schneier. I love it because he's smart, focused on issues of security, and well-informed. I hate it for the same reasons because he often points out just how much our rights continue to disappear in the name of "security." Take for example his recent essay: The Exclusionary Rule and Security.

I haven't been paying as much attention to SCOTUS as I used to. I've been busy. So this may be old news to many of you, since it's from earlier this month. But I still wanted to note it in case you haven't heard about it already, and as a reference for myself.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that evidence gathered as a result of errors in a police database is admissible in court. Their narrow decision is wrong, and will only ensure that police databases remain error-filled in the future.

The specifics of the case are simple. A computer database said there was a felony arrest warrant pending for Bennie Herring when there actually wasn't. When the police came to arrest him, they searched his home and found illegal drugs and a gun. The Supreme Court was asked to rule whether the police had the right to arrest him for possessing those items, even though there was no legal basis for the search and arrest in the first place.

What's at issue here is the exclusionary rule, which basically says that unconstitutionally or illegally collected evidence is inadmissible in court. It might seem like a technicality, but excluding what is called "the fruit of the poisonous tree" is a security system designed to protect us all from police abuse.

Read more....

Really, we keep slouching towards a point where we won't have any rights.
Stained Glass - Gethsemane

Treasury Of Daily Prayer

Based on the recommendation from the Internet Monk, I added Treasury Of Daily Prayer to my wishlist. I was thrilled when I opened my birthday present from yarbiedoll to find my wish granted. I immediately started the task of unsticking all the gilded pages and browsing through the book. I set up the six-ribbon bookmark system (which is awesome) and picked which options I thought I'd like to use for incorporating the resources in the book into something that I'd use in a structured personal prayer/worship setting.

Over the next several days, I diligently used the book. I decided some of the choices I made with my initial set-up weren't very helpful. I tweaked it a bit. I kept up with the reading for a while and was really starting to get into a groove with the book. I really like it.

Then, for various reasons (none of them good), I got out of the habit of using the book. Not surprisingly, my prayer life suffered. Where I had been establishing a regular practice of prayer, I found myself sliding back into a more haphazard pattern of personal prayer. Several times, I almost started using the book again, but quit just short of actually opening it.

I recently picked it back up and resumed using it. Hopefully, I won't set it back down again.

Treasury Of Daily Prayer is a Lutheran resource, and that fact is especially evident with the selection of readings that are appointed for each day. They're all form the early reformers and many of them are from Luther. So if you know that's going to cause you to argue with the book instead of use it to guide your prayer life, stay away from it. Otherwise, I highly recommend this book. It's great for individual use. I'm sure it's great for family use, too -- there is a lot in it that is in call-and-response format. For me, it's especially great because it helps make sure I stay focused when I use it.

I can't add any more in the way of a review that Michael didn't say in his review, so read what he said and imagine me agreeing with pretty much everything he says in it.