No, this is NOT a post about gun control--it's about the constant wars on American civil liberties (with a brief nod toward China).
Here are the quick hits in our losing battle for human freedom.
1. Congress doesn't have the time or the intestinal fortitude to avoid the fiscal cliff, but it apparently has plenty of time and feral willingness to hold nearly secret floor debates on re-authorizing FISA and unconstitutional warrantless wiretaps. [h/t kavips and NCSDad] UPDATE: the Senate has defeated Senator Rand Paul's amendment to equate emails with telephone calls in terms of privacy protection 79-12, as well as another amendment [based on that useless old Bill of Rights] to require the Attorney General to report periodically on certain types of surveillance decisions, 54-37. Unsurprisingly, the ferocious defender of the state's right to know EVERYTHING is Senator Diane Feinstein--the same lawmaker who is introducing legislation to make virtually all semi-automatic pistols illegal and to require Federal registration of damn near all legally acquired weapons in the US.
2. According to Reporters without Borders, the US has now slipped down from 35th to 47th place in terms of freedom of the press. We are now behind such free societies as Uruguay, Niger, Botswana, and El Salvador. But the good news is that we're still tied with Romania in terms of press freedoms! We're number 47! We're number 47! [h/t to Homesick Billy]
3. A possible glimpse of our future from China (#174 on the press freedoms list--if we keep trying, we'll get there!): the Chinese government is now moving to force all internet users to log their real names as a condition of access. Of course, you can trust the government when it tells you that this is all about protecting you from spam.