9/28/2006

Olberman Situation just more proof of Loss of Focus.

Crooks and Liars has a great example of how nuts this country has become with news coverage.

How does that effect freedom? Think it through. As it stands, few people trust their news sources as accurate and thorough anymore. When that lack of trust becomes critical, it becomes easier for people who would like to distort facts to do so.

The one upsmanship of the news organizations only further damages what little credibility they have left. That's bad for information, but really bad for freedom.

Odd blogging on Hillary Clinton

I can't make sense of the column or the blogging about it. Here's one example. At any rate, it's just one more example of a country obsessed with ideas and stories that just don't matter.

I swear that there are days that it seems like we've gone down the National Inquirer rabbit hole and there is no way out.

9/26/2006

Large Databases an Endless Reservoir for Data Miners?

Pardon the interruption into the usual chatter about elections, left versus right, dem versus repub ad nauseum. There is a dangerous race going on right now. It's not a race to build nuclear weapons. It's a race to turn human beings into the sum of their measurable data parts.

Some will claim this is just an exercise in hysterics. Nope, I save that for hormone imbalances. This is a serious question for thoughtful people:

"At what point does the collection and storage of personal data become a threat to one's freedom?"

Get the skinny on Google's newest product line. Their "unannounced products on the drawing board" may be nothing. But the idea of Knowledge Discovery Databases (KDD) is not new and has been the center of some controversy.

Check out this section in the Google Directory if you want some serious background.

My point? That the acquisition of data is a growing threat to one's privacy and, by extension, freedom. Think about it. Economic secrecy is a key tool in negotiations. Personal data (these days) and its protection are the target of a new crime wave.

There can be, as we are reminded daily by the government and its spokespersons, no freedom without security. Isn't a primary security the ability to live and make choices privately? I once heard a law enforcement official state that people have NO right to anonymity. I couldn't disagree more.

The presupposition of guilt may be the longest lasting and most tragic side effect of Islamic terror. Yes, I wrote "presupposition," not suspicion. Prove it wrong. I'm all ears.

One reason to fear the religious right: Pat Robertson.

A friend sent this one along-

"Some people may have a neurological situation where they’re so sensitive to stimuli that they fly off the handle. Their brains just aren’t wired as placidly as others are. It could be a genetic situation. It could be something having to do with hormones. I’m a great believer in getting tests on your endocrine system to see what’s pumping what into your blood stream and into your brain. But the other thing is that that could be a family curse. And those who are more spiritually attuned who know you might take authority over this thing and bind it in the name of Jesus, because uncontrolled anger, that’s in a sense – it’s a work of the flesh, but it also can be a demonic spirit, this anger, this murderous spirit. And that’s something that you drive out with prayer. You lay hold of God, and you believe God to cleanse you. And you go back into generations. There could be some violent event back in the history of your family. Way, way back, there may be some murder or some terrible thing that happened, and that thing has affected your family all the way through. So, that’s all I can say, because I don’t know other than that. But there are the two reasons. And, of course, just environment. If you get used to seeing somebody fly off the handle, then you get the habit of doing it. So it’s custom. So that’s the third thing you can think about." - Pat Robertson Source

Uh, the demons made me angry? Um, nutter here? Maybe? Grandpa killed someone and now I'm evil?

I absolutely ADORE the "neurological situation" bit. But I really don't like this man. I think HE'S evil. Maybe he caught a demon possession, or something.

Yuck. Bad Christian. Bad, bad Christian.

9/25/2006

Freedom trampled for security?


This is a quick take:

"At Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Aubrey Hux wasn’t as happy to hear the news. Just back from a vacation in Thailand, he said, “You can’t have enough security as far as I’m concerned.” Story on MSNBC.

Can't get enough security from whom? Only a careless person would toss aside threats, but a careful person identifies them all. One phrase that drives me PMS crazy is the old "I don't care if they listen in on my calls, I'm not talking to terrorists."

Hello? Earth to speaker - what if the people listening aren't perfect angels? What if the people listening don't like your ideas?

We can't possibly stop every threat. Of course I'm fine with security measures to keep planes from being blown to bits. But I'm always careful to recognize that there is a line. It's a thin line and you can only see it when your standing next to it.

Or when the powerful guy is stepping over it, but then it's too late.

Al Goldstein still going strong.

But I'm just a little more than worried when THE Al Goldstein writes something like this:

"And so at the age of 70 I am looking for something far more significant than the latest piece of ass. After five marriages and so many fast-food sexual encounters I now want intimacy and connection in a partner." Read the full post.

Hey, wait a minute. I was hoping for a gratuitous licking up. Do I have to marry him for it?

U.S. Libraries Draw Attention to Banned Books.

Talk about one of the subjects that a U.S. citizen should not need to be discussing! But it's true: some librarians are drawing attention to books that are "banned" in the United States of America.

"Gallegos, a library assistant at the Tolleson Library, helped create a display that brings attention to National Banned Books Week, which runs through Saturday. The American Library Association, which has been sponsoring the event nationally for 25 years, estimates that nearly 9,000 books have been banned or challenged in the past two decades. The group believes more than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in schools and libraries.""

Read the story - you have to answer four questions to sign in to the Arizona Republic.

O.K., so you wouldn't let children have access to a book about how to shoot your teacher, I can understand that.

But some books - one's that I would never have guessed - have made the list that might shock most people. "Children's novels, such as My Friend Flicka, by Mary O'Hara, and Blubber, by Judy Blume, are on the list, as well as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Classics, such as Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, also have been banned in some libraries."

I hope that the evil creator of "My Friend Flicka" is reading this. She should be ashamed. Not. Is this the land of the free?

9/24/2006

Private Industry Helps Shield Children from Porn

Just another example of how private industry does a better job of shielding kids than government regulation. You already know about religious groups that provide content blocking software. Would you believe that the adult entertainment industry is doing it too?

Check out this cool filter.

Sure, kids need to be protected from parents who let them do whatever they want. Why else would a kid be surfing a porn site on Mom's computer? But the answer isn't more bulky laws. The answer is allowing private industry to reach those parents who care and spread the word to the ones who don't. Maybe with a little work we could get parents to actually take responsibility for their computers...

The Story from Puerto Rico? No Story

The ACLU of Puerto Rico has filed a lawsuit against the FBI, for reportedly beating and macing reporters trying to cover a news story. “The right to gather and report on the news is explicitly guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” said Mark Lopez, a senior staff attorney with the National ACLU, which is based in New York. “The media performs an essential role in an informed public and in ensuring the accountability of our government. When federal officials interfere with that role they strike at the core of our democratic freedom.”

Full reference from the ACLU.

The point is that people who can't count on the press having access to the story can't count on getting the story at all.

And a kiss for you too!

Head


Now I have to make a header. How's this?

This is my first post.


Now I can swallow! That cherry trapped between my teeth was beginning to make me drool... See you soon.

This is just a promo pic. Doing it for my best friend!