Hey. It’s Sunday night. Linette and I have been working all weekend on the new issue of Crimewave. You’ll be happy to know, if you’re a reader of the magazine, that it’s almost done now. With any luck it’ll go to the printer by the middle of this week. A few stories still need a little bit of work, but we’re almost there.

Then we can focus on the “Tour of Italy” website we’ve been promising, and the new Monkey Power Trio record. Hopefully, we’ll have the slate clean by the beginning of the new year.

happy days are here again

I was feeling really down the other day, and then I saw this and realized that things weren’t so bad after all.

Better times are ahead of us, my friends.

hmmmm

Could this be why Ferris Bueller didn’t want to go to school?

OK, that’s not funny. I’m sorry for that.

the end of privacy

I think this came from Friday’s New York Times. I lost my note. Wherever it’s from, it’s fucking terrifying. I can understand our desire for heightened security, but I don’t think the answer is to create a new government entity charged with spying on U.S. citizens.

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today called on President Bush to disavow a new system being developed at the Pentagon that would be able to track every American’s activities.

“Smile, you’re on virtual candid camera,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington National Office. “If the Pentagon has its way, every American – from the Nebraskan farmer to the Wall Street banker – will find themselves under the accusatory cyber-stare of an all-powerful national security apparatus.”

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing the system, which it has dubbed “Total Information Awareness,” in its Information Awareness Office. That office is directed by former Reagan Administration official John Poindexter, who once said that it was his duty as the national security advisor to withhold information from Congress.

The Total Information Awareness program will be — by Poindexter’s own public admission — the infrastructure for what the government hopes will be the most extensive electronic surveillance system in history. That vision is encapsulated in the logo for Poindexter’s office: the all-seeing eye and pyramid (prominent also on the one dollar bill) spying from above on the entire world. The office’s motto is Scientia Est Potentia, Latin for “Knowledge is Power.”

I have gone this far in my life without writing a check to the ACLU, but I think that this is the line. The nomination of Poindexter and the formation of the Information Awareness Office are going to make me do it. On second thought, I guess I shouldn’t send a check though. They’ll be able to track that. And the last thing I need is for “ACLU” to put up next to my name.

For more information:
Check out the ACLU press release and the government’s Total Information Awareness site.

you’re a suspect

If you aren’t going to read those pages, at least read this op-ed piece by William Safire about the Homeland Security Act and the role of John Poindexter, the man who once distinguished himself, during the Reagan administration, by lying to Congress about his nifty “arms for hostages” idea.

Here’s a clip from the piece, entitled, “You are a Suspect.”

WASHINGTON — If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as “a virtual, centralized grand database.”

To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver’s license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop’s dream: a “Total Information Awareness” about every U.S. citizen.

I could go on and on here about what’s wrong with having the government know the kinds of porn you rent, the healthcare concerns you have, and the roads you travel on, but I think it’s pretty obvious… If you listen very carefully, you can hear our founding fathers spinning in their graves.

To read the entire piece, click here.

inside the mind of a michigan cop

The radio call-in show I listen to on my way home from work each day was dealing with the topic of speed limits on Friday. Specificly, folks were discussing how much above the limit you could go before getting a ticket. During the course of the discussion, a highway patrol officer called in and give his “rules” for issuing tickets.

First off, he said he gives everyone five miles over. He says that’s what he drives and he thinks that’s acceptable. Then, he said, he gives everyone, except for drivers of sports cars, an additional five miles per hour. He justified this by saying that most sports car drivers, in his opinion, are pricks.

That sounds illegal to me, and I know I should be offended. If it was black drivers being pulled over just because they were black, I’d be signing petitions. Something about this, however, doesn’t really bother me though. Funny, I guess there are some kinds of injustice I’m OK with.

What he said next, though, pissed me off.

“And if someone’s got an NRA card in their wallet, I won’t give them a ticket, regardless of the infraction.”

What the fuck!? I’m not a big anti-NRA guy, but this pisses me off.

goodnight

I know this post wasn’t funny. I’m tired and I don’t feel too funny today. I promise that I’ll do better tomorrow. Please give me just one more chance.


“Hello, Mr. Bueller, what’s all this about you being home, sick in bed?”

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