Archive for July, 2002

2002.07.31

2002.07.31

i learned an interesting thing today. evidently the word "subaru" in japanese refers to the constellation of orion. this seems oddly synchronous as i’ve always liked orion and i have (and wanted for a long time) a subaru.

(later) i tried finding a link to an accurate account (if any) relating to the japanese mythology of subaru. this site is the best i can find, and it, like all the others, say that subaru actually refers to the pleiades, which makes sense. oh well. it’s still good to know!

Comments Off on 2002.07.31 | Catergorized: science

2002.07.29

2002.07.29

this sounds like something i could use! 40 hours and no real side effects? hell yes. of course i guess that’s also dependent on living a lifestyle i haven’t had here in the states since college…

Comments Off on 2002.07.29 | Catergorized: geek  science

2002.07.27

2002.07.27

despite fears and criticism from his original support base, ashcroft continues to support and defend TIPS. he claims that the program will not maintain a database that would or could be used to track americans, but i am curious just how they will be able to pull off their stated goals without some sort of database with specialized datamining.

meanwhile, here’s an article attempting to explain the difference between liberals and conservatives.

Comments Off on 2002.07.27 | Catergorized: political  thoughts

2002.07.22

2002.07.22

more news from the civil rights trenches. it’s not enough that it hasn’t been a year and so many of our freedoms have been stripped away from us. now tom ridge is thinking that the military should assist in policing our country. next thing you know there will be interrogations of gramma smith in michigan because everyone knows that michigan is a breeding ground for terrorists.

for a look at the current state of the bill of rights since the terrorist attacks, look here. please note that amendment III, that soldiers shall not be quartered in a civilian house without the consent of the owner in times of peace, is the next on the list of our civil rights to be put aside in the war on terrorism. oh wait, it’s a “war” on terrorism, so i guess they can house soldiers in my house.

well, it would be nice to see my brother again, or maybe have bill miller’s wife, donna, come visit.

you might want, while you still can, to disappear for a while…

meanwhile i’ve been trying to find some conservative opinion on the whole issue of citizen spying. i found a place called townhalldotcom that touts itself as a conservative forum. happily i found these articles. and while i don’t necessarily agree with all of the opinions (like shutting the doors to immigration, though slowing them might well be welcome so we can control that flow), the ideas ar the same. america is on it’s way to a police state stalinist russia would have been proud of.

Comments Off on 2002.07.22 | Catergorized: political  rights  thoughts

2002.07.21

2002.07.21

i think i finally learned what’s been wrong with my relationships. and it took a “bitch” to teach me! thank you…

in other sad boy/girl related things that words are escaping me to describe, here’s an article obviously written by geeks describing how to date a geek. personally i disagree with much of it. i do not do bill gates imitations and while i do spend much of my time in front of the computer, it is not my life. however, much of it was spot on; i do like to watch japanese anime.

Comments Off on 2002.07.21 | Catergorized: anime  geek  life

2002.07.20

2002.07.20

32 years since we landed on the moon. it’s sad to me that since those days we’ve done little aside from skim the gravity well of earth and taken pictures of different planets and moons.

in other news, john gilmore of the electronic frontier foundation is going to sue various parties for the need to present a picture ID to airlines to fly when not under suspicion of any crime, domestic or international. the article is here.

i figured it was only a matter of time before someone with the balls and ability to fight this sort of thing would start it. good luck to him and to anyone who is trying to excert their civil rights.

Comments Off on 2002.07.20 | Catergorized: political  science

2002.07.17

2002.07.17

i’ve just learned that our federal government plans to use us to spy on our own neighbors. first i found this article, and i was a bit skeptical. after all, the yellow times seems to be quite far left of center. the news was disturbing, none-the-less.

now i’ve found this link (may be slow to load) to an article by joseph farah, who is (i hear) a bit right of center. his article denounces this program, which will have an estimated one million fellow citizens using their access to work space and neighbor’s homes to spy on us. as mr. farah points out, this would make us more of a secret police state than eastern germany behind it’s iron curtain.

the actual outline, on the official government website, is here. the program is called TIPS, which stands for Terrorist Information and Prevention System.

what is happening? are the people in charge drinking get-stupid juice? are the leaders of america –freedom loving america- not only allowing this but condoning it? it makes me sick, and just a bit scared.

i understand the need to “combat” terrorism. i understand the need for innovative ways to find them and capture them. this is not innovative. this is what any happy facist government would do and has done all through history. even the foreign press realizes this.

in combination with the USA PATRIOT Act that i touched upon in my entry on 2002.07.10 the government could, with minimal effort, illegally (perhaps i should say “unconstitutionally”) arrest you indefinately without a trial. the founding fathers are rolling in their graves. FDR’s ghost is wailing and wondering why he bothered to help squash hitler when there are so many capable idiots in charge of his legacy.

imagine…

you own a business, some sort of consulting agency in mineral resources perhaps. you have hired many people from many backgrounds, among them some arabs (specializing in oil resources) and a guy from afghanistan who specialized in digging and mining. now let’s say that one person in the office is a snitch in this new TIPS program. you do not know this, and the snitch has been keeping an eye on these foreigners (who knows what the snitch actually says about them).

your business is not doing so well, for a variety of reasons, and with a sad heart you find you have to lay a few people off. one of those people is the snitch. now the snitch is pissed off. really pissed off. the snitch decides it’s time for some payback. the snitch tells the feds that your arab employees have been browsing suspicious web pages and has heard that you are in cahoots with thier suspicious activities, financing trips to the middle east (“business trips”, yeah, right) and that you might just be cooking the books to hide certain financial transactions.

one day you pull up into your driveway. the kids are playing in the yard and you can see your wife in the living room talking with a neighbor. you get out of your car. you hear a noise behind you and suddenly you are thrown to the ground. police appear to be arresting you, but they are not reading you your rights. you are asking them what is going on, but they are not answering you. you are thrown into a car and driven off.

months later, your wife still doesn’t know where you are. she has finally learned through a sympathetic friend on the police switch board that you are a suspected terrorist, that no one knows when you will be released. your wife tells the neighbor who was talking with the day you were taken away. turns out that neighbor is a snitch, too, and now they know that there is an information leak on the police switch board, too.

yeah yeah, i’m not a great story teller, but you get the idea. imagine your neighbor is a snitch and you don’t invite them to the BBQ you have. imagine the guy you cut off in traffic is a snitch. imagine you’re a girl getting hit on by some guy and you tell him to take a hike because he’s a jerk… little did you know he was a snitch, too, or you would have gone out on that date with him.

we don’t need a paranoid population in a police state. this is not stalinist russia. we are a country founded on certain principles that are outlined in our constitution and that our ancestors and some in our own families have fought and died for, that we live for, for ourselves and our posterity. i hope the people that think this is a good idea come to their senses soon.

Comments Off on 2002.07.17 | Catergorized: political  rights  thoughts

2002.07.15

2002.07.15

"They who can, do. They who can’t, teach. They who can’t even teach become critics." -attributed to?

Comments Off on 2002.07.15 | Catergorized: thoughts

2002.07.12

2002.07.12

how drinking and writing have much in common.

at parties it is the pukers that everyone remembers. writing is a kind of puking; you’re putting something out there as opposed to the plain drinkers/readers. the writers are the ones that are remembered by the world, not the readers, just like the pukers are the ones remembered at the party, not the regular drinkers.

and yes, i was drunk when i thought of that.

Comments Off on 2002.07.12 | Catergorized: food-drink  writing

2002.07.10

2002.07.10

anyone who has read my journal knows that i am all for taking care of the so called terrorists. however, i am also against alot of the idiocy that our so called leaders have tried to do in an attempt to curb their activities and catch them before their next attack. many in congress felt that swift action would automatically safeguard our country. however, as in the case of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (H.R. 3162) we are stepping further into the depths of a potential police state.

though this article in the yellow times (i wonder if the person that came up with the title had to take a leak?) is a bit extreme, it does point out some flaws in the letter and spirit of this law.

a better examination and criticism by the ACLU is here, and an in depth review of how the Act affects actual law is here on the center for democracy and technology’s site (warning: very detailed).

reading just a few of the section titles in the text of the Act is quite facinating. a sampling:

much of what is covered in the text of the Act are changes to existing laws in the form of rewording, editing, or amending. as such many of the sections are practically incomprehensible unless you have the original laws sitting in front of you. some however, are a bit clear as large portions of text have been added.

for example, section 213 adds large amounts of text that essentially describe how when a warrant is issued those executing the warrant do not need to inform anyone till after the fact the reasons for a search and/or seizure. also, it gives those executing a warrant the power to ignore a warrant that expressly forbids the confiscation of certain items and take those things regardless. worse, the “sunset” section 224 says that most of the items in the 200s expire after 2005.12.31 with some notable exceptions, including section 213.

section 412 describes how an alien may be held under suspicion of being or going to be a terrorist. at the attorney general’s discretion (his or her whim depending on their character) the alien may be held for six months. at the end of the six months, the attorney general may choose to continue detention or to release the alien. further, if i am to understand the way this is written, no judiciary may rescind the attorney general’s decision. there are certain restrictions on this, but the section also states that only the supreme court and the circuit court of washington, DC shall be able to rule on the attorney general’s decisions.

section’s 501 and 502 explain how the attorney general and the secretary of state may give “rewards” with a spending cap of $250,000. imagine i am a friend of the attorney general’s (fat chance of that) and i make some lame computer intrusion detection software. i could be rewarded a whole lotta money. i could also be rewarded for saying, “terrorism is bad,” at a public school. amazing how eager we are to dole out money.

section 1008 specifies how the attorney general along with the sec. of state and the sec. of transportation should begin looking into how to use biometric devices to secure various locations and information. it also says that the results of this study should be submitted 90 days after the USA PATRIOT Act was passed. that time has come and gone and i wonder what these distinguished people have found.

to it’s credit, the Act is not an evil thing. there are good portions of it, such as a new definition for domestic and international terrorism, granting new specific and limited powers to the president to deal with acts of terrorism (relating it to an act of war), and large sections dedicated with how to deal with the after effects of a terrorist act in forms of compensation for victims, etc.

however, much of it is plainly in violation of certain amendments to the constitution. as an afterthought, the Act contains this passage to deal with sections of this nature: “Any provision of this Act held to be invalid or unenforceable by its terms, or as applied to any person or circumstance, shall be construed so as to give it the maximum effect permitted by law, unless such holding shall be one of utter invalidity or unenforceability, in which event such provision shall be deemed severable from this Act and shall not affect the remainder thereof or the application of such provision to other persons not similarly situated or to other, dissimilar circumstances.”

it is obvious that the Act required alot of work to write and the very short amount of time from 2001.09.11 to when the act was passed (2001.10.24). in their haste to pass this Act -anything to show some government action- i think our congress made a grievous error. instead of curbing the spread of terrorism in america it sets the basis for a police state where, like in communist russia, the innocent can too easily be brought up on trumped charges and in which the criminals will continue to thrive because there are always ways to avoid electronic surveillance and run illegal operations. it is an unfortunate truth that the criminal elements that matter are often far better equiped and far more motivated than the law enforcement sent to apprehend them.

more information on some of what went on behind the scenes to create this Act can be found here.

information on the voting for this Act can be found here.

i spent about an hour searching for sites online that supported the USA PATRIOT Act, but most of them are blind “let’s kick terrorist ass” sites or simply say (like this page) that they support the law. if you know of any pages that intelligently support the Act (especially in respect to how it relates to trampling civil liberties) please send them my way (address in the next paragraph).

now let’s see how long it takes for me to get some hate mail…

2 Comments | Catergorized: political  rights  thoughts
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