Friday, May 26, 2006


Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

Oh I'm so silly, why couldn't I have seen it before. That just makes perfect sense.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Different Way

Jeff at Shape of Days, you may feel like you will lose friends, but you may find that you have more support than you expect. Read It. Via Ilyka

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Modest Proposal

"As Frederick Jackson Turner argued: "The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development."

But why only westward? Why not Northward? Perhaps it is time to unleash our restless frontier spirit. Where better than to Canada? And who better to lead us than Vicente Fox?
After all, Canada is virtually empty. There are less than 30 million Canadians in over 3.9 million square miles. It's bigger than the United States and largely undeveloped. Plus, bin Laden doesn't seem to care about Canada. We will no longer be in the bull's eye. Let the Mexican/New Americans deal with him.

We Americans could build the malls, golf courses and high-tech corridors that Canadians refuse to build. No civilized people care about technical borders anymore. It's so possessive and stingy. Only fussy Canadian nativists and xenophobes will complain that Canada is theirs. Yeah? You and what National Guard? There are 300 million of us and only 30 million of you. Get used to it. Plus, we already speak your language. Or, technically, we both already speak England's language. "

Read the Whole Thing

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Watch what you say on the Internet!

Big brother is Watching!!! (Via Feministe & Pandagon):

When former AT&T technician Mark Klein learned of a secret

room installed in the company's San Francisco internet

switching center, he was certain he had stumbled onto the Total

Information Awareness program, a Defense Department
research project that intended to scour databases across

the country for telltale signs of terrorists.

Here is the full text of the AT&T whistleblower's testimony regarding Secret Rooms in AT&T buildings used to spy on internet messages.

The whistleblower's testimony is based mostly on wiring documents, and also the hardware in the room. One machine called a Narus, is apparently specifically designed to snoop on internet traffic (apparently very popular in the corporate world):

"Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network),

we can record," says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president

of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. "We can reconstruct

all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they

clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol)

Sooooo why does AT&T need to reroute all their cable through a cabinet, and then into another rooom where one of these machine's resides? And why would no one but NSA cleared staff have access to this room.

I'm a little scared right now. I mean, the phone number storing, fine, but being able to track everything everyone says or looks at on the internet, that is, in my opinion, a clear invasion of privacy. They are indiscriminantly collecting information on individuals without a warrant or any kind of due process and without their knowledge. That has to be at least 2 laws that we are breaking, right?

Which hopefully means that none of the information they collect in this endeavor could be used against an American citizen in a criminal case because it is collected outside the protetcions provided to us. So, what again is the purpose of this program? Besides snooping in a serious way.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Making life easy for predators

Today, as with many days, I was sitting here in the QandO chat room with ChrisB from Texas. All of the other "regulars" were gone for the day. Then our new friend jane1994 dropped in. She greets us, tells us her real name, and she chats breifly with Chris, but I am busy working. Soon she says she has to go, will we be there at 6:30? Of course I say something sarcastic she does not pick up on, and then she GAVE US HER PHONE NUMBER to call her, if we should wish.

I asked her how old she was, and she asked my name, and I told her I don't give my real name out to people on the internet, as they might be stalkers. Chris then posted a google satallite map to her house while I mentioned how EXTREMELY unwise it is to give your phone number out to strangers. And then, for added fun I googled her and found her 4th grade book report. (2003, so yeah) She of course said the phone number was a fake, etc, but I certainly hope she wont be giving out numbers to anyone else anytime soon.

This whole conversation is alarming. If either Chris or I had a strange fascination with 12 year old girls, she could have been at serious risk. But I don't think she had any idea about the kindof information that can be found about a person on the internet. Google makes all of this especially easy, which isn't google's fault, it's job is to help people find information. But this means that everyone should carefully guard what information about them is made publicly available on the internet.

Parents need to talk to their kids about internet safety and explain the idea that anything you put on the internet is available for anyone to get ahold of. Even if parent's don't have the internet in the house, or restrict their access, it is important that kids understand not to give out their real names, phone numbers or other identifying information. If someone asks your name, give them a fake one, they'll never know you're lying, just like you'll never know if they are lying to you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Since 9/11 security has become a huge political issue. Keeping the citizens of the U.S. safe has become Priority #1 (at least in speeches). And how do they ensure our safety? Some of the protections aren't too inconvenient: airport screening takes longer, and occasionally there are more cops around than normal, oh and we've spent a lot of money what else is new.

But some programs like the NSA wiretapping and provisions of the patriot act that allow for certain invasions of privacy have people like me bridling. I don't really want the government to have access to my library records (I mean do they really need to know about my prediliction for bad fantasy novels?). Also,Torture has become a huge hot button issue, and it seems in some circles that if you don't agree with it, it is because you don't want the safety of Americans. Like the quotes I posted here a few days ago, the government has used our fear of another terrorist attack to justify actions that before 9/11 would never have been tolerated.

But there is a counterargument, from John C. Gannon, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence:

"I believe that the hard-won Constitutional freedoms enjoyed by Americans, along with our unparalleled commitment to civil liberties embedded in law, work against the development of domestic terrorist networks that could be exploited by foreigners."..."This is not an academic point for me. It is an observation from a career of watching the domestic consequences of repressive regimes elsewhere in the world--including US-friendly Islamic governments such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt,"

He has a lot of good things to say, read the whole article, here's what he had to say about the NSA program (emphasis mine):

"The NSA warrantless surveillance program--the details of which are mired in secrecy--should not be seen as a tradeoff between security and civil liberties. But, for this to be true, the program must be bound by law and subject to both judicial review and competent Congressional oversight--the latter now in short supply."

I hope that someone, say the democrats maybe, will take his words and follow through. The American people should not have to sacrifice their freedom to protect it. Protecting our civil liberties is not being soft on terrorism. It is protecting what this country stands for even in the face of the enemy. We have to defy their attempts to cow us by standing strong.


Oh Blog Oh blog, wherefore art thou f-ed up?
Deny thy f-ed-up-ness and forsake thy bugs!
Or, if thou wilt not, be but backed up on my hard drive,
And I'll no longer be pissed off.

Update: ahhh, that's better

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Capitalist Approach

to feminism.

Reader's Digest Version: Indian women are in shorter and shorter supply because Indian women are selectively aborting female babies to avoid the financial burden posed by the Dowry's required (and possibly also not to give life to a child who will live a more unpleasant life than her brothers). They want to make this practice illegal. But keeping the practice legal will eventually result in more equality for women, as the supply is limited, and women will have their pick of suitors, it will no longer be the women with the dowrys. Though I think the eventual goal should always be equality, both in numbers and in stature, this seems like a reasonable solution to me. Limit supply to increase demand, right?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Quotes from a friend

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same in any country."

  • Hermann Goering (1893 - 1946)Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and Hitler's designated successor The second in command of the Third Reich

"These [terrorist] attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible, and this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail…The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed."

  • George W Bush (1946- )