Friday, July 22, 2005

Who needs freedom when you can live in a Police State!!

I'm sure that all of our terrorist friends are now celebrating, and with good reason! Not only is the “Patriot Act” surviving, it’s giving the government even more freedom to restrict us without any checks and balances as well as being extended to 2010 before the next review. Not to mention they've now authorized random searches, at least in NY City. The NY city police can do 'random' searches on public transit riders.

Now to be fair, the NY police will not be doing any racial profiling. They are only targeting bags that are big enough to hold a bomb, paying special attention to backpacks and rucksacks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a grenade is a type of bomb, yes? If so, I could put about a half dozen of them in my lunch bag. Guess they will just focus on the big bombs rather than the small bombs. I’m just glad that I’m not someone with Middle-Eastern heritage attending school in NY, heck, I’d probably be getting searched about 12 times a day!

And I can also fully understand the logic behind it, after all, a suicide bomber would never, ever think about leaving the platform/station if they saw police approaching. And it’s preposterous to think that if a suicide bomber were searched that they might actually set off the bomb on the platform or in the station, after all, they only set them off on trains and busses. And I’m sure all terrorists and suicide bombers hold to a very strict timetable and not a one would ever even dream of setting their bomb off a little bit early or late.

I guess pretty soon, this policy will be in place within three blocks of all government buildings, landmarks, or ‘sensitive’ areas, assuming that is not already the case. By Memorial Day, I’m sure that ‘random’ roadside checks will be an everyday thing, especially around bridges/overpasses and tollbooths.

I’m glad to see that these terrorist activities in the US and abroad have had no impact on any of our lives. I’m glad to see that our freedoms are still so safe and secure. I feel more comfortable knowing that the government can now go through all of my personal records, search my home without telling anyone, and now search me on the streets if I have a bag on me. I feel so much more comfortable knowing that I can be held and questioned indefinitely without access to legal counsel or to my family. It’s good to know that all these terrorist activities have not affected anyone’s lives here in these United States… now secretly known as USSR v2.0 RC-1.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Terror Richter Scale

Since the recent bombing in London, several reporters and media personalities, including everyone’s favorite Rush Limbaugh, have called these attacks “unsuccessful” because the death toll was only 40 (at the time the statements were made) with “only” 150ish injuries.

Only an idiot thinks that the death toll is what is important to a terrorist strike. The real purpose of such a strike is to demoralize the target society, watch the government step up their police actions as the population loses their freedoms one-by-one. They want people to lose faith in their governments ability to protect them, while causing the people to live in fear, as their nation becomes a police state.

Sadly, it has become obvious that for the sake of the media and for reporters everywhere who use the Body Count Index (BCI) as a measure of success for terrorist strikes that an objective scale is required. It is with great regret that I must formally introduce the Terror Richter Scale based on the Body Count Index—TRSBCI.

Terror Richter Scale Number

Body Count Index

Terror Rating































So as we can now clearly and objectively see, the London Bombings were not an Unsuccessful attack, it was a Marginal attack. Also by this scale, we can quantify that the September 11th attack was an Acceptable attack. And we can all sleep comfortably, secure in the knowledge that to date, we have yet to see a Successful terrorist attack.

Just for the record, I would like to say to all the reporters and media personalities who called the attacks unsuccessful (that we now can see were clearly Marginal), piss on all of you. The loss of a single life is far too many; the grief of one family makes it a Successful attack.

Do we need to have peace with every nation/group/person on the planet? Of course not. What we do need is a state of non-violence and non-war that will allow us to cohabit this planet.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Knee jerk

In a recent Wired article, the blogging of a murdered/sex-offender was examined along with many of the replies to his later posts to his blog. Going into what he did, what he said in his posts etc is really not going to be all that fun to go into here, however several of the replies at the end are worth a comment or two…

Perhaps the most common sentiment wonders how Duncan's increasingly disturbed postings failed to draw law enforcement attention before his arrest.

"They can prosecute people for downloading music by tracing, yet no one is watching for this kind of shit on the web?" one anonymous poster wrote. "How can a registered sex offender even have a website like this. Shame on law enforcement for not monitoring him better."

"Why on earth can we not monitor things of this nature?" another visitor asked. "We have the technology to do it, but it takes the death of a child in order for someone to react. I can not believe how sick society is now a day to let something like this be published world wide."

"Why didn't anyone on this blog report this activity to authorities," another post asked. "This kind of thing is what the Patriot Act is supposed to help!?! Isn't it?"

First of all, you just have to think…do we really want the government watching and regulating everything that goes up on the net? Do they realize that www stands for World Wide Web, i.e. this stuff can actually be hosted anywhere in the world and be outside the jurisdiction of any US agency? And report him…. “Hello, is this the Department of Bad Blogs?….Yes, I’d like to report a Bad Blog. I think the author is psycho and should be arrested and the site shut down…What do you mean First Amendment Rights?…Defamation of Character, what are you talking about?….Yes I’m from WV and the blogger is in WY….What do you mean you can’t do anything because of jurisdictional issues?”

I mean let’s face it, there is a ton of B.S. out there on the web in general, and a healthy dose of B.S. in the forms of blogs. And yes, this does appear to be a case of a real bad guy actually talking about all the bad things he has actually done. If the authorities actually had to look into every piece of questionable material on the web, well then every single person of authority would spend their entire days reviewing all the crap that is out there.

There is no way to tell the real from the fake. Is a blog a real personal account of something or just a piece of creative writing? After all, for every one person like him who’s posting a blog on the net, there are about 100,000 who are just posting crap. If someone had reported him, and due to his history, someone had actually gotten a warrant and he was arrested, I’m sure any two-bit lawyer would have been able to have him freed within a few hours on the grounds that his client was just observing his First Amendment protected rights, his freedom of expression. And even if they had brought him in, last I checked in this country at least, until you actually commit or attempt to commit a crime you can’t be convicted of it.

They best they could have hoped for were to put someone on him and watch him. But for how long? A sad fact is that it costs money to have someone under surveillance 24/7 including wiretaps and computer logging. The watch may have lasted a few days or weeks, but eventually the money would run out for watching a potential criminal. And when it comes down to it, he committed the crime in a different state, so unless they set up a joint interstate operation (even more expensive) I’m afraid the chances of preventing this particular crime are remote.

Yes, this was a horrible and tragic event. If you read the blog it’s no more or less tweaked than many that are out there, but when combined with what happened, well now it becomes so ‘clear’. This guy posted a few times a month for over a year, and that would be a very long time to keep someone under surveillance.

The real question to those who made those types of comments is…how many more of your freedoms and liberties are you willing to give-up in exchange for protection from the likes of this person? Fortunately, people like this are few and far between. And what would more laws and more government intrusion into our lives get us? Don’t forget, we are talking about criminals here—they are already breaking the law so adding more restrictions does nothing but keep all the rest of us repressed so the criminals (assuming they get caught) have a few more charges brought against them.

New laws, rules, restrictions etc only affect the law-abiding citizens. Shutting down the blog would not have prevented the crime. Arresting on the basis of the blog content would not have prevented the crime. Either of those would have justified his feeling of oppression and just added fuel to the fire. Give the government permission to start shutting down blogs and website because of ‘questionable content’ and you know they will start pulling the plugs en masse. And don’t think for an instant that the government will watch ‘just the bad guys’, after all, they know how to spoof a server address just as well as the next guy, nope, and we will all be watched. You have nothing to hide you say? That might be true, but how will you feel when they are searching your house because you visited a website of someone they consider subversive?

Yes, I realize that this is a rather extreme view, but in light of what they did with the Patriot Act, a knee-jerk reaction to fear is something they are learning to take advantage of. So be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it, and it’s a very slippery slope!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What to do, What to do...

I don't know about you, but all of the decent blogs that I've read have always seemed to have started not long after one of those profound moments that make you look inwards at yourself. For how one of the best blogs on the net got started after one such event, check out WWdN.

My own personal moment came after an eye exam just last weekend. Went through the regular exam, no big changes there, just needed a bit stronger for the reading portion. I was really just there because my old lenses were scratched all to hell. But he put the drops in to dilate the eyes and then sent me out for a bit while the drops did their work.

About twenty minutes later, he called me back in. First he checks the right eye, then the left. Then he goes back to the right eye and then back to the left. This process repeats about five or six more times. By round three, I’m thinking, ‘Oh shit, this can’t be good!’ as this is normally a 30 second exam, 15 seconds per eye.

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you” says the doc.

‘No shit!’ I think.

“As you know, with diabetics we like to keep track of the health of the retina, and I found some very small micro-hemorrhaging in front of your retinas. I’m afraid you have the start of diabetic retinopathy.”

He went on a bit more and gave me a referral for a more in-depth exam at the hospital (I still have to set that up) but my mind had locked itself on those two (not so) little words, diabetic retinopathy. I knew I would hear those words sooner or later, I was just hoping it would be a bit more on the later side.

Having Type 1 diabetes for around 22 years now, I’ve always known that this was in my future, still, it does suck when it finally arrives. So to console myself, I picked up a new coffee maker and grinder. What can I say I’m a coffee snob and love the good stuff! Maybe next month I’ll ditch my old point-and-shoot digital camera and pick myself up a nice dSLR—I love photography and really miss the control of the SLR’s.