Needlessly abject

I am not a teenager. I play one on the Internet.



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I'm an American, too!

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus-- and non-believers."

This non-believer couldn't be happier about the overt statement that President Obama made today acknowledging that I am not a second-class citizen. It might sound trite, but there was more "change" in that simple acknowledgment than I thought would happen in the entire Obama presidency. This affirmation that the non-religious are as much citizens as the religious gives me positive feelings that I don't believe I've ever had before, with respect to my government.

The last eight years have actively increased my fear that, eventually, my "kind" would end up being the victims of some kind of tangible, physical oppression-- so much so that the idea of even mentioning my lack of religious beliefs in this blog was something that actively frightened me. This statement in Mr. Obama's address today, simple though it was, goes a long way toward easing the discomfort and suspicion that that the last eight years have imparted.


Anti-FISA Bill Flyer

It's a bit tacky for me to do this, but this post is just going to be an email that I blind carbon-copied out to a group of friends and acquaintences a moment ago. I think this is important, so I'm stooping to this level.

I'm sorry for the unsolicited email. It takes me getting pretty riled up to send an unsolicited email like this, so I hope you'll forgive me.

Next week, the U.S. Senate is likely to pass a bill that will strip Americans of their 4th Amendment rights with respect to having their international telephone calls tapped without probable cause or the issuance of a warrant. For those of us who would like to see this bill stopped, we need to act quickly and get the word out to the public.

I've put together a flyer that I'm going to hand out at a parade I'm attending Friday and a festival on Saturday. The flyer is available at, and I'd encourage you to have a look. I've been over the text of my flyer again and again, and I think it free of basic grammar and spelling mistakes (though it's not necessarily very pretty). If you have suggestions or criticisms, I'd love to hear them. I've tried to make something that eschews partisan rhetoric and buzzwords and cuts to the heart of the matter-- the fact that the rights of law-abiding Americans will be taken away by the passage of this bill. It might be worded a bit sensationally, but I think that getting the public fired up about this issue is important.

If you feel up to it, print some off and hand them out while you're out this Independence Day weekend. If you don't, please visit the web site on the flyer (, look up the telephone numbers of your U.S. Senators, and give them a call to let them know how you feel about this legislation. Even if you don't think of yourself as "political", please take the few minutes necessary to make this call-- it's important!

The United States is a county based on the rule of law. The law was broken, and those who broke the law need to be held accountable. This isn't a partisan issue or an issue of security-- this is an issue of the rule of law and the basic rights granted to us as Americans by the Constitution. I've heard argument for this bill articulated in a way that questions the commitment of the bill's opponents to the "war on terror" or to the safety of Americans. Those are fallacious arguments, and ignore the real issue behind the opposition to this bill-- the fact that it runs slipshod over the Constitution.

I *would* argue that opposition to this bill is an issue of patriotism. A true patriot would take a stand for the Constitution and a stand against unlawful infringements on Americans' rights. Our founding fathers could not have envisioned electronic surveillance, but I'm confident that their vision for the protection of Americans against unreasonable search and seizure would include such electronic surveillance as this bill addresses.

Thank you for your time, and my apologies if this unsolicited email was unwelcome. If you stand with me on this issue, please help in any way you can-- even forwarding this email around (distasteful as mass-forwarding of emails is) would be appreciated. We've got to get the word out before it's too late.

Like I said-- I think this is important, and I hope you do too.


Xeni's 'Surrealist' Airport Moment

Xeni Jardin of reported a strange "freeze tag" event that she participated in when arriving back at LAX yesterday. Quoth Xeni:

I walked from the arrival gate ... all of a sudden about a dozen or more TSA personnel ... appeared, shouting STOP WHERE YOU ARE. FREEZE. Not just at me, but all of the travelers ... After 30 minutes, the TSA people said, okay, you may leave now. And everyone unfroze, and went and got their bags. No explanation.

Scary shit. We Americans are so fucked. This post sums up my feelings pretty effectively.

I'm dreading flying in October. Absolutely dreading it.


Ohio Data Theft-- Matthew Curtin is on the Case!

Per an AP story I saw on Yahoo, the State of Ohio has hired Matthew Curtin of Interhack to assess the likelihood of a third-party accessing the data that was stolen.

I don't know Matt personally, but I've heard him speak a couple of times, and it gives me comfort to know that he's working on this. Matt clearly knows what he's doing, and I have the highest respect for him. I'm waiting anxiously to hear what comes of this...


Ohio Data Theft - Somethings Fishy...

A friend of mine who worked for the State of Ohio, in information technology at the Department of Administrative Services, says that something is fishy with this recent data theft. He describes elaborate physical security, and management policies that would have made this kind of breach unlikely. He talked about the Ohio State Highway Patrol being used to ferry backup cartridges between facilities, and felt that it was highly unlikely that a policy that sent this data home with an intern (or any other employee) could exist.

My friend's supposition is that some is being "set up" for this. It seems sort of conspiracy-minded, but, then I suppose politics are a bit cut-throat. On the other side of the coin, though, I know how easy it is for large organizations to make really mind-numbingly stupid blunders like this. My friend's words are cause for some additional consideration, so I'm going to keep an eye on this thing. It'll be interesting to learn what the "device" was that was actually stolen (It was valued at $15.00, per the police report).


Post-election blues...

I drove to my first Customer site this morning pondering the that my fellow Ohioans voted in yesterday. I wonder which of my Customers will be the first to let me know that they'll be cutting back on staff, or cutting back on IT operations due to increased expense. In my personal life, I expect that my cost of living is going to go up. I keep fairly good records of my personal spending, and it'll be interesting to see how it looks after the wage increase goes into effect.

I want to say things about my philosophy of the employer/employee relationship, but I just can't muster the energy. My fellow Ohioians have spoken, and to me, they're saying "we want business to move to other states".

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