May 2006

News & Culture & Privacy & Punditry30 May 2006 04:22 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Apple Loses Blogging Case

European Court Bars Airline Passenger Data Sharing

Retailers Mine Data Just Like Spy Agencies

Where’s our Personal Data Security?

News & Culture & Privacy & Punditry23 May 2006 04:14 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Data on 26 Million Vets Goes Missing

Password “Phishers” Try Voicemail

Homeland Security Disses RFIDs

Law17 May 2006 09:57 am

History often repeats itself, especially when idiots fail to learn from it. So after reading this article on CNN today, I’m counting the hours till I see a court case titled “Loving v. Black Jack.”

The AP wire story says:

The [Black Jack, Missouri] City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

What caught my eye was the last name, Loving. That name is well known to civil rights attorneys… indeed to any attorney who didn’t sleep through Constitutional Law class. Loving v. Virginia is one in a long line of aptly named lawsuits, a landmark 1967 civil rights case in which Virginia’s ban on mixed race marriages was declared unconstitutional.

How could the nitwits in Black Jack, MO, be so silly… this kind of bald-faced symmetry just won’t work in Hollywood. It’s too trite. I mean, come on! Maybe their twist will be that Black Jack will sue them to evict Loving and it can be Black Jack v. Loving. Or maybe a different plaintiff… somebody named Bumpkin? Yes… the Bigoted Bumpkins of Black Jack v. Loving has a nice ring to it.

Privacy & Punditry16 May 2006 06:33 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Qwest’s Admirable Example

BellSouth & AT&T Named in $200 Billion Lawsuit

U.S. Government Opens Assault on Wiretapping Lawsuit

News & Culture & Politics15 May 2006 10:24 am

Democrats have had an easy refuge for the last seven years. Whenever the Bush crime family would pull another trick out of its collective black hat, Democrats could recede into the escapist cocoon that was The West Wing.

Reveling in the glory days of the Bartlet Administration provided a comforting fiction: a world in which the President of the United States was intelligent, engaged, and wrestled with the moral and philosophical questions about what was in the best interests of liberty and justice instead of partisanship and cronyism. It was a world in which the White House staff worried about the appearance of impropriety and chided the media for not focusing on the bigger issues.

While The West Wing suffered in its final years from the departure of its creator Aaron Sorkin — a loss that manifested itself in lousy writing that lurched from one improbable uber-dramatic disaster to another, instead of on real interpersonal drama and Machiavellian political theatre — the last season returned to some of the original themes of conscientious public servants earnestly trying to do what was right, and what was right for America.

Now that The West Wing is gone and Jed and Abby are back in New Hampshire, Democrats who want to see a competent president in the White House will have to get busy and work on putting one in there as soon as practicable. Unfortunately, the criminality of the current regime suggests that we could have that opportunity sooner rather than later. Of course that would depend upon having clueful Democratic leadership to retake Congress (Note to Howard Dean: Do what Rahm Emmanuel asks and spend the money wisely instead of trying to win state legislature races in places like South Dakota or there are plenty of us Democrats who will make sure that you’ll be hardpressed to find a job delivering campaign flyers), and a Democratic Speaker of the House who didn’t promise not to bring impeachment proceedings before the full extent of the crimes were known.

I’m going to miss The West Wing, but at least I have the The West Wing – The Complete First Six Seasons on DVD.

Privacy15 May 2006 09:42 am

When will we hear that the NSA phone call database was used to track down who called the reporters to tell them about the NSA phone call database, or the secret torture prisons in eastern Europe, or the warrantless wiretapping…? I think it’s only a matter of time. And when it happens, I’ll be point to this posting.

Privacy12 May 2006 03:39 pm

InformationWeek’s Tom Claburn saw my note to Dave Farber and Lauren Weinstein, and wrote an interesting piece. I’m actually working on a column for eSecurity Planet about Lauren’s proposal… but the NSA’s latest privacy mess diverted my attention. More about this later though…

News & Culture & Politics & Privacy & Punditry08 May 2006 05:32 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Congress Considering Mandatory ISP Snooping

IBM Introduces Privacy-Friendly RFID Tag

FTC Joins the Cellphone Records Lawsuit Frenzy

Tiger Woods Settles “Privacy” Privacy Lawsuit

News & Culture & Politics05 May 2006 02:26 am

[I sent this letter via email today to Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen.]

Mr. Cohen:

I read with great bewilderment your May 4 column, So Not Funny, about Stephen Colbert’s appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.


All I can say is Wow! You really don’t get Colbert, do you?

“[O]n his show he appeals to a self-selected audience that reminds him often of his greatness…”?!?! The humor of the character he portrays is in its absurdity, and in the inherent satire of self-important boobs like O’Reilly and Limbaugh who are themselves a kind of self-caricature. His victory laps through his studio audience are part of the joke — a joke you don’t seem to get.

I agree that, as you point out, the dinner was an opportunity to tell the president things that it would be good for him to hear. In fact, what I heard Colbert doing was exactly that: giving him an opportunity to hear the administration’s cheerleaders, apologists, and “yes-men” in a new light. The humor of Colbert is in the way he takes the absurdity of the right-wing media to the next level, breaking down the pretense of objectivity and dispensing with the onion-skin veneer of facts that the president’s apologists pretend to rely upon.

On the issue of speaking truth to power requiring consequences, it seems to me there were significant consequences for him, in the form of being all but run out of the dinner on a rail and being attacked by the right-wing media machine (and their left-wing media counterparts who don’t get uppity for fear Karl Rove won’t return their calls).

But in all the media outrage at the “meanness” of Stephen Colbert, I think the deafening silence about the other target of his humor — the hapless Washington press corps — is most intriguing. Perhaps Colbert’s greatest sin was speaking truth to the assembled “journalists” who have proven themselves time and again to be little more than stenographers for this administration’s pablum. If reporters found Colbert’s barbs insulting and rude, all I can offer is the old cliché: “if the shoe fits…”

I’m sorry that you either don’t understand Colbert’s style of humor, or that you’ve let the right-wing version of “political correctness” (e.g., thou shalt never offend the Glorious Leader) make you oblivious to the humor inherent in this mockery of the absurd.

By the way, when you spoke at my high school graduation a couple of decades ago, you weren’t funny.

-Ray Everett-Church

News & Culture & Punditry02 May 2006 05:51 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

State and Local Governments Are Spying on You

FBI Sought Data on Thousands of People in 2005

Congress Considering Mandatory ISP Snooping