Friday, August 16, 2013

Dogs Really are Man's Best Friend, and the NSA Really Does Suck. Stuff I Read and Things I Think

This article makes me smile.  When you yawn, your dog has a physiological response and gets tired with you.  I've noticed it with Winston.  If he's not hungry or doesn't have to go take a grumpy, his mood will match mine exactly.

If I'm in bed watching Netflix, he's laying down taking a nap.  I'm on the couch writing this blog, he's laying on his back frozen like a weirdo.  And when I get excited, man oh man, does he get excited too.  His degrees of excitement work like this.

Level 1:  Slow Tail Wag                                    
Trigger:  Doing anything.  Standing up.
Human Translation:  I am kind of excited about whatever you are doing.  Also I will now follow you everywhere.

Level 2:  Biting
Trigger:  Seeing something he likes, or being played with.
Human Translation:  C'mon, I don't really have hands.  I use my mouth to experience the world.  Now let me give you a high five, with my teeth!

Level 3:  Vigorous Tail Thumping
Trigger:  Grabbing his leash or Chuck It.
Human Translation:  OMG!  We are going outside!  I love outside!  OMG!  The thing that makes that little round furry animal fly!  I want to eat them.  I want to eat them both!

Level 4:  Jumping
Trigger:  Coming home.
Human Translation:  I love you!  I missed you!  I love you!  I missed you!  OW!  I'm sorry I know I'm not supposed to jump but I love you!

Level 5:  Sprinting Back and Forth
Trigger:  Unknown, happens spontaneously.  
Human Translation:  Must run.  Must run fast.  Must turn around and run fast.  Must keep running.  Must run faster.  Must run back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  Must run!

Yeah, dogs are fun.

I also woke up to new revelations that *gasp!* the NSA has committed privacy violations.  This news isn't shocking, but I'm glad that Snowden and the Guardian are keeping a steady drip of pressure on the NSA and its allies in DC.  Snowden's revelations have really caught traction and the story keeps growing bigger and bigger.  

  • We find out here the House Chair on Intelligence kept info from other members of Congress to make sure the Patriot Act reauthorization passed.  The Republican on Republican combat this caused illustrates the weird political coalitions this issue created.
  • And this interview with the chief judge of the court tasked with policing the NSA really has little power to do so.  Obama trumpets this court's existence as one reason why American's can trust the NSA surveillance programs.
The local paper has had a steady stream of letters lately calling Snowden a traitor.  If that's true, he's in good company with some other famous traitors, like George Washington, Ben Franklin et al.  People who broke the law and risked their personal well-being to stand up for freedom and liberty.

I love America.  I think our ideas and ideals are among the best in the world: That all men are created equal, that government is run for the people and by the people, that everyone should have a fair shot.  Those ideas changed the world.

But ideas are just talk and it's actions that matter.  Our ideals are only as good as us, and I do not think that the NSA collecting and storing American's electronic communications embodies any of those ideals.  That kind of stuff belongs in the past with Soviet Russia or the Stasi of East Germany.  Not in America.

Every day that our government invades the privacy of every American, every time our government lies to the American people about the programs it has to watch us, is a day that Bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorists win.  And they've been winning over, and over, and over.  

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