News Round Up, Monday, June 10, 2013

 

Random question of the day: How do you feel about the NSA, FISA, and your liberties?

Edward Snowden, NSA Whistleblower, Says He Acted Out Of Conscience To Protect ‘Basic Liberties’

The Government and Its Secrets: A Matter of Principles

The Six Vital Questions About NSA Surveillance

Life Under the Surveillance State

Connecting the Dots Between Drone Killings and Newly Exposed Government Surveillance

PRISM Spying Brings Questions For U.S. Allies

So… I couldn’t bear the thought of sharing the same opinion over and over. These articles are all on the NSA scandal, its whistleblower, and what we do (and don’t) know about the program. After reading them all, I have a few specific thoughts. One, I’d like to see companies given the right to tell customers they’re going to be monitored regularly, as opposed to by court order only. Two, I’d like to see Obama stop being a hypocrit; looking at all the talk he made about Bush’s secrecy, the loss of liberties, and how important transperancy is, it’s weird to think Obama 2007 is the same man as President Obama 2013. Three, I believe there’s a way to live in a digital world and still be allowed our privacy; I just feel like no one (companies, government, or service providers) benefits from the idea, so no one’s pushing to make it a reality. The tech is out there, the ability to make all digital communication completely private, just as there’s tech to completely take all privacy away. It’s scary to think those in power aren’t interested in the former use of tech, only the latter.

 

Brandon Garabrant Not Allowed To Wear Marine Uniform To HS Graduation, Cap And Gown Only

I firmly believe that a school has the right to create specific rules and ban alterations when they apply those rules fairly to all students. In the case of Chelsey Ramer, they had the right to fine her for adding an eagle feather to her cap; she knew the rules banning add-ons and accepted the consequences. In the case of this article, they made the correct decision in asking that Brandon Garabrant wear his uniform under his gown (like all the other students). Plus, I’d like to point out that people still manage to wash out of service during their combat training or AIT; that said, he’s not a full Marine yet and has no claim to serving his country that could back his anger at being asked to dress like the graduating senior that he is. If cultural tradition doesn’t allow for the bending of rules, than neither does puffed up self-importance.

 

FBI Raid On Deric Lostutter, AKA KYAnonymous, Was In Connection With Steubenville Hack

The hole gets deeper and dirty with each look. How can you threaten someone with 10 years for what sounds like even smaller amounts of hacking than I do when I post on a Facebook left open at the Sprint store, yet you only gave 1-2 years to rapists who have torn apart and humiliated another human being? The balance is off, I think.

 

Obama Cyber Memo Is Just The Latest Sign That The U.S. Is Preparing For Cyberwar

Hmm… to declare war, a president has to go through his Congress. What about a cyberwar? At first glance, a cyberwar has no casualties and isn’t important enough to require authorization. Then you start to recall what could be at stake. In a cyberwar, our angered enemies could hack power plants, water systems, banking systems. Our world is run in digital format, leaving us vulnerable. I really hope (and cynically don’t believe) that our government follows the correct channels for declaring war when they decide to go to cyberwar. And it’s a when, unfortunately, and not an if.

 

America’s Wolves Don’t Deserve This

USFWS Abandons Gray Wolves

I’ve given up. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a good activist for endangered animals. Instead of getting protective or defensive on their behalf, I get angry and then numb. As in “So what, only humans get to live on this planet? Fine, screw you! Kill the [insert animal here] off and see how powerful that makes you feel. Dick.” No, really… that’s essentially my reaction to the mistreatment of endangered animals, even my own snow leopard kin. With my current species trying so hard to poison, murder, and starve itself off this planet, I don’t have the emotional capacity to worry about saving others. It makes me sad, but I own up to my failing.

 

We’re paying off our mortgage in less than 5 years

I usually avoid these types of articles, because they usually include unrealistic situations (for my life). This is a perfect example of what I mean. When I reached the section about lowering 401K investments from 15% to 5%, I knew these weren’t “average” Americans. They had two paid-for cars, and they only had to drive 10 minutes to work. Nothing in this article speaks to me as a 20-something lower class worker, as this family is clearly in a comfortable middle class status. And I’ll be honest, it depresses me and makes me jealous. I’ll never live in a household that’s “middle class”, because my family unit has four full-time working adults who still can’t breach the line between classes; that’s without children or house payments at the moment. Thankfully, I measure my life’s success in happiness and experiences rather than money.

 

Boulder woman disturbed by police policy to enter unsecured residences

It seems kind of obvious… if you leave your door wide open and don’t answer police when they call in asking if everything’s alright, they might want to check on you and make sure there’s no trouble. Hell, I’d rather have a cop walk into my wide-open house uninvited than be a victim with help so close but inaccessible. And, let’s face it. Who the hell leaves their door open to go on a 40-minute walk? Nobody sane…

 

Mom Forced Disabled Daughter to Have Sex With Men, Act As Prostitute

Sometimes I think our justice system is broken, and then stories like this just verify how badly. This mother needs to be in prison, preferably for several years per sex act inflicted upon her daughter. Getting six months of required work via the county workhouse is nothing, and it treats her act of prostituting her own daughter as less than a crime. For shame!

 

Former Ohio resident charged with DUI despite documents showing blood alcohol content of 0.000

I have no clue if police were picking on Mr. Thornton based on his skin color. However, I do think it’s completely obnoxious that he was arrested and brought in for a breathalyzer, blew 0.00, and still had his car impounded. First off, breathalyzer tests can be done in the field. Secondly, a negative result so exactly zero (i.e. not just below the legal limit, but non-existent drunkenness) should’ve dissolved any ticket or related fines and fees. And thirdly, why the hell was a man’s car impounded at his expense when records showed quite gladly that he wasn’t doing anything wrong? Sheesh!

 

A Victory for Workers, a Victory for Families

Christa Dias was the woman fired for using in-vitro to get pregnant while single, all while working for a Catholic private school. While I’ve previously said (and stick by the idea) that you get what you get when you choose to work for a religious employer and then fail to follow their moral guidelines, I’m glad that courts ruled in her favor. Pregnancy discrimination is wrong, and I’m pleasantly surprised that the courts saw it that way.

 

Ariel Castro Faces 329 Criminal Charges, Including Aggravated Murder

That’s a start. It’s almost a good number, though something beyond 1,000 would seem more appropriate. After all, three women x ten years x however many sex acts per day… I’m just thinking this douche needs to get into prison ASAP. The one nice thing about prison society is that they don’t take kindly to rapists…

 

So, You’re That One Friend Who’s Still Trying To Quit Smoking. Me Too.

LOL! I just had a conversation with two of my roommates yesterday. They’re both “quitting” smoking. One hasn’t bought cigarettes in a week or two (and survives by bumming smokes off of other smokers in the house), while the other swears this next pack is his last (and has done so multiple times these past few weeks). When it comes down to it, the only non-smoker (ME) gets frustrated by the conviction used to make claims of quitting followed by the complete excuse-making used to make buying one more pack “okay”. One day, I dream of a smoker-free house; considering the health of all involved, it’d be ideal.

Random thought (rant) of the day: Comments on someone else’s appearance can be more harmful than helpful when done without context. I’ve been having severe hormone and acne issues the last couple months, to the point of seeking medical help for it. Not knowing that, my coworker just walked up to me and said “Stop picking at your face!” multiple times while I was on duty at our sign-in desk. Not only was it humiliating to have my acne (which is just now starting to heal) pointed out in such a public way, but her tone was that of a parent to a preteen who doesn’t perform proper hygiene. As if I didn’t already beat myself up for being a failure as an adult and as a woman, now someone else has ignorantly jumped in on the party. So… if you’re not my mother and I didn’t ask for advice, please keep it to yourself. Thank you!

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