Archive for February, 2008

Feb 17 2008

Politics: Should telecommunications companies receive immunity for their participation in government surveillance programs?

Published by under Politics

Should telecommunications companies receive immunity for their participation in government surveillance programs?

We live in interesting times. We have the ability to monitor almost any traffic in an effort to try and prevent almost any form of terrorist attack. We could line our streets with cameras and pay citizens to watch for any sign of trouble and report it to the proper authorities. If we wanted to, we could execute anyone caught contributing to terrorism in any way. Surely that would stop it, right? Surely we would justify such actions by weighing the cost in human life of executing criminals versus the countless innocent lives lost in countless acts of terrorism. Sounds plausible to me.

The only problem with such a notion is that it violates the principles of freedom upon which this country was founded. Believe me, I really hate to use the “our fathers” argument. It’s really the only thing that seems to pack a punch, though. Our forefathers (and mothers) believed in us, but more than that, they believed in freedom. They knew that freedom isn’t free. They knew that it must be fought for, and at times requires the loss of life. Sometimes I think that there are few things we today would risk our lives for, but they did it without thinking twice because they believed in freedom.

I’m less concerned about the telecom companies having immunity for it than I am with the government itself having immunity. Who holds the watcher’s watchers responsible for their actions? Whether we live in a free society or a police state, the cost of freedom is still the occasional loss of life. Either abide by the law or change it by legal means. Don’t give retroactive immunity because it creates divisiveness and encourages anarchy.

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Feb 09 2008

Dreams: The Grand Hall

Published by under Dreams

I just woke from a dream in which there was this grand hall. I recall flying through it as though riding in a tiny helicopter or as though I were floating about. This hall was attached to an old, Victorian style house full of mysterious rooms which were in turn full of mysterious things. Attached to the back of the house was the Grand Hall. It was definitely “older” than the house to which it was attached. There was an open roof at the very top of the hall the size of what I will call the dance floor, and the whole hall was covered inside and out with ivy and moss after decades of apparent neglect. It was two stories and there were old stone pillars holding up the second floor and the partial roof. Statuary littered the hall, and in fact the statue in the very center of the hall may look familiar to some of you:

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