WolfesBlogArchives: September 2003
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
JETBLUE AND THE PENTAGON AREN'T THE ONLY ONES. Turns out that NASA -- NASA????? -- requested 15 million passenger records from Northwest Airways for a similar "security" study. Nobody is saying whether Northwest actually finked on its customers, as JetBlue did. But the idea of handing over the records apparently originated with Northwest's security manager, Jay Dombrowski. So it's a good chance we'll find out they dunnit.
JetBlue is now being sued by angry passengers. Couldn't happen to a nicer airline.
But since NASA a) doesn't fly any passengers anywhere or oversee anyone who does and b) can't even construct safe transport for its own astronauts ... what the heck does it think it's doing? Now, that's a mystery I long to see solved.
Info on Northwest and NASA is courtesy of Kirsten Tynan of the Space Entrepreneurship Network You go, Space Entrepreneurs. Get us OFF this government-crazy planet!
Posted by Claire @ 11:23 AM CST [Link]
A FEW DAYS AGO, I REFERRED TO THE LYING MACHINATIONS OF "BUSHIES." The great hunter offers this correction:The proper term to use for the gaggle of cut-throats pretending they run the show in Washington these days is not "Bushies." One should always call a thing what it is, and they are, of course, "Busheviks." This alludes to their *true* tendencies and agenda in a nicely historical way, and from what I can tell irritates the heck out of them. As has been pointed out by a better man than I (in the sense of being more widely published...
), Republicans are USED to being called or alluded to as fascists, but casting them in the role of communists is both accurate, enlightening, and strikes past many of their defences.
Posted by Claire @ 09:23 AM CST [Link]
YESTERDAY'S POST ON THE FEDGOV AND IMPLANTED RFID CHIPS has sparked some truly magnetic discussion on The Claire Files message boards about ways to get the ID chips out from under our skins.
Posted by Claire @ 09:09 AM CST [Link]
Monday, September 29, 2003
VERICHIP IS "INCREASING ITS WASHINGTON, D.C., PRESENCE." That's the PC way of saying it's just hired an old political hand to aggressively promote subdermal ID chips to federal agencies.
So which agency will be the first to require implanted chips? Will the FBI or CIA demand them for their agents? HUD for their tenants? DHHS for welfare recipients or hospital patients? IRS for taxpayers? The ATF for gun owners? Probably it'll be the Pentagon marking soldiers. For Their Own Good. Followed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. For Our Own Safety. Whichever agency goes first, you can bet half the bureaucrats in DC are having orgasms this minute fantasizing over the new possibilities for control.
Fry those chips, folks. Fry those chips.
Posted by Claire @ 04:44 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, September 28, 2003
EDITORIAL: ASHCROFT IS A FALSE PATRIOT:A wise attorney general would have responded to the clear and consistent outcry by asking whether the Patriot Act might need to be repaired. But John Ashcroft has never been accused of being wise. So, instead of recognizing the complaints about the Patriot Act for what they are - sincere expressions of concern for civil liberties - Ashcroft has set out on a pricey public relations tour to promote the notion that Americans should trade basic freedoms for a dubious measure of security.
Last week, the tour brought Ashcroft to Milwaukee, where he almost came into contact with some of those angry citizens. That would have been a rare development, since Ashcroft's appearances are behind-closed-doors affairs in front of audiences selected for their willingness to applaud on cue - rather than question the attorney general. In Milwaukee, however, a group of Patriot Act critics got close enough to the War Memorial building where Ashcroft was speaking to draw the attention of press photographers traveling with the attorney general. But officials quickly shut the blinds to prevent anything akin to a debate.
"If the intent was to marginalize people who disagree with the attorney general, they certainly did that," said Chris Ahmuty, Wisconsin director of the ACLU. "The way they're going about this indicates they're on the defensive. When the attorney general essentially sneaks into town to address a select group of people, it doesn't raise anybody's confidence."
Fixing the Patriot Act sounds, on the surface, like a good idea. But a better step would be to simply cancel it - and to cancel Ashcroft. Get rid of a bad law and a bad attorney general and allow a more rational and responsible Justice Department to work with Congress to draft meaningful anti-terrorism legislation, rather than Ashcroft's assault on the Constitution.
Posted by Claire @ 01:46 PM CST [Link]
I GET A LOT OF NEWS FROM SUNNI MARAVILLOSA, who scans the world every day for items for Free-Market.net and generously shares them. Then today I found this intriguing "Micropiece" in the Rogues Gallery on her personal Web site. It's not exactly "micro." But it's quite an unusual piece. It's by Mississippi truck-stop clerk George Potter, who views the great market of life every night from midnight to 8:00 a.m. Gives you a whole different, and hopeful, perspective on the prospects of freedom and the utter irrelevance of the state.
Posted by Claire @ 01:00 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, September 27, 2003
YIKES! We've all heard how easy it is for people to get our private information, but here's an investigation service, Goldshield, that offers to obtain copies of your credit card bills and phone bills, your SSN, and other you-thought-that-was-confidential information to anybody who pays the money. Copies of your bills? With exact details of your calls and your purchases? To any creep with the bucks?
Some of Goldshield's many services are obnoxious, but well-known as do-able (like finding property records or DMV records.) Hard to believe they can get the kind of detail they claim, though -- unless they're bribing somebody at your phone company or bank or hacking into records. I'm going to check into some of their wilder claims. But they are for real. A consumer group recently used their service to purchase a credit report on Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Posted by Claire @ 05:08 PM CST [Link]
LET ME GO ON RECORD THAT I AM POSITIVE MY DOG IS NOT CONSPIRING AGAINST ME.When she jumped on my keyboard and deleted 2,000 e-mail messages a few months ago, I believe sincerely that it was a mere act of doggie exhuberance. Or perhaps she was putting me on notice that corresponding with cat people has a price. But understand: I do not believe she has been conspiring with my enemies, now or at any time in the past.
So you can see, certainly, that I am not paranoid.
BUT ... Two dead laptop computers in the last six months, two Web hosts going blooey, two corruptions of the database at The Claire Files message boards ... not to mention various outages, downages, screwupages, mysterious e-mail disappearances, and general weirdages, cuminating in this week's 60-hour total disappearance of my Internet connection ... all since I began blogging this spring, and ... well, I am beginning to wonder.
I wasn't particularly worried about this week's downage until the ISP told me that everyone else got back online in a few hours and “only a few homes right around your place” were still in the Dead Zone days later. Oh yeah, "and it looks like a hack attack." (Drums of doom here.)
I'm still not paranoid enough to feel paranoid about all this. But that's probably because I'm not as paranoid as I ought to be. One more thing and I'm going to start wondering whose side my dogs are really on.
Posted by Claire @ 04:52 PM CST [Link]
THE IRS WANTS TO SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFO WITH OTHER AGENCIES. One more reason not to file tax returns.
Posted by Claire @ 04:38 PM CST [Link]
Friday, September 26, 2003
DEBRA HERE WITH A LITTLE BAD NEWS. I received a carrier pigeon from Claire last night. It appears that the mule that delivers the Internet to Hardyville couldn't make it over Lonely Heart Pass yesterday. The poor thing is collapsed on the side of the road at the moment, so Claire's without internet access (and jonesing pretty bad).
We're trying to fix the problem - we have a call into Al Gore - but until we do, you're stuck with me. I'll keep you updated as I get more news ... presuming I can send the pigeon back out before my dog eats it.
Posted by Debra @ 10:51 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 25, 2003
DEBRA HERE AGAIN. LAST WEEK I LINKED TO AN ARTICLE in which the author suggests that computer operators be licensed... for security, of course.
Surprise, surprise. Today another article has come out, citing a study that suggests "the ubiquitous reach of Microsoft Corp.'s software on desktops worldwide has made computer networks a national security risk susceptible to 'massive, cascading failures.' " (The study, incidentally, was funded by CCIA, a group of whiney MS competitors which sues Bill G & Co. on a regular basis).
Note the key term national security risk. That's code for we're planning to regulate the living daylights out of it.
Note too who is gestating these types of articles: private citizens. It always starts that way, you see. That gives the FedGov plausible deniability. "The government isn't asking for more regulation...noooo...it's the people who want more regulation. The gov is only responding to a demand."
Mark my words: you'll see a lot more of this over the coming months and years. More calls for regulation. More "terrorist" incidents involving computers. Massive communication breakdowns due to sophisticated viruses (the authors of which will never be caught).
Our Fearless Leaders will reluctantly agree to monitor, limit, inspect, control, and legislate our computer use ... and secretly breathe a sigh of relief that they've managed to pop that pesky free-flow-of-information genie back into its bottle.
Posted by Debra @ 11:33 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
SARA PARETSKY IS A MYSTERY WRITER and creator of the detective V.I. Warshawski. She ponders how close she has come to being arrested without warrant or charges under the Un-Patriot Act. And how many other complete innocents have been pulled from their homes without cause, simply because of what they read or said.
Posted by Claire @ 10:31 AM CST [Link]
SORT OF SILLY TO CONSIDER GUN REGISTRATION in a country where every grown man is required by law to own a full-auto weapon. But then, logic never stopped any hoplophobe.
Note that the "lone-nut-with-guns" who committed Switzerland's most egregious massacre didn't attack kindergarteners, but politicians. Hm. And the Swiss still waited two years even to propose registration. Good grief, if a gunman had even considered wounding one U.S. Congressthingy, we'd have had draconian gun bans faster than you could say Clinton-Schumer-Feinstein-and-Hatch.
Posted by Claire @ 10:08 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
"TO THOSE GOVERNMENT AGENTS WHO READ MY EMAIL." The Idaho Cabin Hermit thinks I wrote this marvelous (and horrifying) piece of satire. I tell ya, Hermit, I only wish I had.
My hat's off to the author, "From Name on File."
Posted by Claire @ 07:56 PM CST [Link]
THE BUSHIES HAVE BEEN LYING ABOUT HOW DRACONIAN THE UN-PATRIOT ACT REALLY IS. Nooooo ... really???
Posted by Claire @ 09:47 AM CST [Link]
THE WAVES OF HISTORY OCCASIONALLY WASH UP SOME REAL BIZARRITIES. In 1938, the British magazine Homes and Gardens excreted this fawning article about the gracious living at Hitler's mountain retreat. Weird, weird, weird.
The article was dug up and scanned by the astute blogger, Simon Waldman. Homes and Gardens' copyright holder had a cow (wouldn't you? at least their cow was very polite) and Waldman took his copies of the scans down, but by then they had been mirrored all over the Internet.
As one Freeper commented when the scans were mirrored there, "Who wrote this thing? Neville Chamberlain?" Just shows to go you that the worst evil in the world can be right on your doorstep and millions will deny that fact -- to the extremely bitter end.
Posted by Claire @ 09:40 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, September 21, 2003
SOME GOOD VIEWS AND SOME BAD VIEWS ON THE NEW NOVEL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC. Click "more" for my review. [more]
Posted by Claire @ 11:09 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, September 20, 2003
I'M ABOUT 1/3 OF THE WAY THROUGH MATT BRACKEN'S NOVEL Enemies Foreign and Domestic. The book arrived yesterday and now I'm having a hard time putting it down. If its quality holds true to the end, I can tell you this is going to be the best RKBA novel since ... well, the best RKBA novel. Gripping plot. Strong characters. Intelligent structure. Enough solid information about firearms and tactics to be persuasive -- without so much gratuitous detail that a casual reader goes crosseyed. I hope to have a more detailed review early in the week when I'm finished.
Posted by Claire @ 11:02 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 18, 2003
NAT HENTOFF HAS WRITTEN A NEW BOOK, The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance. Hentoff is one of the great voices for freedom (despite not raising his voice in favor of the guardian amendment). AlterNet also did an interview with Hentoff this week.
Posted by Claire @ 12:43 PM CST [Link]
HAVE A NICE FLIGHT!JetBlue Airways confirmed on Thursday that in September 2002, it provided 5 million passenger itineraries to a defense contractor for proof-of-concept testing of a Pentagon project unrelated to airline security -- with help from the Transportation Security Administration.
The contractor, Torch Concepts, then augmented that data with Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal information, including income level, to develop what looks to be a study of whether passenger-profiling systems such as CAPPS II are feasible.
The "other sensitive personal information" that has now been placed in dossiers under control of the Pentagon includes, in addition to your Serf Number and your income, your occupation, the vehicles you own, and how many children you have.
(Thanks again to Free-Market.net.)
Posted by Claire @ 11:58 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
IT APPEARS OUR FEARLESS ADMINS HAVE REPAIRED THE CLAIRE FILES FORUMS. They're back online - enjoy!
Posted by Debra @ 12:52 PM CST [Link]
THE NANNIES ARE ON A ROLL THIS WEEK. Debra here, again. Surfing the Free State Project Forums recently, I found links to several interesting tidbits.
Tidbit the First: Should License Be Required to Go Online? A license for internet surfing? You gotta wonder what these folks are smoking. Do they have any concept of the economic impact of their little plan? Yanking people off the 'net until they complete a friggin' class of ... a day? A month? A semester? Please.
Tidbit the Second: I always thought that the Brit mindset was significantly different from our own. Now I'm sure of it. This article details the results of a study on Instant Messaging practices in both the US and the UK. What caught my eye was that Brits tend to "misuse" IM at work at a rate nearly twice that of their US counterparts. Says the article:
"One explanation for the disparity is the Big Brother notion. Nearly 60 percent of British respondents did not believe or were unsure whether their IM conversations could be monitored by their employer while 71 percent of US respondents believed -- correctly -- that IM messages could be traced."
It's a different world across the pond. They're surrounded by cameras, monitored constantly, but don't believe IM's can be traced?
Tidbit the Third: Courts in several states are forcing divorced parents to pay for their child's college tuition. Um, okay, I'm a little behind the times, but when a child goes to college, isn't s/he normally over 18? So exactly why the f--- are courts forcing people to pay the way for grown adults? Wanna go to college and your parents won't pay? Get a f'ing job, you bum!
No wonder you have 35 year old men living in their parents' basements playing video games, or 35 year old women (usually with a kid or two in tow) living with their mothers. No one is asking them to grow up; in fact, childish irresponsibility is apparently encouraged.
Now please excuse me while I go vomit.
Posted by Debra @ 12:36 PM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
IT SURE WOULDA BEEN NEWS TO THOMAS JEFFERSON:
"I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation."
Gen. Wesley Clark, Democrat candidate for president (Spoken on Meet The Press June 15, 2003, and shamelessly regurgitated by the historical ignoramuses of DraftWesleyClark.com.)
Posted by Claire @ 04:44 PM CST [Link]
Serious bummer, guys. The Claire Files Forum is not working. Seems to keep giving an SQL error for some reason. I've notified the admins, and hopefully it will be fixed soon. I'll let y'all know as soon as I hear something.
Sorry for the inconvenience!
Posted by Debra @ 01:34 PM CST [Link]
LOL, IT SEEMS GOVERNMENTS CAN'T EVEN GROW MARIJUANA RIGHT. Hey guys, it can't be that hard to grow a weed.
(This Canadian item courtesy of Rick from Germany. Don'tcha love the Internet?)
(I see that Wendy McElroy also covered this story today on her McBlog. Wish I'd thought of her comment: "Only the Canadian government could lose money as a drug dealer.")
Posted by Claire @ 09:44 AM CST [Link]
Wolfesblog stands today in support of CASPIAN, whose members stand at this moment outside McCormick Place in Chicago. Today, the RFID industry formally introduces its global plan to track all merchandise and track all individuals who purchase those goods. We will fight them. And one way or another we will win.
The above graphic was created by J.D. Abolins and is available in bumper-sticker size for your use at http://www.weirdbytes.com/rfid/.
FOLLOWUP from CASPIAN: 30 demonstrators turned up at McCormick Place -- a real coup considering it was a weekday morning. They brought signs, good manners, and plenty of spirit, and made their presence known from 10:00 a.m. to noon. GOOD GOING! to all of you who showed up!
Posted by Claire @ 09:34 AM CST [Link]
Monday, September 15, 2003
TIM WINGATE HAS JUST ANNOUNCED QUIETBUY.COM, a service for anyone who wants to buy politically incorrect books, tapes, CDs, or other legal merchandise in privacy and without a paper trail.
With the Un-Patriot Act giving federal agents easy access to our reading materials (and darned near everything else we do), Tim saw a way to put an extra layer of privacy protection between you and your bookseller. Or survival goods dealer. Or countersurveillance technology dealer. Or between you and other transactions that might make you look like a suspicious character in the paranoid eyes of the Homeland Security Gestapo.
Details of how it works are on the QuietBuy Web site. But basically, you send a money order and paper-only info on your desired transacton to QuietBuy. QuietBuy makes the purchase (which can be shipped to them, then sent on to you, or which can be shipped to a mail drop of your choice). The purchase is made on your behalf, but not in your name. QuietBuy keeps NO electronic record and "loses" its paper records after 30 days.
You can't use QuietBuy to purchase weapons, illegal merchandise, or pornography. It's mainly to guard your right to read. It's NOT to help you engage in illegal activities, including "conspiracy." It's NOT to help you get your jollies without the wife or the neighbors getting a clue. And don't even ask QuietBuy to do something illegal for you. But anything else ... it's up to you.
It's not cheap. $25 per transaction, plus extra shipping charges if QuietBuy receives the package and forwards it to you. However, there's no limit to the number of items you can order from the same supplier in one transaction. You and several friends could even combine your orders and pay just the single $25 "quid pro quo" fee.
My initial reaction was still, "Well, why not just use a money order and a mail drop and save the $25?" and "How can we be sure they'll really 'lose' our records?" But when I queried Tim, he came back quickly with some pretty good answers. Which you can see by clicking ...
Posted by Claire @ 06:49 PM CST [Link]
MORE ON YELLOWSTONE. I don't mean to be alamist. Really. Because no one knows enough to predict the moods of volcanos, let alone supervolcanos. But things are definitely heating up in the park.
This could pressage nothing but a steam explosion, a period of uneasiness that leads to No Big Deal, a small eruption ... or who knows what. Just keep aware -- especially (for anyone more than 600 miles from the caldera) of the potential need to renew and re-vamp your Y2K supplies against famine and other malign effects of "volcanic winter." If you're within that 600 miles ... well, good luck. :-) Your problems may turn out to be simpler, and certainly over more quickly, than everybody else's.
Don't anybody say I'm "predicting" the supervolcanic Big One. I'm not. And if I were, you should consider the source & pay no attention. But it's healthy to be reminded that we're not in total control of our own destiny -- and to know we can control how we respond to events. Anyway, if nothing else, you can now quit feeling silly about all those pails of rice and beans that have been sitting in your basement since the last big non-event. Whether by volcano, unemployment, illness, hyperinflation, flood, storm, act of asteroid, or act of god, they may come in handy yet.
Posted by Claire @ 12:14 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, September 13, 2003
THE BIG YELLOW LABRADOR RETRIEVER WAS TROTTING DOWN THE MEDIAN STRIP. Wearing a collar and tags, he looked placidly determined to get somewhere -- home, maybe -- as the freeway traffic roared past him on all sides. I couldn't stop without causing an accident. Five miles later, I reached an overpass, swung around, and headed back down the less franticly trafficked side of the highway. I feared I'd see the dog dead in the road.
I didn't. Exactly.
I saw a scrap of yellow fur, about a foot square. It was attached to something vaguely identifiable as a rib cage. The rest was just lumps of shining red meat, scattered over two lanes and about 100 feet of freeway. There wasn't even anything left identifiable as "dog." No head. No legs. No tail that might have been wagging in the back of somebody's pickup truck 15 minutes earlier. Just widely scattered lumps of pulp.
A mile further, another dog lay dead next to the median. A pit bull mix, his body intact and not even visibly injured. But just as dead.
A mile furthur along I was passed by a pickup truck. One of those where somebody has removed the tailgate to reduce drag and hasn't even replaced it with a span of decorative netting. A chow chow mix slipped and slid on the bare metal of the truck bed, looking utterly terrified as his master whizzed along at 70 mph.
No doubt the owners of all these dogs would swear they loved them dearly. But somehow I was the one who felt guilty and inadequate for not being able to save them.
Posted by Claire @ 10:22 AM CST [Link]
Friday, September 12, 2003
THOSE MADCAP BRITS ARE AT IT AGAIN:Every single person in the UK should be compelled to have their DNA on the national database in an effort to prevent crime, a senior police officer has argued.
Currently about two million people who have been charged with criminal offences have their DNA profiles on the national database.
But Kevin Morris, chairman of the Police Superintendents Association, told the Times newspaper opposition to extending the scheme to every man, woman and child was overstated.
The association will call this week for the extension as a tool to revolutionise the fight against crime and solve hundreds of murders.
This of course assumes that every man, woman, and newborn baby in the country is a criminal suspect. So why be good if your government has already decided you're bad, bad, bad? Being bad is so much more amusing.
(Two million "criminals" out of a population of 59 million is already pretty impressive.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:30 PM CST [Link]
CAN'T SAY I LIKE THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION. Its corporatized, governmentalized, highly regulated version of "free trade" bears about as much resemblance to actual free trade as the present U.S. fedgov bears to the government described in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Still, it's refreshing to see free-market counterprotesters poking fun at leftist hypocrites who are so famously demonstrating at the WTO meeting in Cancun. Groups like the Congress of Racial Equality and the young tyranny-mockers of Bureaucrash bring a lot of common sense to the street theater, which is otherwise dominated by folks who'd gladly take us back to the "environmentally friendly" stone age.
Posted by Claire @ 12:07 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Posted by Claire @ 01:42 PM CST [Link]
SPEAKING OF INNOCENTS BETRAYED ... In all the Washingtonian and New Yorkian melodrama, hand-wringing, and scripture-quoting this morning, no politician dared name the truth: that four or five guns in the hands of airline passengers could have saved 3,000 lives two years ago.
Arming pilots isn't enough. And yet the administration stalls at taking even that small step. The administration that pretends to mourn while denying us even that much protection from evil, should taste gall and bile when it mouths its pious words of sorrow.
Posted by Claire @ 01:32 PM CST [Link]
INNOCENTS BETRAYED was released this week. This is the documentary that shows, for the first time, how millions around the world have been slaughtered in part because they allowed themselves to be disarmed.
"Innocents" will break hearts ... but will also open minds if it gets out there. Working on it, as I did for a year, was often deeply depressing. Yet somehow, the result is not. Instead of filling you (or me) with gloom, it sparks determination. Determination to make sure that we never go down that genocide road, and determination to help pull others back from that path.
You can buy "Innocents" (and I'll humbly add, should buy it) on DVD or VHS from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. (You can consider than an unbiased recommendation, too. Though I wrote it, I receive no royalties from its sale.)
With Operation Jump Start, you can also raise pretty substantial amuonts of money for your RKBA or other pro-freedom group by getting your members to order their own copies.
I saw many early cuts of "Innocents" -- a segment here, a half an hour there, the almost-finished work with its take-your-breath-away finale. But I asked Aaron Zelman to let me have a mental summer vacation before I viewed the finished work. So while a dozen or so reviewers have seen the completed production, I still haven't. Following the credits, there are interviews with my two co-creators, producer-director Aaron, and creative consultant and book writer Richard W. Stevens. Thanks to the Internet, I've worked with these two extraordinary men all this time without ever meeting either of them in person. I hear they're both handsome fellows, and I'm looking forward to seeing them for the first time as soon as I get my DVD
I hope "Innocents" moves you and changes the world.
Posted by Claire @ 12:46 PM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
AT 10:00 A.M. ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, CASPIAN plans a protest against radio-frequency tracking chips (RFID), to be held outside McCormick Place in Chicago. Inside McCormick Place on that day, the spychip industry will be formally announcing its consumer-tracking network.
Because of the weekday and the limited time to organize, CASPIAN is having trouble getting local activists to stand with them. We must raise a public-media ruckus about this evil plan, and not just chat about it on the Net. If you're in Chicago or know activists there, please plan to attend or urge others to attend. Contact Katherine Albrecht at firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your help.
Posted by Claire @ 09:15 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 9, 2003
THERE'S ALREADY A WOLFE'S LAW, so I can't propose one. (And anyway, who needs more laws?) So call this:
Wolfe's Extreeeemly Tight Guideline
The person with the least to say is the most likely to add you to his mailing list without asking.
First corollary to Wolfe's Guideline
The person who adds you to his mailing list without asking is the most likely to use open cc to expose you to spammers.
Second corollary to Wolfe's Guideline
The person who uses open cc to expose you to spammers will invariably, when requested to use bcc, respond, "But I cannnnnn't use bcc if you don't tell me howwwwwwwww."
Third corollary to Wolfe's Guideline
The person who adds you to his mailing list without asking is the only mailing-list operator who will invariably, when requested to remove you from his list, scream, "You're nothing but a big phoney who doesn't want to listen to what's really going on in the world!"
Fourth corollary to Wolfe's Guideline
N number of people will never Get a Clue, even if they live long enough to experience the heat-death of the universe.
(Webmistress Debra asked me to add this link to an old article of mine called "Libertarians and the Privacy of Friends." Toward the end of the article, you'll find a brief primer on simple, commonsense ways of respecting others' privacy. I hate to jump on newbies who may not know any better than to use open cc on mass mailings. But it's hard to distinguish an innocent newbie from someone who's arrogantly, permanently careless. And both will savage your privacy just as surely. I cringe when I recall my own newbie mistakes and am grateful to those who forgave them. But the bottom line is that people shouldn't be playing around on the Net if they haven't learned the fundamental rules of netiquette and don't know how to operate their own e-mail programs properly. It's not up to me, or any other victim of inexcusably sloppy privacy practices, to teach either netiquette or Microsoft Outlook 101 to those who haven't bothered to learn.)
Posted by Claire @ 04:24 PM CST [Link]
ALIENATION. Ordinary, non-political people are increasingly ticked off at governmental intrusions like red-light cameras, nonsensical environmental regulations, Ritalin-drugged children, stupid airport (in)security, and other "mini-tyrannies" that hit them in a personal way. Question is, is it likely that their increasing alienation will move them toward an understanding and appreciation of freedom in the long run? Or have we become so dumbed down that most people will never see the connection between the injustices they personally suffer and the larger tyrannies that affect us all (and will never perceive the principles at work)?
I've opened a discussion on this, under the subject "Alienation" in the General Discussion forum at The Claire Files/Mental Militia message board. I'd love to hear what bright freedom lovers have to say, because frankly I'm not sure where the evidence points on that question.
Posted by Claire @ 11:26 AM CST [Link]
Monday, September 8, 2003
IDENTITY POLITICS REACHING ITS NATURAL CONCLUSION: Famous white separatist Tom Metzger (White Aryan Resistance) has endorsed Cruz Bustamonte for governor of California. Seems Bustamonte is an unapologetic past member of a group that wants to reconquor southern California for Mexico and Mexicans. Therefore, as a famous Hispanic separatist, Bustamonte has more in common with Metger than any other candidate.
Do you suppose the media and academia will get it now -- that racism is racism no matter what color is being favored and no matter which "wing" espouses it? Nah .... that would be too much to ask.
Posted by Claire @ 03:48 PM CST [Link]
I PICKED UP A COUPLE OF JARS OF PREGO YESTERDAY. Picked them up. Hefted them. Something seemed different. So I read the label: "1 lb., 10 oz." Hm. Sure enough, when I got home and checked the lifetime supply of Prego already in my cabinets (to heck with rice & beans; I'm eating spaghetti through the next disaster), it was as I remembered. The jars I bought a few months ago held 28 ounces -- two ounces more. But of course, the price was the same.
The Incredible Shrinking Product strikes again!
I guess we should be used to this by now. The Incredible Shrinking Candy Bar was a blight of my childhood, inspiring waves of indignity as I opened the great big wrapper to expose the great big cardboard tray, on which sat an ever and ever smaller lump of chocolate goo. If this trend has continued, I expect that the candy bars of my childhood now look like shriveled raisins on their giant trays, and that soon they'll be smaller than the RFID chips all our corporate Little Brothers want to attach to them.
I no longer buy Mountain Bars (shudder, the very thought), so I can't say for sure. And at least Prego didn't, for example, add an extra inch of glass at the bottom of the jar to make it look like buyers were getting the same amount. But notice the way they expressed the weight. Not "26 ounces," which any dummy could spot. But "1 lb, 10 oz." -- which sounds even bigger than 28 mere ounces. "Yeah, Myrtle. Look, they usta only got ounces in there. Now theys got pounds of the stuff."
I understand that corporations have to make a profit. And shrinking the jar looks to them like a better option than raising the price. But you know darned well if they increased the size of the jar they'd have taken up half the label screaming about NEW and MORE and BONUS and FREE. So it stands to reason that if they shrivel the product up on us, they oughta at least mention that, too, somewhere in the fine print. "Dear customers: Americans are obese. So for your own good, we're giving you less to eat. But we're still charging you the same because you deserve to pay a penalty for your gluttony, you little porker, you." But no ...
Okay, guess it's time to go back to canning my own. That's it, Prego. I'll survive the collapse of Western Civilization without you.
Posted by Claire @ 09:11 AM CST [Link]
GEORGE BUSH HAS ASKED FOR $87 BILLION to continue his wars -- occupations -- pacifications -- in Afghanistan and Iraq. $87 billion. That's roughly the size of the entire federal budget John Kennedy inherited from Dwight Eisenhower just 43 years ago. Of course, we're not supposed to use figures like that without adjusting for inflation.
But we wouldn't have to "adjust for inflation" if bloated government weren't debasing the money supply. So to heck with that.
Speaking of inflation vs. sound money, though, did you catch Rep. Ron Paul's long but excellent essay at Lewrockwell.com, "Paper Money and Tyranny"? It's as good a summation as I've ever read of the necessity for sound currency and the catastrophe government creates when it realizes the games it can play by debasing the money supply.
Posted by Claire @ 08:51 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, September 7, 2003
URGENT! CAN YOU HELP CASPIAN HELP PRIVACY AND GUN RIGHTS? On Sept 15-17 the villains of the Auto-ID Center are officially launching their EPC (radio-frequency ID chip) network at a Chicago convention. CASPIAN will be conducting both a physical protest and an online "virtual" protest of this terrifying advance in Big Brotherism.
Kathering Albrecht, CASPIAN's energetic founder, needs your help. If you know of any activist groups in the Chicago area that could join the protest or if you know any area media people (particularly talk-show hosts) who could help publicize the protest, please e-mail Katherine directly -- and quickly. Time is short.
Many of us are used to fighting losing battles. The fight against RFID chips has every chance of being a winner. All signs indicate that the vast majority of people who become aware of the plan to "chip" all merchandise are horrified and outraged. Katherine and CASPIAN are our best hope for spreading that awareness and stopping this dreadful plan before it starts.
Gun owners, don't forget that the intention is to put an RFID chip into every, single bullet ever manufactured (and potentially into powder, cases, primers, and ALL other firearm-related products, as well) And don't forget that these little nasties can be read by scanners, right through your clothing, carry bag, or holster. If you value your gun rights and your privacy as a shooter, STOP THIS THING. Contact Katherine ASAP if you know any groups, media people, or celebrities in Chicago who could lend their voices.
Posted by Claire @ 10:06 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, September 6, 2003
"I WANT TO POST AN ARCHIVE OF PATTY NEILL'S WRITINGS." So said the great hunter to me last weekend at the LRT conclave. Then I get home from the conclave to discover that Bill St. Clair has just published a Patty archive. Patty vibes must be in the air.
If you don't know the writings of Patty Neill -- go, enjoy, laugh. No political satirist on the Net has ever been funnier than Patty. Unfortunately, she always wrote only by inspiration, and she hasn't been inspired for at least three years. But that girl when she got going could put my writing to shame.
The Patty archive Bill published is actually from my old Wolfe's Lodge, the gorgeous, but very high-maintenance site I closed several years ago. I was startled and embarrassed to realize two full copies of the Lodge are still hanging around the net -- an old, outdated one at Geocities (which I asked them to please take down years and years ago), and the most recent version preserved in amber at Archive.org. Bill has mirrored the whole kazoo and I'm not sure whether to be flattered or horrified. (Will the Net ever let us escape our pasts?)
I am, at least, unreservedly delighted to see Patty's stuff showcased, as well as to see Wolfe's Lodge's Friends of Liberty writings back in the world.
If you want to read my articles, though, the best place to go is still The Claire Files, set up by Debra Ricketts before I knew there was a Debra Ricketts. It's more current and complete than any other site.
Posted by Claire @ 09:57 AM CST [Link]
MORE ON THE DANGEROUS BEAUTIES OF YELLOWSTONE. E.G. sent the this admittedly alarmist article about "possible pre-eruptive activity" in Yellowstone. You don't have to look far around the site to see that these folks shouldn't be your primary source of Yellowstone info!
Yet it's true that the Norris Basin area has been closed since July due to heightened thermal activity. True that there was a 4.4 earthquake in the park on August 21 (though not true that such a quake is particularly unusual there). True that a dome is swelling under placid, lovely Yellowstone lake. You'll find a better-balanced, perhaps even overly reassuing, take on this activity at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Scientific American even reported two years ago that volcanic activity was actually waning in Yellowstone -- though an eruption sometime in the next 100,000 years is possible.
What's fascinating about the alarmist article, though, is that it actually underestimates the true danger of a major Yellowstone eruption. Get yourself some face masks and a pair of boots for wading through volcanic ash, as they say? Sure. Just in case. They neglect to mention you might have to eat those boots during the second or third year of crop failures caused by volcanic winter.
Something's happening in the park. But it could be anything from the geological equivalent of a gassy stomach to the buildup to a minor thermal eruption to ... anything. We just don't know. Yellowstone will "do its thing" in geologic time, not human time, and that might be a million years from now. It might also be next week. But I still voted for neighboring Montana as the #1 state of the free. And I put down poor, geologically doomed Wyoming as #3.
Posted by Claire @ 09:32 AM CST [Link]
GUN OWNERS LOOK OUT. Just this week two companies, Hitachi and NEC, introduced RFID chips that are about the size of the period in this sentence. Like all RFID tags, they're capable of broadcasting their "unique identifying number" to scanners. And the first thing out of the manufacturers' mouths?FEC (M) Sdn. Bhd. chief executive Kunioki Ichioka told reporters that the chip can also be inserted into the human body, animals, bullets, credit cards and other items for verification purposes ...
Hmmph. Can you micro-zap an RFID chip that's in embedded in lead?
(Contrary to the hype in the cited article, the chip made by FEC isn't the world's smallest. Hitachi's is about 20 percent smaller.)
Posted by Claire @ 08:57 AM CST [Link]
Friday, September 5, 2003
HEY! DEBRA AND I GOT THE E-MAIL WORKING!!! Now I can get my penis enlarged at least six times (won't I be impressive then?). If I'm depressed at not having a penis to enlarge, there's Prozac awaiting in every cranny of the Net. And once I'm all happied up, I can sit down and see what's in those urgent attachments sent by so many complete strangers! Gawd, don't you just love the Internet? Anyway, if I owe you mail, you'll be hearing from me soon. If you sent a recommendation for a new Web host, I'll hang on to it but probably won't rock the boat again as long as it's sailing smoothly (thank you). And now, we're rolling. But not without a big "Pfffffftt" and "Thanks for nothin'" to the tech support staff at The Web Host That Shall Remain Nameless. Ah well, who needs tech support when I've got the Webmistress of the Dark?
Posted by Claire @ 03:07 PM CST [Link]
GOOD MORNING, YOUNG MONKEYWRENCHERS. Here is your assignment for today. Build an RFID disabling device small enough to wear or discreetly carry down the aisles of a store, but powerful enough to blitz the tracking tags on items still on the shelf.
Everybody says RFID is easy to screw up using magnets, microwaves, even a jiggered device made from an old TV tunner. Good. Well, let's be ready when the day comes. The tiny tracker tags aren't in most products yet because the cost of them is still too high. But industry groups and companies all over the world (Gillette, Benetton, and Wal-Mart to name a notorious few) are working toward the goal of having a chip in every product. EVERY product ever made, anywhere in the world. That's the industry's stated goal. Once the chips are in, it simply won't be good enough to bring home our own bras or jockey shorts or jars of peanut butter and give them a quick micro-zap. It'll be up to us to make sure the whole system doesn't work.
And to do that -- if in-the-system fighters like CASPIAN can't stop them before they get started -- we must kill millions of tags at the source. We must break the whole system. We must make sure corporate Little Brother gets no reliable result from his investment. Let them put the tracking tags on pallets and cartons in their warehouses. Shipping and inventory control. Fine. (Wal-Mart has backed off to say that's all it plans to do, and Gillette, too, has "postponed" its plans. For the moment.) But the instant they try to put their tracking devices in our hands, SIZZZZZZZLE!
There may be an added benefit to a discreet tracker-zapper. We're now also getting ID cards that can actually be scanned while still in our purses and wallets. (Sounds like some bad SF movie, but it's true.) The same doodad that remotely fries the RFID in our Fritos might create freedom-loving havoc to Big Brother wherever it goes. All you'd have to do is stroll casually among the crowd, zapping away. And in pants pockets, the little ID beacons quietly wink out, all around the world.
Posted by Claire @ 08:59 AM CST [Link]
IT MAY HAVE BEEN A SERIOUS MISTAKE MOVING CLAIREWOLFE.COM TO THIS NEW HOST. I can sympathize that they've been hit hard by denial-of-service attacks for several days (making access to the blog and site control panel glitchy and unreliable). But after a week I still have no real e-mail access and no answers about why. My sympathies are stretched thinner each time their tech support department answers my queries with pasted-in boilerplate that isn't even related to the topic of my question. (Q: Please tell me how to flubar my flatchenwatzer. A: Elephant. That sort of thing, you know?) Sigh. If any of you resourceful readers knows a hosting service that has both solid up time and intelligent, prompt tech support, please drop an e-mail to Our Valiant Webmistress and let her know. Her e-mail isn't on these servers, so there's an actual chance your mail will get through.
Posted by Claire @ 08:27 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 4, 2003
DEBRA HERE. So my son brought home an application from school yesterday. It's for a "Pre-Driver's License" from Ident-a-Kid Services of America.
From their website:
IDENT-A-KID Services of America has developed an Identification Program specifically for Middle, Junior and High School age students. It is recommended that parents purchase a card for both themselves and the student. The student may carry the card as personal identification prior to the issuance of a driver's license.
Interesting. They provide an "identity card" until you get your driver's license. What does one have to do with the other? Nothing, ostensibly. Except that kids are being trained to view the driver's license as their "real" identity card. Not a certification of driving ability, nor merely one of many forms of identification.
(Even the name is weird: "Pre-Driver's License". Does it certify that you're a Pre-Driver? Can you get one if you don't plan to drive?)
It gets better. The "Pre-Driver's License" includes a full color photograph, physical description (ht/wt/hair/eyes), and "Right Thumbprint on Back!" all under a permanent heat-sealed laminate.
My inner outlaw, however, says that this might be a good opportunity for forward-thinking, liberty-oriented young teens. Get a few official-looking ID cards in different names, doctor up a few birth or baptismal certificates, and when you turn 16 (or 18), get driver's licenses in two or three states under different names. Toss in a savings account or secured credit card and voila! Future alternate identities, pre-packaged and ready to go.
Posted by Debra @ 11:48 AM CST [Link]
BEEN THINKING ABOUT THE PISTOL CLASS AT LAST WEEKEND'S LRT CONCLAVE. Most of the class material was review (badly needed since I was out of practice). But two techniques were new to me.
One was to take up the slack in the trigger druing the motion of coming up on the target (ONLY if your gun has a long trigger pull). Easy to see the value of that. You arrive on the target ready to shoot without any trigger mashing to throw off your aim. It does seem to go against the rule about keeping your finger out of the trigger guard until you're on the target. And trying to remember to do it while getting my draw stroke right and thinking "front sight!" was a lot like patting my head while rubbing my belly. While also walking and chewing gum and taking the presidential oath of office at the same time. Still, it improved my accuracy.
The other new thing was "verbal compliance," which Our Esteemed Instructor said is a technique emphasized at Thunder Ranch.
Creepy name, "verbal compliance." Sounds like it means "Agree with John Ashcroft - OR ELSE." Or, "Say 'yes' to the nice IRS agent and then for heaven's sake SHUT UP!" What it meant in this context was shouting something as we drew and aimed our pistols. Something like, "Get back!" or "Stop right there!"
"Verbal compliance" had the immediate effect of making us all much more confident and forceful in our motions. It is really, really hard to be timid and tentative while you're barking, "Hold it, you creep!" at the top of your lungs. It gives the bad guy a fair warning to stop and might give you an edge in court if a witness testifies, "I heard him warn the guy."
There was quite a bit of discussion, in and outside of class, about the best thing to yell. I opted for the juiciest profanities because ... well, because I'm a respectable lady who [more]
Posted by Claire @ 12:55 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
NO SOONER DO I MOVE TO A NEW HOST THAN THAT HOST'S ENTIRE SYSTEM GOES BLOOEY. I won't go into the borey gories, but just be aware that clairewolfe.com's brand, shiny new hosting service is suffering monumental troubles. They've shuffled this blog from one server to another tonight, and the second one promptly went down as crazily as the first. (Or maybe they just changed host names; but in any case, it didn't improve much.) Things are up again for the moment and I'm typing fast to try to get an entry blogged before the next crash.
I'm insufficiently paranoid to believe that the string of disasters on two hosts and two continents is caused by some vast left-wing conspiracy to censor my subversive writings. But then, my friends tell me I'm insufficiently paranoid, in general. So who the heck knows?
The main thing is, bless you for your continuing patience -- especially anybody who's been trying to get mail to me. Your mail has landed safely on the server. I can even occasionally see some of it (wow). I just can't yet access it reliably enough to reply. The mail system is shakiest of all. HOWEVER, I did see a message from one fabulous human being notifying Debra and me that he and his wife have just made a $100 donation to the site. Whooooeee! Mr. T, I'll e-mail you as soon as I can salvage your address off the server. But in the meantime, consider yourself hugged as well as thanked. You join the rare ranks of the Rocket Scientist and the Oriental Master as major supporters of this site. And we've received several other kind donations, as well, including one or two anonymous ones. What would we do without the world's most supportive readers?
Posted by Claire @ 10:38 PM CST [Link]
WELL, YOU WILL BE THRILLED AND NO DOUBT RELIEVED TO KNOW that Project ChildSafe begins its national rollout this week... with safety tour trucks distributing [trigger] locks in Maine, New York and Massachusetts, with Michigan and Washington to follow. Kickoff announcements with governors, lieutenant governors or U.S. Attorneys are being finalized in these states. "We are thrilled with the response from elected officials and from law enforcement to participate in this valuable firearm safety education program," said Bill Brassard, NSSF [National Shooting Sports Foundation] managing director of communications, safety and education. "Project ChildSafe's goal is to distribute more than 19 million firearm safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and the five U.S. territories." Developed by the firearms industry, Project ChildSafe will provide free gun locking devices and key safety messages to gun owners nationwide. The multi-year program receives funding from a Department of Justice grant ...
This is no paltry grant, either. It's 50 million bucks of your money. (Boy, just think of all the Serbu .50 BMGs you could buy with that.)
So now we can look forward to multitudes of idiots injuring themselves or others by putting locks on loaded guns (locks are only for empty guns, which makes them marvelously pointless). And we'll no doubt see more children enjoy the kind of safety experienced by the Carpenter children on August 23, 2000.
And we'll have the joy of knowiing that while valiantly protecting us against dopers, businessmen with nail clippers in their briefcases, and anyone who disagrees with John Ashcroft, the Bush administration is still finding time to carry on the warm Clintonian tradition of turning us all into braindead, false-security-sucking eunuchs and eunuchettes "for the sake of the children."
The CSN&Y song keeps running through my mind: "Teach your children well ...."
Posted by Claire @ 06:51 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 2, 2003
HI ALL, AND THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND KINDNESS. I'm back from the Liberty Round Table conclave. And now that my new hosting service is recovering from its hiccups (yeah, trouble comes in bunches), let's roll. There are still some tech problems to overcome. I can't yet access the POP and SMTP accounts on the new host site, for instance. But all troubles should be ironed out soon and we'll never, never, never ... well, hardly ever;-) ... have a disruption on this blog again.
But I confess that while Wolfesblog was struggling, I was off having an absolute ball.
The conclave was phantasmagoric, and my only regret is that more Net friends and Wolfesblog readers and contributors weren't there.
This was the seventh LRT conclave and only the second I've attended. Because I won't fly commercially, it's difficult to make the long trips for a long weekend (although many LRTers do drive amazingly long distances to be there). But this time organizer Sunni Maravillosa and a generous attendee arranged a great treat. A knight of the Liberty Round Table picked me up in a private plane and flew me to the conclave site in great style. AND he didn't take my ... er, knitting needles away. Or even make me check them with an orange "steal me" tag in my unlocked-by-law luggage. We soared over the mountains well armed and safe.
So my conclave experience started right off with a revival of freedom and individual initiative.
The conclave has always been a moveable feast, and this year it was held in what may be its most wonderful location -- a ranch in Montana that not only offered sweet spring water and a shady grove of aspen trees for camping, but that had three -- count 'em -- three shooting ranges for our practice and pleasure. Better yet, our host family was truly extraordinary. They opened their land to us at the last minute when the planned conclave location fell through. They fed us goat kebobs and goat burgers from their own herd and made us a huge bowl of [more]
Posted by Claire @ 06:14 PM CST [Link]
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