NSA Domestic Surveillance Began 7 Months Before 9/11, Convicted Qwest CEO Claims on Threat Level

NSA Domestic Surveillance Began 7 Months Before 9/11, Convicted Qwest CEO Claims on Threat Level:

Did the NSA’s massive call records database program pre-date the terrorist attacks of 9/11?

That startling allegation is in court documents released this week which show that former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio — the head of the only company known to have turned down the NSA’s requests for Americans’ phone records — tried, unsuccessfully, to argue just that in his defense against insider trading charges.

Oh my. I mean, I know the invasion of Iraq was going to happen whether or not 9/11 happened, but the domestic surveillance?

That’s whole new levels of evil.

Annoying Hotlinkers

I just noticed in my logs that a bunch of Myspace profiles are hotlinking an image I uploaded a while back, of the character Fred Fredburger from Billy & Mandy.

I suppose I could have just deleted or moved the image, that would have been the smart thing to do, or I could have been a jerk and replaced it with one of the many vile and disgusting images one finds on the internet, but instead I was just a dork and replaced it with this image. (Not disgusting, just large.)

Kind of silly because half the myspace pages in the universe are abandoned, so it’s not like people are going to change it, and it’s a big image so it will end up using up more bandwidth.

I’ll probably just delete or move the file later. For right now though it’s kinda fun seeing the effect on myspace pages that linked it.

Guitar Update

I got a guitar for my birthday last week. I’ve been playing every day, using the chords Joe taught me when I bought it.

Tonight the 6-year-old twins brought home a school library book to read at bedtime, a book that has its own multimedia website: Punk Farm.

After reading the book I got out the guitar and whaled on some random chords and shouted “OLD MACDONALD HAS A FARM — EE I EE I OH!” with the kids. They bounced on the bed and shouted along.

Afterwards my son asked me, very seriously, “are you going to be a rock star someday?”

I didn’t rule it out.

Cause you never know, right?

Two Men Harassing A Crying Young Woman

A few minutes ago I witnessed something very strange. I was walking out of the McDonalds on 44th street in Wyoming, MI near US 131. I took the front door instead of the side for some reason, and happened to walk past an outdoor table with three people.

One was a young woman, Hispanic, crying. The other two were tall white men, who were speaking angrily to her. The only words I heard as I walked past were “get an attorney” from one of the men. Something seemed very wrong. I walked back into the McDonalds and stopped by the door to watch, to see if I could figure out what was going on. One of the cashiers told me they had been indoors and just moved outside, and they seemed to be interrogating her; they were acting like cops.

As I watched, the men left, one at a time, and I came out to see if the woman needed help; a woman in a van who’d been going through the drive-through had already stopped to ask if she needed help and see what was going on. Soon another woman in another van stopped too.

The young woman said that the men had said they were Homeland Security agents but hadn’t shown her any badges. They’d grilled her about illegal drugs, but she had no idea what they were talking about. Apparently they had called her at home and told her to meet them there. I asked if there were any immigration issues, was there any reason she wouldn’t want to call the police and she said no, she was born in Los Angeles, and the woman who’d stopped to help explained that she’d already offered the woman a ride home (she’d walked; she lived a few blocks away) so she could be with her family and call the police. One of the men had given her a business card that said, if I remember correctly, Homeland Security, Detroit office, with “Detroit” crossed off and “G.R.” written in in marker, and a phone number crossed off and a new one written on the back in marker.

At the suggestion of the woman in the van I ran and got a cellphone photo of the car of the guy who had started driving off in a gold SUV, who was still waiting to turn onto 44th street — the other had driven away in a small beat-up sports car (again, if I remember correctly).

I gave them my phone number in case they needed me and the first woman who’d stopped drove the young woman home.

I don’t know what the hell is going on, but if these guys were really Feds (I assume they were, because the detail of the crossed out business card isn’t something somebody would fake if they were going to fake things) I just got a little taste of the Federal Police State here in GR.

I’m guessing these guys knew they were doing something they shouldn’t be, because they scattered when that woman in the van stopped to ask the woman if she needed help.

I want to call the cops myself or call the newspaper and tell them what’s going on, but I don’t have any details. I didn’t get anybody’s name or number myself, I just gave them mine.

I’m proud of my community that by the time I got there to offer help two other people had already arrived.

But I sure don’t like the way the country is going.

That’s been true for some time but today I got a little taste of it in real life instead of the news.

EDIT: Final disclaimer: I don’t know what was going on there.  I don’t have all the facts.  I just got a very, very bad impression of what was going on from what I saw.

From the “Everything You Know Is Wrong” Department

Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus – New York Times:

Guess what! Fats in the diet don’t cause heart disease any more than masturbation causes hairy palms and blindness.

And there’s never really been any evidence that they did, other than an inconclusive statistical study from one researcher back in the fifties.

But that didn’t prevent it from becoming a Scientific Fact which everybody knows and nobody questions.

I’ll grant this to the global warming deniers: it is indeed possible for a “scientific consensus” to be totally wrong.