January 25th, 2006

self portrait

Need for space and random mutterings

I have another entry about my vacation ready to go, but it really demands the photos that I took in Zion National Park. I updated my laptop to the Tiger version of OS X and this has left me with a scant gigabyte of space on my hard drive. So to make space for new photos (and more music) I'm going to burn my current iPhoto library to CDs and then delete them from my hard drive. I'll send a copy of those CDs to my aunt in Olympia, WA because a) she and my uncle will like to see them and b) she'll also likely want to have them for the family archives and c) it makes a good off-site back-up. I got one CD burned this evening before heading off to work, the rest will be a fairly simple task for tomorrow.

I got decent sleep yesterday, which was good because I felt a bit of a cold coming on when I left from work in the morning. That tightness that wants to become a sore throat if left unattended. So it was lots of water, hefty vitamins and the previously mentioned rest. If I can squeeze in some hot and sour soup Wednesday, I think I'll have it licked.

I'm very much liking my purchase of a Bluetooth wireless set of headphones for my iPod. One reason I haven't been listening to music as much at work is that the long cords on the iPod controller and headphones always seems to get caught on a drawer, desk corner, printer tray or doorknob as I get up and down to do the various things required for my job. This way, my iPod stays at the desk, plugged in for power and I and the headphones wander where I need to without any annoying wires catching on something and ripping them off my head. The two downsides are a so-so audio quality due to a bit of hiss introduced by the Bluetooth transmitter itself and the fact that the headphones are a tad too tight, resulting in them pinching my ears slightly in long periods of wear. The ambient noise at work is such that I don't notice the hiss after a short bit so that doesn't bother me. If the headphones don't loosen up with wear, I'll look into additional padding for the ear pieces.
self portrait

Mr. President, I'm not convinced

Several senior administration officials have ventured into the various media outlets recently to defend the President's domestic spying program. Their main points seem to be a) Congress gave the President authority to do this and b) we need to do it because getting warrants is too slow.

They seem to think that by repeating these lies over and over that they will get me, and others, to believe them.

There's no way I can interpret Congresses authorization for the President to use force to pursue terrorists that includes authorization for surveillance without oversight of American citizens. While intelligence gathering is a tool used by the military it is not one that any reasonable person would call "force." Given that no member of Congress has stepped up to say they understood the authorization to include such an interpretation and several have said otherwise, including those of the President's party, this argument falls flat.

The standing process for beginning surveillance before Bush authorized warrantless surveillance included a provision for emergency wiretaps. The government could (and still can) start surveillance on anyone, anytime, anywhere and then get a warrant retroactively up to three days later. So the "too slow and cumbersome" argument has no merit whatsoever.

In my estimation, Mr. Bush should make a statement that warrantless spying will stop immediately, that all surveillance undertaken by the program will be reviewed by the court for legitimacy and any future surveillance will be undertaken only under the auspices of the appropriate laws.

Of course, I don't expect any of this to actually happen.