Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday complaints

Some interesting (and disturbing) articles in the newspaper this weekend.

The first one I came across was on Saturday morning, discussing how the Reno, Nevada, police were arresting more people on outstanding warrants than ever before. It seems that Reno hotels must log into a new police computer system every night, and load information on registered guests. The police computer then compares hotel guests with wanted names, and soon policemen are knocking on hotel room doors.

This just conjures up images in my mind of men in uniform with strange accents standing on street corners saying ‘papers please’. Only they don’t say please. And here they make the hotels do the initial examination. Couple this to the requirement for ‘standardized’ state drivers licenses, and add a few more examination points, and we’ll soon have that full police state that only science fiction writers used to think about. But ask the average “guy on the street” and the response will probably be the same as it is for wiretapping – “Well, I don’t have anything to hide, why should I worry”. Ties in to that old saying about “First they came for the xxx and I didn’t say anything because I’m not one of them, then they came for yyy, . . . and when they came for me there was nobody left to say anything”.

Yea, I worry about this stuff. I didn’t ask the government to keep track of everybody. I didn’t ask to have my library records entered into a computer, or my hotel stays, or my airline flights. You can say it will never happen, but I am sure that the CIA someplace has a computer system that pulls all of this stuff together, or will shortly. They can already pull up my credit card records, or now even my checks, and look at check images. Next thing you know we’ll have to show ID to use cash, so that every purchase can be tracked.

Sorry, I felt that I lived in a free society, where everyone was free to do as they please without a father figure watching over it all. If you use the excuse that those people deserve to be arrested, and we should not feel bad about little restrictions on everyone, stuff it. Think of how many more bad guys would be caught if we all had real national ID cards, with photos and fingerprints and DNA and retina prints, and if they had to be presented on every street corner and in every store and every airport. A “bad guy” couldn’t get very far, could he? But somehow the rest of us wouldn’t either, and when somebody decided that something else was bad and should be illegal it wouldn’t take long to crack down.

No, I do NOT want to give up anything to be a little safer. Get rid of those airport security checks and put in good cockpit doors, perhaps make it so the only way into the cockpit was from outside, making a hijacking rather impossible. How many millions of hours are wasted, how many dollars, just because somebody thinks it’s the best way? Stupid politicians.

The next article was one that many people have already commented on – how the administration is considering nuclear strikes against Iran to prevent them from building a bomb. Just what we need, half of the world absolutely bent on destroying us. Somehow I do not feel safer with Sadam out of power, I just look at how many have died and how much money is being thrown away and think it might have been better – for the US as well as the Iraqis – if we had never invaded. Somehow I really doubt that we would be safer if Iran was bombed. And we have already been flying drones over Iran to take pictures and sniff the air. And we’ve already sent special forces into the country to spy things out directly. Come on, it DOES NOT have to be taken care of before the next guy is elected.

How about punishing somebody for something they have done, not what they might do? Somehow I think the world would really come down on us for using a nuclear weapon on Iran just to prevent something. But if Iran ever used one on anybody then the rest of the world would not hesitate to jump on them. Then it would be OK to wipe out the country.

Sounds like spanking a kid to prevent him from doing something bad instead of assigning punishment for their actually doing something bad. Maybe we can start just locking random people in prison for a few years, to prevent them from killing others. Who knows how many murders might be prevented if everyone was in jail? Up front punishment does not usually work, it usually makes people hate you.

The third article came out this morning. It seems like the first ever Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament is in Vegas right now. First prize is $50,000. I thought that was something used to decide who rode shotgun on rode trips, who knew it could become a profession, with big bucks attached. Guess I should pay more attention to the seemingly mundane things, and try getting better at everything. Maybe I can find a tournament that might reward my chocolate habit – oh, wait, there are already a bunch of food eating tournaments. Oooh – and excuse to practice. Let’s see, there is already a hot dog eating contest, and I’ve seen on TV the “King of Vegas Buffets” contest, perhaps we can talk Godiva into sponsoring a truffle eating contest, and talk myself onto the team – yes, sponsorship, and a truck full of Godiva truffles at my place – (good dream Joe).

Finally, Spring is here. Yesterday it was up in the mid 80’s, and the forecast for the upcoming week has changed, moving upwards to predict high 70’s and low 80’s all week. Yessssssss.

Look at that - no pictures or links. Sorry.

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