Utter Randomness

Okay, I’ll stop doing sep­a­rate posts of ran­dom­ness. For a few min­utes, maybe. I’ll do one post of bits of randomness.

What does “fisk” mean, pret­ty please? The con­texts in which I’ve seen it used make me think it involves rip­ping some­thing apart in a blog in a sar­cas­tic way, but I’m not sure.

Week­ly affir­ma­tion by way of keira­cait­lyn:
SCORPIO — JOY — “I focus on the aspects of my life that bring me joy. I spend time with loved ones and cre­ative projects that feed my spir­it and uplift my heart.”
Should I take that as a sign that I should find the time and mon­ey to go get the fab­ric and fibers for the stitch­ing project I’ve put off since last November?

Good arti­cle about fun­da­men­tal­ism: The Fun­da­men­tal Problem

I found anoth­er home­school­er whose blog I enjoy, Mrs. Du Toit. Some­one post­ed a mar­velous bit she’d writ­ten about lib­er­ty to the TAGMAX list.

Par­ents were ask­ing a very sim­ple ques­tion which was loaded: I have a child. I want to edu­cate my child in a man­ner and method of my choos­ing. I want to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the well-being, devel­op­ment, nur­tur­ing, and edu­ca­tion of my own child. Since this must be ille­gal and strange, how do I get approval from my gov­ern­ment to allow me to do this?

Thud. I final­ly got it.

When did this hap­pen? When did Amer­i­cans get the idea that they had to seek the per­mis­sion of the gov­ern­ment for any­thing? Did the phrase, “at the con­sent of the gov­erned” get tossed aside at some point? Did they real­ly not under­stand what that meant? There was no men­tion of the right to edu­cate your own chil­dren, accord­ing to your own rules, with­out gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion or med­dling in the Con­sti­tu­tion of the U.S. Were they kid­ding? Did they not under­stand WE THE PEOPLE?

No, they didn’t understand:

“We the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States, in order to form a more per­fect union, estab­lish jus­tice, insure domes­tic tran­quil­i­ty, pro­vide for the com­mon defense, pro­mote the gen­er­al wel­fare, and secure the bless­ings of lib­er­ty to our­selves and our pos­ter­i­ty, do ordain and estab­lish this Con­sti­tu­tion for the Unit­ed States of America.”

The pre­am­ble to the Con­sti­tu­tion is such a small para­graph. Why was it so dif­fi­cult to understand?

It was right there. It’s writ­ten in every dic­tio­nary and every ency­clo­pe­dia. There are lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of books which explain it. You can write your Con­gress­man or Sen­a­tor and he’ll send you a copy of it for free. There are thou­sands of web­site sources.

The ten words in that pre­am­ble, the most pre­cious of all sec­u­lar doc­u­ments, are sel­dom (if ever) spo­ken of, nev­er debat­ed, and sel­dom recited:

“Secure the bless­ings of lib­er­ty to our­selves and our posterity.”

There it is: Secure the bless­ings of lib­er­ty to your­self and your chil­dren (and your children’s chil­dren). That’s where it is writ­ten. Lib­er­ty means free­dom. It means free from restric­tion, med­dle, unrea­son­able search or seizure and so much more. The Bill of Rights was an adden­dum and a fur­ther expan­sion of those ten lit­tle words. That’s why the Bill of Rights was an after thought. We don’t need Con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments to secure our lib­er­ty, and artic­u­late spe­cif­ic rights. We HAVE all our lib­er­ties artic­u­lat­ed, in those ten lit­tle words.

The gov­ern­ment doesn’t tell THE PEOPLE what we can do, WE THE PEOPLE tell the gov­ern­ment what it may do.

How much more basic to a parent’s lib­er­ty could be the rais­ing and edu­cat­ing of your chil­dren, as you deem appropriate?

If peo­ple were con­fused about this, what else were they mis­un­der­stand­ing about our coun­try, our sys­tem, and every­thing that makes us the freest and great­est Repub­lic in all of history?

If the peo­ple were writ­ing me about so basic an issue, what oth­er things might they not under­stand? Was I among them in my mis­un­der­stand­ings? What con­ven­tions and myths had I accept­ed, with­out question?

I’ve had mis­giv­ings about eBay ever since I real­ized that if any user asks for your per­son­al infor­ma­tion (what­ev­er address and oth­er infor­ma­tion you gave them to set up your account), they’d give it to them just for the ask­ing. You did­n’t have to be engaged in any trans­ac­tion with the oth­er user, and they seemed to think that was just fine because they also sent you the oth­er per­son­’s infor­ma­tion. Through WHOA, I helped sev­er­al peo­ple who were harassed offline due to that prac­tice. The com­pa­ny claimed to have tight­ened up its pri­va­cy poli­cies and stopped that prac­tice a cou­ple of years back. “Tight­ened” isn’t what I’d call it, though:

eBay to Feds: come and get what you want
By Andrew Orlowski
Post­ed: 19/09/2003 at 19:24 GMT

Israeli dai­ly Haaretz has unearthed high­ly embar­rass­ing, and dis­turb­ing com­ments by an eBay exec­u­tive. To an audi­ence of law enforce­ment offi­cials, eBay’s Joseph Sul­li­van boasts that his com­pa­ny’s pri­va­cy pol­i­cy is meaningless. 

“We don’t make you show a sub­poe­na, except in excep­tion­al cas­es,” Sul­li­van told a closed-door ses­sion at the Cyber­Crime 2003 con­fer­ence last week. 

“When some­one uses our site and clicks on the ‘I Agree’ but­ton, it is as if he agrees to let us sub­mit all of his data to the legal author­i­ties. Which means that if you are a law-enforce­ment offi­cer, all you have to do is send us a fax with a request for infor­ma­tion, and ask about the per­son behind the sell­er’s iden­ti­ty num­ber, and we will pro­vide you with his name, address, sales his­to­ry and oth­er details—all with­out hav­ing to pro­duce a court order. We want law enforce­ment peo­ple to spend time on our site.” 

Law enforce­ment snoop­ers will have plen­ty of mate­r­i­al to work with: Sul­li­van also boasts that eBay has logged every item of user infor­ma­tion since 1995. eBay helps with over 200 a month, Haaretz reports. 

It’s the sec­ond pri­va­cy scan­dal this week. Host of pri­va­cy site Don’t Spy On.US, Bill Scan­nell dis­cov­ered that bud­get air­line Jet Blue hand­ed over 5 mil­lion pas­sen­ger records to the Trans­port Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion and a con­trac­tor, which aug­ment­ed them with cred­it records and pas­sen­gers’ social secu­ri­ty infor­ma­tion. You can still read the details here (PDF, 2MB — Thanks to ls). ®


Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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