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03/13/2004 Archived Entry: "New Words for 2004"
Rack up the laughter! - with Mike Luckovich's latest cartoon "Bush Campaign Ads"; and, Joel Pett's "Hunt It Down ... Smoke It Out!"
And consider adding some freshly-coined words/terms to your vocabulary in 2004.:
SALMON DAY: an entire day of swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
MOUSE POTATO: The on-line generation's answer to the couch potato.
SITCOMS: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage.
IRRITAINMENT: Annoying media you can't stop watching. E.g. O.J. trials or speeches by Bush.
404: Someone clueless. From the error message "404 Not Found."
GENERICA: landscapes exactly the same no matter it is. E.g. McDonalds
WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks.
News updates on privacy...
---MSN reports, "A far-reaching proposal from the FBI, made public Friday, would require all broadband Internet providers, including cable modem and DSL companies, to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police....Legal experts said the 85-page filing includes language that could be interpreted as forcing companies to build back doors into everything from instant messaging and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) programs to Microsoft's Xbox Live game service."
---the danger such wiretapping poses not only to privacy but also to freedom of speech is illustrated through an experience related by journalist John Sugg in one of my favorite ezines, CounterPunch. "'You're all over the wiretaps,' said the FBI agent who called me in mid-February. 'We want to talk to you.' This was not the sort of phone call a journalist wants to receive. The case in question is that of fired University of South Florida professor (and accused terrorist mastermind) Sami Al-Arian. The FBI agent spiced his appeal with the comment, 'We don't want to jam you, but ...' I'm not quite sure of his meaning. I guess it could be interpreted as: They don't let us beat reluctant witnesses with rubber hoses any longer, but I'd say it was an implied (although mild) bit of coercion."
---in the wake of the terrible terrorist bombing of commuter trains in Madrid, Homeland Security has issued a bulletin that calls for increased vigilance of public transit within the US. For example, "Amtrak increased patrols of its police force and canine units...Electronic surveillance of bridges and tunnels was intensified...And the company reinforced its message to Amtrak employees to report suspicious activities to police." Soon it may be impossible to travel within the United States by public bus, boat, or train without encountering armed guards, surveillance cameras, dogs, and other trappings of the total State.
---meanwhile, law-abiding citizens who have committed no crime or suspicious act continue to be treated like criminal suspects, not customers by the airlines. And, as passengers grow accustomed to being frisked and interrogated, the security-thugs ratchet up the oppression bit by bit. FOX News reported on one woman's experience. "Susan Brown Campbell doesn’t consider herself a threat to the friendly skies. But a steak knife mistakenly left in her shoulder bag before a July flight from Baltimore thrust her in the position of defending herself to federal security officials — and slapped with a $300 fine." The most interesting aspect of the story is the disrespect with which she was treated by "authorities."
---more on the databases of your personal information which are being steadily assembled. The Salt Lake Tribune reports, "at least 33 states have released government and commercial records on residents to the controversial MATRIX antiterrorism network, reputed to be a pilot project involving just 13 states." The information includes law enforcement files such as prison data, driver licenses and criminal histories but could extend to credit records, phone numbers and home addresses of law-abiding residents.
---databases containing medical information are gaining momentum, further eroding the possibility of medical privacy and patient/doctor confidentiality. The Montgomery Advertiser states, "The Alabama Senate passed a bill Thursday authorizing the state Department of Public Health to create and maintain a statewide database that would enable authorities to track possible abuses of prescription medication. The bill now goes to the House." I can predict one of the impacts simply through introspection. As a privacy zealot, I would be reluctant to seek medical treatment for anything but an emergency because I could not control where very personal information might wind up or how it would be used.
Best to all,