Yay!

I have voted in very race since 1990, back when I turned 18, but this is the first year where almost everything I voted for won. Even local races went the way I wanted, and across the country races fell as I wished.

I can’t begin to describe how happy I am that Rick Santorum is out of the Senate now.

Let’s begin the healing

Dear Phone Companies,

I see you’ve violated the privacy policies I signed onto your service with, by giving away data about all my calls placed, who they were placed to, and how long I talked. The third party you gave them to in this instance was the US Government, who did it in an “ends justify the means so we can break the law if we have to” way. I understand your hands were tied and you had to give up the goods. But we can make this right.

I live in a state where one area code covers a great deal of the residents, but I’m required to dial ten digits to local numbers, add a 1 for long distance. The funny thing is, even if it’s the same area code, I as a consumer have no idea if I should add a one, but your helpful service blocks my calls and tells me when to redial, with or without a 1. On top of that, if someone with a different area code lives nearby, I might not have to dial a 1, even though I always do on different area codes. It’s really a mysterious system to us end users.

Lemme change gears for a second; in the last decade I’ve enjoyed using a cellphone that is smart enough to add a 1 or take it away as it sees fit. I just dial ten numbers and whether it’s across the street or across the country, the call goes through. It’s amazingly handy.

So here is how you can get in my good graces again: you’re the phone company and you know when I need to dial a 1 or not, because you tell me to. But here’s the thing — and I know it might sound crazy — why don’t you automatically resubmit the number with the appropriate change instead of making me key it all in again?

That’s the deal. Handle dialed phone numbers with the same technology a cellphone in 1995 had, and I’ll overlook your end of the breach-of-privacy deal. I’ll take my issues with that violation to the government.

Reader politics quiz

Question: Name a controversy in politics in the last five years where the outrage of Democrats affected real change. My hypothesis: the only Republicans I’ve seen removed from positions did so only after independent courts or Republicans themselves agreed with Democrats and allowed it to happen (like Trent Lott).

I’ve been suffering from outrage fatigue for years now and every week it seems like some flaggrant lawbreaking on the part of the President or his party is going to have consequences, but it never does. Nothing ever seems to come out of anything except some quips on the Daily Show.

Dear readers, I ask you for some success stories. What change have the Democrats actually acheived on their own in the past five years?

Not exactly a surprise

law.com on Supreme Court nom Roberts:

Yet those who know Roberts say he, unlike Souter, is a reliable conservative who can be counted on to undermine if not immediately overturn liberal landmarks like abortion rights and affirmative action. Indicators of his true stripes cited by friends include: clerking for Rehnquist, membership in the Federalist Society, laboring in the Ronald Reagan White House counsel’s office and at the Justice Department into the Bush years, working with Kenneth Starr among others, and even his lunchtime conversations at Hogan & Hartson. “He is as conservative as you can get,” one friend puts it. In short, Roberts may combine the stealth appeal of Souter with the unwavering ideology of Scalia and Thomas.

I’d hate to see Roe v. Wade overturned with this guy on the bench. Also, he’s only 50, so we’d be living with him on the bench for a very long time.

Feds monitor Flickr

Frightening news from Salon:

Meanwhile, Jeremy Lassen, the publisher of a small book imprint in Portland, Oregon, responded to the news of the Chicago incident by creating a series of photo collages entitled “Bush and Guns,” and posted them to the photo-sharing site, Flikr.

Last week, he says, he himself was paid a visit by the Secret Service. “On June 7th, two Secret Service agents showed up at my place of employment and asked to speak with me,” Lassen wrote on his blog on Sunday. “One agent said they wanted to talk about something I posted online. I asked what, [and] one responded ‘You post a lot of stuff online, don’t you?’ and then showed me some color printouts of my ‘Bush and Guns’ pictures. I was as helpful as possible, and explained to them the about the incident in Chicago, and the context of those pictures.”

Blog entry about the visit from the Feds (The Flickr set mentioned in the post seems to be gone)

Uninsured

Today I’ve been getting a steady stream of church-based spam about Cover The Uninsured Week, so I was skeptical about a site using those means to advertise, but it really seems on the up and up. There seems to be bipartisan support in all the leaders they’ve chosen to represent them, and all the messages seem to be based on common sense instead of money or politics. So despite the spams, it looks like a good cause, and while I have little hope we’ll ever see any level of universal healthcare for all, it would be nice if the “culture of life” included covering medical expenses for the 8.4 million children that are uninsured. I bet it doesn’t take a freakonomist to realize covering children today will reap huge rewards 15 years down the line.

I’ve also long believed if we could offer healthcare for all in the US, the explosion of creativity and entrepreneurism could have the potential to pay for it. I know many smart, motivated people filled with ideas that work boring jobs just so they can have healthcare for their family. Who knows how many business ideas, technology applications, and clever inventions are going to never see the light of day because their creators waste away at a desk somewhere. In that respect I see universal healthcare as good for business, since small business owners are off the hook for paying for it and everyone with a good idea won’t be terrified of leaving their job behind to pursue their dreams.

YHBT

I’ve been on Declan McCullagh’s mailing list for the past 3-4 years and when I saw him pimping his article about a possible blogging crackdown from the FEC, I had a strong feeling everyone was being played. The title and lead-in are finely crafted to rile most any blogger, be they right or left in political persuassion. The concept of blogs as regulated speech also seemed a stretch and I had to keep in mind that Declan, though I like him for the most part and love his mailing list, is a libertarian that wants to see completely unregulated speech and spending. Every six months or so Declan sticks his neck out and is shown to be incorrect. Then a few months pass and people forget, then another crazy headline shows up one of his articles. He’s really good at writing headlines that make people talk, it’s just that accuracy doesn’t always follow.

I’m glad to hear from James that my first impression was likely right, and this is much ado about nothing.

Blogosphere, you have been trolled.