Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Am I the only person who gets this?

WASHINGTON - Iran may yet end up on the docket of the United Nations Security Council for restarting its nuclear-fuel program. But even if the international community can agree to punish it with economic sanctions, will those actions succeed in stopping Tehran's pursuit of nuclear technology - and possibly a bomb?

so says the Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 2006

Why is the international community thinking about punishing Iran for restarting its nuclear weapons program? Why isn't the international commuity thinking of punishing the countries that currently have nuclear weapons for encouraging other countries to get them?

Iran is hot to get nuclear weapons because George Bush has clearly shown, in his disparate treatments of Iraq and North Korea, that if one has nuclear weapons one survives even if one's action do not please Washington DC. No one has pulled down any statues of Kim what's his name and the reason for that is that he has nukes. Saddam is on trial for crimes against humanity because he did not have nukes.

When I hear western leaders talking about the dangers of nuclear proliferation I just stand in dumbfounded awe of what is either clossal arrogance or most remarkable lack of insight the world has ever seen.

No one should have nukes. But the last people on earth to be objecting to their spread, with integrity, that is, are those who have them. Any country that has nuclear weapons today, and objects to other countries getting them, has adopted a policy of hypocrisy that will no doubt lead to the spread of nuclear weapons and, eventually, to a catasprophe of as yet unexperienced proportions.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

sometimes one just has to shake one's head...

Washington Times reports:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy belongs to a social club for Harvard students and alumni that was evicted from campus nearly 20 years ago after refusing to allow female members...
Judge Alito's "affiliation with an organization that fought the admission of women into Princeton calls into question his appreciation for the need for full equality in this country," Mr. Kennedy said Wednesday.

Kennedy spokeswoman Laura Capps said there is "absolutely no comparison" between the Owl Club, a social group, and an organized effort to "exclude women from getting an education" at Princeton.

"It's a social club. It's like a fraternity," she said. "He has been fighting to break down barriers for decades."

This Quaker's take is that there is no reason for social clubs to erect barriers along sex lines. Excluding women (or men) from a club or a function or a conference really says that there is something about women (or men) that makes them unsuitable for the company of the other sex in that context or for some activity that the other sex wants to engage in.

And if that's the case what is the activity in which the one sex wants to engage that is so unsuitable for the other that a rule, rather than natural inclination or lack ability, is enough to preserve the integrity of that activity? Perhaps the desire to exclude the other sex is an indication that it's really an unsuitable pursuit for either sex.

Excluding either sex from any activity by rule only proves that those who want the rule believe in sex stereotypes that do damage to the other sex and to their own understanding of themselves. People who harbor misconceptions about the other sex also harbor misconceptions about their own. One cannot believe foolish ideas about the opposite sex without believing in foolish ideas about their own.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Privacy --why do I really value it?



January 8, 2006

"In a nutshell, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story two days ago about a Web site that sells phone records, for cells and land-lines, for $110 a pop. The company boasts on its own Web site:

"Give us the cell phone number and we will send you the calls made from the cell phone number.

"So I went to their site, plopped down $110, and within a day I had a list of every single phone number that called my cell, or that I called from my cell, for the month of November. I even had the dates the calls were made, and for a premium I could find out how long the calls were."

So, is this a scary thought?

It was to me when I read it and then I wondered why it was.

I recognize that someone could do me harm with this informaton but they wouldn't need this information to do me harm. Someone who really wanted to do me harm could do it without this information.

I can see how I would be concerned if I were making calls that would indicate that I was doing things that I would rather not have other people know about because I was acting "in the dark," and I didn't want want that behavior brought into the light. If I were cheating on my spouse, for example, or doing criminal stuff, or making personal calls on work time and such.

So my take on this is that I would rather that this information were not available like this and I would love to know how they are doing this. It seems to me that I expected that this information would be confidential but I cannot point to some specific assurance I have ever received, at least not in regard to cell phones. I thought that after some Congressmen were embarrassed that some of their cell phone calls were inadvertantly overheard on other phones that a federal law was passed about intercepting cell phone calls but I'm not sure about that.

I do know that people have wierd notions about privacy--notions that are not supported by law. For example, video cameras in public places designed to detect and deter crime are perfectly legal because in public places one has, legally, no reasable expectation of privacy. But, given the state of technology, today, where does one have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

I remember when photo radar was debated in the Oregon legislature it was obvious that some members were uncomfortable about where a car (and its driver) might be photographed and with whom. They were obviously concerned about photographed drivers being in more trouble than a mere traffic ticket.

Although I do agree that people should not be allowed to get a list of all phone calls made from a specific number I also wonder about why this is such an odious idea to us. There are, no doubt, real threats to us posed by such access, but I think, too, that some of our fears in this regard have to do with the fact that we are too often up to things that, if revealed, would compromise us in the eyes of our employers, our families and our communities. In other words, whatever else such revelation would do, it might also reveal the corruption within our whitewashed sepulchers.