May 12, 2014
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I count genealogy among my hobbies. One crucial element of this hobby is the collection and study of government records: census, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses/registers, land ownership records, social security death indexes, etc. As a person who studies my own ancestry and even recent (by genealogy standards) family history, these records are invaluable to the effort. There is a strange happy/victorious feeling when you’ve found a record you’ve never seen before for an ancestor. As a person with strong libertarian leanings, these same records are a reminder that the government is always interested in many details of your life, often to a disturbing degree. I suppose I have rationalized this in two ways: 1) the records can give you knowledge about your forebearers, and 2) the records can show some of the unpleasant realities that existed for them.
I wonder if in a hundred years one of my descendants will be surfing through long-since-declassified NSA databases on ancestry.com in search of something interesting about me. What types of government data collection that today I view as oppressive and outrageous will my descendants be grateful for? I wonder what other libertarian genealogists think about using these types of records in their own research? Perhaps at some point, the government will have cataloged the full genetic information of the entire human race and have worked out our ancestry in detail. Get your entire family history just by filling out three confusing forms and paying a modest extortionate fee.
Sometimes my brain throws weird thoughts at me.
February 11, 2014
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Today many websites have organized together to send a message to those once charged with our protection:
You exceeded the authority granted you by the people. You lied and obfuscated when your actions were exposed. You have displayed no outward intention of making any meaningful changes to your behavior. You are able to monitor who/what/where/when we call/text/e-mail/browse with minimal oversight and virtually no true accountability. The true extent of these invasions is yet to be revealed, but every new detail to emerge is terrifying and disturbing.
Today we are standing up together to say no more.
These sites are joining together to send a message but to also ask you for support. For the rest of the day, somewhere on this page you will see a “TODAY WE FIGHT BACK” banner that will give you quick and easy access to contact your legislators in support of new laws to curtail mass surveillance. I encourage you to do so.
October 9, 2013
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I have not mowed the grass in several weeks, mainly because I saw this coming and decided stockpiling gas was necessary. The lawn-nazi neighbor has been giving me the stink-eye for the last few days. He’s mowed three times since this thing started. Buddy, you’ll be sorry when your gas is gone, so don’t come begging for mine.
In other news, I received a real snail-mail letter from NSABob today. He says he’s usually not allowed to correspond like that, but his supervisor was furloughed and he thought he could get away with it. Anyway, the reason he hasn’t been on iSpy is because his hard drive crashed and their IT department is focused on “bigger fish” at the moment. I’m just glad to hear he’s still ok.
Oh, and his portobello burgers were delicious, and he’ll be sending the recipe as soon as his PC is up an running again.
October 8, 2013
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Three more countries popped up in iSpy IM this morning, and they didn’t want to chat either. What’s the point? Maybe I’ll just go fishing instead.
I went to the post office earlier on the off chance I could send a letter to NSABob. There were two angry mobs in the parking lot shouting at each other about who was to blame for our post office being closed. Curious if it was true, I went to the door and it opened. The groups stopped yelling and gaped in astonishment for a few seconds before going back to their screaming. They must have been having too much fun to bother with getting stamps or sending letters.
October 7, 2013
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This morning when I turned on my computer, I was surprised by a new development.
You see, I use a program called iSpy Instant Messenger. It’s a neat program that allows you to chat with all the secret government agents who have hacked into your machine.
Up until the shutdown, I had frequent conversations with NSABob about barbecuing. He’s an avid outdoor cooker, and has three different rigs to cook on, but I digress (it’s because I miss him).
Today, I see two new folks in the messenger window, one from Russia and one from China. Unfortunately for me, neither of them was interested in chatting about food or cats or even boating. They seemed confused about my inquiries, and eventually both of them asked me to shut up and let them get back to work. Bah on your work ethics.
I hope congress gets this funding thing worked out soon, I really do miss Bob. I also want to hear how his triple-cheese portobello burgers turned out.