So long Privacy. We hardly knew ye.

Google has been publishing statistics on how many requests it receives from the various world governments for a couple of years now. These requests fall into two categories. In the first case they asked Google to divulge user information, such as their personal contact information, or what they did using Google’s services. In the second case, they asked Google to remove pieces of content from their services. Google is the only major company to publish data about the requests they get, and they do so every six months. The last report, published last week, reveals that in the first six months of 2011, these requests went up 29%.

The information shows things like 757 items being requested to be removed by the US Government, 646 by South Korea, 121 by China, and so on. Then, Google says how many of these requests it complied with. In some cases, like for the US, they specify how many were for copyright issues, defamation, and so on. They also divide the requests by service, such as YouTube, Blogger, AdWords, and so on. When it comes to obtaining user data, the numbers are even more impressive. The various United States government entities asked for information on 11,057 users or accounts. Google complied with 93% of those. The second highest number is India, with 2,439 requests. In that case, the company complied with 70%.

Not everything is shown by the Google transparency report. For example, in many cases data is omitted when the company isn’t allowed to talk about it. Also, when the number of requests was low, they may have been omitted entirely. The overall stats show which countries are more likely to censor versus those who aren’t. They also show which services are most likely to cause issues with governments. Private parties however are not part of this report, so when a company such as a music label asks to remove content from YouTube, that isn’t included.

The very fact that Google publishes these stats is an anomaly. No other large company does, even though they certainly receive requests as well. We know, for example, that all four major cellphone carriers in the U.S. have web portals that law enforcement and government officials can use to get user information. But there’s no indication from them how many requests they receive, if they review them, or if they comply with all of them. Google is part of a group called the DueProcessCoalition, a group that attempts to bring reforms to U.S. laws that allow broad, warrantless tapping of information by government officials. Yet, none of the other members of this group, such as AOL, AT&T, Facebook, or Microsoft, publish any such transparency information.

Then, there’s the so-called National Security Letters. Those are the letters that the FBI can send to anyone, asking for information about anything, without a warrant. These letters almost always come with a gag order as well, so the party who receives it cannot talk about it. The FBI issues over 50,000 such letters every year, and those cannot be part of any transparency report, since their very existence is kept secret. While they are supposed to be used in drug or terrorism cases, it’s long been suspected that they are being widely abused, and used for cases with nothing to do with national security. The Department of Justice confirmed that, indeed, this was the case.

Read the entire article here.
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National Democrat Night

Tonight’s the night that my children and I will celebrate our annual National Democrat Night.  Actually, it will be just my younger children and some grandchildren.  My older ones think they are too old, too mature for such frivolity.

With all of the sense of entitlement of government school kids, we will menacingly prowl our neighborhood and demand that others – who clearly have more than we do – give the fruits of their labor to us.  After all, it’s only fair!  And it better not be any lame apples.

In keeping with the theme, we dress up like our favorite Democrat.  I use the word “favorite” very, very loosely.  Like everything Democrat, it’s a relative term.  Some of the favorite costumes include:

  • Nancy Pelosi mask.  It has a drawstring in the back so you can make the face as tight as you want.
  • Barack Obama mask.  It’s popularity is down this year.
  • Joe Biden mask.  I hate this one.  It won’t stop saying really stupid things.
  • Eric Holder mask.  It didn’t even know about Halloween until a couple of weeks ago.
  • Hillary Clinton mask.  Enough said.

This year we are adding a nod to the plight of the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  I mean, we gotta stand together against the corporate greed of mega-corporations like Hersheys, Brachs, and m&m’s.  So instead of saying “Trick or Treat” we are chanting, “What do we want?  We don’t know.  When do we want it?  Now!

It should be fun.  And really, really scary!

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The reformation Summarized.

More can be found at; H/T to Creative Minority Report.

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House of Horrors: Abortion workers plead guilty to murder.

Two former employees of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell have pled guilty to 3rd degree murder charges for their roles in the deaths of an abortion patient and one baby born alive during a failed late-term abortion. This is reportedly the first time that an abortion worker has been found guilty of murder for killing a baby.

Lifesite News has the whole story.
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Missing Dad

This week marked the 11th anniversary of the death of my Father. I heard somewhere that the sense of loss is supposed to diminish with time. For me it’s been the exact opposite. I miss him and our frequent talks now more than ever.

My earliest memory of my Father is walking with him along the sidewalk in our neighborhood. I remember holding his hand as we walked. He was a mountain of a man and his massive hand easily engulfed mine. I remember being so happy, so safe. I was with him.

Growing up, we had a standing arm wrestling challenge. For years my arm wasn’t long enough to reach the warm, firm grasp of his hand. So I just held on to his wrist. He won effortlessly. Every time. The best I could hope for was that he would let me push on his unmovable arm for a moment. But defeat was inevitable. Funny, it didn’t feel like defeat.

Eventually, I was able to wrap my hand in his. I never did win one of those contests. In our last match, I detected the slightest effort on his part before the back of my hand hit the table. He retired undefeated . . . and undefeatable.

Years later, he went to hospital for the last time, I kept a virtually unbroken vigil at his bedside. Death is an enemy – it’s the last one – but an enemy nonetheless. That belief moved beyond the theoretical when the doctor came in to check on my Dad. Very matter-of-factly, my Father told the doctor, “I am going to die in two or three more days.”

I think the only thing that allowed me to “keep it together” was the calmness with which my Father uttered those words. Since his passing, they ring in my ears as clearly as when he spoke them. And I am not able to keep it together.

I would not take a million dollars for those last days. My Father and I continued to talk. It was laborious for him, so there were long periods of silence. I sat there holding his hand for the last time. The next day he slipped into what appeared to be sleep. An unwakeable sleep.

Our conversations were over; at least the part where he talked. I had heard of people being in a coma, who later recollected conversations that had taken place in their hospital room. So I kept talking. He just slept.

Late in the day, as I was holding his hand, I asked, “Dad, now that you’re at the end of your life, what is most important to you?” His grip tightened, a shadow of his arm wrestling days. For the first time in a day and a half, my Father opened his eyes, lifted his head from the pillow, looked me straight in the eyes:

“The Lord and your mother.”

He laid his head back and closed his eyes and never said another word.. He died the next morning,

The Lord and your mother.” Wow. What a testimony. What a gift.

In his last few hours here, he was thinking of what – make that who – he loved most. He had the grace to live well. Despite a long and cruel disease, he also had the grace to die well. That’s the testimony.

He left us. Actually, he left us . . . a gift. As he exited this world and entered the next, his dying breath was an expression of his love for God above all. That’s the gift. He gave it to my mother and to all his children, grandchildren, and beyond. Pointing us to the Heavenly Father just as he was going to meet Him face to face.

He left us. But not really. His faith in God remains with us. Not in some cosmic wishful thinking way, but in substance. With real evidence. It’s a gift that I want like nothing else to give to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Despite my many failings, I hope they can say, “He really loved God above all.

So while I am missing Dad, I am eternally thankful to “My Father which art in heaven” for my Father who is also in heaven. So eternally thankful.

Thanks, Dad. For everything.


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“Arab Spring” meets Christmas.

It’s a sure bet that whoever’s on your gift list doesn’t already have one of these.

The latest toy has hit the shops…a talking Muslim doll.   Nobody knows what it says because they’re scared to pull the cord.

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Kristallnacht in America.

I’m thinking 1938 Berlin.

You’re probably used to seeing TSA’s signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR).

Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state.

Agents are recruiting truck drivers, like Rudy Gonzales, into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.  “Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road,” said Gonzales.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections. The random inspections really aren’t any more thorough than normal, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott who says paying attention to details can make a difference. Tuesday’s statewide “VIPR” operation isn’t in response to any particular threat, according to officials.

Read the whole news article here.

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Memo to Muammar


Gaddafi: Barakeh Obama is friend.  Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi considers the US president a blessing to the Muslim world. In a speech published in London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday, Gaddafi praised Barack Obama, called him a “friend” and said there is no longer any dispute between his country and the US.

“Friend” Barakeh Obama: “You have won your revolution . . . One of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.”

Who do we kill next? Part I

A prophet is just a comedian with bad timing.  Really. Bad. Timing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the closer in time any comments are to the actual event, the funnier they tend to be. Late night talk shows are a perfect example. They mock, they tease, they ridicule. All concerning the events of that day. They get paid millions. It’s funny. Or at least a lot of people think so. Nice work if you can find it.

Offer commentary six months out; maybe a grin or a snicker. A year early: You’re a lunatic. Six years ahead – you, sir, are a menace to a society!

Six months prior to the last presidential election, I opined that Barack Obama would win. I warned that he would unleash a wildfire of socialist programs and a renewed pro-abortion juggernaut. Kind of funny then – O.K., mildly humorous.

Barely a year later, Obama was President and already fired the head of one of the largest private corporations in America. Not so funny anymore. If you thought GM products were inferior before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And to think of all the grief former President Bush got for firing a few U.S. Attorneys – who were his employees.

Not to worry, the federal government stands behind all General Motors warranties. It’s sort of like national health care for cars: Your oil filter should be here in three, four months tops. Give or take. Longer if you want it shipped by the post office.

But talk about an event in the future . . . well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty. Nobody laughs. Nobody buys a ticket. You’re just stuck practicing law.  Bummer.  Tell me, is this an audience or an oil painting?

Nearly twenty years ago, I was in a joint law school and master’s degree program. If that doesn’t sound bad enough I had to write a Master’s Thesis. When I proposed a topic to my thesis committee, Use of force to defend another from harm, when the harm seeking to be prevented is allowed by the positive law, they were instantly bored.  Actually, they were catatonic.  One faculty member used his dying breath to ask me why.

My answer had the same effect as a hospital defibrillator: “Because I think within a year someone is going to kill an abortionist.” They thought I was nuts but figured placating the lunatic was easier than arguing with him. I turned in my first draft twelve and a half months later; two days after one Michael Griffin shot an abortionist as he walked in to a Pensacola, Florida abortion clinic.

They weren’t catatonic anymore.

“How did you know?” they asked.

“How could you not know? (It’s Jewish – and comedic – tradition to answer a question with a question.)

While I had their attention, I amended my thesis proposal and wrote my Master’s Thesis – capitalized to show how important it is – as a legal brief, with a focus on Florida law. One of them whispered to the others about not making any sudden moves, but they reluctantly agreed.

To make a long – and generally boring – story short, I did extensive research resulting in a finished work with nearly four hundred footnotes substantiating the legitimacy of the Use of Force to defend another specifically in the context of protecting an unborn child. After rigorous review by the faculty committee and a spirited discussion at my thesis defense, my graduate work was approved.

A year after I graduated from law school a law review published my article. Getting published in a law review is generally considered prestigious and it’s what a lot of law professors have to do just to keep their jobs. Apparently legal writing is like comedy: timing is everything.

At the time, I was working for an organization that holds itself out as a vanguard of the First Amendment. Also at the time, I was representing an individual that had been arrested for violating a noise ordinance in Pensacola, Florida outside an abortion clinic.

During my representation of him – his name was Paul Hill – my client returned to that clinic. He didn’t bring a picket sign with him this time or the offending bullhorn that got him in trouble in the first place. He brought a twelve gauge shotgun. He killed the abortionist and his bodyguard. And they thought the bullhorn was loud!

Though the arguments were extensive, solidly grounded, and based on long standing, well accepted legal principles, I was subjected to all kinds of black listing, ad hominem attacks, and other instances where people just weren’t very nice. I even got to make the legal arguments to the Florida Supreme Court, where I of course lost.

My client got the worst of it. I sat ten feet from him as the State of Florida executed him.

Just a couple of decades later (a lifetime in the world of stand-up comedy), a bill in the Oklahoma Legislature proposed allowing pregnant women to use deadly force to save the lives of their babies. The bill stems from a Michigan case in which a woman carrying quadruplets stabbed and killed her boyfriend after he hit her in the stomach. The woman lost the babies and was convicted of manslaughter. Oklahoma lawmakers said they want to make sure that a woman can legally protect her unborn child.

“Unfortunately, we feel we need legislation like this,” said Rep. Mike Thompson. “What we want to make sure is that a woman feels safe and secure defending herself and her unborn child against any attacker.”

The group Americans United for Life came to state lawmakers and asked for the bill that Thompson co-authored. It’s called the Use of Force For the Protection of the Unborn Act. “You have the right to use lethal force, if needed, to protect your unborn baby,” he said.

Oklahoma already has a law allowing a person to use force to protect himself or another person from someone else. The new bill includes an unborn child as “another” person. Oklahoma has also had a law covering the murder of unborn babies since 2005.

“Anytime a bill encourages a woman to be safe, we stand by that,” said the YWCA’s Josh Basely.

Hmmm. Protecting an “unborn child against any attacker”? Does that mean that anyone can protect an unborn child from “any attacker”? Oklahoma womb-children can breathe a little easier, I guess.  Will the new Oklahoma motto be, “We got your back, baby!“?

So I’ve been waiting twenty years to get a laugh. Some people worry that if this Oklahoma bill passes it will be open season on abortionists. But that’s not going to happen. It’s been open season on unborn children in this country for nearly forty years. For abortionists, there will be a bag limit.

Now that’s funny.

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