“The Eternal Value of Privacy”

I think that this essay by Bruce Schneier (Wired News: The Eternal Value of Privacy) makes some good points – privacy has value even when you have nothing to hide.  In the context of the current debates about wire tapping, data mining, and other government surveillance, I think that we need to remember that one of the things that has made our country special is our reverence for individual liberty. 

Now, this doesn't mean that I object to all government surveillance – clearly there are threats in our world that justify government intelligence gathering.  My objection to our current policies is the lack of independent oversight.  The Executive should have to justify its surveillance activities to the other, independent branches of government. Absent sufficient oversight, both Democratic and Republican administrations have shown that they will abuse surveillance power.  Based on that history, the current administration's argument that the Executive branch can police its own use of surveillance power simply doesn't hold up.  We may need to come up with new legislation to streamline the process for getting warrants, but we shouldn't simply abandon separation of powers and judicial oversight because they are inconvenient or cumbersome.

The Evolution of Dance

For anybody who laughed at the dance scene in Napolean Dynamite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg Note: if you click on the play button in the middle of the video still image, the video will play within this page. If you click anywhere else on the image, a separate window will launch.

Discovering New Music through XM radio – Joni Laurence “Trashbag Birdie”

After losing my old car stereo to thieves, I decided to treat myself to an upgrade, including XM Satellite Radio.  I actually managed to install it myself, a process that ended up taking me about four hours.  In the old days I probably would have paid someone to install it, but I'm getting less timid about tackling projects.  Between the savings I got from mail ordering my new stereo from Crutchfield and installing it myself, I figure I saved about $150.  Were the savings worth four hours of my time?  There have been times when I would have said no, but in this case I had the time and I have to say that I got some satisfaction out of installing it myself.

Between work and personal trips, I've been doing a lot more long drives lately.  Music definitely helps when you're in the car for three or four hours, and my last stereo's ability to play MP3s was very handy.  The only problem with the MP3 player was that I had been getting into a bit of a rut musically, listening mostly to music I already have in my collection.   While my collection is pretty extensive and eclectic, I found myself listening to the same favorites most of the time, and I thought that satellite radio would be a good way to expose myself to some new music. 



Listening to their XCountry station introduced me to Joni Laurence's Meet Your Mate, a funny little song about the challenges of dating as an adult in the 21st century.  The album that this track comes from, Trashbag Birdie, impressed me enough that I bought a copy through iTunes (my first online music purchase).  If you want to check out some snippets, you can hear samples of each song on CDBaby's website