Saturday, May 13, 2006

Here Come the Lawsuits

Here come the lawsuits against the phone companies that provided the NSA with outside information about phone calls made within the US. Once again, we're seeing national security programs being dragged not only into public view - reducing or eliminating their usefulness as our enemies adjust their tactics and communications - but into the courts. Have people become so disconnected from the fact that we're in a war against a global enemy because we haven't had another major attack on US soil since 9/11? Will it take another 9/11 sized attack in the US to shake people to the realization that these leaks of classified information are undermining our ability to defend ourselves?

In the Bullpen wonders why USA Today cited anonymous sources in relation to the Qwest refusal to participate when the Qwest legal team itself issued a release to that effect and ponders whether they even contacted Qwest in the first place.
Did the USA Today bother even asking Qwest directly why they chose not to participate? If so, did they just give them anonymous protection for the hell of it?
Meanwhile, the left is grasping at straws, including hoping that someone diagnosed with psychotic paranoia will spill the beans on the whole program. Dan Riehl posits:
With all due respect to Mr. Tice, wouldn't anyone with psychotic paranoia claim they were diagnosed because, um, because someone was out to get them? If you read around, you'll see he has gone from saying his information must never be shared, to spilling it all to the NY Times.
Tice said "there's no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.
Just what this story needed, a paranoid psychotic who can't make up his mind. Damn, I hate that.
Well, Newsweek tries to come up with an alternative poll that provides a counter to the earlier WaPo poll in support for the NSA program. Mac Ranger isn't amused, and he notes that this program to work with telecommunications companies originates with the Clinton Administration and the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

And apparently some folks (Matt Drudge) are amazed that there's a technology know as satellites and that they have these things called cameras that take pictures of the US of A. I guess the people who put that article together didn't look at Google Earth, which can peer down to within a few feet of resolution on most any spot in the US.

By the by. Has anyone noticed that the Social Security Administration came out with their annual list of favorite names for babies.
The agency has compiled the 1,000 most popular names since 1997 and started listing twin names in 2004. Variations in the spelling of the same name are counted separately, so there are different entries for Kaitlyn, Katelyn and Kaitlin.
Anyone know how they manage to accomplish that little feat? Here's how:
All names are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States after 1879. Names are restricted to cases where the year of birth, sex, State of birth (50 States and District of Columbia) are on record, and where the given name is at least 2 characters long. Many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data. For others who did apply, our records may not show the place of birth, and again their names are not included in our data.

All data are from a 100% sample of our records on Social Security card applications as of the end of February 2006.

Please note that name data are not edited. For example, the sex associated with a name may be incorrect. Entries such as "Unknown" and "Baby" are not removed from the lists.

Different spellings of similar names are not combined. For example, the names Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelin, Katelyn, Katelynn, and Katlyn are considered separate names and each has its own rank.

When two different names are tied with the same frequency for a given year of birth, we break the tie by assigning rank in alphabetical order.
In other words, the government collects this information upon the application for a SSN. That SSN then provides government with the ability to track your employment history, salary and income, and was used in many health care records. That's why the loss or theft of SSNs remains such a big problem for identity theft. It's a gateway document to create an identity.

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