Wednesday, April 13, 2005

where are the illusions when you need them?

Some days, the ugly, scary part of the world has a way of poking its head above day-to-day serenity, just to remind you that it's still there. Maybe it's just that I'm primed for it, having read a bunch of stuff about the development of freedom of speech protection -- or lack of thereof -- from World War I, through the McCarthy era, and up till today. Or maybe it's an overdose of Jared Diamond's book Collapse, a review of which will be coming once I get time to finish it. Or maybe it's just general lack of sleep. In any case, a couple news items jumped out at me within the last couple of hours.

The AOPA has posted this article about a proposed Department of Homeland Security program called the The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Basically, it requires a passport for all U.S. citizens entering the country. No mention of whether your drivers license is good anymore. Besides having implications for college kids making their cross-the-border duty-free liquor runs, it may have some privacy ones as well. I've heard rumors that the government wants to start putting RFID tags into passports, which strongly suggests they'll be able to track, timestamp, and log every citizen crossing the border. Good thing? Bad thing? I guess it depends on how else you think someone might use the information once they have it.

In totally unrelated news, Shaun Martin posted this disturbing article about a San Jose police search that destroyed a Hells Angels chapter house. Now, I'm no big fan of the Hell's Angels, but I'm also not a big fan of the police destroying someone's house, shooting their dogs, etc., based, not on a conviction for a crime, but on a search warrant.

I'm going to go to bed now and pull the covers over my head. Sleep well.

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