We also live in a culture that is extremely sensitive to the idea of preventing unnecessary government intrusion into any facet of their lives. Personal rights are cherished and legally protected by the Constitution. Despite their proven effectiveness, concerns about privacy threaten to overshadow the benefits this technology promises to bring to public safety.Yeah, cultures is so picky about being violated. But I sure wish I had more proof that them-there privacy concerns are working like they should.
Still, I suppose we should be grateful that we might even get treated to some advance warning from the police when an unmanned aerial device will be hovering in our neighborhoods. And that they will be painted a bright color so that we (and birds and any hang-gliders in the area) can see them. And that police agencies will be "strongly discouraged" from firing upon us from above. Even the ACLU is impressed, although it says it would be kind of nice if there were also some actual laws instead of mere suggestions. But we'll take whatever concessions we can get from our overlords. Compared to the terrorized Yemenis and Somalians on presidential kill lists, we should be so grateful for our exceptional freedoms.
It's usually not a great idea for politicians to openly consort with gangsters, especially when they're running for national office. But this is 2012, and ethics are so pre-Citizens United. If your name is Sheldon Adelson, you can be under pretend-investigation by the feds for illegal foreign practices related to your gambling empire, and still brag openly about buying the presidency. And while there may be some sharp intakes of breath from the few people who are paying attention, hardly anyone is batting an eye.
Plus, since everyone has already decided whom they are going to support, it doesn't much matter how many baldfaced lies the politicians tell between now and election day. Paul Ryan begged for stimulus money and then lied about it. How else are he and Mitt sleazy? Gail Collins counts the ways.
The Stung and the Feckless: The Washington Press Corps are miffed that President Obama talks to gossip rags and not to them. He hasn't given a press conference since June, when the corps seized upon his "private sector is doing just fine" gaffe and ran with it. He has instead appeared on shows like Entertainment Tonight, in the full realization that Election 2012 is just another ad campaign, and that he is TV Personality-in-Chief. What passes for a hard-hitting interview with him these days involves the reporter gushing that she just "flirted with POTUS!" Meanwhile, reporters are livid that the White House is demanding that even routine pool reports be submitted for censorship before release.
And yet, most of the populist outrage is being directed toward Putin's Russia, where the Pussy Riot punk band has been sentenced to two years for hooliganism in church and disrespecting their dear leader. State Department spokesperson (and former Cheney aide) Victoria Nuland issued a statement expressing "concern" and urging that Russia review the case. And when New Yorkers took to the streets Friday to express solidarity with the jailed rockers, the paramilitary forces of the NYPD arrested at least three of them, to express security state solidarity with Putin. The demonstrators' offense? They refused to take off their masks while converging in a public place, in gross pre-violation of the new corporate face-recognition technology planned for the Big Apple. The State Department has not even expressed its mildest concern about the civil rights crackdowns in our own country.
On a happier note, the diaries of George Orwell have just been published in book form. They're still online, too. So the censorship is not quite complete. Yet.