About those new NSA docs…

You probably heard that there were new docs released regarding 9/11. Here’s Salon’s coverage thereof, but the real takeaway point is this, as articulated by Wil Wheaton:

The thing that I think a lot of people are missing when they read this story is that intelligence worked the way it was supposed to, but Bush the Incompetent didn’t pay attention, because he didn’t care. He was a lazy and stupid son of privilege who was too busy being on vacation to take his responsibilities as president seriously.

Consider this, though: all the laws passed in the aftermath of 9/11, including the PATRIOT Act, that we were told were absolutely necessary to save us from The Terrorists™ just aren’t. The system was working the way it was supposed to work, and the 9/11 plot should have been stopped, but we had an incompetent jackass president who didn’t take it seriously.

This is hilarious.

Unhappy with their ex-label, it appears that Def Leppard are re-recording their biggest hits to release electronically instead of agreeing to let Universal release the originals.

Think about that for a minute.

TechDirt’s post ends with this probing question: “Makes you wonder if there are any acts who feel they weren’t screwed over by their major label…” My guess is “no.”

What were they thinking?

Apparently, it’s possible on some Android devices to allow Facebook to take over and manage your address book based on your friends list.

Yeah, I know, right? What a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE IDEA.

If you reacted as I did, it should come as no surprise to you that this turned out to be a horrible, horrible idea.

Don’t outsource that kind of thing, people. Especially don’t outsource it to a “free” service that makes billions by selling information about you, and that has a financial motive to push you away from normal channels of communication and towards methods that rely on a private service.

Facebook will fuck you if you let them. Keep as little information there as you can, and don’t let them worm their way into other aspects of your life. It’s not worth it.

Hey Heathen! How do YOU use Facebook?

Glad you asked.

Lock down your profile
Only some friends can see my activity. I decided long ago that I’d accept requests from most people I know, or have known, but most of those distant connections go into a group that can neither see nor comment on any activity on my wall.
Sanitize the info in your profile
I keep essentially ZERO personal data in my profile. Not my job, not my real world address, etc.
Never use your Facebook login on other sites
This ought to be easy. Doing this gives Facebook access to all your activity on any site that uses your Facebook credentials. Seriously, don’t do this.
Use a dedicated browser
This is the biggie. I don’t go to Facebook with my regular browser. I use Chrome for most of my web activities, and I allow Chrome to store some limited login information about various sites. That makes my life easier. On the other hand, Chrome is also configured to explicitly block most ads as well as nearly all site-to-site tracking methods.

This means some sites won’t work right for me. I’m okay with that. When I run into a problem site, I switch over to Safari, which is set up with much more permissive settings — but it’s also set up to purge all local cookies and data every time I quit. Chrome runs for weeks at a time on my laptop, but Safari is quit and restarted every time I need it to protect my privacy.

Because Facebook is so craven and shameless about snooping on its members, I only ever visit Facebook with Safari.

You may be laboring under the misconception that Libertarianism is about personal freedom

It is not:

Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom. Or so its adherents claim. But with their single-minded defense of the rights of property and contract, libertarians cannot come to grips with the systemic denial of freedom in private regimes of power, particularly the workplace. When they do try to address that unfreedom, as a group of academic libertarians calling themselves “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” have done in recent months, they wind up traveling down one of two paths: Either they give up their exclusive focus on the state and become something like garden-variety liberals or they reveal that they are not the defenders of freedom they claim to be.

The Health Care Omnibus Post

There’s been lots of smart things written about the ACA ruling. Here are a few I found particularly on point:

  • from Forbes, who are not known for their lefty politics: Don’t Buy the GOP Narrative That Obamacare Is A Tax On The Middle Class — It’s a Lie Designed to Mislead

  • Wil Wheaton points us to a Daily Show bit wherein Romney is quoted as promising to a few changes (via repeal) to American health care policy — all of which are already part of the ACA. Romney is transparently scaremongering here, and it’s shameful.

  • Also via Wheaton: What exactly is Obamacare, and what did it change? Seriously, read this.

  • Finally, John Scalzi has some very smart thinking on the issue of Roberts’ vote in this case. He closes with “I don’t think there’s any question that Roberts is a conservative judge; a look at his track record and even at his ACA write-up makes this abundantly clear. I don’t think there’s any question that Roberts will continue to be a conservative judge. What the ACA ruling serves notice for, perhaps, is that Roberts is following his own conscience and reasoning regarding what it means to be conservative, rather than taking his cues from the the current right-wing orthodoxy. Ultimately, that’s what sending the right wing into their rage about Roberts: That now it’s possible he’s his own man, not theirs.” (By the way, the fact that Roberts has a chronic condition may well have played a role in his thinking here.)

Well, shit.

Salon is looking to sell the Well, and has apparently already laid off its staff.

That’s been my online home for a really long time. Dialog there is better than on 99% of the web. It’s never been anonymous, which is probably one reason why. Before there was Facebook or social media, the Well was having gatherings and parties and picnics — like, in the 1980s.

With fewer than 2,700 subscribers left, I wonder how long it’ll even exist now — I mean, short of some deep-pocketed angel coming along to save it for the sake of saving it.