Monday, June 24, 2013

Swiping at a criminal regime

As the brilliant article by Glenn Greenwald explains, there is a vast difference between the actions of Edward Snowden and the U.S. government.  Snowden has revealed on-going criminal activity by the U.S. government that has shielded itself from legal prosecution by passing unconstitutional laws allowing such activity.  Snowden knew this and decided it was such a terrible wrong that he had to expose it to the public, knowing that the penalty for doing so would be severe.  As others have noted, Snowden's leaked documents are hardly revelations to other governments, journalists, or people who pay attention to the news.  But for most people it was news, shocking news, to learn that everything they tell others digitally also gets told to the NSA. 
The "enemy" they're seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It's the American people.

The Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK.

They haven't learned anything from these disclosures that they didn't already well know. The people who have learned things they didn't already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Things about old cars you probably didn't know

Freedom for many people still means being able to get in your car and go wherever you want.  The automobile has vastly contributed to American freedom for this reason alone, providing people a means of "getting there" quickly, at least compared to previous modes of transportation.

It's not surprising to find the Left at war with cars.  As Jon Gabriel writes,

Since Henry Ford’s first Model T rolled off the Detroit assembly line, the car has represented the individual and freedom. Finally, the city dweller could chart his own direction outside of a subway or trolley car and the farmer could explore beyond the reach of his horse and buggy. 
But in the Age of Obama, the individual is less important than the group. Hence the push for light rail, high-speed rail, unrealistic mileage standards and emission mandates, rising energy prices, and even the state-ordered destruction of perfectly good automobiles. In the Long March toward the bright progressive future, even transportation needs to be collectivized.

Those who appreciate the automobile's role in American freedom might enjoy this trip down memory lane.  You can find more at JDJournal.

Q: Who opened the first drive-in gas station?
A: Gulf opened up the first station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

Q: What city was the first to use parking meters?
A: Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935.

Q: Where was the first drive-in restaurant?
A: Royce Hailey’s Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921.

Q: True or False?

The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and black.
A: False.

The 1953 ‘Vetted’ were available in one color, Polo White.

Q: What was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960′s?
A: Carroll Shelby’s Mustang GT350.

Q: What was the first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter?
A: The 1924 Chrysler.

Q: What was the first car to be offered with a “perpetual guarantee”?
A: The 1904 Acme, from Reading, PA. Perpetuity was disturbing in this case, as Acme closed down in 1911.

Q: What American luxury automaker began by making cages for birds and squirrels?
A: The George N. Pierce Co. Of Buffalo, who made the Pierce Arrow, also made iceboxes.

Q: What car first referred to itself as a convertible?
A: The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.

Q: What car was the first to have it’s radio antenna embedded in the windshield?
A: The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Q: What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?
A: The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16

Q: Where was the World’s first three-color traffic lights installed?
A: Detroit, Michigan in 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights.

Q: What type of car had the distinction of being GM’s 100 millionth car built in the U.S. ?
A: March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that honor.

Q: Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?
A: Camden, NJ in 1933

Q: What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?
A: The 1949 Chryslers

Q: What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?
A: 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission, and dual exhaust.

Q: What U.S. Production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?
A: The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it in 4.0 seconds.

An early George Gershwin song from the musical "Miss 1917"

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