Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Recruiters and answering some questions you e-mailed about

Gonna get the important stuff out of the way. Friday on Democracy Now! they did this great report called "Pentagon Developing Massive Database on Millions of U.S. Students." I'm going to slice you a little piece off from the top of the report:

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to go to Congress Member Honda in a minute, but right now, we turn to Mark Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. Can you explain this database?
MARK ROTENBERG: Yes. Amy, first of all, it's Mark Rotenberg. And the database that's being proposed by the Department of Defense is an effort to essentially micro-target the recruiting effort. What they are doing is taking information that’s available in public record sources and commercial data brokers and developing profiles on American high school students and American college students who could be recruited into the armed services. EPIC, my organization, which is online at
EPIC.org does a lot of privacy act work. And when we saw the notice in the federal register last month about this proposed database we quickly realized that there were Privacy Act problems. And as the story has gone forward over the last month, it's really extraordinary what's coming out now about this program.
JUAN GONZALEZ: What about the whole issue that the armed forces are saying that they are prepared to share the information with other entities of the government, as well?
MARK ROTENBERG: Right. Well, they're saying many different things. I mean, there have been a lot of conflicting statements, even at the press conference last evening when they were talking about the database. They said on the one hand, it was not going to be used to call recruits directly until someone pointed out that, in fact, they were collecting telephone numbers. So they’re having a bit of difficulty, I think, you know, getting the story straight. But one of the important things about the Privacy Act, and this really does go to your question, is that it requires the federal agencies to explain how they propose to use the information. So the Department of Defense says that in the first instance the information will be used for recruiting purposes, and then they set out what are called the Privacy Act Exceptions. And they list 13 different categories of additional use of the information, including a possible use for law enforcement purposes. They have, in effect, by this notice already announced that they reserve the right to use all of this data that they're collecting for law enforcement purposes and to transfer to law enforcement agencies.
AMY GOODMAN: Congress Member Mike Honda of California is also on the phone with us. He is sponsoring a bill that would make it easier for parents to block military recruiters from gaining access to their high school-aged children through this provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. Congress Member Honda, what is the bill that you have introduced?

If you missed it, go use the link to check it out. This is scary stuff. And so is what Caeser e-mailed me about which is nonstop calls from recruiters. The calls come in all the time and he and his folks and sister can be sitting down at dinner time to eat and there's the phone ringing.
Nothing gets them to stop callling and you can't block them even if you are on 1 of those lists so you don't get calls from telemarketers.

Caesar's cussed them out, his father's cussed them out but they keep calling all the time.

Caesar asked me how desperate do I think the military is? I think they are pretty desperate, Ceasar, because we are at war and no one wants to sign up for the Bully Boy's Non Excellent Adventure. And get this, most of the time they can't even get his name right. They are just like telemarketers. Caesar is Latino and his name is pronounced "say-zar" but he writes that they call up and ask for "see-ser" like he's a "salad."

Connie e-mailed with a question about her boyfriend's penis. They are white heads and he just needs to pop them. Ward e-mailed wanting to know how to talk his girlfriend into getting implants. Ward, there are a lot of problems with your question. First, if she doesn't want them why do you want her to get cut up? Second, at 16 she'd need her parents or parent or guardian's permission if she did want them. So even if she decided she wanted them that still wouldn't mean she'd get them. You like big breasts, Ward, and you like your girlfriend. I think you're going to have to sit down and figure out which you like more. If she's "perfect" except for her breasts and you've got a problem with what you call her one fault then you really aren't the guy for her.

Misha e-mailed wanting to know "Who sleeps in the wet spot?" You mean like Seattle?

Oh I crack myself up!

Misha, the days may be gone when a guy puts his overcoat on top of a puddle to let a woman walk over but I'd argue the principle still applies. If this is a problem with you and your boyfriend or boyfriends I'd say you need to point out where the wet spot came from originally and say, "You made it, you deal with it."

And Bree e-mailed about her boyfriend's small penis. So Ward up above might want to consider whether he's such a prize himself when he's wanting his girlfriend to get implants. Bree, if he's too small for you to feel and sex is important then he is not your prince. Find a better fit.

Joby e-mailed to tell me that Batman Begins is great and he has seen it six times already. So I guess others may like it. It was too slow for me.

Now besides the story at the top of the post, I wanted to share something else. It is on the same story. It is from CounterRecruiter which is a great site and I hope you will all visit it and check it out:

CounterRecruiter.net has learned that seven Democratic senators have called on the Pentagon to stop using a massive database to target potential recruits. Last week it was revealed that the Pentagon had hired the private marketing firm BeNOW to run the database that keeps track of millions of high school and college students.

The heat is killing me and I started writing this as soon as I got home. I'll do some more tomorrow and if a shower wakes me up, I'll do some more tonight. I think it's the indoor a.c. and then going out into the heat back and forth but something is sapping me.