This little blog and I are far from the most notable (or notorious) celebrities living on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Just doors south of us is Phil Gainsley, well-known local attorney who is even better known as a prior and frequent participant in the Metropolitan Opera’s intermission Opera Quiz (until they changed the format). Then, only doors away is John Najarian, famed heart and transplant surgeon.
Now I have learned that literally across the lake lives a man I’ve cited here several times: Bruce Schneier, security expert who popularized (probably originated) the phrase “security theater.” I expect to meet him Monday at an ACLU Minnesota event at his house. More next week once that happens.
In other respects, I’m getting caught up — see below.
Through the Back Door Again Department
No, I’m not referring to anal sex, although once you read this you would be justified to conclude I might as well be talking about that — you, an Internet user, are about to be screwed in the ass.
As reported last week by the ACLU, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that — under the guise of tracking child pornography — will require Internet service companies “to keep records on their customers for 18 months — impacting millions of individuals who have no connection to the sexual exploitation of children whatsoever.” You photographers are already familiar with this kind of legislation — it’s called Section 2257 and 2257A, which while purporting to stop child pornography in photography and movies in fact burdens thousands of photographers (and models, publishers, art shows, dealers, etc.) who would never think of coming close to child porn.
The legislation applies to a broad swath of internet sites and services. It would include all email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail), all cloud computing services (Google-web based services like Picasa and Google Docs), all social networking sites and a whole lot more. In layman’s terms, the bill applies to every site that allows you to communicate with others or stores or processes your data — almost everybody.
The legislation has one of those no-Congressman-will-ever-vote-against-it titles: the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.”
No Nudity on Facebook Department
I’ve bitched before about Facebook’s censorial practices when it comes to nudity, even on our restricted pages which have age requirements. The ACLU blog talks about that and then takes the matter further, saying we should be concerned that in fact all sorts of Internet companies censor what we see by anticipating our desires and showing us search results and material tailored to what they perceive our interests to be.
Taking on South Dakota Department
Today [May 27], the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in South Dakota challenging one of the most restrictive—and downright offensive—abortion laws we’ve ever seen. We’ve blogged about this law before.
Read more here. Go get’em, folks!
War on Photography Department
A nice, brief video from Reason.TV:
If you’ve been reading me faithfully, not much new there, but awareness of cops’ and other authorities’ “war” expands.
As to which Salon.com jumps in with David Sirota’s article, “Why we need to police the police“:
This is not some academic or theoretical concern, and video recording is not a needless exercise in Bill of Rights zealotry. The assault on civil liberties in America is a very real problem and monitoring police is absolutely required in light of recent data.
As USA Today reported under the headline “Police brutality cases on rise since 9/11,” situations “in which police, prison guards and other law enforcement authorities have used excessive force or other tactics to violate victims’ civil rights increased 25 percent” between 2001 and 2007. Last year alone, more than 1,500 officers were involved in excessive force complaints, according to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.
Interestingly, on the train ride back from California, as we were climbing the Colorado River canyon, I spoke with a retired Colorado state policeman who was riding the train as a volunteer giving color commentary about the route. I described the “War on Photography,” to which he responded he had no patience with any cop who was opposed to citizens taking video or photographs of cops doing their job. So long as they are not obstructing enforcement, he said, he always knew he was doing his job well and knew that any record made of his performance would prove that. Only the shoddy cops, he said, are the ones who fear being recorded.
Pizza Lovers’ Horror Show Department
The foregoing is all the bad news stuff (except for my pain update at the very end, below, which at least offers hope). Now I bring you Jon Stewart, whose riff last night on (gasp!) Donald Trump’s introduction of Sarah Palin to “New York” Albanian pizza in Times Square is priceless. I laughed from beginning to end, only mildly disappointed that Stewart did not mention “Famous Ray’s Pizza” (the real original “Ray’s” at 11th St. & 6th Ave.), which is truly the best pizza I’ve ever had. That notwithstanding, this is a must-see:
Coming Soon … Department
… to a theater near you: Cars 2 from Pixar. Seen in the Pixar parking lot last week:
My daughter’s boyfriend is a senior animator for Cars 2. The release date is June 24.
New E-Publication Department
Friend Dave Levingston sent along a link to a new online photography- and writing-related publication that is well worth checking out: L’Allure des Mots. It has an interview of Dave starting page 62 and several of his photos of favorite model Brooke, and Dave was kind enough to mention my Photographer’s Guide to Section 2257 book.
For periods yesterday I could not tolerate more than 5-10 minutes sitting at my desk before having to retire to the bedroom and lie down for at least 10 minutes letting the pain pass. And this notwithstanding having taken 3x the prescribed Vicodin dose. (Were it not for the fact the pills do make me drowsy, I’d almost think Walgreens had given me a placebo!) I am hoping (expecting) that all will be ameliorated approximately four hours after this posts.
This kind of experience gives me new appreciation for those specializing in pain mediation, and how ridding individuals of this kind of chronic pain is very, very important — more important certainly than the addiction or occasional abuse that some prosecutors claim is the greater danger.
From last week’s session along the Pacific Coast. There was this beautiful field of wildflowers above the crashing surf, and one should never pass up an opportunity to put a beautiful woman, nude, in the middle of those flowers.