CSotD: Privacy and Exposure

Jimmy Margulies comments on the feds having tapped into state licensing bureaus to get all our biometric information.

I’m not worried about being deported, because they can force you out of your country without making you move an inch. I feel like the guide in the old joke: “We’re not lost; we’re right here. The path is lost.”

I’m something of a frequent flyer down at the medical center. Tomorrow is three years since they sliced out a bunch of parts and I’m only just now excused from coming back every six months to see if they’re back, plus I’m just at an age where being poked and prodded is part of life.

On Monday I went in to have my oil changed or something, and I gave my name and date of birth and assured them that my address was the same and my next-of-kin hadn’t changed and I had not been coal-mining since the last time I was there, after which they asked for a photo ID.

I’d shown a Medicare card before, but never a driver’s license.

And it’s been a couple of years since, when you went to vote, you signed your name and if your signature lined up with the last eight or ten times you voted, they let you vote without showing your papers.

They haven’t come up with more than a handful of insignificant voter fraud cases and I don’t expect them to come up with a large number of people who memorize huge amounts of information about other people so they can impersonate them and get free hip injections.

But the last time I renewed my driver’s license renewed, I had to drive the 30 miles or so to the bureau so they could take my picture without my glasses so I could get an enhanced license that means I don’t have to pay for a passport just to go to Canada.

Which I never had to before, either.

Which is my point.

Back in about the third grade, they hustled us all into the auditorium and this nice couple told us about how if we didn’t have a war with the Soviets, then one day we’d find that our government was tracking us and asking to see our papers and making us carry ID cards.

And we didn’t have a war with the Soviets and so here we are.

And when I told my friends at the dog park about having to show photo ID at the hospital, they were appalled, but they weren’t surprised.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.


I like Steve Sack‘s take on all the Jeffrey Epstein stuff, because he doesn’t try for anything witty beyond an appropriate pun, and he isn’t taking sides except perhaps the side of decency.

This seems like a time when we need to keep the pressure on but avoid getting too deeply into taking sides. Palling around with Epstein seems awfully damning, but it’s not proof of anything by itself. On the other hand, it’s hardly a recommendation.

And it certainly is a grotesque example of the Old Boys Club.

Even without actual misogynistic sexual assault, it’s not okay to have a system in which “the art of the deal” cuts out 51% of the population at the start, but deals are hatched between friends and friendships are forged on golf courses, and golf courses have been, until quite recently, men only.


Which is how Ann Telnaes gets to mock a for-real situation where someone proposed a golf tournament at the I’m-not-making-this-up Trump National Doral, which would be sponsored by a strip club and would allow participants to pay to have strippers act as their caddies.

The thing fell apart, granted. The charity for which the money was to go got wind of the details and declined and apparently the club itself was hit with a wave of remorse, “remorse” likely being their response to bad publicity.

(Telnaes deserves a little something for her part in that.)

Still, it’s kind of like finding your kid about to jump off the barn roof with an umbrella: It’s good that you stopped him in time but there remains the issue that you’ve raised a damn fool and what’s he going to try next?

The larger aspect being that, when you are a business writer, you recognize this culture but find that it’s only on rare occasions when the culture becomes the story.

Most of the time, the boys behave decently, even though all that buddy-buddy stuff is still how the deal came about and why the deal came about and why it’s so hard for outsiders to break in.


Maybe, Walt Handelsman. We’ll see.

But whataboutism is a hard habit to break. I think a lot will depend on what comes out, and who reports it, and how they couch their reports.


For Example

(Mike Thompson)

(Ben Jennings)

These commentaries on #UnwantedIvanka, with Jennings tying in the leaked memo of what a British diplomat really thinks of Dear Leader, are a case of comforting the afflicted, and I got a good laff out of each.

Not sure they do much towards afflicting the comfortable, however.

And, for that matter, “afflicting the comfortable” is not, at this point, nearly as important as converting the convertible.

The fat cats won’t budge, and that core group of Deplorables has their feet set in concrete.

Back in the days when John Birchers held assemblies at elementary schools, we feared Big Brotherism. Today, we fear civil rights and migrants and if constant surveillance is the price we pay to keep the colored world at bay, there are plenty who will pay it.

And unless the Epstein probe produces gross, inescapable examples, it may be dismissed as locker talk and boys will be boys.

As for questioning why Trump is surrounded by incompetent advisors, and whether he is a world laughingstock, that’s just those liberals attacking our beloved leader.


We’ve got a lot of rubble out from under which to dig.

Here’s to simpler times:


One thought on “CSotD: Privacy and Exposure

  1. Ah, yes, the burgeoning JFK comedy record industry. We may finally be reaching a time when there’s not at least one “First Family” LP in every thrift shop, but we’re not quite there yet, as long as there are more than three records for sale.

    I have a small collection of the various knock-offs and wanna-be records: “The Other Family,” “Welcome to the LBJ Ranch,” and others. My favorite is a 45 I was given by a local radio station when Mom brought her Brownie troop and Girl Scout troop (and me, of course) to talk to a DJ on the air. I was pretty young at the time, so perhaps can be forgiven for not spotting that “Jeff Kay” was a made-up name. I laughed at the jokes, not getting them, either. The important thing was the funny accent, still a subject of laffs when they recorded “Sock It To Me, Bobby” years later. (“Bear down, Senator.”)

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