culture of fear

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor Becomes Terror Suspect

Because of my recycling, the bomb squad came, then the state police. Because of my recycling, buildings were evacuated, classes were canceled, the campus was closed. No. Not because of my recycling. Because of my dark body. No. Not even that. Because of his fear. Because of the way he saw me. Because of the culture of fear, mistrust, hatred and suspicion that is carefully cultivated in the media, by the government, by people who claim to want to keep us “safe.”

Bruce Schneier has been collecting a bunch of these stories lately. His point is less about civil liberties, though. If police and emergency services are kept this busy chasing false alarms, it’s that much easier for the real criminals to slip past unnoticed…

I’ve linked to some of his recent entries:

posted at 7:46 pm on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 in Current Events, Links | Comments Off on culture of fear

the whiz

Now all of the women I know can pee standing up like a man

What will they think of next?

(In all seriousness, I can see a use for this; many public washrooms are truly disgusting places that I wouldn’t want to park my buttocks in…)

posted at 3:13 pm on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 in Health, Humour, Links | Comments Off on the whiz

towing and fuses

We drove up to the trailer dealer yesterday to make sure that the truck has everything we need to tow our trailer. We do! The trailer wiring connector is even completely hooked up already, contrary to what it says in the Saturn owner’s manual. The trailer guys were all quite impressed with the Saturn; the hitch is apparently well built, and the rest of the truck looks cool :).

I was a little confused about trailer brake connections. I was under the impression that the Saturn tow package included a brake controller that just needed to be wired up. It turns out that we still need to purchase a separate trailer brake controller and hook it up ourselves. However, there’s a connector for this purpose already wired under the dash, and the Saturn towing kit come with a wiring harness that connects to the brake controller and plugs into the existing connector, so it appears that we’re all good. McKenzie sells the controllers, so maybe they can wire and install it also, if our Saturn dealer doesn’t have an “official” model already.

We tried to use the new DVD player on the way home from Pene’s party last night, and it was dead! It appeared to be a problem with the power connector. When we got home I discovered that the cigarette lighter power connector comes apart, and there’s a 5mm x 20mm 5A fuse hidden inside; yes, the fuse had a broken wire. It doesn’t look blown (usually there’s an ugly black spot on the glass when that happens); I think it broke from being whacked around somehow.

I went to two different stores today looking for replacements without success. I even ended up buying the wrong size at “the store formerly known as radio shack”. Their website says they carry both 1 1/4” and 20mm fuses, so I’ll have to go back tomorrow and try again. If these fuses are this hard to find, I may have to replace the lighter plug adapter with a different one that takes standard fuses. I’m thinking of re-wiring all of my 12V junk to use Anderson Powerpoles anyway, since that’s the standard ham radio power connector these days, so this would be an excuse to do so for the DVD player :).

Next up: clean out the garage and build a loft, so that we have somewhere to put the trailer, so that we can pick it up. Gerry and I are tentatively planning a Saturday night trip in early June to “shake down” the trailers before our three-day Pinery trip, so we need to get it sometime before then…

posted at 5:58 pm on Sunday, April 15, 2007 in Personal | Comments Off on towing and fuses


I picked up the new truck today; it is beautiful! Long story short (and coming later), we ended up with an entirely different configuration to the one we originally ordered. For one thing, it’s charcoal, a colour we like :-). On the other hand, it has one of those ultra-decadent powered rear liftgates, which I’m sure is going to be a maintenance nightmare in the future. But the ultimate in decadence: heated windshield-washer fluid!

Most important, it has the towing package: trailer hitch receiver and cabling, extra cooling capacity in the engine, and alternate settings for the transmission computer when towing. Now I have to make sure all the wiring is in place (there’s a mention in the manual that fuses for trailer brakes and trailer battery charging are installed, but the wires aren’t hooked up; this seems entirely backwards to me), and get a drawbar with a ball that is the right height for our trailer. Then I have to clear enough space in the garage to park the trailer, and then I can go pick it up from the dealer!

posted at 10:53 pm on Thursday, April 05, 2007 in Personal | Comments Off on luxury


Two, actually.

Gareth’s team won their game against their arch-rivals (the Leafs) on Saturday. They were up 1-0 after the first period. The Leafs scored one to tie early in the second, but Gareth’s Oilers took it back almost immediately, and then scored four more goals to win the game 5-1. I think the main difference between last Saturday’s 1-1 tie and this game was that the forward lines remembered how to score goals :).

Meanwhile, Rick’s curling team (on which I play second) won the 2nd flight championships on Monday night! We’ve had three upset games in a row the last three weeks. We went 10-5 against a very good team, then 15-0 in our second game, then 14-1 in the final. With those scores, we ended up the second highest team in the overall standings! Not bad for my first year playing skins…

posted at 9:56 pm on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 in Personal | Comments Off on champions