17 August 2013


Liverpool looked bright throughout, and fully deserved their result. Overall, the theme is that the club picked up where last season left off: bossing possession with occasionally scary moments in defense.

Mignolet looked shaky a couple of times. He seemed to play shorter than his 6'4"; he isn't the first keeper to be troubled by Crouch, but today's performance didn't feel up to Reina's standard. Of course, the penalty save will be the memory. NBC named him man of the match, but I'd have given it to Begovic. I'd say Toure was an upgrade over Carragher. As for Aspas, I don't know if it's all he can afford, but Rodgers seems determined to stack the lineup with shifty little players.

Hopefully the penalty save will help Mignolet settle in. An upgrade to Enrique would be welcome.

This is a match Liverpool might've drawn last season; getting the win keeps the natural optimism of August alive.

13 August 2013

What does FIFA have against homosexuality?

As America slowly emerges from the dark ages of restricting the rights of its gay citizens, it is disappointing that a couple of countries which will be hosting the World Cup are choosing to increase their anti-gay rhetoric. Well, that's not fair; if all they were doing was making noise, it would only be unseemly, but Russia is actually passing new laws. And Qatar, well, sharia. I really don't comprehend the seething hatred that some people feel toward those who love differently.

I didn't "choose" whether to be hetero; I assume the same of everyone else. And if it's not a choice, how can you criminalize it?

09 August 2013


It's been a couple of years since I posted here. I imagine this could be the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

The American constitution is built on a framework of transparency and liberty. These are in tension with some approaches to security.
The problem, I believe, is that while the NSA might be well intentioned, the current use of security letters and the FISA court clearly overreaches their stated objectives. Without transparency, the overreach is much more likely to extend than recede. And the existence of data stored for a purpose creates the risk that it will be used for another purpose.

Congress, tasked with oversight, has failed in their assignment. No one, I think, can be surprised by that. Congress is another broken constitutional construct.

"We need to collect phone records, in case we later find out someone was talking to a terrorist," they say. "It makes you safer," they say. "We've thwarted terrorist threats through these methods," they say. But there is no proof. No data. Just claims. "If we gave you details, we'd help the terrorists", they say. "Trust us."

The message from the NSA, from the FBI, from the Obama administration (and from its predecessor), and from Congress is "trust us". But they have clearly and repeatedly betrayed the trusts given in the past.

Look, I don't want to die at the hands of Al Qaeda. Or another second amendment lunatic. But I reject the hypothesis that there is no extreme too far in the defense against terrorism. And I'm good enough at math(s) to know that both of those are (and always have been) extremely unlikely.

I distrust anyone who uses fear, instead of reason, to convince me of a course of action. The government and the media want you to be afraid. They perpetrate de facto terrorism. But terrorism occurs in our minds; we can refuse to be terrorized. And we can demand accountability from those who are tasked with protecting us.

PS - Kip Hawley was director of TSA. Now that time has passed, he has published some interesting thoughts about improving things.

PPS - This was post was originally meant to be about Snowden, so here's that synopsis. What he did was (a) unambiguously illegal, (b) brave, (c) likely to make Americans safer, and (d) (I believe) the ethical thing to do. It's unfortunate that he couldn't find asylum in a more reasonable place.