Chump Change And Couch Potato Chips

Nothing you want to see or hear, but were afraid you would have to anyway.

President Barack Obama delivered his speech on Friday describing reforms to the NSA and US intelligence-gathering policies, and initial reactions are all over the map. As the BBC’s Mark Mardell observes, the president’s proposal is thin on details – which has allowed commentators to project their hopes and fears onto the president’s proposals.

In short, a complete waste of time. In long – ah, now therein lies the rub.

Those of us who have read Clifford Stoll’s, The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking A Spy Through The Maze Of Computer Espionage, were regaled with his PhD in Astronomy oral arguments wherein he was asked why the sky was blue, and so he spent the next three or four hours explaining to his proctors just why the sky is blue. Most of us get away with saying nothing at all unless a curious kid asks why the sky is so. Then we explain that the sunlight is bent by the atmosphere and we see the blue light reflected by the atmosphere, just like we see the light reflected by other objects of various colors.

That same sort of rocket science is applied by most Americans to most issues. That too, isn’t rocket science. The debate is in the facade of America, where occasionally the American spirit, ( another myth, usually pulled out of the attic when the poobahs need cannon fodder,) breaks through and Very Serious People pull on their beards and hum their hmmms. Fortunately they are all always correct, and once in a while they even agree and reform springs forth like flowers in spring only to wilt in the heat of summer’s reality that the reign in Spain is mostly about the gain, and nobody cares about flowers.

Then, there are the cynics.

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