An interesting ethical debate is taking place. FirstLook Media, the controversial and adversarial media outlet owned by PayPal’s inventor, has withheld the name of the 5th country the NSA collects recordings of all phone calls from. SOMALGET and MYSTIC are Top Secret programs revealed by the Snowden leaks from the NSA. Following on the earth shaking revelations of last year starting with the “metadata” gathering in the US called PRISM, MYSTIC is again changing Americans’ views of what their spy agencies are actually working toward.
Wikileaks might cause a shitstorm this week if/when they reveal what country's communications the US is collecting http://t.co/Lm3OQ6HCMN
I think WikiLeaks should reveal this information, and not because it’s likely to cause deaths, but because a Top Secret American program having a country name revealed more than a year after it was known to be compromised, is not a reason to redact it any longer. WikiLeaks is right, and the citizens of the violated nation have a human right to know the United States government was able to record every phone call. It wouldn’t be the first time a Top Secret American program has led to people dying, either.
People can then place the blame where it belongs for any deaths, at the feet of the NSA, and Bush/Obama, not simplistically on the WikiLeaks scapegoat.
Tipping is terrible. It’s too complicated, and it’s an excuse for employers to underpay people who work in service jobs like waiting and housekeeping. Employers have learned that people are less likely to use a service if the true cost is honest and up-front. This is also why GST/HST is added after the price tag instead of being included on the sticker – it slows down impulse buying. And as I’m rambling it’s also the theory behind car sharing, which rolls the cost of using a vehicle into one simple bill.
When you go to Mexico, what’s an appropriate tip for someone cleaning your room? There’s no base charge to hauling bags at a hotel either, so what’s a fair tip if there’s no percentage solution?
Many people were born in 2010, and I don’t know any of them (yet). Many others died in 2010, and I knew a few of them, and others I would have liked to know. My grandfather’s last living sibling passed away in her 90s. The Conservatives lost their 10%er mailbox spam propaganda. I appeared on TV dissing Brad Wall’s opposition to the world working out a means to scale back our out of control pollution, before the Copenhagen conference failed miserably.
2010 wasn’t all bad though, even though there were significant disasters that befell the world. The BP oil spill, the arrest of Julian Assange, and the G20 mass arrests in Toronto were low points. On a more personal level, I made several wonderful trips to the US and Mexico, got engaged, and remained healthy for another year. My father recovered from life saving heart surgery, and most of my family is well too. 2011 holds a lot of promise, and this is going to be a fascinating decade!
It’s a holiday in Mexico. We spent it on the beach, in the pool, and shopped until our wallets were almost empty. After coming home from having Italian food for supper (mine was a Sicilian style pasta with sun dried tomatoes and spicy beef in tomato sauce), we watched “Meet Dave” [7/10] a spacey comedy featuring Eddie Murphy as an alien spaceship.
In the morning we watched a crew put up a giant billboard (or half of it, more accurately), after they took down the old sign which had torn in the middle. I took time lapse photographs of the erection portion of the task.
Tomorrow we’re going back to The Saloon to watch the Riders beat the Stampeders.
ADDED: On this trip we watched “Life As We Know It” [6/10] which was amusing at times, and overall was entertaining.
We took the back of a truck to a boat going to Stone Island. We stopped at an NRC Red ATM, and it was in an admin mode asking to be reloaded. We had just enough pesos and a Canadian $10 to get on the tour after getting nothing more than a laugh from the cash machine.
A few of the islands on the boat tour were white from bird bathroom use. April and I went snorkeling, even tough the tour guide said he couldn’t promise we’d see anything today because a group yesterday didn’t have a good trip. We had a great time though, saw some fish, and another guide took us around some rocks to see more fish. April avoided stepping on the jellyfish she saw on the beach. I went on a banana boat, which is towed behind a motor boat, and it flips (on purpose) at the end. I helped some girls get back onto the boat at the middle of the trip, and it flipped again (on purpose) at the end.
I had a Sex on the Beach, and a couple Pedro and Naomi bought us a coconut filled with juice and then the bar opens it up more to eat the meat too. The coconut was something like $3; the island has a large coconut plantation. The trees take about 17 years to produce, the kids operating the horse and carriage tour told us. I also saw an avocado tree, mango tree, and banana tree. We met another April and her friend from Alberta (who almost fell out of the carriage), and an American ex-Marine from Colorado/El Paso who bused over from Durango.
In the evening we went to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″ [8/10] and I lost one of my 4 spare camera batteries (doh!). We got a bank machine to work at least.
Today we took a bus to the old part of Mazatlan, and then a pulmonia taxi to the market, where we walked around a bit. I got some chocolate milk with ice, and I bet they hadn’t cleaned the blender all too well because it was spicy, LOL. The quesadillas were alright though. The pigeons walking around inside the top floor restaurant kinda startled April, however.
We walked across the street to look around the Immaculate Conception church, and heard parts of a tour going through it, including something about why there are Jewish stars on the windows. Then we found more pigeons across the street, and wandered our way to an art gallery by Glen Rogers with some awesome art that was out of my price range.
We ended up at the archaeological museum, and saw some funerary urns, and other nifty stuff, and walked over to the water. We ate at Machado, and then another place facing the ocean and watched the sun set. Then we wandered further down the shore, past some mermaids, and hopped into a taxi and went back to the Golden Zone. This driver didn’t speak any english, but we communicated with broken spanish, and he told us where the baseball games are played.
We ate food again at Gus Gus (we ate too much today) and bought some souvenirs and got on a bus back to Marina del Rey. An American couple from Arizona, formerly Washington was on their way back to Pueblo Bonito, but didn’t notice their stop until they were past it by a few blocks, in part because April was distracting them with her charming guitar playing while asking for a peso. We offered to help them take the bus back in the other direction, but they threw in their lot with the bus driver for directions instead.
April and I watched the ocean a bit and some TV, and I sat on the computer writing this for a bit.