Saturday, May 14, 2005

A government out of control

I have been witnessing what I consider a government out of control, like a locomotive without brakes that heads straight into a busy train station. I can only speculate that the end result could be tragic.

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that will make it mandatory for all U. S. citizens and aliens to carry a digital ID card that is machine-readable. I have two major problems with this law:

1. The House version was passed, as was the case of the Patriot 2 Act, as an attachment to a spending bill. This is a sneaky way to legislate, passing laws under the pretense of something else. It denies due process to anyone that may have objected to the law. It is obvious that Congress is not working to serve the people -- not when they have to hide legislation inside a spending bill so that it can go through the process with a minimum of attention. That is a cowardly way to act. What are they hiding from us? Why are they not upfront about the issues and why this law is important and has merit?

2. Stories of data mismanagement -- huge data thefts, losses and misuses -- come out almost daily. What will happen to your personal data (including photograph, SSN, etc.) in the hands of one centralized government agency (Homeland Security)? How will this data be safe from hackers and from internal misuse? It is a fact that government agencies have sold personal data to commercial entities -- and the amount of information that will be collected by these ID cards and the readers is astronomical! These cards can track you down, gather information on what you do and buy, etc. The potential for abuse is scary.

For more information, please see these websites: Charles Cooper's blog

Story in Real ID story in ComputerWorld

Does the Real ID act contain a Constitution-busting Trojan horse?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A little bragging

OK, so I am going to do a little bragging here -- if that is not your cup of tea, just feel free to skip over this post -- I won't take it personally! ;)

I recently set a pretty ambitious short-term goal to support one of my Toastmasters' clubs -- to make a long story short, I am to deliver ten speeches between now and June 30 so that my club can earn the highest possible recognition that Toastmasters awards. Since I am working with others to achieve all the goals, we are all shooting for June 15 as our deadline to achieve these.

I had asked the Vice-President of Education of the other club I belong to (Columbia Toastmasters) to put me on the schedule for three different sessions, but he could only assure me of two for future weeks. John did ask me I wanted to speak tonight -- I told him was not ready. This morning I received an email from him with tonight's agenda -- and there was an open spot for a speaker. So, at 2 PM, I wrote a speech, polished it, read it several times (while I was working on several projects), and then played it in my mind as I envisioned it to be delivered. At 5 PM I walked to the meeting place (a 25 minute walk) and arrived there with enough time to chit-chat, read the speech three more times, and get ready for the meeting. Not only was I placed in the third speaker slot, but I also performed two other roles during the meeting.

The moment of truth: my turn to speak. I stood and delivered one of the best speeches I have since I joined Toastmasters! It felt great to be able to pull this off at the last minute which, unfortunately, seems to be a pattern in my daily life. I was pretty pleased with myself.

Friday, I have another speech to deliver -- and this is going to be interesting. I am supposed to have five subjects and the audience will pick one of them at random. The presentation must be spontaneous, with little preparation other than knowing the overall subject and my own personal experience. Coming up with five subjects can be such a challenge sometimes! :)

Work Stuff

I love my job! I am having such a blast! I helped one of my colleagues with an unexpected project -- and it turned out to be fun and exciting to solve the problem. Stephanie is a great analyst and super to work with. I am very lucky because everyone in my team is great to work with. I am very lucky, indeed!

Other Stuff

I am beginning to learn (and in some cases, relearn) some great self-help stuff. My newest interest: Yoga.

Here are some links I want to share with all of you:

Tap in to the near endless power of your mind: Silva Ultramind Systems


Good night!