Tarry for the Nonce

February 20, 2006

Boo! Hiss!

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:00 pm

As parents increase their involvement in their children’s eating habits . . .

Primero Food Service Solutions, developed by Houston-based Cybersoft Technologies, allows parents to set up prepaid lunch accounts so children don’t have to carry money, said Ray Barger, Cybersoft’s director of sales and marketing.

It also shows the cashier any food allergies or parent-set diet restrictions for his or her account, and the student is not allowed to buy an offending item.

Parents also can go online to track their child’s eating habits and make changes.

. . . they are losing control over their children’s mental health . . .

One of the nation’s leading medical groups, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS), decried a move by the U.S. Senate to join with the House in funding a federal program AAPS says will lead to mandatory psychological testing of every child in America without the consent of parents.

This is almost two years old, but I’ve just heard of it. It’s part of the Bush administration’s New Freedom Initiative and apparently is already causing waves in Texas, where children are being forced on regimens of psychotropic drugs without parental consent.

I’m sure that there are a lot of good things about the New Freedom Initiative, but I find this particular aspect repugnant and alarming. What is the Bush administration thinking?

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6 Comments

  1. I love how all of their programs have creepy doublespeak names. Any day now I expect them to create the Ministry of American Value Adherence (or somesuch). If their “new freedom” (*shudder*) can only be attained after we’ve all been “screened for mental illness”, I don’t want any part of it.

    No, I don’t *really* think the Bush Administration’s programs are intentional moves toward some 1984-style dystopia, but they could sure do a better job of not giving off that impression.

    On a tangentially-related note, did you see the Drudge headline about Daley wanting to install security cameras in private businesses?

    Comment by Chrispy — February 20, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  2. Amen, Chrispy. It started with the Soviet-style name Homeland Security, and has only gone downhill from there. “New Freedom”?! As opposed to what? What was wrong with “Old” freedom?

    Between weirdoes like Kucinich with their “Department of Peace,” press talk of “tolerance” and “respect” while refusing to print some cartoons in the face of Islamist intimidation, and all this newspeak from the Bushies about “new freedom” and our allies the Saudis, I’m this close to founding my own religion that holds George Orwell as a prophet.

    Comment by Toly — February 20, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

  3. Umm, first, we’re not the UK, so we don’t have Ministries….

    Second, I think there’s something funny going on. In the media in recent times, we’ve seen how…

    1. …Chicago doesn’t trust its populace to be law-abiding by putting in more cameras (its already got 3000 of them) and considering to pass a law to require some businesses to have cameras (and some other cities [Houston] are already requiring individuals who have had incidents at their place of residence 3 times or more in the past year to install cameras). The only excuse they give us is if you’re not doing anything wrong, then why should you worry about it? which is a load of BS. Afterall, I bet the construction workers during the holocaust who setup the gas chambers had similar mentality. Cameras aren’t gas chambers, but the point is that they can be abused just as easily as a law banning the public from owning weapons.

    2. …there’s a new government agency coming online to work with local police in linking it to the federal homeland security departments.

    3. …parents now get to control what their children eat at school…so the schools need money to implement this “successful” program. As the program catches on, more taxes will be required to give schools this unnecessary program.

    4. …offices are experimenting with “voluntary” chip implants on workers.

    5. …restaurants/bars/clubs in many cities have been forced to smoke-free environmnets.

    6. …the federal government wants to not only outsource port security, but is going forward (as lawmakers object) with outsourcing port security to a company that was bought out by a private UAE corporation (United Arab Emirates)…which would put control of our ports in the hands of potential terrorists. IMHO, outsourcing of government jobs should never happen, no matter how cost effective it is.

    7. …businesses are being forced to do things contrary to their nature without respect for their views on morality (HMOs forced to provide contraceptive and abortion coverage, pharmacists forced to dispense RU486-type abortificant even if it goes against their personal morality).

    8. A new census has come out that asks a number of very personal questions regarding family and work life, including things such as what time did [this person] leave for work, how long did it it take [this person] to get to work, etc. The consequence of not returning the census data is a $5000 fine.

    9. …Illinois tollway users were forced last January 1st to either pay an extremely high amount of money [for tolls] into a debit system, resulting in a nice budget surplus for the state government, or to pay twice as much as those who comply. If any of this is truly scary, the inequality of the way this was implemented sends up major red flags.

    10. …Cheney shoots his friend in the face.

    Perhaps that last one is the most telling, where Cheney represents American government at varying levels and his friend represents the American people.

    The only bright side is that two weekends ago the SD house passed a bill banning all abortion, less to save a mother’s life. Hopefully the SD Senate will do the same.

    When the government fears the people, that is liberty. When people fear the government, that is tyranny. -Unknown

    Those that sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security -Benjamin Franklin

    I fear we’re living in a time when the government is wielding its power to create a police state. Not being one to usually fear things, I believe that this will eventually be something much more invasive when it comes to personal liberty. Afterall, the same unaccountable institutions who told us the tollways would be temporary, invading our financial lives, are now trying to invade our personal liberties. I think that the people in power have lost control over their ability to use their offices properly, and have taken great steps to prevent the public from choosing what those steps should be. They no longer care about a free society, rather they care more about a secure society.

    For instance, cameras might help alleviate crime by preventing a percentage of criminals from acting, but they don’t directly increase the prevention of crime, i.e. crimes that are committed regardless of the cameras. In fact, all they do is help the police catch someone after the crime has occurred. I just wonder where this is all heading. Afterall, Chicago’s crime has been way down since the 90s, so why do we need more crime prevention?

    I’m seriously considering moving to a new state, as the current local & state government, IMHO, is out of control. Case in point, I recently read an article indicating that a person carrying an unloaded firearm in the back seat of their car in DuPage county could get a $200 fine and a year of court supervision, charged with a misdemeanor of “unlawful use of a weapon by possessing it in public.”

    I’ll consider moving to a new country if the federal level continues on its current course.

    Comment by Andrew P. — February 20, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

  4. Chicago doesn’t trust its populace to be law-abiding by putting in more cameras (its already got 3000 of them)

    I don’t trust Chicago citizens to be law-abiding, either. My nearest camera is about two blocks away, on the sight of a shooting last year. I’m happy that it’s there: I have no expectation of privacy walking down a public street, and it’s nice to know that people watching me do so are not limited to the rather large fellas near the licquor store who like to ask passers-by for money “for the bus.”

    And I believe the Census only levies $5,000 fines on employees who divulge information, not people who don’t participate. The fine for not answering the Census is a maximum of $100 (I get worse for speeding); it’s $500 if you lie. And no one ever bothers to enforce either.

    Comment by Toly — February 21, 2006 @ 7:53 pm

  5. Cameras are a way the city can help its bottom line. The reason being, with cameras, you don’t have to hire as many police personnel, you don’t get stuck paying those extra folks pensions/taxes/healthcare, and you don’t have to worry as much about those who might get harmed or killed in the line of fire regarding compensation. On top of the money you save, you start automatically giving tickets to red-light runners, regardless of whether or not the person who ran the red light was trying to prevent an accident, etc.

    After I wrote that little piece, I realized I had a liberal moment…but I do think that cameras are a bit out of order with reality. It takes the trust the government should inherently have in its people and throws it out the window. Have you ever seen those cameras in action on the south side when the police block off intersections while the lights are flashing? People will find a way around the cameras. Its human nature to adapt.

    The census has up to a $5000 fine for not returning it. Any census bureau employees who leak information are subject up to a $250,000 fine. This new census is going to replace the old decennial one (long form) so they can start doing them every year (short form). My brother happened to be one of the guinnea pigs, apparently.

    Let me quote what he sent out when he was a little concerned:

    >> Hi All,
    >>
    >> A few weeks ago, I received a mailing from the US Department of
    >> Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau.
    >> It is called “The American Community Survey”. The mailing indicated
    >> that I am required by law to fill out the survey, and if anyone in the
    >
    >> house doesn’t want me to fill out the survey for them I am to reply
    >> with their names and phone numbers and someone from the census bureau
    >> will call them to ask the questions. It also indicates that I can be
    >> fined if I do not reply, but it doesn’t list the fine.
    >>
    >> I went to the website and looked up the UW code titles and chapters
    >> that pertain to the potential fines, and found out that I can be fined
    >
    >> up to $5,000 for refusing to answer the questions asked.
    >>
    >> My mom laughed at me for being uncomfortable supplying this
    >> information, but I’m thinking that the transition from the current
    >> government to a totalitarian one would require the government
    >> compiling this information. I’m curious what you all think, so here
    >> are the items the survey is asking.
    >>
    >> It asks for the following information about EVERY SINGLE PERSON living
    >
    >> or staying at my address:
    >>
    >> * Name, first, last, and middle initial
    >> * Area code & phone number
    >> * Birthday, day, month, and year
    >> * Gender
    >> * Age
    >> * Relationship to me (for all except me, since I am me)
    >> * Marital status
    >> * Race
    >> * Place of birth
    >> * Citizenship
    >> * If not born in the US, what year they came to the US
    >> * Whether they attended school or college in last 3 months
    >> * If so, what level
    >> * Highest level of school completed
    >> * Ancestry/ethnic origin (redundant? yes. reason for asking twice?
    >> no.)
    >> * Speak another language? If so, what?
    >> * How well do they speak English (very well to not at all)
    >> * Did they live in this house a year ago?
    >> * Where id they live a year ago (city)
    >> * Did they live inside the city limits?
    >> * County?
    >> * State?
    >> * Zip code?
    >> * Are they blind, deaf, have a severe vision or hearing
    > impairment?
    >> * Do they have physical, mental, emotional conditions lasting 6
    >> months or more that gives difficulty in learning, remembering,
    >> or concentrating? dressing, bathing, or getting around inside
    >> the home? If over 15, going outside the home alone to shop or
    >> visit a doctor’s office? If over 15, working at a job or
    > business?
    >> * Have they given birth over the past 12 months?
    >> * Have any grandchildren over 18 living in this house?
    >> * If so, is the grandparent responsible for the basic needs of any
    >> grandchildren?
    >> * How long has the grandparent been responsible for the
    >> grandchildren?
    >> * Have they ever served on active duty?
    >> * When?
    >> * For how many years?
    >> * Did they work for pay or profit last week?
    >> * Where? (give address, street, city, county, state, zip code)
    >> * How did they get to work “usually” last week? (car, bus,
    >> streetcar, subway, railroad, ferry, taxi, motorcycle, bike,
    >> walked, worked at home)
    >> * How many people, including the person, rode to work in the car,
    >> truck, or van last week?
    >> * What time did they leave home to go to work?
    >> * How many minutes did it take to get to work?
    >> * Last week, were they on layoff?
    >> * Last week, were they temporarily absent from a job?
    >> * Have they been informed that they will be recalled to work
    >> within the next 6 months?
    >> * Have they been looking for work over the last 4 weeks?
    >> * Last week, could they have started a job if offered one?
    >> * When did they last work?
    >> * Over the past 12 months, how many weeks did they work?
    >> * How many hours per week?
    >> * Current job – were they employed by a private company? a
    >> not-for-profit company? local gov.? state? fed? self-employed,
    >> not incorporated? self-employed, incorporated? working without
    >> pay in family business/farm?
    >> * Who did they work for (name of company)
    >> * What kind of industry?
    >> * Is it manufacturing, trade, other?
    >> * What kind of work were they doing?
    >> * What were their most important activities or duties?
    >> * What was their work income in the past 12 months?
    >> * Self-employment income?
    >> * Interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or
    >> income from estates and trusts?
    >> * Social security or railroad retirement income?
    >> * Supplemental Security income?
    >> * Public assistance or welfare payments from state or local
    > income?
    >> * Retirement, survivor, or disability pension income?
    >> * Other sources of income?
    >> * Total income?
    >>
    >>
    >> Regarding the house itself:
    >>
    >> * What kind of building (mobile home, single family home, building
    >> with X apartments, etc.)
    >> * What year was it built?
    >> * When did the person filling out the survey move into the home?
    >> * How many acres is it on?
    >> * Over the past 12 months, what were the sales of all agricultural
    >> products from the property?
    >> * Is there a business on the property?
    >> * How many rooms are there (including kitchen, living room, etc.)
    >> * How many bedrooms?
    >> * Does it have plumbing facilities?
    >> * Does it have a kitchen including stove, sink, and ‘fridge?
    >> * Does it have telephone service?
    >> * How many cars, vans, and small trucks are kept there?
    >> * Which type of fuel does it use for heating?
    >> * What did it cost for electricity last month?
    >> * Gas?
    >> * Water and sewer over the last year?
    >> * Heating fuel over the last year?
    >> * Did anyone use food stamps over the past 12 months?
    >> * If so, how much worth?
    >> * If it’s a condo, what is the monthly fee?
    >> * Do you own or rent?
    >> * What’s the monthly rent?
    >> * What’s the value of the property, house and lot?
    >> * What are the annual taxes?
    >> * What is the annual cost of insurance?
    >> * Does it have a mortgage?
    >> * How much per month?
    >> * Does it include money for taxes?
    >> * Does it include money for insurance?
    >> * Is there a second mortgage?
    >> * How much is the second mortgage payment?
    >> * If a mobile home, what is the annual cost for taxes, rent, and
    >> fees?
    >> * Do you stay there year round?
    >> * If not, how many months a year are you there?
    >> * Why do you stay there?
    >>
    >>
    >> Steve

    This is a response to my suggestion of talking to his free lawyers at work:
    Yeah, right…I have access to Snoopy lawyers. I suppose IBM lets you use
    their lawyers too, huh?

    The website and letter indicate that the information is used “to meet the
    needs of communities across the United States. For example, results from
    this survey are used to decide where new schools, hospitals, and fire
    stations are needed. This information also helps communities plan for the
    kinds of emergency situations that might affect you and your neighbors,
    such as floods and other natural disasters.” It also says that the
    information will be kept confidential, and that if a census bureau ee
    breaks that confidentiality they would be subject to a fine of up to
    $250,000.

    And as for asking how many guns I have, I have a feeling that question
    won’t be added until a future administration enters power. The republicans
    are far too reliant on the NRA-type folks to come anywhere near asking for
    that type of information.

    My uncle checked into it and found this on the Census Bureau’s website:

    “… is a new nationwide survey designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing. It is an ongoing survey which will allow the Census Bureau to provide the nation with demographic data on a yearly basis instead of every 10 years. The ACS is a critical element in the reengineered 2010 Decennial Program and will replace the census “long form” beginning in 2010. The Census Bureau will continue to use the census “short form” in the decennial census of population and housing to obtain the population count and other demographic information.” ———————-

    Comment by Andrew P. — February 23, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

  6. Yes, another double post… my apologies…

    One other thing…. shootings are rarely random. I don’t have the data handy because I investigated it years ago, but most shootings are either debt or drug related. The recent couple that went on a killing spree in Michigan is the exception, not the rule. If they put up cameras in some parts of the city, the crime will just move to the parts without the cameras. So you better keep an eye out for hoodlums moving down to your block.

    We are the frogs, the city is the water, and the cameras are the heat being slowly turned up.

    Comment by Andrew P. — February 23, 2006 @ 2:21 pm


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