In March 2010, Breazile issued a written order that “directly tasked” Holmes to conduct an IO campaign against “all DV visits” – short for “distinguished visitor.” The team was also instructed to “prepare the context and develop the prep package for each visit.” In case the order wasn’t clear enough, Breazile added that the new instructions were to “take priority over all other duties.” Instead of fighting the Taliban, Holmes and his team were now responsible for using their training to win the hearts and minds of John McCain and Al Franken.
It turns out that the company sporting the motto “don’t be evil” has been asking parents nationwide to disclose their children’s personal information, including Social Security Numbers, and recruiting schools to help them do it — all under the guise of an art contest. It’s called, “Doodle-4-Google,” a rather catchy, kid-friendly name if I do say so myself. The company is even offering prize money to schools to enlist their help with the promotion. Doesn’t it sound like fun? Don’t you want your kid to enter too?
No sane person, witnessing that scene at the airport, seriously feared that this woman was planning to blow herself up on a plane. The fact that she was accompanied by children gave us the first clue. Supporting evidence trickled in from the brazen visibility of her face and hair, from her lack of a Koran, prayer mat or big black beard, and finally from the manifest absurdity of the notion that her little tub of ointment could ever, in a million years, be alchemically magicked into a high explosive – certainly not in the cramped laboratory facilities afforded by an aircraft loo. The security official and his supervisor were human beings who obviously wished they could behave decently, but they were powerless: stymied by a rulebook. Nothing but a rulebook, which, because it is made of paper and unalterable ink rather than of flexible human brain tissue, is incapable of discretion, compassion or humanity.
Is Richard Dawkins really this stupid?
So, I clearly haven’t blogged in forever. What better way to start than by complaining about multinational corporations?
I mailed my passport in to get a business visa via FedEx Priority Overnight. Apparently, “overnight” means “two days.” They’re at a loss to explain why my passport had to visit Memphis twice, and why it ended up in Orlando at all.
Coming up next: rants about politics, parenting, and revision control systems (though, not all at once, unless I’m feeling especially saucy).
During the early nineties, I traveled to Poland with my parents to visit the rural village where my dad grew up and where he eventually lost his family and his home. As part of the trip, we visited a concentration camp. While every aspect of this tour was moving and upsetting, I was most shocked by what I saw outside the fences that surrounded the camp.
I saw homes. On hills. The concentration camp was in a valley and in each direction I could see more and more houses built on the raised dirt that completely surrounded the killing factory where I stood. These neighbors would have constantly seen and smelled the plumes of smoke.
As I stood at the center of camp I wondered if things would’ve been any different if the whole world was watching. Not just knowing. Watching.
Nearly two decades after that trip with my parents, I am staring at this computer screen and I realize that I am living on those hills.
IAN IN 1984 & 2010, London
It is rare that the most important piece of equipment in your bag is the bag itself, even more rare for that bag to be a black plastic trash sack slung over your shoulder as you walk past pro-government thugs on a bridge over the River Nile. The trash bag’s purpose, of course, is to conceal your large nylon camera bag, which is likely to get you grabbed off the street by the aforementioned thugs.