Monday, August 31, 1998

Week of 08/31/1998

Commuting Chaos
A lighthearted rant of automotive anarchy
- by David Matthews 2

As some people know, I’m not yet a successful writer. That means I have to do other things to pay the bills. Bill collectors are known to have very creative imaginations, but for the life of them, they can’t envision me paying them when I’m successful enough to do so. They usually want money right then and there. So when I’m not slaving over my own computer, I’m slaving over a computer terminal for a major international corporation.

It also means I have to commute to that bill-paying job every weekday. It’s not an easy task considering that, like many metro Atlanta residents, I have to drive an hour to and from work. It’s not necessarily the distance that really gets to me. I go through some pretty scenic areas through the northern part of Lake Lanier. In fact, if all I had to deal with was the scenery, it would be a relaxing and otherwise nondescript journey that I would make readily.

Unfortunately, I have to share these tax-paid roads with other vehicles. Therein lies the source of endless stress and aggravation.

For those of you who read my online columns in the scenic countryside, I’m sure you’ve gotten the idea of traffic problems being nothing but miles upon miles of cars stalled on the highways. There’s a reason why metro highways are called "Parkways," and that reason is often provided via live chopper reports every five to ten minutes. But unfortunately, what you usually see is the end result, not the madcap that causes it.

Ever see Mel Gibson in "Mad Max"? Well, while some people call that an apocalyptic movie, Atlanta residents call that the daily commute.

The posted speed limit on most of the highways outside of the city limits is anywhere between 65 and 70 miles per hour. Mind you, that’s the posted speed limit. The average speed is just beneath the sound barrier. If you’re driving down one of these highways and your speedometer isn’t spiked, you’re still driving too slow.

But despite what the police think about speeders, it’s not the speed that cause so many traffic problems. Indeed, as long as the drivers are allowed to make their journey down the highway, I think you’ll find that speed is not the real issue behind our vehicle madness, but rather the 1000 points of insanity who are further proof that anyone can get a drivers license.

Let’s go over some of these wannabe Death Race 2000 contestants:

The Cell-heads: Thanks to modern telecommunication technology, there now exists a breed of drivers who operate with a piece of plastic and silicon seemingly glued to their ears. You know, once upon a time, car phones used to be bulky devices that were easily detected by those oversized black Q-tip antennas. They used to be expensive to purchase and install, so the only the real elite assholes like doctors, lawyers, agents, corporate suits, and politicians could afford them. But now, car phones have given way to cell phones, and are so cheap to afford that any ordinary asshole can use one, and too often they do, constantly.

You would think that such a device would only be used for extreme emergencies. After all, that’s what most people say they get cell phones for, right? But, truth be told, if you were to catch one of them driving down the road with a piece of plastic in their ear, they’re probably calling the local radio station to complain about what they just heard from Neal Boortz, or calling their friend to see if they heard what Boortz just said on the air. And if it’s not Boortz, then it’s Jeff Hullinger, or the Regular Guys on 96 Rock, or the Morning X crew on 99X, or some contest going on where if you’re the 33rd caller you win ear-bleed front speaker tickets to some no-name concert the radio station is sponsoring. Either way, these cell-heads don’t have their full concentration on the road because they’re trying to drive and talk at the same time, and if it’s in the morning, they’re also juggling a cup of scalding hot coffee between their legs.

Common sense would tell the cell-heads to pull off the road if they want to talk on the phone. Unfortunately, if they listened to common sense, they would’ve skipped the obvious geek trap and bought a car phone with a speaker in the first place!

The Tammy Faye Girls: Okay, so not everyone gets up in time to get completely ready for work, and maybe putting on some touches of lipstick before getting out of the car may be in order for some women, but going down the road at mach one while putting on eyeliner probably falls under the same dangerous category as trying to give yourself a bikini wax behind the wheel.

Ladies, one of the key elements in driving is being able to see where you are on the road. You can’t see that if you have your face stuck up in the vanity mirror trying to impersonate Tammy Faye Baker.

Of course, it’s not just a female phenomena.. I actually saw one guy not only brush his teeth, but also FLOSS while driving! I just don’t want to be around the vehicle where the driver gives themselves a sponge bath!

The Department Of Transportation: Probably Georgia’s most visible pork project around. You know that the folks who run that department have the sweetest deal around just because of all the growth going on in Atlanta.

Is there anyplace in the whole Metropolitan Atlanta area that isn’t at one time under repair or expansion? Every time I turn around, there’s a bridge that’s getting closed, or a road being detoured.

I would also like to know which sadistic DOT bureaucrat is responsible for letting highway mowers travel down heavily utilized single-lane roads during rush hour just so they can sit and wait at their appointed destination. Look, folks, the roads are maddening enough, never mind getting behind some guy who seemingly takes pleasure in holding up traffic so he can move an oversized piece of farm equipment at twenty miles an hour. It wouldn’t be too bad if he wasn’t getting paid more money than me to do that job.

Construction Charity: If you’re ever short a ladder, be sure to listen to the traffic reports, because sooner or later one of those subcontractor trucks will make a generous deposit in the middle of the highway. It’s first come, first get. Just don’t hit it as you pass over it, because it’ll do a number on your suspension. They also deposit lumber and nails, but those things are a bit harder to snag while going at mach one.

Traffic Light Limbo: If you’ve been at any busy intersection during rush hour, you’ve probably encountered this uncomfortable situation. You’re at a four-way stop, traffic is packed, and the cars are moving slowly across the intersection. Then the light turns red on the other side and yours turn green. But the cars on that side haven’t stopped. They still continue to go through the intersection, which means you either can wait for these rude people to decide when red means stop, or join the Death Race Derby and ram them out of your way as an object lesson to the other inconsiderate idiots.

Or how about this one: A steady stream of traffic is through the intersection when the light turns red. The folks at the stop light do stop, but the folks in the intersection haven’t been allowed to get out of the intersection, and they’re blocking you from moving. What then? You want to go, but so do the people who are blocking you.

There’s a sign post in your mind.. you’ve just entered.. the Traffic Light Limbo.

Kid-pooling: With the start of fall, there come the dreaded return of school. I don’t know which groups of people dread school worse - the kids, or the drivers.

First off, there’s the school busses. These oversized yellow monstrosities that pick up kids at seemingly every intersection and mailbox on the road. But these are the least of our aggravations. The bus drivers at least have enough sense to know that when they’re holding up traffic, they pull over for the other drivers to continue on their way. The number one aggravators for traffic are the parents who decide that that yellow behemoth isn’t good enough to transport their precious little Johnny Dimple or Suzy Purebred. So they take the time and effort (and our aggravation) to drive their kids to school themselves, which makes matters worse if your commute takes you near any school because then you have to deal with the busses AND these overprotective parents.

Look folks, here’s a hint - there’s an excellent kid-pooling program that’s in place that you already pay for through your taxes. Matter of fact, anyone who owns property in your county has to pay for this kid-pooling program through their property taxes. Why not take advantage of that program instead of making life miserable for the rest of us?

Political Lane-Changers - So you think the car in front of you is going to turn right, huh? How do you know? Because he has his right turn signal on? And that’s supposed to mean.. what? That he’ll actually TURN right? Folks, we drive our vehicles in Atlanta like our politicians act. That blinking little light is not a true indicator as to where that vehicle will be heading! Matter of fact, in all likelihood, he’ll be turning left the moment that little light goes out. There! See? Left turn right in front of that SUV carrying a family of six. Boy, that van driver must be new to Atlanta by the way he slammed on his brakes!

Miracle Motorists - No, I’m not talking about the folks who have competing fish symbols on the back of their vehicles (my fish says "JESUS" in Latin, so I’m more religious than you and your simple fish with a cross at the eye! God loves me more than you!)… I’m talking about the folks who drive vehicles that are just two wads of gum and a bumper sticker shy from falling apart. A lot of folks think this kind of vehicle is an eyesore at best and an environmental nightmare at worst. Me? I think these are the best highway skits in the world! I mean, as long as these things aren’t directly in front of your car, you’re always wondering if it’s going to start flying apart at Mach one, leaving driver just hovering overhead in his seat like some Warner Brothers cartoon!

Rubbernecking Witnesses - Hey, did you know there’s an accident about a half a mile ahead of you? Yeah, one guy smacked his BMW into the back of woman driving an SUV. He probably would’ve seen the SUV except he was paying attention to the traffic jam on the other side of the highway. Some poor loser over there bumped his Saab into an Audi because they were too busy looking at the dog that got hit in your lane an hour ago. So that’s why you’re going to be two hours late getting into work.

And lastly.. If you’ve ever wondered where the cops are during all these vehicular carnage, you should be assured that when they’re not cleaning up the carnage in our little auto anarchy we call the highways, they’re running radar and seeing how many cars can go from mach one to fifty-five, which causes even more traffic jams because everyone is slamming their brakes so they won’t have to make a forced donation to the county treasury. Of course, not everyone can brake as fast as the folk in front of them, so more accidents happen, thus causing more pileups on the freeways.

You know, I think the solution to this would be simple: Just drop all pretense about safety on the highways and just declare them to be the Georgia Autobahn! Or better yet, we can make Georgia 400 into one big all-out road race! Heck, it already has the right kind of name for it anyways! We just need to call ESPN or SportsSouth to do the play-by-play information. Anyone can get on it as long as they’re willing to put their employer’s logo on the side of their car.

Then again, considering the number of cars that do get to their destination in one piece, I think that any sponsor would go broke in awards.

Monday, August 24, 1998

Week of 08/24/1998

Sex, Lies, And Clinton - Part 2
Much Ado About ALMOST Nothing
- by David Matthews 2

I had almost done it.

I was prepared to completely ignore the media orgy called the Clinton Admission. I was prepared to discuss some other issues of the week. After all, there was much going on in the world that DIDN’T involve allegations of White House shenanigans with interns or lying thereof.

But then I read all the aftermath bull from USA Today, and I instantly got incensed over the tons of coverage of every little nuance that went on in the White House. I realized then that I had an issue to rant about. Not about Clinton, per se, but rather about everything surrounding the dreaded "L’affair Lewinsky."

First, let me start by saying those of you who know me know that I’m certainly not a supporter of Bill Clinton. I’ve never voted for the guy. I don’t care for his politics. I certainly don’t care for his administration.

Do I think Bill Clinton should be impeached? You bet your ISP account I do! But not for perjury or adultery. If Bill Clinton is to fall, I would want him to go down for his actions as the most unconstitutional president in American history, not for what he does in between bastardizing Constitutional amendments. As a Libertarian, I believe that what goes on in private between consenting adults is none of anybody’s business. And even though what supposedly went on between Bill and Monica is adultery, that is an issue that needs to be resolved between him and his wife. Yes, what he admitted to could even be illegal in the District of Columbia, even though that law, along with all the other blue-balls laws, should’ve been eradicated decades ago along with the laws that sanctioned slavery and spousal abuse. And yes, perjury is also a serious offense, but I say if perjury is the case, bring it before the court that the deception took place.

Having said those things, let’s look at the other players in this sad and sordid situation.

First and foremost, credit has to be given to members of Congress, whom, with the exception of a few individuals, have publicly said they will hold off on decisions until Grand Inquisitor Kenneth Starr has submitted his report to them. No doubt the Republicans are chomping at the bit about this situation. This is, after all, their payback for Watergate and Iran-Contra, and they don’t want to blow it now.

Then there’s the media.. You know, if you really took the media at their word, you’d think that this was the very first time a politician EVER lied to the American public. Do the words "READ MY LIPS - NO NEW TAXES" ring a bell? It should. It was just ten years ago that George Bush uttered those words at the GOP convention. Two years later, he broke his word. The press remembered that one, because they reminded him of it come the 92 elections. Why is it that suddenly they’re developing Clinton-like memory problems now?

You know, the whole sordid affair with the cable networks playing their little reminders about Clinton at the screen corners, and their guessing games about what Clinton was telling the Grand Jury made me sick. Hey guys, was this the ONLY piece of news out there in the whole wide mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world? I was waiting for those air-fluffed egos to start bringing in the psychics and the horoscope experts!

I’m waiting for someone besides myself to tell the press to lay off this second and third-hand reporting. It seems like EVERY story out of the mouths of the media starts off with "sources in the know report that.." You know what, I don’t need any source to tell me that this reeks of so much yellow journalism that the newspapers now have an ammonia smell when you open them up!

By the way, for the media clueless.. if the media reports a source as being "someone in the know of the grand jury" - that’s Kenneth Starr’s office, and they’re already being investigated for it, because leaking information of a grand jury is a federal crime. As for "someone close to Monica Lewinsky" - that’s either Monica’s lawyers or one of her other turncoat friends. Personally, I think that if Monica has anything to say, let her say it in public, don’t let her so-called "friends" leak it out to the media. I think we’ve had more than enough of her "friends" making matters worse for her.

Then there are our usual group of self-righteous morality players. Conservative icon Bill Bennett is, of course, using this opportunity to once again bash America for their supposed "lack of outrage" over the situation. His new book is even being released early in hopes to catch the last vestige of this media orgy. Nothing like a little self-righteous indignation, especially when you can use it to plug your book, huh Bill? Ever consider donating a portion of your royalties to support your brother’s firm for defending Clinton? Then, on the left is the "Mouth of the South" James Carville, ever the attack dog and Clinton defender, ranting on about this being "just about sex, sex, sex.." DUH! Tell us something we don’t know, Jimmy!

Let’s be brutally honest here folks, there are two reasons why this story has led us to the inevitable public admission about Slick Willie’s notorious emission:

(1) Sex sells! The bluenoses, moralists, and conservative busybodies may deny it, but even they will have to grudgingly admit that we all are still attracted to that primal side of us that they have for so long tried to suppress. Why did we lose track of all the other scandals? Because they’re boring! There’s no sex involved in any of them… well, except for Trooper-gate, and that apparently turned out to be a non-story.

(2) Drudge! The media absolutely will not admit this, but this whole scandal would never been given the overwhelming press coverage it got if it weren’t for some self-styled Internet reporter by the name of Matt Drudge. Think about it. Drudge reported on the article that Newsweek was going to drop! That’s why the mainstream media latched onto the Monica story like ravenous dogs. They got caught napping, and they didn’t want to be put in the position of being out-scooped in their own field! So not only did they steal the thunder from Drudge, but they also sank to his level as well and reported rumors and second-hand and third-hand information.

Well, that brings us back to you and me, the little people, Joe and Jane Six-Pack. I know the reason why there is no "outrage" that the conservatives keep bemoaning about.. because we all know what the voters were getting into. There is nothing about Bill Clinton that is different today than when he was campaigning as governor. I mean, come on! We knew he was lying to us about Gennifer Flowers, and his admission that his marriage has had some "troubles" on 60 Minutes was no different than the "inappropriate relationship" admission he made about Monica Lewinsky six years later. We all chucked when he said he "tried marijuana" but never "inhaled" and "didn’t like it." Who really believed him? Only the truly clueless. The rest of the sentient populace knew that was as close to an admission that the public was going to get that this guy wasn’t some sterile Stepford Pod Person.

I have to laugh when I pass by churches who bemoan on their sermon placards that somehow lying is a new virtue in politics. Lying in politics is as old as politics itself. You can’t romanticize politics with virtues of making the world a better place without hiding all the vices of it’s corrupting influences.

That’s the yin and yang of politics, folks, and the grand master of that art form is currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Monday, August 17, 1998

Week of 08/17/1998

Target: MSNBC
Two years plus and the merger is stalled
- by David Matthews 2

Two years ago, General Electric came up with an idea for a new 24-hour news program to run in competition with Ted Turner’s highly successful Cable News Network. But they needed a niche, something that would get people talking.

Thus was born the joint venture of GE and Microsoft, now known as MSNBC; a 24-hour presence that was both on the air and on the Internet.

MSNBC offered the best of both worlds - the news broadcasting of NBC, combined with the up-to-date access online through Microsoft’s Internet resources. The merger between computers and the television, otherwise known by network spin doctors as "Phase One," took place in 1996.

It’s now two years since that marriage was first consummated.. so what’s happened since?

Well, the joint venture has hit a few marital problems. Namely, the split between their two respective sides. Make no mistake, the NBC side of MSNBC is the dominant spouse in this relationship, and it shows by the programs they have running.

You would think that a news network that touts it’s connection to the Internet would have at least ONE show that highlighted its computer connection, right? Well, they did at first. The show was called "The Site," and it was a pretty decent broadcast of computer-related issues. But NBC officials said that it lacked "the ratings" for it to continue, and thus was cancelled after one year. The production company that made "The Site" has turned their lost concept into a 24-hour computer channel of their own called ZDTV.

Since then, there seems to be a division between the MS and the NBC. The web site, still run by Microsoft, provides news and commentary on a variety of issues. The cable channel, run heavily by NBC, appears to run rehashed news clips from their own NBC news broadcasts and news magazines.

What is original about MSNBC? Not much. Don Imus’ live radio simulcasts are a very creative way to spend about three hours of morning programming that would otherwise be spent on rehashed "Dateline" clips. "The Big Show" is nothing more than another talk show with a recycled ESPN commentator talking about Washington politics.

Then there’s that waste of space called "Time & Again." Of all the original programs of MSNBC, this one by far should’ve been on the short list for cancellation, and probably would’ve if it was hosted by anyone but Jane Pauley. This show presents the past in such a sterilized manner it makes the old Movietone newsreels of World War II look like "Saving Private Ryan" in comparison!

Let’s be brutally honest here - this broadcast marriage called MSNBC is going through the seven year itch six years too soon.

General Electric and Microsoft both say they’re in this for the long haul, but come on! That’s basically saying they’re staying together just for the kids. If they are really serious about this program, they need to go back to the initial concept of "Phase One."

First, they need to get rid of the rehash broadcasts. Three different shows featuring nothing but the same issue every hour means there’s some very lazy programmers that either need to be rejuvenated or replaced with people who have working brains.

Second, incorporate more of the Internet into their broadcasts beyond the occasional plug for their web site and the occasional E-mail flashed across the screen. Computer-related news can be big news for the media, as witnessed by Microsoft’s struggle with the Department of Justice over antitrust laws. It’s insulting when such news takes a backseat in its home field for rehash speculation about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. There are many issues on the web site that aren’t given two words on over the cable channel. The broadcasters need to utilize that untapped talent and develop it so the channel can be a truly comprehensive news network.

Finally, the powers at be in both GE and Microsoft need to remember that "Phase One" was the merging of computers and cable. That’s what its initial strong suit was. That is what got people to watch them in the first place. That means getting the two sides of this marriage to work together and not just serve as a marriage of convenience.

After two years of operation, MSNBC is still at "Phase One." Whether or not they go any further will rest not with the viewers, but with the two spouses.

Monday, August 10, 1998

Week of 08/10/1998

The Possessiveness of Collectivists
- by David Matthews 2

I am an individual.

Not an in-DUH-vidual, i.e. one of Scott Adams’ clueless people from his Dilbert books, but rather an individual. One person. Unique.

I make that distinction because there seems to be a problem with people recognizing the existence of individual citizens of late. And when they do recognize the existence of individuals, it’s often only in derogatory terms, as in "the lone individual open fire on the crowd of people." Or "the individual bombing suspect eluded officials for a fourth straight week."

Did you ever wonder why sports figures always bring God into their successful plays? It’s as if they’re not allowed to admit they were simply using talent and training that they themselves invested in. Of course, if they fail, they don’t bring God into the play. Often, they just blame it on their own individual failings.

There have been some pretty hefty debates of late about society. I’ve often referred to it as the magical, mythical society because it’s often used in Pollyanna terms, as in "a civilized society." That kind of elite snobbishness we Yanks picked up from the British, who in turn picked it up from the French, who picked it up from the Romans, who got it from the Greeks, who probably got it from some barbarian who frowned down on his fellow barbarians when they decided to pillage and burn a town instead pillaging before burning. According to these modern-day myths, a "civilized society" is not supposed to have any crime, poverty, spousal abuse, homelessness, illiteracy, moral troubles, teen pregnancy, divorce, juvenile crimes, bad breath, obesity, baldness, ugly people, endangered species..

The greatest proponents of this magical, mythical "civilized society" are the collectivists. These are the people who believe that the end-all, be-all in the universe rests with something, anything, larger than the individual. It doesn’t matter if that "something" is a group, a church, family, a political party, a work shift.. if it’s more than one person, it’s somehow more important. They often go by many names: environmentalists, socialists, liberals, communists, conservatives, theocrats, or the best one - "concerned citizens."

It’s sort of ironic that in the 1950’s, conservatives who were socialistic in nature were attacking communism, while at the same time fighting against individual rights for blacks, which they considered to be a "liberal" movement but often called those people "communists." Mister Pot, meet Mister Kettle.

It should be noted that collectivists have a pretty set view of society, no matter if it’s Karl Marx or Hillary Clinton or Pat Buchanan. And it’s often THEIR view of society that they want established. That’s why those 50’s conservatives were able to be against both individuals and communists. True, they were socialists, but they were THEIR particular breed of socialists, and they fought against anything that would threaten THEIR view of society, even if it bastardized their own principles.

And therein lies the fault of collectivists - that they rely on a pretty self-centered view of society.

Collectivists, by nature, do not trust the individual initiative to do something, even if that task fits the plans of the collectivists. Generosity is nice, but they would much rather have obligation. They can trust people when they’re forced to do something, even if it’s something they don’t want to do.

But you can’t sell a collectivist’s view of society through force, which is why they often mask their intentions with what comedian George Carlin calls "soft language." You don’t call mandatory social service for what it is, you call it "volunteerism." You don’t call paying taxes "mandatory," you call it "voluntary." You don’t ask for an outright "ban" on things that offend you, you simply ask that that sector of the public be "regulated." Nice, neat, politically correct sound bites that sound great for the ten second news clip that any air-fluffed anchor can recite with a straight face.

Unfortunately, individual initiative is what really changes society, for good or for ill. A collectivist movement still needs a leader, an individual who stands out of the crowd. The Nazis needed Adolph Hitler. The Soviets needed Lenin. The American socialists need Bill Clinton. The American theocrats need Pat Robertson. Every collectivist movement still needs to follow the self-centered standard of one person to direct them.

Ironically, an individualist has no such self-centered delusion. It’s hard for a true individualist to say "we believe" in anything, because an individualist knows that he can’t speak for anyone except himself.

An individualist has tremendous trust in other people. They trust that an individual will do what they believe is right, not how they would want that other person to behave.

An individualist takes personal responsibility seriously; they don’t fob off their responsibilities to other groups. You will never hear a true individual blame their child’s shortcomings on what’s on TV or the Internet. Collectivists, on the other hand, are quick to pass the blame to as many people as possible.

In the annals of human history, you will not see too many instances of collective achievements. Often, those whom will be remembered won’t be groups, but individuals who follow their own initiatives and decide for themselves how to live their lives. They take charge of their own lives, instead of letting someone else take possession for them.

Monday, August 3, 1998

Week of 08/03/1998

Clinton’s Bill Of Rights?
- by David Matthews 2

There are three words that President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore have been throwing about of late. Three little words that should make every American’s stomach churn when you realize who is speaking them.

Those words? "Bill Of Rights."

Talk about health care, Hillary Clinton’s pet peeve, and you hear Bill ramble on and on about needing a "Patient’s Bill Of Rights." Talk about electronic privacy, Al Gore’s pet peeve, and you hear Gore ramble on and on about needing an "Electronic Bill Of Rights."

Crisp, clean, patriotic words that sound great for the media clips. They stir feelings of freedom. They make you feel you want these things. They make you feel you deserve these things.

There’s just one problem - the Clinton Administration can’t take care of the original Bill Of Rights!

Anyone remember those original Bill Of Rights? The first ten amendments to the US Constitution? The very document that Clinton and Gore both took an oath to protect and defend?

While Camp Clinton has been playing up to the cameras and making sound bites with the media about freedom and rights, they’ve been systematically destroying those rights with policies and laws. Many of which were done under the public’s noses, but spun so cleverly that Joe and Jane Six-pack would never even notice that they’ve lost their rights.

What’s worse is that the only "opposition" to Camp Clinton, the Republicans, have not only contributed to the destruction of the Bill of Rights, but those Republicans in Congress have also taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

Thanks to President Bubba and the Gods of Mount Morality, we now have a bastardized version of the Bill of Rights. We have free speech, but only for ideas approved by Congress. We have free press, but only to report what is approved by the Clinton Administration. We have the freedom of religion, but only what is approved by the Christian Coalition. We have the right to bear arms, as long as we’re talking about arms raised in surrender. We have the right from unreasonable search and seizure, unless it involves drugs or children.

That’s not saying there aren’t serious issues that need to be addressed in terms of patients care and electronic commerce. Bureaucrats in the heath care industry need to be held accountable when their definition of bureaucratic expediency leads to patients dying. That’s not a right, that’s common sense. And likewise, the information brokers are learning the hard way that all the information they’re gathering is about as toxic as Chernobyl soil. Consumers ARE fighting back, and it doesn’t take an act of Congress to do it!

But I am sick and tired of hearing Clinton and Gore talk about needing a new "Bill of Rights" to address these issues. Having these two politicians talk about a "Bill Of Rights" is like having Elizabeth Taylor presiding over a meeting of the Promise Keepers. When they start really taking care of the "Bill Of Rights" that they have sworn under oath to protect and defend, perhaps then we could give them credence to talk about other "Bills" when they are needed. Until that time, it is simply just another deplorable instance of politicians bastardizing the very things America was founded upon.