Friday links: Not trying to scare you edition

I'm not trying to scare you, but Joe the Plumber is still pretty famous.

I’m not trying to scare you, but Joe the Plumber is still pretty famous.

I’m not trying to scare you, but it’s worse than people know. Put together all of the problems you can think of: that, by definition, is the realm of the known, and how things are is worse than all of that put together. I’m not trying to scare you, but the sum total of all the bad things in the world, plus your imagine, almost certainly underestimates how bad things really are due to the limiting factor of awareness. Right now, people you don’t even know about are doing bad things in secret. I’m not trying to scare you, but however scared you might be at this moment is almost certainly insufficiently scared, although we just don’t know. Today is Friday, and every shadow teems with grues. Won’t you stumble around in the dark with me?

First, the good news: the CIA didn’t force AT&T to hand over international call data; they paid them for it. The intelligence agency gives the telecommunications giant $10 million a year to fork over data related to “known terrorism suspects”—an oxymoron if there ever was one—overseas. That information is carefully redacted to eliminate information about American customers, since the CIA is not allowed to spy domestically. Of course, it can still share information with the FBI and NSA, and they can use it to spy on you, but technically the CIA is not paying AT&T millions of taxpayer dollars to help it conduct domestic surveillance. Also, close cooperation between government and industry is technically a hallmark of fascism.

We hear about this stuff in the news and it all seems like new developments, but really it’s been going on for years. I’m not trying to scare you, but the NSA has been up on you since you were a kid, when they bugged your Chatterphone. It pleases me that HuffPo feels compelled to specify in the byline that The National Protrusion is a satirical news publication. Also, how are you not going to give the Chatterphone parents in this satirical report Arab names? That’s comedy 101, right there. Unit 1: ethnics. Unit 2: farting. I cannot believe no one has hired me as an adjunct.

Someone turn a history adjunct on this interview with northern Colorado secessionist Jeffrey Hare, because the urban/rural divide has once more raised its ugly head. As near as I can tell, Hare is precisely one-third crazy. He raises several interesting questions about the problem of using the same government to govern Los Angeles school teachers and hay farmers in rural Colorado; gun control, for example, means something completely different to those two areas. Then he describes a 10% increase in renewable energy mandates as “war on rural Colorado.” Weirdly, Hare pretty much says that the movement to create a 51st state in northern Colorado is mostly about saving on electric bills.

Don’t play this entire video if you’re trying to save money on your electric bill. Spencer sent me this updated Pokemon rap from College Humor, which includes all 718 currently-available Pokemons. I assume you have them. What’s beautiful about this video is that almost no one will watch it the whole way through. The creators must have known that. And yet here it is, in all its nine minutes of glory:

I’m not trying to scare you, but someone out there is A) sufficiently into Pokemon that they consider the proliferation of characters kind of excessive, and B) old/trusted/accomplished enough to make a video about it. And they probably paid a licensing fee.

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