Book Burners

Happy New Year

We have to go into this year with dreams, there’s no other way to do it. We’re still in an epic struggle, and it will be a while before things settle down.

Dreams aside, here are three troubling concerns I have.


A sustained effort is underway to deny children access to literature. Under the slogan #DisruptTexts, critical-theory ideologues, schoolteachers and Twitter agitators are purging and propagandizing against classic texts—everything from Homer to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dr. Seuss.

Their ethos holds that children shouldn’t have to read stories written in anything other than the present-day vernacular—especially those “in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,” as young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman writes in School Library Journal. No author is valuable enough to spare, Ms. Venkatraman instructs: “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”

The subtle complexities of literature are being reduced to the crude clanking of “intersectional” power struggles. Thus Seattle English teacher Evin Shinn tweeted in 2018 that he’d “rather die” than teach “The Scarlet Letter,” unless Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is used to “fight against misogyny and slut-shaming.”

Outsiders got a glimpse of the intensity of the #DisruptTexts campaign recently when self-described “antiracist teacher” Lorena Germán complained that many classics were written more than 70 years ago: “Think of US society before then & the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books.”

Your Privacy

Law enforcement agencies have been focusing their investigative efforts on two main information sources: the telematics system — which is like the “black box” — and the infotainment system. The telematics system stores a vehicle’s turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information, as well as more granular clues, such as when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed.

The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds. It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device.

Together, the data allows investigators to reconstruct a vehicle’s journey and paint a picture of driver and passenger behavior. In a criminal case, the sequence of doors opening and seat belts being inserted could help show that a suspect had an accomplice.

“I’m sure everyone is aware of how much forensic data is on the phone,” said Lam Nguyen, director of the Defense Cyber Crime Center, a federal forensic laboratory and training center. “What people don’t realize is a lot of that is being transmitted to a car just because you register the phone with the car.”

But compared with the security on smartphones, the security on the systems is much flimsier, digital forensic and privacy experts say. Drivers typically don’t have to unlock a vehicle’s infotainment system with a passcode or a fingerprint, as they do with smartphones. That means that, with a warrant, law enforcement officials can sometimes extract incriminating text messages, calls or files from an automobile far more easily than they could from a suspect’s cellphone.

“If you’ve committed some heinous crime and we can’t get into your phone, we can get peripheral data that has been synced to your car,” Nguyen said. “The contact list, calls made, text messages. In almost any criminal investigation, communication with the victim or co-conspirators is hugely important. Taking that with the telematics you get — how many people were in the car, how many doors opened — and it all paints a strong picture.”

And you are worried someone might find out you want to be spanked?

Your Privacy – Round II

A New Jersey man is suing local authorities who he says wrongly arrested him based on a false facial-recognition match, in a case that has fueled debate over the accuracy of the fast-emerging technology.

The man, 33-year-old Nijeer Parks, spent more than a week in jail after police detained him in February 2019 on charges of shoplifting, assault and drug possession related to a Jan. 26 incident that year at a Hampton Inn hotel in Woodbridge, N.J., according to a complaint filed in New Jersey Superior Court.

9 thoughts on “Book Burners”

  1. I wouldn’t care if the “authorities “ track my cell phone , it’s my wife finding out I’m visiting twins.

    It’s only going to get worse with high tech infiltrating and eventually controlling our lives. Now that the recent defense bill has been approved , big tech will be untouchable.

  2. I’m off topic here but hey, it is Saturday.

    This new covid -19 bill that just passed has a section in it regarding the release of information within the next 120 days pertaining to UFO findings.
    Will this be the next scare imposed on this country ? Or will the aliens be responsible for the beginnings of the new world order.?
    Curious to see where this goes.

  3. Pre world war two the southern democratic party fallowed Jackson then Truman integrated the armed services and they took over the Republican party as the democratic party has moved farther Trump I am on longer à progressive Republican like my bill moose grand father or Lincoln great grand father so where is my party?

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