Thursday, December 20, 2007


No-Joke of the Day

Klüft and Holm, reigning Olympic champions in the heptathlon and high-jump events, both agreed that competitors at the highest level should either have computer chips implanted into their skin or GPS transmitters attached to their training bags to help keep track of their movements at all times. —Paul O'Mahony reporting in "Klüft touts computer chip implants"

I have nothing against sports. They're an excellent way to keep mesomorphs out of mischief. But public adulation of our athletes will ultimately lead to incursions into the lives of ordinary citizens that seem to have no bounds.

It is now common for highschoolers to be subjected to drug-testing if they want to participate in any school-sponsored sport. Baseball is in the midst of a "drug scandal" that will undoubtedly see some sort of drug-testing emerge. If this is deemed permissible for and by the public's idols, it is little wonder that invasions of the privacy of lesser mortals are readily accepted.

I am not, by the way, opposed on principle to the implantation of computer chips or binding people with irremoveable GPS anklets. But such technologies need to tested.

We must begin our research with the group capable of inflicting the greatest harm to the public and requiring the greatest amount of surveillance—our politicians.

I want to know their whereabouts every minute of a 24-hour day. If they enter a restroom I want a videocam to prove they're there to pee—and not just to pick up a briefcase full of cash. If they hold a meeting, I want it recorded and transmitted off-site to prevent tampering with the recording device.

The program would of course be entirely voluntary and in no way conflict with any cry-baby notions of "civil liberties." Like athletes, politicians are not forced to enter their profession. And these small intrusions into their lives should be regarded only as part of the "cost of doing business," which I know they'll happily pay in return for the rewards and remunerations of the job.

As we now have it, national politicians are surveilled fairly closely only during the course of a campaign. But the moment they're elected they disappear into a bureaucratic maze that makes it hard for the citizen to keep track of them. The results, as we have seen again and again, can be disastrous. This state of affairs must end.

Meanwhile you might want to check out what's going on over at and


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