• What keeps a couple together for decades?

    For years and years and years, I kept saying that I would spend some time interviewing my grandparents. They have a tremendous history both in their lives together, and separately. I won’t get into all of it here, except to share a part of an interview with my grandfather. They spent 68 years together and I think my grandpa does a great job of communicating what went on between them. Unfortunately my grandmother isn’t part of this, as she passed away in 2018.

    This is a huge project with a lot of editing to go, and a totally new medium for me as well. Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts or suggestions.

    A special shout out to my parents for checking my translation. And to my grandpa, who doesn’t use the Internet — you’re the best. Now everyone knows.

  • nyu graduation 2012

    Would you give back to your college?

    nyu graduation 2012The other night I picked up a phone call from a number that I’d been avoiding. I knew it was my former university calling for donations.

    A polite freshman introduced herself and asked me about my time there. What was memorable about my college experience? What was I doing now? Afterward she asked if I would be willing to donate toward the university’s freshman scholarship fund. She was sweet so I chatted with her for a few minutes. When I asked whether I could think about her request, and donate later (or online), her answer was vague and basically sounded like no.

    I don’t blame the girl for trying to pressure me with her response. I’m sure she was just following a script. It’s exactly what I expected when I ignored that call many times in the past few years.

    The fund I would be donating toward is solely for freshman, and funded exclusively by students and alumni. I remember getting emails before graduation and seeing the fund advertised with motivating reminders. Seniors received a pin if they donated a small amount and showed that they cared about incoming freshmen. The annual sums were relatively small compared to the large donations that are usually recognized. I always found it strange that they targeted students with loans, books to buy and probably, low-paying jobs.

    donation-coins

    I wanted to consider the request again so I watched a video on the university website. But the sad, adopt-a-puppy music didn’t do it for me. Neither did reminder that a school’s rankings increase when alumni give back and participate.

    I have always been on the fence about donating to my university. I really value the fact that the fund goes directly to student scholarships. The reason I’m so hesitant is that I assume that a large university, which essentially runs like a business, could spare a couple thousand dollars in scholarships a year. There are personal reasons that are definitely less relevant. One is that I don’t feel that my school helped with my career path. Of course I’ve heard a million times that I shouldn’t have expected too much. I should’ve picked a better major or knocked on more doors. Universities are businesses after all.

    I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’ll put off donating this year.

    What would you do?

  • Do you call your parents?

    Apparently British people call their mothers at least once a week in the evening, according to a recent study cited by the Guardian. I found this article via Jezebel, and they asked whether this applies to the rest of us. I don’t know how legit this study is, so I’m going to put on my lab coat and break it down.

    This is real (link).

    You can look at how often I called my parents in two different life stages. The first, when I lived at home and called my parents to let them know I wasn’t dead while out in the world. Pretty simple. They asked me to check in and I tried most of the time (I’ll pay to cover those grey hairs, guys!) The second part is after I got married.

    Though I’m close with my own parents, I never had the habit of calling them up a certain number of times a week. Obviously it’s because I lived with them. Now, we live less than an hour from both sets of parents and make sure to see them at least once a week. Given that, I tend to feel that phone calls should be reserved for something urgent. A lot of things can happen over the course of the week, but aside from emergencies or random, super-awesome events, it’s not usually anything to call home about (literally).

    someecards.com - I hope the NSA is concerned about how often my mother calls me.

    I still talk to my parents & in-laws over the phone. Despite all of my logic and reasoning, it’s nice to know that they’re thinking about me when I get a call. I’m sure they feel the same.

    I don’t know if my relationships are outside of the norm. People seem to be surprised when I mention how often I see my parents, so I tend to think that they are. I guess if you see something as an obligation or a disruption of your day then you’re going to resist doing it. And even if you have a great relationship with someone, sometimes you just want to make your own plans.

    I’m an adult with my own life and my own home. It’s easy to get wrapped up in that. It’s accepted that children grow up to be independent from their parents. What I’ve learned over the past few years that there’s a fine balance at play. To find it means holding on to good relationships with the people who love you.

    To everyone who’s raising an eyebrow right now: Yes, sometimes I just want to stay home or not answer my phone. But then I remember something about these people who raised me. They’re people. Human. And they’ve had to put up with me for more than 20 years, and they love me whether I’m in a good or bad mood. Through everything they still love me and want to be around me. I don’t know about you but that beats the track record of basically everyone else I know in the world.

    What do you think?

    I want to know what other people feel about this. Let me know how often you call or visit your parents, or what they would expect from you (if you still live at home).

    Have a great weekend!

  • Happy birthday to my little brother

    rkd-1

    Happy birthday to my brother who is actually not little at all — today he’s 21! He’s probably studying right now or making up on lost sleep time, so let me embarrass him quickly.

    First of all, let me tell you what it’s like having a younger brother. When we were kids, it was someone to boss around and someone to play with. He always had a lot of friends but we stuck together, even when we didn’t like it. As we got older, he was someone who wanted to hang out with my friends and do things I did. At one point we grew into our own lives but I think we’re growing to love each other more. Now I realize that a younger brother is someone who makes you proud.

    Hanging out when he was just a wee teenager.
    Hanging out when he was just a wee teenager.

    I’d imagine it’s what parents feel when their child accomplishes something. I feel proud of the person he’s become because I’ve watched him grow up (even if I refuse to believe it)! I know you’re meant to do great things, it’s just a matter of time. Whatever you plan to do, I can only wish you happiness and remind you that I’ll always have your back.

    IMG_0070

    At some point you became taller than me and cooler than me. You’re tough, but you also have a big heart. You’re quick to share what you have with your friends and help them up when they’re down.

    That’s just who you are and I’m proud of that. Love you, bro!

     

  • ban like button facebook

    Why I hate the “like” button

    ban the like button

    The other day I went to Facebook and did something simple: I scrolled through and watched a video someone had posted. What to do after that seemed complicated all of a sudden. I had a lot to say but found myself hesitating. Would this person find it strange that I wanted to leave a comment that was more than one word long? Would it mark me as “that girl” — the opinionated one — to everyone who saw it?

    That’s what I’ve come to expect  from Facebook: more instant gratification and entertainment, and less real sharing. Ultimately I left a response to that video. I had something to say and I said it the way I would face-to-face. On social media, its a different thing altogether. You see a status or post in your news feed and click “like” as an affirmation. You’ve read it, you laughed, you agreed.

    But when I see 15 notifications on a post, and they’re all “likes”, I don’t know that. Do you like that I’m bored at work? Are you bored too? Did you enjoy my post or are you just clicking on everything? It means nothing.

    you like this facebook

    Unlike being in front of people, or among your friends, you can’t see a person’s response behind a screen. Reading your mind is not among my talents. So what I’m really trying to say is this: Ban the like button!

    What do you “like” about me?

    All right, I won’t send any crazy petitions to Facebook’s HQ. It’s not the “like” that needs to go, but rather our reliance on it instead of saying what we think. I know that I’m starting to sound like a out-of-touch old lady. I’m not, I swear. I grew up with the Internet for the most part. I’m hip…

    What bothers me isn’t that we’re all sucked into our Facebook accounts, it’s that “liking” something has become so easy. It’s great for Facebook’s shareholders, who make money off of knowing our preferences, but it’s making us lazy. Clicking that one word a few times is self-gratifying. That’s right. Don’t you feel like you’re doing something useful?

    We all want to be liked, and in the case of Facebook, we get our wish. You’ve interacted with a person without the risk of sharing your opinion in “public”.

    I’ll be honest, I’m mostly annoyed when I share something awesome and I get “likes.” Okay, I appreciate that you didn’t A) Ignore me or B) Tell me that I posted something boring or ridiculous. You came, you saw and you… didn’t respond. Really, I know you’re clicking “like”, so why not tell me what you enjoyed. Why do you like me, I mean… my post?

    I can understand the appeal of “liking” a new photo and a few other things, but EVERYTHING? I swear I’m not fishing for comments. This isn’t a threat. I’m not even scary…

    selfie
    Hey…

    This is just a PSA: Stop “liking” and start a conversation! I want to know what you think!

  • LessThanThree: Asking questions in the internet age

    What are the right questions?

    Some time ago I was browsing Pinterest and noticed someone shared one of my images. This person was Willo, the creator of LessThan3Questions.com*. When I discovered her site, the concept instantly drew me in. (*For those of you who didn’t grow up on the Internet, the title is actually this: < 3.)

    Original here
    Original here

    On “Less Than 3”, Willo writes: “What if we asked each other what makes a difference? What feels rewarding? What needs to change? What we still need to ask ourselves?  I don’t know. But it’s worth asking.”

    At first I saw photos with people holding up random questions. The next set were images of her own questions and answers. The images make you think — and that’s her goal.

    On her site, Willo is the one asking questions so I decided to switch it up. She was kind enough to give a lot of details about her project and the motivation behind it.

    ———–

    Engage, Get Close, Find Answers

    How did “Less Than 3” start? Who else is involved?
    It’s just me. Although many of the ideas and questions come from conversations with those I am closest with.
    In October I left my job in the non-profit world. I worked at a homeless shelter as a Volunteer Coordinator and loved the people we served but was really disenchanted with the way we served them and the way things were run. I was excited about possibility, big ideas, dreams, why we do what we do. [I] still am. It was the over-glorifying stress, making excuses, status quo model that much of the non-profit world engages in. One of my concerns with the current non-profit model is that it doesn’t engage people in the very personalized way that we have become accustomed to in the internet age. So I knew I wanted to go as simple and as close to people as I could get.
    One of my concerns with the current non-profit model is that it doesn’t engage people in the very personalized way that we have become accustomed to in the internet age.
    Original here.
    Original here.
    I was really inspired by Humans of New York. Here’s this guy who just started taking pictures of people and sharing a few sentences about them.  Through that one simple action he was connecting people, changing lives, and making a difference.  He can raise money in a way most non-profits would only dream of.  The secret is the personalization.  People seem to trust him, even though the site isn’t about HIM. This also really appealed to me. I follow and admire people like Jonathon Fields, Danielle Laporte, Kate Northrup, but the idea of building something on ME as the cornerstone really turned me off.
    I wanted it to be about the ideas, other people, and building connections.

    One day in early November, the idea of < 3? came and stuck.  I got the idea on a Friday, launched it on a Monday and have been enjoying the ride ever since.

    Do you get many submissions? How do you get people involved?

    No submissions, yet. Although I’m totally open to it. I have been getting people involved by asking just about everyone I get a chance to if they are willing to be on the site. I usually ask if they prefer picture or video. The questioning process is a little different for each. If we do a video I ask them questions. If we take a picture they ask the question they wish everyone would ask themselves.

    What inspires the questions/posts you write?

    Everything! A lot of times I will be reading, or talking to someone, or listening to something and think: “There is a question here.” Sometimes my friends give me an idea.

    And I have been able to expand it to things that never occurred to me in the original conception. Like illustrated essays and the incredible and inspiring video from The Paper Dress Code. That is one of the things I like best about < 3?. It’s so open that inspiration can come from anywhere and lead anywhere. Which is exactly how I think all the best things in life (including helping others) work.

    Do you think asking the right question can get someone to make changes in life?

    Yes. Of course none of us knows what that question will be that inspires us to make changes, or maybe accept changes. But questions are powerful. I become more convinced of that every day. I think that questions are more powerful than answers. Questions are flexible. Every person who reads < 3? can ask themselves every question on there. The same wouldn’t apply to answers. The things I write don’t necessarily fit or resonate the way the questions can.

    Has this project influenced you in any way?

    Absolutely. I am a much better person than I was when I started < 3?. The people I’ve met and the questions they’ve asked, or caused me to ask, have steered me in a softer, kinder, easier, more loving, more creative, more hopeful direction.

    Which question/submission is your favorite?

    Oh, see this is a tough spot! Because of course I am not supposed to have a favorite. Of course they are supposed to be like my children, all my favorite. But I personally hate when people answer that way, so I won’t.

    I think my favorite question is the very first one I posted. Whitney from Traverse City was such a sweet stranger and so willing and helpful to launch < 3?.

    Original here.
    Original here.

    After she asked [her question] I talked it over with my friends. We got to thinking, what would make your 10 year old self proud? 10 year old Willo doesn’t care how much money I make or what my job is (unless it’s awesome). She wants to know if I am happy. If I laugh a lot. If I found the love of my life. If I have fun. If I hang out with cool people.

    The more I think about it, the more I want to hold my life to the standards of 10 year-old Willo. She knew what was up.

    My favorite answer is when Mary from Ontario said that the best gift she ever received was when her brother came home from Vietnam. It was such an honest personal revelation. It told me a lot about her in one sentence. And it pinpoints what really matters to all of us.

    In your “about” section, you say that connecting to each other makes people better. Do you feel that “Less Than 3” has done that?

    When I started < 3? I wanted to have an impact on everyone. I thought I could do something to change the world. Now I realize that we can change ourselves, and by being happy and healthy and caring, we change the world. I know that’s the way that < 3? has connected me to people, has made me better.

    Every time someone likes or shares something on < 3? I am so happy. Not because of what it means for the site. Everyone is so focused on numbers and audience and analytics these days. Honestly, I don’t care.

    Doing this site has made me better. I would like to think each time someone shares their question it touches them in some way. And every single time someone interacts with the site in some way I am happy that I know about that person. That for a moment I saw their name, and maybe their comment or their blog or something else about them, and I am thankful for them in this world.

    ————

    What question makes you think?

    My own question for Willo

    Here’s mine. Let me know your answer in the comments, or post your own question on Facebook or Twitter (@yevkusa).

  • What I want on Valentine’s Day

    Love isn’t easy to define. You can say it’s a feeling, or a lifestyle, or just a bunch of neurons going off in your brain. What I believed about how love should be shared has changed a lot since I was a teenager, but I still believe that what it really means is that you’re there for someone when it really matters.

    Venus Trapped in Mars

    I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day regardless of my relationship status, but I’m all for telling all of the people I love that I love them. When I started writing this post, I was a little stumped. I wanted to write something in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, but it felt odd. My husband knows I love him, but what would someone else want to know about it? Then I discovered Sarah & Helene’s Link-up, so I decided to make it a two-part post for you.

    Why I love him

    The way I love my husband is different from the way I love anyone else. We met at a get together and started dating. That didn’t last long but we ended up as friends. One night in June, I let him take me to the movies and there was a spark. All of a sudden we were engaged! It took me some time to realize how awesome he is, but I’m glad to say it happened. Now he’s my best friend, my boss and the guy who delivers my cupcakes.

    He went out this morning to get me one from Crumbs.
    He went out this morning to get me one from Crumbs.

    I love him because he surprises me with things I like even though I hate surprises. Last year on Valentine’s Day he contacted my boss to ask for a day off. Next thing I know, I’m packing for a long weekend in Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas 2013

    I love him because of that that time we drove to Wal-Mart at night when I wanted a snack. We left with only milk and donuts. He told me that we’d have to eat them all that night. Fast forward to about 10 pm in our car, sitting by a pier. We have finished all of the donuts and milk. It was romantic, I swear.

    Photo via Wikimedia.
    Photo via Wikimedia.

    I love him because he is my biggest fan. He motivates me when I need it and supports me when I have my own things going. He reminds me that it’s cool to be who I am, but also drops hints when I need to be a better person. He tells me to stand up for myself and helps me remember what’s important in life when I forget.

    What I really want to do on Valentine’s Day

    There’s not much more I want in my life than I have now. So when I think of a special day, my mind comes back to the time we normally spend. Here’s what I have in mind for today (in no particular order):

    Snuggle on the couch. Watch a movie. Make tacos for dinner. Exchange cheesy cards. One year I actually made him a card that said “You are my cheese.” That’s just how we do. Gifts are great but the things that show you were really thinking of me are the best. Cupcakes are always on that list.

    This year, I’d like to publicly share my attempts at a Valentine’s Day card in the form of haiku’s. Feel free to save and share the images. They’re also available on Pinterest and Facebook.

    valentine-penguins-1valentine-chocolate

    valentine-snow-frosting

    Leave a haiku in the comments (about love or anything, really)and I’ll create an image for you. (This might help.)

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • “I could probably do that.”

    Sometimes I joke around with my sister-in-law (a pretty talented graphic designer) and tell her I’m looking at a new project. I’ll totally be Photoshopping someone’s face onto a kittens body like a pro, I say.

    Sometimes I’m not sure if she  laughs because it’s silly, or because she’s plotting murder. Learning small tricks in Photoshop is a hobby for me. I started to pay attention when I realized that I could turn my weird ideas into reality, but I won’t be applying for her job anytime soon ( — or ever.)

    yev with nemo shark
    Love for Photoshop began one New Year’s Eve with a crazy idea and tons of help from my sister.

    When I started to write this post, I was anxious because I didn’t want to come off as angry or stuck-up. There are plenty of things I can’t do and will never do (build or carry things, heal people, math…). I am both grateful for that and appreciative of people who choose other careers. With that said, what I have to say here is from my own experience.

    Here’s the thing, I’m sure most people who have creative jobs have heard someone say any variation of those horrific words: “I bet I could do that.” Sure, I could say that we were born with incredible skills that cannot be replicated, but that’s probably not true. What I know is that you’re probably underestimating what your creative friends do, and what they have to put up with. You could be in our shoes, but you’re not. You don’t put up with criticism or your parents telling you to get a real job… (End rant).

    image

    But it’s more than that.

    Seeing the big picture

    When I started out, I really wanted to do what she did. My sister made it look so easy at times, so I embarked on an adventure that started with downloading Photoshop and then finding some tutorials online. Turns out, you need a little bit of practice before your work is effortless.

    Even then, I was just messing around. To put it simply, my sister recently told me this: “Photoshop is a tool, not a profession.”

    Though the right tools are great, they don’t make you a pro. I encourage anyone to learn a new skill, but I ask you to recognize that there is a bigger picture. A great event photographer isn’t just your friend who can use a digital camera, it is someone who can anticipate something, react to it and see the end product while they are working. Experiencing the process makes the tools and tricks more important.

    Creativity as a career

    more i learn einstein

    When it comes to writing for a living, there’s usually more to it than just putting words down on paper in the right order. Somehow people don’t see this simple thing. Depending on the type of job, there can be a lot of planning or research involved. Writing an article for a newspaper and for a company are two different beasts. Writing up an ad is different from doing an interview for a story, but some people would lump it all under the same skill. Sure, there are similar tools — my brain, words, the Internet — but the function, the amount of research involved and the product are totally different.

    Part of becoming good at what you do is recognizing  what it takes to get the best finished product. The Einstein quote above comes to mind. Every time I look back at where I started with my job (or my Photoshopping), I know that I’m getting better. Every time I talk to my sister I realize that she’s busy not just editing faces on photos, but making sure that the “faces” make sense for a product or as part of a campaign. I like to approach all of my work with the intention of improving, but as Einstein said, when I learn something new, I see that there is so much more.

    So, next time you feel your brain sending those unmentionable words to your lips: Pause. Ask me about what I do. What the hardest part of my week is. The experiences that taught me to love what I do. How many hours it takes before I release a project into the wild. And remember to listen, even if it doesn’t sound like a “real job.” The short version: trust me.

    Hey, you might be inspired to Google some “how-to’s”.

    Have you been told that your job sounds easy? How do you react?

  • emma stone bored

    I believe I’m goin’ crazy, goin’ crazy, goin’ crazy*

    Back in my high school days… When socializing happened every day and my friends introduced me to a million different types of songs or wrote their own, I was never bored with music.

    Quand j&#8217;ai encore oublié un truc à l&#8217;appart et que je dois remonter les cinq étages à pied.

    Fast forward to the present, and I am extremely bored. I need music while I’m working. It’s one of those things…

    spotify stations

    spotify stations 1

     

    A few months ago I switched from Pandora to Spotify because the former had become too repetitive. Now I find myself cursing at Spotify. Just because I liked one Selena Gomez song or one album from Daft Punk, doesn’t mean it should be played on repeat or that I like everything from those artists. Come on, Spotify, I’m very complex and so are my tastes. I don’t want to dig tunnels to the center of the Earth to find something new. That might be part of my problem, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    I wish I had a Metal Heart .tumblr.com on We Heart It.

    Please share good music with me, friends. If it’s on a Top 40 radio station, it’s likely I’ve heard it… a few hundred times. Any genre is fine though. Give me whatever your favorites are today, or the ones you’ve been listening to forever.

    I’ve basically resorted to creating my own random playlists and listening to them over and over. I’m a writer, not a DJ, don’t judge me. Here’s one of them on Spotify. Hopefully, it’ll do something for you on this freezing day.

    *Title from this song, which is not on Spotify:

    Happy Friday!

  • Reading headlines on vacation

    Four days into my vacation in sunny Turks and Caicos, President Obama gave a speech about his goals for the nation’s recently controversial security measures. Yes, I was on vacation, but I needed a little bit of news. (Vacation updates later!) I figured that there would be a ton of opinions to read when I got home.

    Here’s the speech in full:

    Well, now I’m home and I’m surprised that no one I know is talking about it! Though I usually scroll through the typical complaints and funny stories on my Facebook news feed, my friends are generally political and insightful. So where’s the conversation? Is this something people still care about? I have a lot to learn but that’s honestly my biggest question (— would love to hear your answer in the comments section below).

    The big headline last year was that the U.S. spied on its own citizens via mass data collection. In June 2013, Edward Snowden was all over the headlines and people started thinking about what privacy meant in a world saturated with technology.

    “I’m willing to sacrifice … because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” Snowden told The Guardian.

    Snowden alleged that this spying was causing more harm than good. People swore off Gmail or started turning off certain location trackers. Everyone was skeptical of the government for at least a short time. I’ve been interested to see how the President would act.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it’s pretty obvious at this point that our leaders make some morally-ambiguous choices. What I’m also not is an expert. I’m just an American citizen interested in information.

    Points worth noting

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), an essentially secret and unchecked entity, allowed several programs to go on (which Snowden revealed), including the blanket collection of phone records and other types of data. The intention of the U.S.’s intelligence program is mainly anti-terrorism, Obama emphasized. The collected information is not intended to target critics or foreign competitors.

    It’s easy to imagine someone crossing the line and connecting data to an individual’s ideologies or preferences. Facebook, Google or your phone collects your personal information every second and uses it for third parties. We opt-in by using these services. It’s nothing new.

    What’s changing? (Per the speech)

    – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) decisions will be reviewed annually & potentially be declassified at the discretion of the dir. of National Intelligence and the Attorney General. (40 have been so far, Obama said). Since there is no actual expiration date for these secret cases, this feels like an appeasement. We can’t ever know what wasn’t declassified and for what reasons.

    – Establishment of a panel of “advocates from outside the government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before” FISC. The question is how would we know that these advocates were truly independent? Even a judge who is theoretically apolitical and sworn in usually has a record of their leanings. Still, it’s a great idea in theory.

    – The NSA and other intelligence-gathering govt. agents need a FISC order, or “a true emergency”, to go through the collected telephone data.

    – Storage of bulk data to potentially move out of the gov’t to a theoretical third party. This sounds sketchy and I’m not really sure what the point is.

    – National Security Letters (used by FBI to get info) are like subpoenas but with a gag order that does not allow the person to even acknowledge receiving the letter. As far as I know there is no appeal process, other than suing the U.S. government. Obama acknowledged that the process could be slightly more transparent, so from now on “this secrecy will not be indefinite, and will terminate within a fixed time unless the government demonstrates a real need for further secrecy,” he said. “We will also enable communications providers to make public more information than ever before about the orders they have received to provide data to the government.” This last bit is strange because what is the standard now for sharing?

    Why should you care?

    I spend several (too many) hours a day on my laptop. My work revolves around the internet. I use social media and rely on Google to tell me where I’m going and when. I text my friends more than I talk to them face-to-face, and I imagine a lot of your lives are similar. It’s eerie to think that anyone could track me. It’s horrifying to consider that individuals can be monitored so easily if they are slightly “suspicious”.

    Yes, that sounds like the vague starter for a George Orwellian novel, but as the President said himself: it’s been done before. In recent years, FBI has spied on protestors and secretly went through journalists phone calls and emails.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has a thorough report titled “Unleashed and Unaccountable.” I have yet to finish reading it, and this other article provides a shorter list of FBI privacy-themed abuses. The ACLU wrote on its blog,

    Even before the NSA spying scandal broke, the FBI was caught issuing up to 40,000 or 50,000 national security letters every year to collect the communication, financial, and credit records of people without any nexus to terrorism. In 20072008, and 2010, Department of Justice Inspector General reports found extensive abuse of this authority, shoddy record keeping, and concocted emergencies. In at least two instances, the FBI issued NSLs to obtain information that even the FISA Court deemed to be a bridge too far and an infringement of First Amendment rights. Despite voting on the Patriot Act several times in the last several years, Congress has never amended this authority to return it to its original purpose – the collection of information pertaining to suspected terrorists and spies.

    The bottom line in my search for information is the nagging feeling at the back of my mind: What can we do? If the government creates laws but can get around them with exceptions, what’s the point? My first instinct after the speech was to be cynical. How can we trust an internal review of the program to be unbiased?

    Cory Doctorow of The Guardian wrote an interesting blog post back in June that underlines why there was a problem in the first place.

    You should care about privacy because privacy isn’t secrecy. I know what you do in the toilet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to close the door when you go in the stall.

    You should care about privacy because if the data says you’ve done something wrong, then the person reading the data will interpret everything else you do through that light.

    I’d suggest you read the rest of the short post as well.

    “One thing I’m certain of: this debate will make us stronger,” Obama said toward the end of the speech and I hope that will be a reality. If you got to the end of this post (you rock!), I’d love to hear your opinions.

    Have you heard about this before? Will you be following the situation? DO you care?