Mailbag Catch Up
Operative BJ worries:
This lowly one comes before you to ask a simple question: should Americans be required to have a single federal government-issued identification number that, when stolen or misused, can destroy their lives?
The federal government uses your Social Security Number as the primary index for all of the information on you. Your SSN is issued to you once, usually early in life when your parents file their first federal income tax form on which you may be claimed as a dependent. The way SSNs are assigned means that there are far less than the 999 million possible numbers available: they are assigned by geographical and then sub-geographical regions. The IRS, who assigns SSNs, claims that reassignment (or reuse) of SSNs won’t be necessary for at least another century.
The benefit of a unique SSN, as well as its primary danger, is that it provides a single, immutable, and trackable way to identify a single American citizen – which is why the SSN is the most valued of all online information, and why internet thieves are so determined to get yours too.
Considering the number of organizations using your SSN to identify you, even when they have no legitimate need for your SSN, could the security of your SSN ever be guaranteed? And if the SSN is a single identifier that, when stolen, can destroy lives, shouldn’t we limit the number of organizations using that number to those with a legitimate need for it? Shouldn’t we require that the SSN be used only by the federal government for official purposes, and not merely because it is a “convenient” number?
The benefit of the SSN is that it is a unique identifier. There is no such unique identifier, outside of biometrics which can be spoofed, that will defy the exact type of identity fraud you suggest. Your choices are either no identification or a universal ID, which can result in fraud. The responsibility to protect your identification is yours, and yours alonethrough vigilance, monitoring, and follow up. Just as you lock your doors at night, or keep your car windows rolled up when parked, or keep your computer locked and password protected when you’re not using it, you safeguard your SSN.
And anyone can quibble about third parties or unnecessary sharing of that data, but the exact same bit is true about your mortgage, car payments, bank accounts, and more. Most people have very little idea how much seemingly private information is available through easy or public means; just as you can’t guarantee a burglar won’t let himself into your house by watching you leave in the morning, you can at least make yourself a harder target.
Also, BJ asks:
|Will someone please b*tch slap Al Gore?|
I’m taking a brief pause from banging my head against the wall of the Doublewide. I know I shouldn’t do it [not the head-banging, been doing that for ….years]. No, I made a grave error in judgment—I am referring to our President speaking from the White House.
And I can’t take it any more.
The Chancellor of Germany is referred to as “Angela.” Repeatedly. Not “Chancellor Merkel,” as would befit a visiting head of state, but “Angela,” as though she’s just a buddy who dropped by for a cup of coffee.
Now, “Angela” had just arrived in DC from Kiev and Minsk. And she wasn’t there to enjoy the lovely February weather. No, there’s been some unpleasantness in eastern Ukraine, and perhaps the President of these United States might be interested in making sure that Russia doesn’t revert to pre-1989 form.
But Obama seems not to want to talk about such unpleasantness. No, his first order of business is to congratulate Merkel on being re-elected for a 3rd term. Envious perhaps?
And his second subject is…wait for it…The …World…Cup. Hey, I bet you Castle Dwellers forgot, but several months back, in Brazil, there was big-time soccer [“football” in Europeisch]. And Germany done won that sucker. Applause, applause, applause. Woo-hoo.
But the President, being a totally serious dude, put “Angela” on notice that the US did well too, and he expects continuous improvement. That’s right. Look out for the US team next World Cup.
Estimates count the dead civilians at about 5300. The ruined wreckage of the Donetsk airport is a lovely example of what results when Putin casts his lonely eye in your general, territorial direction.
And Obama opens a serious meeting with smack-talk about soccer. If that doesn’t make Vlad-the-Bad quake in his boots, I don’t know what would.
“International community working together….”blah, blah, blah…”extraordinary patience…” “We are not looking for Russia to fail.” [Dude?]
Funny, all the journalists’ questions, so far, have dealt with Ukraine. Like they knew something was up over there.
Returning to my regularly-scheduled head-banging, I remain,
Yours from the Doublewide,
PS: Compliments to a reporter from the German Press Agency whose question(s) included: “What extra efforts could the Nobel Laureate President contribute to peace?”
Ouch. That might leave a mark on a man with a degree of self-awareness. But no worries here.
Barack Obama used to benot so much recentlytouted as the smartest president ever. As you know, JAB, the Czar has met most of the Presidents and found many of them to be stunning intellects. Hoover, incidentally, was the last one who impressed the Czar as quite intelligent. The Czar has not met President Obama, but he has met someone who displays the exact same level of intelligence, understanding, vision, graps, and foresight as the President continually displays: Eddie Torowski.
No, you probably don’t know Eddie. But you may know someone like him. Eddie is equally deserving of a Nobel peace prize, and is the same brilliant individual as Obama. The Czar did not appreciate this until about 2009 when he got to comparing the two.
Previously, the Czar always thought Eddie was a bit of a goofball. Eddie didn’t take stuff seriously, acted like he was everyone’s friend, but was always trying to sell you something dumb. He skimmed through school on a bunch of Cs that he insisted were really As and Bs; he was also adamant that many teachers conspired to hold him back and sabotaged his efforts to make the Dean’s List each year. He never really worked anywhere for very long, and rarely applied himself. He was eager to show up at parties, quoting from trendy books and alt literature in an effort to win respect from the almost-intellectuals.
Prior to learning that these are hallmarks of incredibly smart people like the President, the Czar mistakenly thought Eddie was just a lightweight who pretended to be someone better than the fizzler he really was. Eddie is assistant manager at a tire store, or something, and not the CEO of a major automotive company as he evidently deserves.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.