The NSA wants my cell phone data? Meh. Most of it is on Facebook anyway!

So this whole “the government is going all Big Brother on us” thing is everywhere right now, and I’ve come to an important conclusion about it all.

I don’t really care.

Like I know that, as an American, I should care that my Fourth Amendment rights are potentially being violated. But honestly, I had to Google what the Fourth Amendment even was. And considering that we’re talking about an amendment written so far before the existence of cell phones that it was fifteen whole amendments before women were allowed to vote, I’m not sure that it’s actually being violated here.

In talking to a lot of my friends, I found many of them (except for the extreme righties, who are still protesting the amendment that gave my kind and people of other races the right to vote and who claim creationism is the only thing that should be taught in schools) don’t care either.


But Sara, you freaked out over all of Bush’s Homeland Security stuff! You’re such a hypocrite! You’re only saying this stuff is okay because you support Obama.

Well, you’re right and you’re wrong.

I DO support Obama. I’m the freaking poster child for supporting Obama. I own a sparkly Obama tank top.

And wore said tank top on stage with Bruce Springsteen. Because that’s how I roll.

But there are several key factors that I feel aren’t being addressed here.

For starters, I’ll admit, when the idea of Homeland Security stuff was first introduced, it sounded scary. It felt like the Harold and Kumar 2 version, where the dumbest possible people were going to look for the worst in everyone and we’d all end up with Big Bob in Guantanamo if we even said the word “bomb” within thirty miles of an airport.

Want to know how much my daily life has changed since then?

Not a whole lot. Is it annoying that I have to check my luggage to go anywhere because I’m incapable of packing my toiletries in small enough containers to carry on? Yes. But I don’t travel that often. And if we’re being entirely honest, that is the full extent to which the NSA has overall interfered with the quality of my life.

So with that said, if the government has already been monitoring my phone records without my knowledge and it hasn’t been a problem, I’m fine with them continuing to do so. If they start sending the SWAT team in every time I text my best friend that I’m going to kill my mother (which I would NEVER say, mom, honest! Please don’t hurt me!) then okay, I feel my Fourth Amendment rights are being violated.

But, at least as far as we’re being told, they’re only monitoring who people are contacting, not the content of phone calls or text messages. So the government now knows that my dad calls me every three minutes for approximately nine seconds, that my best friends and I text a lot, and that my mother calls me every single afternoon at the very second that she leaves work/as soon as I start working out. Oooooooh. Seriously important stuff here people!

The truth is though that for law-abiding citizens, cell phone records aren’t exactly super incriminating. Sure, you don’t want your significant other getting ahold of them if you’re cheating. But the government doesn’t care if you cheat. The media does, if you’re famous, but the government practically condones cheating.Hell, so many people in the government itself cheat that they’d probably cover for you, if that’s what you’re worried about!

It’s also worth noting that anyone who thinks they have any privacy, yet uses a smart phone/has a Facebook or other social media account/uses a cell phone at all for that matter, is an idiot. Even if you DON’T walk around in public having excessively loud cell phone conversations about extremely personal matters (which most of us do), it’s super easy for people to hack cell phones. Not me, because A) I don’t have those skills and B) I don’t care, but people who DO care can hear your conversations if they want to regardless of who they are/if they work for the government. And if you’re updating your Facebook with what you ate for dinner every night, you’re broadcasting your every move to the world anyway. Why do you really care if the government knows WHO you’re talking to when you’re putting all that info out there on your own?

And to be totally honest again, even if the government actually WANTS to listen to my conversations and read my text messages, it would be a HUGE waste of their time, but I don’t care that much.

Want to know what they would learn?

Here’s the conversation that my mother and I have every day.

(Phone rings) Me (without even looking at the caller ID): Hi mom.

My mom: (Depressed Eyore voice) Hi Sara.

Me: What’s up?

My mom: Ugh, I’m just leaving work. (Pause) Are you at the gym?

Me: Yup.

My mom: I should go to the gym. But I had such a long day. Blah blah work blah blah feel fat blah blah work blah blah your father blah blah work blah blah blah you’re a horrible person and fail at life blah blah.

Me: I actually had something interesting happen today. I—

My mom: I’m pulling into the garage, gotta go, bye!

Me: Sigh.

EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pity the government agent whose job it is to listen to that EVERY DAY. Really. I do. But if they want to, cool. Good for them.

And if they want to read my text messages, they’ll see a lot of conversations with Ary about the zombie apocalypse (don’t ask), a lot of emoji combinations that are code for “I’m going to jump off a building” and “I super lesbian love you” between me and Darya, messages telling the boyfriend that I’m heading to the gym and asking what he wants for dinner, and ten billion pictures of Rosie. And a bunch of pictures of Rosie pooping, which I send to the boyfriend. Yes, I’m a weirdo. But he laughs every time I send those, so it’s really okay. And he even makes up little songs about her pooping. We really are the perfect couple.

But I’m getting off track. If the government wants to see all that, then yes, they too can see pictures of my dog defecating. In fact, I’m happy to send those pictures to them if they want (I even have a few politicians topping my list of people whom I’d like to send pictures of Rosie pooping to! John Boehner, be ready!) Now if they start coming after me to see if I scoop the poop based on those pictures, I’ll start yelling about my Fourth Amendment rights, but until then, I’m cool.

Yes, I would be much more freaked if we were still in the Bush years. NOT because I’m a diehard Democrat (see pictures above) and being a hypocrite, but because I trust the Obama administration to not misinterpret what they see in my messages. I’m half convinced that the Bush administration went into Iraq over a text acronym that someone intended to mean, “Where’s My Dinner?” or something along those lines. With Obama, at least I’m not worried that an army of NSA SWAT guerrillas will come swinging in through my windows screaming about “Weapons of Terrorist Functions” if I text my best friend and ask her WTF she’s talking about when she starts saying where we should hide when the zombies come for us.

Although, maybe the government SHOULD be reading our conversations. I’d rather be safe than sorry when the zombies DO rise up. Which, according to Ary, is happening any day now.

Which actually concerns me more than Verizon’s cooperation with the government.

The State of the Union is more fun when it’s segregated like a middle school dance

Last night was kind of like my Super Bowl. Because once the Redskins are out of the running, my interest in football dwindles to the approximate level of my interest in Nascar, tennis, bowling and golf. (Although I have to admit that this year, I was quite relieved when the Redskins’ season ended because it meant I was being put out of my misery… it’s been a painful few years.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like the commercials during the Super Bowl and all. But I’m a total news junkie (which is probably a good thing considering that I teach journalism) and I’m kind of a political junkie as well. Which means that when I watch the State of the Union, the noises coming from my apartment sound like when I’m watching Redskins game.

Well, okay that’s a little misleading. With Obama in office, it sounds like when I’m watching a game that the ‘Skins are winning. When George W. Bush was giving the State of the Union, it sounded more like the most recent season, with me yelling “NOOOOO!” “COME ON!” and many less appropriate sentiments as well.

Of course, last year had one of those moments with the lovely, “You lie” incident, at which point I enthusiastically told Joe Wilson EXACTLY what he could go do with himself in far too graphic detail to print in this blog and still keep my teaching job. Let’s just say it caused Rosie to go hide under my bed.

The State of the Union causes me some stress though. Because it’s REALLY hard to decide what network to watch it on. I mean, I have picture in picture, which I tend to use exactly once a year for this event, because I LOVE seeing what Fox News says about it compared to what every other network says.

This year, I chose to watch it on NBC, mostly because I adore Brian Williams. Partially because he’s a huge Springsteen fan and his interview with Bruce when the Darkness box set was coming out cracked me up, but mostly because his cameos on 30 Rock as himself are my absolute favorite. There’s something about someone who’s THAT deadpan when they’re funny that I love. So even though the State of the Union isn’t typically funny, I still love Brian Williams’ introduction of it, monotone voice and all.

But I have to admit that Fox News is my favorite for oh-so-many reasons. I just love the ridiculousness factor. Granted, my favorite Fox News moment of all time was right after the Indonesian tsunami. I was in line at the dry cleaners and they had Fox News on. And there was this cute little blonde reporter covering the tsunami from Indonesia and she had her serious reporter face on and her serious reporter haircut, and she explained that while scientists had one explanation for the tsunami, “most people here do believe that the tsunami was, in fact, the wrath of an angry god.” And underneath her on the screen, Fox News flashed the message “Tsunami: Wrath of Angry God.”

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my life. Nor have I ever gotten such weird looks while I was in line at the dry cleaners. Wait, that’s not true. I was on my cell phone with my grandmother one time and was trying to explain why you can’t use your computer’s cd-rom drive as a cup holder. I think I got weirder looks that time. But I digress.

Fox News declares the President’s speech a failure before it even happens. Which I find hilarious in a year like this year, when Obama’s speech didn’t go out to the networks in a finalized form in advance. How do they know it was a failure? Easy. If a democrat said it, it was bad. If Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin said it, it was good.

God help America. I think we need it.

The reason I love watching on a split screen though is because the different networks all show different people reacting during the speech. Most of the news networks do a mix of people loving it and hating it and make an attempt to show a fair and balanced mix.

Fox doesn’t bother with that. They just show Republicans. Which makes sense. Because except for me, they’re the only ones watching the speech on Fox. But if you watch Fox News, you’d think no one stood or applauded during the speech.

The big issue leading up to this year’s State of the Union wasn’t what Obama was going to talk about, it was the bipartisan seating. Now in theory, it’s a good idea. And it makes it a lot harder for there to be idiots like Joe Wilson yelling stuff out during the speech. Because I’d like to see him try that with Nancy Pelosi sitting next to him. Did you see the look she gave him last year? If looks could kill, he’d be deader than I think my neighbor is! And I mean, if she was next to him, she’d just stab him. I saw her in the pit at a Springsteen show one time. She may be little, but she’s tough.

I understand that the bipartisan seating presents the image of a unified front, but I like the State of the Union audience the way that I like a middle school dance—with opposing forces as far apart as they can get. The reason for this is simple: it makes it easier to see who the jackasses are when they’re sitting with the other jackasses. It’s hard to yell at half of the house when they’re mixed in with the half that I like.

Although I did think it was a little funny that John Kerry and John McCain were next to each other. It was like Loser’s Alley there. All they needed was Al Gore next to them. But he isn’t allowed to sit with them. Because his name isn’t John. And because he probably technically won the 2000 election. But that’s another story.

I had to finish this before the vultures descended to pick the speech apart (because some of us have to go educate the youth of America early in the morning—which Obama DID say we need more people to do), so I’ll leave the other bloggers out there to discuss the specifics of that, and I’ll end on this note:

Who’s impressed that I made it through a whole thousand word blog post WITHOUT making fun of John Boehner’s name?

Yeah, he’s never going to become President with that name. Can you imagine introducing “President Boehner?” I mean, I’d cry too if that were MY last name!

Damnit. Okay, well I made it through the FIRST thousand words without making fun of his name. Which, considering that I spend all day with teenagers, is a pretty big accomplishment.