For the week, ending just now…
This is not a phony news story like you read in the Onion or other parody news sites: New technology makes it so while you’re watching television, it’s also watching you. Cable companies can now install DVRs or cable boxes with cameras and microphones which analyze your behavior in response to shows, product placement or other advertising and then target future marketing to you. The boxes will peer directly into your home and monitor your viewing habits and what you’re doing during programming or commercials. The technology can also monitor sleeping, eating, exercising, reading and watch you open your cable bill. I don’t really know what they want with video of millions of people flipping them off. I’m not that worried because my gut feeling is that I personally won’t be monitored for very long, simply because I usually watch TV in the buff. That’s gonna get old, even for folks over at the IRS. Audit that, suckers.

Speaking of Orwellian, as more details emerge on the NSA’s secret intelligence surveillance programs, sales of George Orwell’s “1984” – about a totalitarian state replete with government monitoring of individual movements – have shot up nearly 10,000 percent on Amazon. People purchasing the book online are really upset with the NSA’s wholesale collecting of private records; this according to Amazon’s database of their customer’s personal information and behavior patterns tracking system.
President Obama spoke in Germany this week at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate before a crowd of only 4,500 people – slightly less than the 195,500 which showed up five years ago. He articulated to the German people that the American government will continue their commitment of friendship with their long-time ally and reassured them his administration will spy on them equally with people of other nations, as well as American citizens.

FBI authorities say they believed they located the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the former Teamsters union leader after 40 years of him having gone missing. But based on a mobster’s tip they dug under a concrete slab near Detroit, nothing was found. Authorities at the FBI say they really have to focus on this Hoffa thing because you never know what kind of earth-shattering information could spring forward from his bones. But when they get done with these pressing Jimmy Hoffa issues, the FBI says they’ll get right on the Edward what’s his name NSA whistle-blower guy case and that IRS deal. Maybe even put a lead investigator on it or interview some folks. Yeah.

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn’t want to delay granting legal status to illegal immigrants while the fence was being built. A few of them even said it with a straight face. Many conservatives are happy that at least it happened before Marco Rubio was put on the presidential ballot in 2016. On the other hand, “Clinton-Rubio” has a certain ring to it. If the newly legal immigrants fail to learn English, will they be deported? No. If they don’t pay all their back taxes or fines will they be deported? No. If they walk into a voting booth, does the Supreme Court say they can vote without proving who they are? Hmm… Maybe we can get a herd of rhinos to patrol the border?

Ralph Nader was quoted this week as saying Barack Obama is “the biggest con man ever in the White House.” Did he forget that Al Gore was Vice-President for eight years? Mr. Gore said earlier this week that folks all over the world now associate capitalism with a “growing set of problems and challenges,” saying the system should be changed from a “focus on short-term decision making.” Then he took a shower and dried off with $1,000 bills.
Thanks folks, drive safely…

On a personal note; James Gandolfini, who starred as iconic mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO, died suddenly of a heart attack this week while attending a film festival in Rome. He was 51. Masterful and dazzling acting skills pushed Mr. Gandolfini through the wall of career character actor for a male of his type into that of a leading man. The ability to portray this serial lying, cheating, murderous and unrepentant sociopath in a sympathetic and affable manner requires talent which cannot be taught or even explained. You have it or you don’t. See ya, Tony.

Rodney Lee Conover
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