Apple’s iPhone Crackdown Is A Marketing Stunt—But A Good One

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The Federalist has posted an article in which I argue that Apple should resist the FBI’s request to crack open the San Bernardino iPhone. Caving to the FBI would be a blow to privacy and a blow to Americans’ freedom to conduct business as they see fit.

The government claims Apple’s refusal to help unlock a terrorist’s phone is a marketing stunt. Of course it’s a marketing stunt, but that doesn’t mean Apple is wrong.

Over the last year or so, Apple has tried to promote itself as the champion of its customers’ privacy. They won’t track you, they won’t sell your information, and now they won’t help the government invade your privacy, either.

You can read the rest here.

H-Town Diary: The Pathways of November

I know it seems like civilization is falling to pieces, and that we cannot agree on anything, and that uncertainty can fill up a little too much real estate in your head.

And that even though Houston seems far away from Paris and Beirut and Tel Aviv, that things are so terrible all over, and that perhaps more turmoil is heading our way.  It seems that chaos and pain are as close as a television, or a radio, because in a way, they are.

But sometimes, you can have an adventure, take a break from the debates in our heads, and allow the people who are doing good take center stage, distract you from the tragic, take your breath away.  Fate can lead you upward—it does not always bring you to your knees.

This is what happened to me, in November, when so much pain was in Paris, Beirut, Tel Aviv, well, all over.

So first of all, the weather sent us a message:  that it can be cloudless and sunny and 65 in November, a reminder that we can’t mess up everything here on earth.  Sometimes, things are gorgeous and fantastic and we haven’t done a thing to deserve it.  But we are grateful for the gift.

So I turned off the talking heads, turned off my radio, accepted an invitation to remember that while terrorists get so much press, there are quiet deeds going on all around us in Houston, Texas, America, and we need to make sure those get enough air time to sustain us, let us breathe. Continue reading

Houston’s HERO Ordinance: Wishing To Make Things So

Gender Identity means an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth.”Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (“HERO”) will be on the local ballot this November. As I have noted elsewhere, the ordinance is a real mess of a measure. Of particular concern is the way the ordinance defines gender identity, one of the categories protected from “discrimination.” The origin of the ordinance’s definition of gender identity remains obscure. An internet search yields no clues. I emailed my city council member, Ellen Cohen, but she has not replied. We can only examine the definition on its face to expose its apparent meaning. Continue reading

Planned Parenthood and the Banality of Evil

An ordinary woman

Nucatola: An ordinary woman

Her words can’t be bent. Her words can’t be turned and made to point in some direction other than the direction in which they do point. Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, and the doctor featured in the first video of the Center For Medical Progress, spoke with stunning casualness of the harvesting of organs from Planned Parenthood’s many aborted fetuses. Even if (which I doubt) Planned Parenthood did not violate the law by “selling” those organs  at a “profit,” no amount of legal justification can alter the impression–the fact–that this is a person who has acted with the utmost cruelty toward her fellow human beings. And she has done it from within the protective shell of an organization that has made her actions appear routine and acceptable.

This is truly the “banality of evil,” a phrase coined–and a truth proclaimed–by Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt. Continue reading