Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wasted Things

News item:

"Police blotter" is a weekly CNET News.com report on the intersection of technology and the law.

What: Reports of home computer wiretapping surface in tempestuous New Jersey divorce case.
When: Superior Court of New Jersey ruled June 8.
Outcome: Wife succeeds in raising her share of the settlement in a divorce case.
What happened, according to court documents:

Peter Garfinkel, 41, asked for a divorce from his wife of six years, Lori Garfinkel, 38, in March 2001. They had separated earlier that month, and Lori remained in the marital home with three children under 3 years old.

After her husband started court proceedings for a divorce, Lori Garfinkel filed a counterclaim alleging the following: transmission of sexual disease, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wiretapping.

The wiretapping charges are what make this unfortunate case relevant to Police Blotter. During the trial in state court, the judge dismissed Lori's claims related to sexual disease and emotional distress. But Peter admitted to "wiretapping" Lori's computer.

The description is general: Peter used an unspecified monitoring device to track his wife's computer transactions and record her e-mails. Lori was granted $7,500 on the wiretapping claim.

Overall, though, the trial judge did not find her credible and ruled that she misrepresented her income, assets and expenses. Lori appealed.

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court of New Jersey appeared to side with her. The judges reduced the amount granted to Peter and handed the case back to the trial court for additional proceedings.

This is hardly the first time computer monitoring claims have surfaced in marital spats. As previously reported by CNET News.com, a Florida court ruled last year that a wife who installed spyware on her husband's computer to secretly record evidence of an extramarital affair violated state law.

In addition, makers of key loggers (hardware or software methods of recording keystrokes) are actively marketing their products as ways to expose spousal wrongdoing. KeyGhost's Web site mentions "multimillion-dollar divorce settlements," and the description of BlazingTools Sofware's Perfect Keylogger includes this line: "Are you wondering if your mate is planning a divorce?"

Hmmm. Someone I know very well did this very same thing and (stupidly) confronted the wife with incriminating evidence of her clandestine IM communications with the boyfriend. She moved out the very next morning. In the end, all the keylogger did was accelerate the breakup of the marriage. I don’t know if the act of installing a keylogger on a shared home machine was illegal (in New York) at the time, or not. I do know the woman concerned included “monitoring my communications” in her divorce complaint, in essence taking offense when caught red-handed. There was no monetary penalty or compensation awarded, however.

Crazy world, ain’t it?

Wasted money…

1230 hours: Ran car through car wash in The Big(ger) CityTM. Cost: $10.00

1530 hours: Park maintenance mows my “lawn,” depositing a significant amount of dust on my car. Cost: $10.00

1615 hours: It rains for about four minutes.

1619 hours: My car looks like it hasn’t been washed in two weeks.

{sigh} At least the weeds lawn looks good.

Suspicions confirmed:

In a recent interview with Victory New Hampshire, the citizen activist network, political mastermind Karl Rove was asked how the internet was affecting the political arena. Rove said:

I do also think that the internet has proven to be a more powerful tool on our side than it has been for the other side. It has proven to be a tool on our side to sort of unite Conservatives and have a healthy intra-movement dialogue. But it’s essentially been something that has helped us gain in influence and broaden our appeal. Among Democrats, my sense is that the blog world has tended to strengthen the far Left of the Democratic Party at the expense of liberal, but somewhat less liberal, members of their party. It has tended to sort of drive their party even further to the Left rather than focusing on good ideas that would help unite people around common goals and common purposes. Instead, the Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party has served as a way to mobilize hate and anger — hate and anger, first and foremost, at this President and conservatives, but then also at people within their own party whom they consider to be less than completely loyal to this very narrow, very out-of-the-mainstream, very far Left-wing ideology that they tend to represent.

In typical leftist fashion, within hours the left-wing blogs proved Rove's point for him. Personal attacks started flying on the popular blogs. ThinkProgress.org, Shakespeare's Sister, The Democratic Daily.com and Raw Story.com. all felt obliged to prove the point themselves.

"F**k you Karl Rove," wa s how Raw Story.com began its studied response. "We are angry and we hate you and your boss as well as the rest of the f***ed up media and crony s*#t we all see all the time in addition to what has become of a once great country going down the tubes!!!!"

It just gets better.

Here's what a concerned citizen had to say at ThinkProgress.com. (Its name cracks me up, because it features neither thinking nor progress.)

"Throwing people like Chris Matthews, Steny Hoyer, Lieberman, and others under the bus is what happens around these places. Hate and anger is what it is all about, calling Republicans and conservatives Nazis, fascists, and all sorts of other lovely things."

Another helpful leftist had this to say: "I wish I could say that I disagree with Dr. Evil on this. The hatred towards the President and the far right is much deserved."

Yet another blog entry weighed in: "Oh yeah, our 'Lefty sites' are going to be made much more difficult to access if the Net is not allowed to remain a level playing field. The Righties got the MSM, and we got the Internet!"

These people think the Right controls the mainstream media, which should give you an idea how out of touch they are. Not only are they haters, they are not too bright either!

I cruise all of the sites mentioned in this article occasionally (once or twice a week, sometimes more), and I can vouch for the fact that the general rhetorical tone in these places is far from civil. Before you say “It’s just as bad on the Right!”, I’ll admit Right-wing rhetoric can get pretty heated and, yeah, insulting, too. But there is a critical difference. The Left in its disparaging comments contends the Right is “evil” (for lack of a better word) or morally deficient. To put it another way, conservatives are infidels, we’re not True Believers. Therefore, being evil, we’re deserving of their hatred. The absolute worst the Right does, on the other hand, is accuse the Left of being stupid, uninformed, or willfully ignorant, conditions that can be corrected, if the accused so desires. The Right allows for redemption. Not so with evil. Evil must be excised, driven out, eliminated. And they call us Fascists. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or both.

(The cited article is in Front Page Magazine)

Clarification: When I say "the Left" above, I mean the Radical Left as exemplified in/on the blogs cited in the Front Page Mag article and their brethren. I do not mean Liberals or folks on the moderate Left. There IS a difference.


  1. Wow, that Karl Rove is one smart dude. Has he been lurking on the leftie blogs, do you think? He's exactly right.
    Wonder what Republican blogs would have looked like during the Clinton administration. (Vince Foster, et all)
    Sometimes I think we need a National Psychiatrist - but then I realize they're crazy, too. (Maybe a National Counselor would be better.) Remember when "everyone" had a shrink? I wonder what the percentage is now?
    I've wondered if the new millenium jitters, along with lighting-quick changes in technology, closer worldwide connections and 9/11 haven't made many of us a little nuts. But then I think of history and I think, nah. We're probably just wired that way, don't you think?

    I'm too full of questions this morning. I'll go back to work.

  2. I assume all your questions were rhetorical, Bec?


    But I will venture my opinion on this one:

    I've wondered if the new millenium jitters, along with lighting-quick changes in technology, closer worldwide connections and 9/11 haven't made many of us a little nuts. But then I think of history and I think, nah. We're probably just wired that way, don't you think?

    While human beans are wired, for the most part, in a pessimistic sort of way, I *definitely* think the 24-hour news cycle and "instant analysis" available in the blogs and other places have increased our sensitivities and paranoia, at least in some folks. You're on to something there, Bec. Ignorance is indeed, bliss.

  3. Yep, they were rhetorical - although perfectly up for grabs, in a philosophical sort of way, if you were of a mind to wade into the mess. :)


Just be polite... that's all I ask.