Jul

10

The Rolling Stones will not be performing at the Olympics this summer. Right after they were invited to do so, Mick rang up his good friend Bryan Adams to see what he thought of the idea. The Canadian-born rockstar, Bryan Adams, was center-stage at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

"Don't do it, Mick, it sucked", was Bryan's reply.

And so, Mick told the IOC thanks, but no thanks.

If you're asked to do something that sucks, don't do it.

Oh, and if you're doing something that sucks, quit.

Thank you, Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger for 50 years of bad-ass rock-n-roll and this great reminder.

Kriek on!

Jim Caruso

Jul

10

This morning there was an article on NPR about drones or "unmanned aerial vehicles", as officials like to call them. They range in size from as small as a 6-inch wingspan to the size of regular aircraft, and can cost as little as $300 (and be controlled from an iPhone) to millions of dollars.

A new federal law, signed by President Obama on Valentine's Day, compels the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones.

It is estimated that within the next couple of years there will be as many as 30,000 drones in the sky.

In other words, as privacy law stands today, you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy while out in public, nor almost anywhere visible from a public vantage.

In addition, all these drones pose a very real threat to air travel due to possible mid-air collisions.

Then, in my snail mail later today I received a letter from the ACLU with the following message.

Nearly four years ago, Congress passed an unconstitutional domestic wiretapping bill — the FISA Amendments Act — allowing the NSA to spy on Americans' international phone calls and emails.

The ACLU filed suit challenging the law an hour after President Bush signed it. And they've been in court fighting the constitutionality of it ever since.

But from the beginning, the government has asked the courts to dismiss the ACLU's lawsuit, arguing, in essence, that the 2008 law should not be subject to judicial review. And late Friday afternoon, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to endorse that dangerous idea. It urged the Supreme Court to overrule a sensible appeals court decision and deny the ACLU's clients the right to challenge the NSA's dragnet surveillance activities.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that no one can challenge the government's secret spying unless they can first prove they've been spied upon. It sounds absurd, but it's true.

Friday's indefensible action by the Obama administration sets up a huge 2012 struggle over the 2008 FISA Amendments Act — one that will be waged in the courts and in Congress where the Act is set to expire at the end of this year.

"Like a Virgin" was the longest-running hit of 1984. Yes, I'm a big fan of Madonna, and of female vocalists in general. I wish that Orwell's "1984" were fiction, and that Madonna's hit song was all that 1984 was about, but I've long since lost my virginity when it comes to such idealistic notions.

I'll never forget the words of Mark Silverstein, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, when he spoke about the loss of constitutional freedoms after successfully defending Flying Dog against the State of Colorado — "where there's smoke under the door, the fire's not far behind" when it comes to the loss of our civil rights.

Ah, but all is not lost because WE THE PEOPLE still have power.

"Politics is the art of controlling your environment. That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that "it doesn't matter who's President" has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World — or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property — or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons — or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted." - Hunter S. Thompson

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Your wordy friend on this spring-like February night in Frederick, MD.

Jim Caruso

jim@flyingdogbrewery.com

Jul

10

Today on NPR there was another disturbing article about the ongoing erosion of our civil rights.

A federal appeals court by a vote of 2-1 upheld California's "test on arrest" policy.

With the "test on arrest" policy in place, DNA samples are taken from anyone arrested for a possible felony, without the need for suspicion that the person has committed any crime that the DNA will help solve, and the DNA sample is stored in a criminal database regardless of whether the person arrested is ever convicted of anything.

Judge William Fletcher, the sole dissenting judge, argued that that database of DNA invades the privacy of people not yet convicted — and who may never be. Fletcher says that while DNA profiling and the ubiquitous practice of fingerprinting are similar, neither should be done solely for investigative purposes without a warrant.

"If DNA is taken from arrestees . . . solely for purposes of investigation, that taking is a seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment," Fletcher wrote. "The DNA is taken from the arrestee as a matter of course, without the need for any suspicion that he has committed any crime that the DNA will help solve. The DNA is taken because there is a possibility that the DNA may help solve some other crime — a crime about which the police taking the DNA have no knowledge, indeed a crime that may not even exist."

Fletcher also noted that DNA testing presents greater privacy concerns that unlike fingerprints, DNA contains familiy traits and police investigations can draw in family members of suspects. In addition, even so-called junk DNA used for the current profiles may actually contain medical information about individuals.

Drones capable of filming our every move, the government eavesdropping on international calls and e-mails, and now "test on arrest".

Hunter S. Thompson co-founded The Fourth Amendment Foundation in 1990 after his home was ransacked by police for 12 hours based on charges that were ultimately dropped due to lack of evidence. Might be time to start forming local chapters of that foundation. As Hunter wrote for his Legal Defense Fund campaign:

BEWARE

Today: the Doctor

Tomorrow: You

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing". ~ Edmund Burke

Stand tall!

Jim Caruso

Jun

20

Today was the Summer Solstice.  Midsummer.  Always a magical time, but none so magical for me as this particular Solstice.  Wherever I go for the rest of my life I shall remember it.

Peace & love,

Jim Caruso

 

 

Jun

18

I stopped by my local indie grocery store to pick up some lunch and I noticed the cashier's tattoo – the Roman numerals VII  II  III  IV  (7234 in case your knowledge of Roman numerals is a little rusty).  I couldn't help but ask her what the significance of that number was. 

She said it was the number of the first apartment she rented when she got out of college and that she and her roommate got the same tattoo.  She didn't have to say anymore.  I got it.

That first step into adulthood is a defining moment.  You remember it.  Just like you remember where you were on 9/11.  And it can occur at any age.  It's a choice you make.  The minute you choose to flip the switch into adulthood it happens.   

The young cashier was way ahead of me.  I didn't become an adult until long after I was out of college, but I distinctly remember the moment I chose to be an adult.  My life after making that choice has been distinctly better than the life I lived before doing so.

Your friend,

Jim Caruso

 

 

May

22

It's not outside you.

It's within you.

It's in dreams you reach your real power.

And find your true self.

Dream LARGE.

Kriek on!

Your friend,

Jim Caruso

 

Mar

20

The first bottles of Under Dog "Atlantic Lager" rolled off the bottling line today. 

Thirst-quenching, not too hoppy but hoppy enough for us hopheads here at the brewery, and 4.7% ABV. 

Perfectly crafted for the brutal Mid-Atlantic summers and also a great year-round session brew.

With label art by the one and only Ralph STEADman.

Under Dog Low Rez

Party on!!

Your friend,

Jim Caruso

 

Mar

20

Increasing daylight, warmer weather, and flowers and trees blooming all around us. 

Spring officially began at 1:14 a.m. EDT today.

With the recent warm weather it's especially beautiful out here in the D.C. area with the cherry blossoms already popping.  Big celebration this year since it's the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees from Japan.

Ah, Spring.  It's a time of rebirth.  Take a deep breath.  Refresh your body and mind!

I wish you a wonderful and happy day, my friends.

Jim Caruso

 

Mar

5

Fear, scarcity and value

The things we fear are probably feared by others, and when we avoid them, we're doing what others are doing as well.

Which is why there's a scarcity of whatever work it is we're avoiding.

And of course, scarcity often creates value.

The shortcut is simple: if you're afraid of something, of putting yourself out there, of creating a kind of connection or a promise, that's a clue that you're on the right track. Go, do that.

Thanks to Seth Godin for that blog post today.

"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain". ~ Mark Twain (one of HST's favorite writers)

Why not? What do you really have to lose???

Your friend,

Jim Caruso

Mar

2

The Englishman Davy Jones, star of the 60's band The Monkees, died on February 29th. The Monkees had many big pop rock and psychedelic pop hits. One of them was "Daydream Believer", which I like a lot. It's also one of Johnny Depp's favorite songs.

The alarm on my BlackBerry plays one of four different songs when it goes off in the morning. Daydream Believer is one of them.

Thanks for the music, Mr. Jones!

Godspeed,

Jim Caruso

The other three songs? The theme from Chariots of Fire by Vangelis; Gonna Fly Now (the theme from the original Rocky movie) by Bill Conti; and What A Wonderful World by the great "Satchmo" (Louis Armstrong). Yeah, it's totally old school, I know. But hey, it works for me!

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