Maybe they mean “National Sandwich Afficionados”

They Might Be Giants is now selling a ringtone song entitled “Call Connected Thru the NSA”. Here’re the lyrics:

Call Connected Thru the NSA
Complete Transmission thru the NSA
Suspending your rights for the duration of the permanent war.

Not to say this came as much of a shock – after all, these guys are originally from Massachusetts and currently live in Brooklyn; finding liberals in New York is like finding gamblers in Reno. In fact, I gotta hand it to the Johns – it took them 5 1/2 years after Bush’s inauguration before they did anything political. Kanye West barely made it past five months.

So no, I don’t plan on throwing out my collection of TMBG albums tomorrow. Just as long as this doesn’t become a trend.

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23 thoughts on “Maybe they mean “National Sandwich Afficionados”

  1. wschmrdr

    Believe it or not Loog, the further upstate you go, the less “gamblers” there are.

    All those guys strive for is attention. Lately I’ve been trying to ignore it, and when you’re in the middle of nowhere, you can be quite successful. I don’t think one little spat is a reason to throw out an entire album, especially if you enjoy some of their other music.

    Reply
  2. pacdude

    The last tour they went to before the Beardo tour, during the 2004 Election season, the Johns went on Anti-Bush tirades all through their concerts. Sooooo, it didn’t take them 5 1/2 years.

    Reply
  3. nosaer

    I’m surprised that you are not as infuriated at the NSA as other conservatives, privacy advocates, civil libertarians and people from your own political party.

    Reply
  4. donaldduck5671

    All those guys strive for is attention.

    don’t think it’s just guys.

    The Original Donald
    memo to Nat Maines-TOBY KEITH HAS A SECOND PLATNIUM ALBUM IN LESS TIME THAN HOME!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. donaldduck5671

    I’m surprised that you are not as infuriated at the NSA as other conservatives, privacy advocates, civil libertarians and people from your own political party.

    So you say we should wait until LA is nuked to do something?????

    Reply
  6. loogaroo

    Good thing I didn’t hear about it, then.

    According to Wikipedia, they released a song compilation with SPike Jonze and donated the proceeds to liberal groups like MoveOn.org, as well.

    But hey. Like I said – they’re a rock band, and they’re from New York City. I’m not expecting them to mirror Ted Nugent’s political philosophy.

    Reply
  7. loogaroo

    Donald, I advise you not get into an argument with this man. He’ll make you sound stupider than you usually are.

    In any event, I think the NSA needs some latitude when it comes to phone calls directed to foreign countries, for two reasons:

    1) Public airwaves are just that – public. If a terrorist is going to call the Al Qaeda headquarters with his cell phone, he ought to know that anyone with the knowhow is going to be able to intercept the call.

    2) Not allowing the NSA to pursue outwardly-bound calls would make it extremely easy for terrorist cells to keep their cover – all they’d have to do is get someone into the country (which in itself is a breeze, given our apathetic border policy) and they’d have a way to communicate without any organization being able to intercept it.

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  8. loogaroo

    You said in an IM conversation that the NSA can get a warrant to tap a phone call in twenty minutes. What makes you think they don’t know that too, and are instructing their moles to keep their phone conversations to 5 minutes or less to prevent detection?

    This, I think, is the biggest problem with the War on Terror. We’re dealing with a group of people who are using a completely different rulebook, one that’s used to exploit all the legal loopholes they can find to conduct their actions. While I certainly don’t deny that the interception of phone calls is a matter that needs to be handled very carefully, you do have to admit that these guys are turning our civil liberties and our propensity for political correctness against us.

    Reply
  9. nosaer

    The NSA can tap calls of any length with a warrant, and you can get a warrant before the call is made.

    If I have a warrant, I can tap any future five minute, ten minute, or thirty second call you make.

    Your argument is based on false premises.

    Reply
  10. usasatsui

    One of the problems with living in a free society is that we expect to be free even when it compromises government’s role in protecting us, because we’re afraid they could also tyranize us in the same fashion.

    I’ll be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with all the details on this. It seems to be yet another “Excecutive Powers vs Congress” debate.

    Warrantless searches are generally legal (remember, the prohibitoon is against unreasonable search and seizure, and the courts have ruled that some warrantless searches are legal), and no, you usually cannot go snag a warrant on a moment’s notice. You can generally get one within a couple of hours if there is a rush, assuming the courts are open, but good luck getting one Saturday night at 11:30 PM. Keeping tabs on one guy’s calls because he’s suspicious is OK, and even keeping an eye on EVERY call in a certain area to try and hear this guy talking is fine too. But a blanket check of all calls hoping to get lucky pretty much assumes everyone is a terrorist, and goes beyond the bounds of reasonable. Not very efficient, either.

    Reply
  11. nosaer

    “One of the problems with living in a free society is that we expect to be free even when it compromises government’s role in protecting us, because we’re afraid they could also tyranize us in the same fashion.”

    “They who would trade a little liberty for security will lose both and deserve neither”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    “Warrantless searches are generally legal”

    Sorry buddy, but you need to actually read some books on constitutional law rather then just making stuff up. Warantless searches are almost always illegal, the five exceptions are extremely rare. This doctrine has been held since the selective incorporation doctrine of the fourtheenth ammendment cemented it.

    “You can generally get one within a couple of hours if there is a rush, assuming the courts are open, but good luck getting one Saturday night at 11:30 PM.”

    Unfortunately for you, Warrant Courts are on call 24/7. Again, you might want to do the research instead of making stuff up.

    “keeping an eye on EVERY call in a certain area to try and hear this guy talking is fine too.”

    Actually, it explicitly violates the right of privacy, and is illegal and unconstitutional without a warrant.

    Reply
  12. usasatsui

    “Sorry buddy, but you need to actually read some books on constitutional law rather then just making stuff up. Warantless searches are almost always illegal, the five exceptions are extremely rare.”

    Okay, “generally” was the wrong term, but they’re far more common than you’d think. Since you want me to look these things us…*whips out my very own law textbook*. The situations where a warrant are not necessary for a search: Items in plain view, Consent of individual, consent of a third party with access and control of the property or location, to preserve evidence that may be destroyed, while in hot pursuit of a suspect, searches incident to an arrest, and prisoners. That’s more than five, by the way. Granted, really only preservation of evidence and hot pursuit can apply to this situation, if you want to apply it. Maybe consent. But those types of searches happen ALL the time, they are not “extremely rare”.

    It doesn’t really matter since they’re using NONE of those to justify the tapping. They’re using an “executive privelige” argument.

    “Unfortunately for you, Warrant Courts are on call 24/7. Again, you might want to do the research instead of making stuff up.”

    Consider your bluff called. I do my research, and I have never heard of anything called a “warrant court”, nor any court that is open 24/7. Maybe they do have a magistrate they can call for emergency warrants, I couldn’t find that information. All I know is that you need a magistrate or judge to issue the warrant, and the officer asking for it needs to sign an affidavit in front of him stating the reason for the warrant. That takes time.

    So find me something showing a police officer can get a warrant at any time, day or night, weekend and holiday, within a few moment’s notice. Do YOUR research.

    “Actually, it explicitly violates the right of privacy, and is illegal and unconstitutional without a warrant.”

    It would be the same as watching everyone walking down a street and looking for the guy you know is a criminal, in my opinion. “Dragnet” searches have been ruled legal, and this is of narrower scope. And out of curiousity, how can something explicitly violate the right to privacy when the right to privacy is only implied to begin with?

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  13. usasatsui

    Hmm. After being directed to the right area, it seems federal wiretapping warrants do indeed have a special court, and there is a judge on call. I didn’t know that.

    I thought you were talking about search warrants in general.

    Reply
  14. nosaer

    “Okay, “generally” was the wrong term, but they’re far more common than you’d think. Since you want me to look these things us…*whips out my very own law textbook*. The situations where a warrant are not necessary for a search: Items in plain view, Consent of individual, consent of a third party with access and control of the property or location, to preserve evidence that may be destroyed, while in hot pursuit of a suspect, searches incident to an arrest, and prisoners. That’s more than five, by the way. Granted, really only preservation of evidence and hot pursuit can apply to this situation, if you want to apply it. Maybe consent. But those types of searches happen ALL the time, they are not “extremely rare”.”

    You have identified seven conditions, but I do not consider either consent occurence a valid point. We are talking about nonconsensual search and seizure, so the two consent cases are antecedently inapplicable. You have properly identified the five conditions, but I believe you will find that the percentage of times these conditions are invoked on relevant similar cases is extremely low (as I said, extremely rare). Statistics available from the ACLU, for instance, support this point (and your law book probably has them as well).

    As to your second paragraph, I see that you found the relevant court, and no longer need my correction. Let us continue:

    “It would be the same as watching everyone walking down a street and looking for the guy you know is a criminal, in my opinion”

    False. Using more legal language, a reasonable man walking down the street should expect to be watched. A reasonable man making a private phone call should not expect to be listened to by others. It is a totally different practice.

    “And out of curiousity, how can something explicitly violate the right to privacy when the right to privacy is only implied to begin with?”

    If you reread your Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), I believe you will find that Justice Douglas determines the right to privacy to be explcitly evident in the penumbra of the first, second, fourth, fifth, ninth, tenth and fourteenth ammendments.

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  15. usasatsui

    Okay, the exceptions are very rare on wiretapping cases, I’ll give you that. So long as we’re stopping there.

    Maybe you’re using a different definition of “explicit”. My dictionary says “Fully or clearly defined, leaving nothing implied”. I’m well aware of the legal reasoning used to determine it, but since it’s not directly written out in the Constitution, it’s implied.

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  16. tleberle

    What does it matter if it becomes a trend? I don’t listen to musical groups because I agree with their political affiliation, I listen because I (get this!) like their music. Their position on the Politics Compass Rose is immaterial.

    If it puts you in that much of a tizzy over three li’l lyrics, then I feel sorry for you.

    Reply
  17. loogaroo

    Well, let’s put it this way:

    If a song like this is on one of their albums, I’m not buying it. I find it hard to sing along to songs with cuss words in them, let alone songs whose premise I disagree with.

    Reply
  18. nosaer

    I believe you will find that Griswold very clearly and fully defines the right to privacy and clearly and fully defines where it is written in the Constitution.

    You have conceded the major point of this exchange correct?

    Reply
  19. tleberle

    That’s fair enough. I didn’t think it was that big a deal, especially if the song is just three lines (is it a ringtone, or a full track?)

    Reply

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