helping out

Like many Americans, I have many concerns about the Department of Homeland Security bill that recently passed the Senate.

Oh sure, the far-right conspiracy nuts may rant about how we're giving up our privacy.

And it's no surprise that the ever-whiny left continues to complain about, oh, whatever: the Information Awareness Office being headed by convicted Iran-Contra "scandaleer" John Poindexter, or the fact that we even have an Information Awareness Office with projects named Total Information Awareness and a logo that is oddly reminiscent of that of the Illuminati.

And I suppose that people who have done evil in the past may wring their hands about our government finding out about their indiscretions.

Yadda, as they say, yadda yadda.

These things don't concern me, voiced as they are by the obvious fringe of an otherwise law-obiding society.

No, what I'm worried about is how our government is going to collect all this information.

I mean, with 280 million people in the United States, 166 million of whom are Internet users, it seems that the government couldn't possibly collect all of the e-mails out there unless they devoted a whole lot of money to the problem.

And we all know that the United States is strapped for cash right now.

That's why I recently sent the following e-mail to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Attorney General Ashcroft to inform them of my plan to do my part as a patriotic American in these fearful times:

Esteemed Sirs:

I have recently become aware of your administration's plan to gather more information on American citizens than was previously legally possible, including, but obviously not limited to collecting private e-mails.

I cannot applaud this move loudly enough. It seems like every new day brings with it a new warning of imminent terrorist attacks and, while nothing has yet come of those, I find myself living in constant fear.

Obviously, something must be done about this, and you have made the obvious deduction that we can no longer afford to simply collect information on suspected terrorists.

In an effort to support this bold new initiative, I am doing my part as an American to let you know I have nothing to hide, as I am not a terrorist.

Accordingly, I will henceforth forward to you all of the e-mails that I write, that my non-terroristic intent may be laid bare for all to see. I have done nothing wrong, so I have nothing to fear.

Although I must admit to my confusion as to how this will help us catch the terrorists, I nonetheless trust that my elected officials obviously know better and will use this data for good.

I thank you for continuing to fight for democracy here and all over the world.

Naturally, I urge all who read this to also join me in our fight for freedom and also forward all your e-mails to,, and

It is my hope that our efforts will lead America to an unqualified victory in this war on terror much as it has enjoyed similar successes in its past wars against drugs, Vietnam, poverty, and Iraq (the first time).

6 comments so far

1 Nov 26 '02 2:42pm:

Nathan Beach replied:

"I'm just wondering where they're going to store all this stuff. I've been thinking about doing the math on that. How many terabytes of email do you think are written each and every day? How many gazillions of processors would be needed to sift through them for keywords? How many tera-terabytes of phones call do you think are made every day, and how many gazillia-gazillion processors would be needed to voice-recognize all that? What?

And how many gigglebytes will it take to sort through the joke emails alone?


2 Dec 12 '02 2:52pm:

Jon Knoll replied:

"Nice art dude. Like fisherman."

3 Feb 13 '03 11:24am:

KLT replied:

"I think that somebody may be taking what the government is doing to protect the people of the United States a little out of context. Do you really think that these people are going to read your all of your mail? I mean, do you really think that the President of the United States really cares about the molecular make up of a twinkie? Answer: "No". It may be fun to talk about at the water cooler though. "Hey did you read the new e-mail from that witty Stadler guy?" "Yeah, he sure is a ball of laughs!" But even that is going to get old after a while and then it will turn into "This guy is cluttering up all of our inboxes with junk that we don't care about.." and maybe while they are having to sift through all of your junk e-mails a real threat will come through, but because you are jamming their inbox with pointless e-mails that they have to read, there will be some sort of chemical attack that may have been able to be prevented, but they just couldn't get to it in time because they are busy making sure that you are not a threat. Or they have to waste the taxpayers money in hiring more people just to read your e-mail thus throwing our ecomomy into an even faster downward spiral than it is already in. But in all seriousness, I like you website. A bit eccentric, but fun and zainy none the less.

PS. Where did you get the 166 million number? Are you sure? I bet you a Twinkie that you are wrong...."

4 Feb 26 '03 1:21am:

tODD replied:

"Not that anybody is reading comments on last year's articles anymore, but for the sake of, um, whatever:

KLT, it's impossible for me to discern how serious you are. If this is an attempt to demonstrate how impossible it is for you to discern how serious I am, then you win. I'm a hypocrite, and I don't really grasp complex irony nearly as well as I spew it out. Or something.

I'm just going to assume for peace of mind that all of that big paragraph you wrote was tongue-in-cheek. Otherwise, you're just silly. Plain silly.

As to the 166 million number, I bet that if you click on the blue, underlined phrase "166 million" in the article (conveniently printed at left for most browsers), you'll find out where I got the number."

5 Jul 07 '03 5:47pm:

MebsWebb replied:

"here's a good one,

Keep it up!

And for good luck,

just go to:

Forwards encouraged! "

6 Jun 07 '13 10:48am:

David W. replied:

"First off, I'd like to thank you for making this post so easily Googleable, given that I only vaguely remembered that it existed. Now that government snooping is back in the news, I hope that this email-forwarding idea will really take off!

(It occurs to me that when you wrote this, "Google" probably wasn't even a verb in widespread use.)"

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