Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ah, holiday travel...

Since I am still on crutches, it would make sense that my boss would request that I make a short trip to Oklahoma on one day's notice.  A 10am doctor's appointment meant that I had to plan an afternoon flight, but I found the shortest flight possible and wasn't arriving too late. Frantic packing, equally frantic bag inspection for items not allowed by the TSA and double triple checking everything made for a late night, but we got it done.

After an entertaining doctor visit, I managed to arrive at the airport two and a half hours early.  I thought this was great because with two carry on bags (one laptop bag and one CPAP bag) and crutches, I was envisioning loads of fun.  Instead, before I was actually out of the car, two skycaps for American Airlines noticed that I had crutches and were there to help with the bags, curbside ticketing and bag check for my suitcase and a wheelchair for me.  In mere minutes, I was being whisked by a very polite gentleman up to security and past the long line.  Now for the dreaded TSA experience.  I still had to lose the belt and everything in my pockets, but the attendant helped me get everything in trays and through the X-ray.  The TSA agents were polite and helpful, not requesting the shoes off since one is a medical boot, and put me in a chair while they quickly swabbed the shoes and handed me my stuff.  For all that I dislike the TSA and how they are required to do their job, I have to compliment them on a very pleasant experience.  So, a full 2 hours and 10 minutes before my flight, I was sitting comfortably at the gate.

The kindness continued on the first flight, through the connection on the electric cart to the second flight and on the second flight were they moved me to a bulkhead seat with room for my injured foot to be comfortable.  I was then transported on a wheelchair all the way to baggage claim, where the gentleman got my suitcase for me and put it on the cart I rented.  My rental car was not too far of a walk using one crutch and a nearby attendant happily returned the cart and gave me the quarter that the cart return spits out.  All in all, it was a great experience.

After driving the 30 minutes to the hotel, I was actually tired and ready to relax.  I asked the lovely young girl at the counter if I could get a room next to the elevator if I was getting an upper floor room, to which she replies happily "Certainly sir, no problem!"  After getting my bags on a cart, I use the one crutch method to push the cart to the elevator and head to the top floor.  There I head for my room, which turns out to be as far from the elevator as can be had in that hotel.  Well, I guess I had a good run for most of the day...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas.

The last three months have not been great.  Several serious medical issues cost me four days in the hospital and over a month of recovery time unable to walk.  This ate up all of my remaining sick time, floating holidays and vacation time that was saved up for the holidays.  Several other family issues not medically related have also caused serious heartburn.  Finances, already tight, became tighter during this period as well.  As such, I get to work the holidays this year, including on call duty.  I am almost off crutches, but driving a stick shift is still a no go, so my wife has to drive me around.

So, while this is normally my favorite time of the year, this year we have not really decorated.  I have been so preoccupied with my personal issues (pain and mobility) that I forgot to get my wife's Christmas present ordered in time.  We have put a good face on the holiday as it sits, but really we are hoping for better next year.  Still, despite all of this, I do wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Storytime with Uncle Phil...

So there is an uproar over Phil Robertson's comments in GQ Magazine.  Apparently some people did not agree with his stated beliefs.  Several organisations that, to be honest, I grew tired of hearing from long ago wrote strongly worded letters.  They called him a bigot and a racist.  A&E responded by suspending him from the show indefinitely.  This was A&E's right, as a business enterprise.  Just like it would be my right to never turn on A&E again.  See, free market actions in motion!  Still, it annoys me.

Here's problem number one for me.  While he stated his point more graphically, his beliefs are the same as that of the pope.  So I guess the pope is a bigot as well.  Still, I work in the SF Bay Area and I have a lot of contact with those in the LGBT community.  While they are generally all nice people, they as a group are also quick to anger and make just as many bigoted statements the opposite direction.  I stopped caring about most of what they as a group say long ago because they don't just want equality in their treatments and rights, they want special equality.  This falls into that area and really, I don't care.  I doubt they watched the show anyway.

Problem number two is the claim of racist.  The NAACP generally looks for any reason to be angry and in the headlines.  According to them, everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line was a scene from Uncle Tom's Cabin, with Jim Crow laws being enforced by hooded KKK members standing on every street corner, until sometime last week.  They cannot comprehend that possibly, just possibly, some areas of the south were not a stronghold of the klan.  It does not register with them that possibly, just possibly, he didn't see any of that because he lived in an area that just didn't have those problems.  Nope, not possible in their little world.  I also stopped listening to them (as well as the attention whores Sharpton and Jackson) long ago due to their inability to entertain reality.

Now here we are.  The family has now stated that they will not go on without Phil.  Good for them.  I doubt that this will hurt their brand or business.  Another network has already stated that they can move there with no issues.  Yes, its Glenn Beck's network, but apparently 12 million people will watch it for an hour.  Will A&E want to kiss those ratings goodbye?  We'll see.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Teach a man to fish...

Most homeless people that I have met would look at an offer of either $100 cash or learn a new skill and take the cash.  No question.  Few would look at the opportunity to learn as a good option.  But one young man made that offer in NY and the homeless man took the opportunity to learn.  As such, in just three months the homeless man has now learned basic coding skills and has launched his first App to help people arrange carpools.  Both sides to this story shows the best that the American Dream has to offer.  One man showed kindness larger than just throwing a few dollars in a donation bin.  One man was offered an opportunity that required him to work and he took it and is now on a road that can lead him to success. He didn't take the easy money that would have lasted a few days.  He chose to work on something bigger and now has an opportunity to make a new career for himself.  I wish there were more like both of them in the world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In the "Too much time on their hands department"...

The extent to which liberal minded  idiots morons activists will go to whine about "inequality" is always reaching new and entertaining heights.  Today I am entertained by a news story started when a union organizer (and part time Occupy protester) posed as a Google employee to take part in a protest in San Francisco.  What was the protest about?  Why, the evil practice used by the tech giants to get their employees to work every day.  They use wifi enabled private buses.  How dastardly.  How horrible.  What are these companies thinking, sending privately owned buses to pick up their employees and transport them to work, eliminating 30-40 cars from commute traffic per bus used.  How do they live with themselves?

It appears that instead of treating their employees to a comfortable ride to and from work, these evil companies should be somehow investing in improving public transportation for all.  Unfortunately for the activists, these companies are under no obligation to do that.  However, despite the weak arguments about the private buses "crowding the streets", the reality is that every bus in operation reduces the crowds of cars on the road by the number of people riding it.  These companies are actually helping the environment, and their bottom line, by giving their employees a comfortable ride to work.  And those employees likley get work done on that ride thanks to the wifi.  And I am willing to bet that they get a tax break somewhere in there for the mass transit assistance they provide for their employees.  So, while the activists may whine about the "buses for the privileged", the reality is that the activists are really just whining.  Get a job.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Temperamental creatures...

Yesterday I came home from work tired and in a bit of pain from, well, getting old.  When I got home I found my wife's day had been no better and she was passed out in bed.  Her service dog looked exhausted too, as he barely looked at me when I checked on them.  The cat, however, was quite sure that he was being neglected and starved and told me about it from the moment I walked in the door.  After changing out of my work clothes, I got a snack from the kitchen, where he sat next to his half full food bowl yelling at me as if it were empty and gathering dust.  After grabbing some cheese and crackers, I sat down at my computer to slaughter innocent kobolds on DDO while enjoying my snack.  The cat, not to be thwarted, proceeded to headbutt my arm when I reached for my snack.  After several minutes, he gave up and took a different approach.  He jumped down by my feet and took a moment to hurk up a very fluid hairball right where i normally step to get up.  He then walked over to my recliner and deposited another hairball right in front of it.  He then gave me a "go to hell" look and disappeared into the craft room.  I think he was mad.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

You say this like its a bad thing...

A new report has shown that this congress has passed fewer laws than normal.  In fact, they are on pace to pass the fewest laws in 40 years.  Between a republican house and a democrat senate, nothing is getting to the president's desk.  Really, I don't see this as a bad thing.  I believe that they already pass too many laws and have no interest or incentive to review past legislation to see if it is working or still practical.  Part of the process should be to review and remove laws (and possibly departments) as well as passing new ones.  In light of that failing, I really have no issue with a congress that can't get anything done.  I expect that we will see a new government shutdown showdown in the new year, which will be great for the media, since they have grown tired of reporting on the failure that Obamacare is showing itself to be.  (Oh, wait, its the ACA, just like Pelosi has always called it, except when she wasn't...)  I'm sure they already have the graphics and dramatic music cues already in the can for the event.  I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And everyone gets a trophy just for participating...

And the continual lowering of the bar to widen the definition of excellence is showing to be a popular tool with our current commander in chief, himself a growing example of a tool...

The Obama Administrations would like everyone to try the DotGuv website for healthcare again, because it will crash less, but only if less people use it.  So everyone please rush to sign up, but please call your 8 million closest friends first and make sure no more than 49,999 of them are planning to sign up at the same time.  Do you realize what Jeff Bezos would say if he was told that the Amazon site was great, but only if a few thousand people used it at one time?  Heads would have rolled in seconds.

So we now know that:
A:  The administration knew that the fiasco was imminent before launch but failed to inform their boss.
B:  That nobody in the administration read the actual law or has a clue about "cause and effect",
C:  That the president basically lied to the american people about keeping their plans and doctors, mainly out of ignorance.
D:  That none of them understand the free market economy and applied the same principle for bringing the price of oranges or tomatoes down to health care coverage.
E.  Many who should be benefiting from the law will actually still not be able to afford insurance or qualify for the federal subsidy, but will have to pay the IRS fine, which will be used to make up the revenue supposedly lost by private insurance companies who did not offer plans affordable enough for these people to buy.

Despite all of this, we are supposed to look to them as wonderful politicians who have delivered us to the promised land.  Since I have not yet met anyone inside or outside of my workplace that will see their healthcare costs go down (generally it doubled) and my family is working to figure out what we do without next year to cover the cost of the health care increase (doubled+$20), I'm not feeling so warm and fuzzy.

Our president is now saying that everything is good, but putting an asterisk on his statement.  Likely it should be present next to all of them.  Sir, when trying to show your failed website as a great thing that will work mostly great, but only if there are 50,000 concurrent users or less with the tens of millions still to go, you are setting the bar for success very, very low.  Then again, my expectations for your administration have always been low, so I guess you are just living down to them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yep, predictable...

So I see that after the ACA roll out debacle and the pathetic numbers, the media has now shown once again that they have shiny object syndrome and moved on.  Cancellation notices?  Still going out.  People's premiums? Still going up.  The media spotlight?  Now wandering away to the next shiny object.  Actually, they are about six objects down the road.  On the bright side, now that all of the reporters are not clogging the site, I'm sure the traffic load is smaller...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where's Jon Stewart...

Because I swear he couldn't have written an Obamacare skit as good as this one.  After proudly standing in the the rose garden to be happily pointed out as an example of how the ACA works, things have gone a bit downhill for Jessica Sanford.  You see, it appears that there was a glitch, and her gold level policy was not as affordable as thought, jumping from $198 to $280 per month.  Ok, not great news, but not the worst.  Then comes another letter about another glitch.  Now her cost $390, and it was a silver plan, not a gold plan.  Ouch.  But then the now busy mail carrier brought more tidings, this time telling her that as a result of another glitch, she actually does not qualify for any tax credits.  And her cost for a bronze plan is now $324 per month, still more than she can fit in her budget.  However, there is good news.  Her penalty to the IRS for not having insurance is only $95.  So as you can see, the ACA works, making everyone participate to move healthcare into the 21st century, whether they can afford it or not.

Monday, November 18, 2013

But we swear it wasn't political...

In no time flat, someone competently doing their job in a manner unflattering to our president is removed from office, but they swear it wasn't political.  The insurance commissioner for the District of Columbia (Washington DC to you and I) was removed shortly after publicly doing his job.  He released a statement shortly after the president announced plans to allow people with policies being cancelled to keep them for another year.  However, this item is more of a suggestion on his part, since the plan would have to be approved by the insurance commissioner in every state and the District of Columbia.  Several were very quick to point out that this would not work as it undermined the ACA and was not allowed according to the law as passed.  However, it appears that the DC commissioner was out of line due to his failure to run it by someone above him.  People who admit that in actuality, he was correct in his public statement and that they would not be allowing the president's suggestion to fly.  It wasn't what he said, it was how he said it.  So, it appears that after all the fiasco and failure surrounding the ACA, the only person to lose their job so far is someone who was doing their job correctly.

Yep, that sounds like a government operation...

In light of the recent difficulties with the implementation of the ACA and the website that was supposed to make it happen, the government has revised how it measures success.  They are now shooting for 80% success on the website.  That will still leave millions of people unable to sign up, but hey, 80% sound great to them.  I said it before, if you said this in the private sector about a commerce website, you and a number of people surrounding you would be cleaning out your desks.  Over in the fedgov, you get a pat on the back and a "good job" speech.  Must be nice to not have to worry about doing your job in a competent matter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I had a long stream of thought going that I wanted to post about the hugely successful roll out of the ACA.  27K signups total through the FedGov website.  106K overall signups when the state exchanges are added in.  Democrats who rammed this fiasco through are now distancing themselves from it as fast as they can. The president is busy trying to say that he didn't lie, just failed to actually read his signature piece of legislation.

The Republicans, ever desperate to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, are now focusing on Eric Holder.  Instead of  looking for something that they can actually accomplish, perhaps find something that some Dems can agree with them on and pass meaningful legislation on something that actually needs fixing, they have decided to spit into the wind.  This is why I am registered as independent on my voter registration.  Both parties are idiots.

Still, the first headline that I clicked on was that regarding the loss of 4 Marines at Camp Pendleton.  They were not in a war zone, not even involved in a live fire exercise, just doing maintenance.  Despite all of the crap going across the various news sites about the ACA, this is what grabbed me.  It seemed more important.  I don't know why.

Friday, November 8, 2013

And the other shoe finally drops...

So, today my company finally announced the details of the healthcare plan changes for the plan I use.  I chose an HMO plan due to cost concerns, and have been happy with that plan for years.  Due to my wife's health issues (surviving cancer still did great damage) this is the only way to keep our costs under control.  While they are not perfect, they do not complain or threaten to drop us due to my wife's health issues.

We were told today what the options and costs are for the various plans in the upcoming year.  Every year the cost increases, usually in the area of 15 to 30 dollars.  I expect it.  This year, thanks to the ACA, the costs are higher.  Much higher.  As is, right now I pay $160 per paycheck for my family to have healthcare, roughly $4200 before any co-pays.  Now that the ACA is in full force, the cost for the same plan in 2014 is $340 per paycheck, roughly $8840 per year before any co-pays.  I have already seen a number of changes in how we are treated when we go to appointments or try to make appointments.  Yes, these changes were made to accommodate the ACA requirements and the expected increase in patients.  Time with our doctors is now planned very tightly, phone appointments are being pushed as better, people who aren't doctors are manning those appointments, generally its less care with more hassle for a greatly increased price.

So, you've doubled my costs and made it harder for me to get care.  Despite your grand promises, I am not benefiting from your grand illusion plan.  I am going to put this as politely as I can at this time.  Fuck you, President Obama.  Fuck you and your god damned law.  I can see the Hope and Change.  I hope when you are no longer in office I have some spare change left in my pocket...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Brazil's righteous indignation over the NSA spying scandal took a hit when it was revealed that they did the same thing back in 2003-2004.  Oops.  I really like their justification that it was legal under their laws and was not the same as what the US did.  Except that it was the same.  When your argument is that their illegal spying was more illegaler that your illegal spying, it is likely time to look for a quick out and maybe work on hiring better spies...

Monday, November 4, 2013

The pile just keeps getting deeper...

Since we saw that the long promised federal run healthcare exchange showed itself to be little better than a poorly run farmers market, the news has kept the pace rolling.  Today I read that the fedgov website for insurance will be down 4 hours per night to make improvements.  In the tech world, anyone who released that type of announcement would follow it up with thanking everyone for the opportunity to look for alternative employment.  At the fedgov, it appears to be job security.  

Lets look at the other great features that appear to not be living up to the advertisements.  Please note that the quotes below are not exact, but I do recall seeing the president say them during his speeches.

"If you like your current plan, you can keep it!"  Yep, Barry was being a bit optimistic on this item. However, since he got annoyed during the contentious passing of the ACA because the opponents showed up with an actual copy of the ACA for reference, I can understand that he maybe didn't actually read his signature legislation.  Still, you would think his staff would have checked those facts before putting it up on his teleprompter.  I am entertained by the justification that the millions of people (est. 19 million) who have or will get cancellation notices will have better insurance as a result.  Never mind that it will cost more, and will likely not cover all of the doctors or facilities that they were using, it will be better!

"If you like your current doctor, you can stay with them."  Again, maybe should have read the fine print.  Or maybe any of the print no matter what the size.  

"Your premiums will be lower!"  Yea, the opponents of the ACA called this one BS before it passed and what a shock, they were right!  I notice that those who think along the same lines as the president always seem to have an issue with math and the real business world, and this is a prime example of their failings in these areas.

"It will help lower the deficit!"  Hmm, I recall seeing a government report (GAO, I believe) during the passage of this act that showed a "cost reduction" during the first decade of the ACA due to the fact that it will not be a full decade, running from January 2014 to December 2019.  The second decade would break even and then costs would hemorrhage starting in the third decade, only getting larger as time goes by.  This goes back to the math thing.  Lack of those skill lead us down roads like this.

The most entertaining part of all of this is the hot air being blown by those opposing the ACA, stating that as soon as they get in power they will repeal it.  This type of manure legislation, once enacted, will not be able to be repealed, but good luck.  The amount of damage to the economy, the industries involved and the people who will be negatively affected will prohibit the repeal.  Instead, we'll get watered down attempts to correct it, which will likely do more harm than good.  It would be like changing our tax code to a simple flat tax, you would collapse so many different companies and industries that nobody has the political willpower to force the change.

If you really want to entertain yourself, feel free to read the comments on any of the news stories regarding this fiasco.  The opposing posts are pure comedy gold from both sides.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting sick sucks...

I have been sick in the past.  Colds, flu, pneumonia, food poisoning, oh the list goes on.  However, being hospitalized has never happened.  Apparently I needed a new experience.  In addition to 4 days in the hospital, I got my very own Home IV Kit, complete with late delivery of IV medicine and supplies, multiple revisits to the ER due to medication "incompatibilities" and being fairly immobile for three weeks.  I have also managed to eat up all of my sick time, vacation and floating days off.  Yay me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where exactly is your degree on Constitutional Studies from?

Piers Morgan does not want to take my guns.

How refreshing.  I am reassured.

Of course, his argument that there is no reason that anyone should have access to an AR-15 is a little hollow.  It might be the accent.  Oh, yes, he addresses that in the article.  (And he may want to go back and check the specs on the AR-15, since they only come in semi-auto and it is very difficult to shoot 100 round per minute on a semi-auto.  Magazine changes alone will slow you down.)

How nice.

Still, I am amazed at his depth of knowledge of our constitutional amendments.  I mean, how horrible that the 22nd amendment exists.  Perpetual dictatorships presidents have never abused powers when allowed to be re-elected as long as they live.  It would be great to return to the heady days of the Clinton years, except that the reality of how those years were rosy resulted in the first recession of the new century.  Many of us saw it coming, but we were ignored, and the lessons that should have come out of that experience were lost.

Still, I am in awe at his in depth knowledge of the 2nd Amendment.  Apparently, we are all supposed to go form little militias in our local areas so that we can participate and earn the right to bear arms.  Except that according to the US government, militias (along with veterans, activists, and our founding fathers) cannot be trusted and should be treated as terrorists.  So, we can't relay on that interpretation, can we?  And he goes further, citing 150 years of 2nd amendment interpretation.  Interestingly, I have a nice thick book that encompasses those interpretations up until the late 80's.  I don't see Mr Morgan's assertions in any way representative of that documentation.  I believe he may be confusing it with the happenings in his own country, but I can't be positive.

So, I am glad to hear that Piers Morgan does not want to take away my guns.  Except that AR-15...

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Brain Hurts...

I caught a headline that I had to follow today at lunch.  It seems that a blogger has her knickers in a twist because she feels that the song "Royals" by Lorde is racist.  First reading about the backlash experienced by this blogger, I foolishly followed the link to the original post.  Oh hell.  I've been under the weather and was not ready to intake that level of stupidity.  A quick scan of the comments shows that many other people were not ready either.  The general fisking that this woman received in the comments was well thought out in general, as opposed to the blog entry itself.

For amusement, I went ahead and clicked on her profile link to see what kind of fool would make this idiotic argument.  Ah, yes, a woman looking less Hispanic than George Zimmerman commenting on race relations.  Excellent.  I do give her credit on attaining a Masters degree in Sexuality and Health, a degree that does not actually make her a medical expert but is slightly above the one in basket weaving and ping-pong.  However, I don't see that as making her an expert on race relations.

Still, I went ahead and read her follow up entry, where she admits that the blog post "blew up".  She left out the "in my face" part, but most can fill that part in on their own.  Unfortunately, she then tries to justify her earlier post.  One should realize when one has reached rock bottom, but she just pulls out the blasting caps and digs for gold.  Too bad she's in a tin mine...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When they ban Chessboards...

In the heart of liberal thinking, also known as San Francisco, the storm troopers have swooped in to confiscate all the guns chessboards.  Go ahead, think about that one for a moment, I'll wait.

Yes, it seems that the seedy underbelly of San Francisco has been brought to light by the hard work of the SFPD and they have cracked down heavily on the...  chess players.  Yep, you read that correctly.  For decades, the Mid-Market Neighborhood has been host to people playing chess on the sidewalks.  Some of the homeless make small money at it, playing games for a dollar.  However, as happens in a city, where law abiding people gather, criminals will be attracted and gather and figure out how to make a fast buck.  Be it drug deals or illegal gambling, they will work to make money at the expense of other people.  So as it happens, this eventually occurred.  And of course our brave SFPD swoops in to solve the problem.  They confiscated the chessboards, folding tables and folding chairs of the players.

Were they cited?  Nope.  No laws were broken.  No city ordinances were violated.  Not a single ticket was issued.  In fact, according to Capt. Redmond of the SFPD, the chess players are not the actual problem and none of them were doing anything illegal or wrong.  He thinks.. kinda...  Other people committed crimes in the vicinity of the chess players.  Oh, yea, they "might have been using the chess games as cover for their illegal activities" but no evidence exists to show that the chess players were the problem.  So, instead of doing real police work and maybe putting a foot patrol in the area, they'll just go ahead and confiscate the belongings of people who are not breaking the law.

I am more entertained by the lack of complaint about the policy from all of the liberal lawmakers who run that fine city.  There was a 3 hour protest, but not a single politician there stumping for the rights of the chess players.  Oh, right, they're mainly homeless and not really a tax and voter base.  I guess their rights don't count...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Historical comparison fail.

I was reading an article on the BBC about the latest on the Snowden Files when I came across an interesting viewpoint.  As expected, the head of MI5 is bent because the Guardian newspaper will be publishing more about how little privacy one has in the digital age.  I can understand that, it being his job and all.  He is carrying the party line and his job will get understandably harder if the bad guys know what is and is not being tracked.  The fact that poorly worded laws were used to justify the horrendous invasions of privacy of, well, everybody is a minor fact to him.

At the bottom of the article, a British politician is quoted, comparing the continuing leaks of the Snowden Files to what would have happened if the media published accounts about the Enigma work at Bletchley Park.  Here we see the ignorance of politicians at its finest.  You see, MP Mercer, the Enigma work was very specific, concentrating on the communications for Germany.  In order to get those communications, the Allied forces did not head over to the roll top desk in my house (and everyone else's house) and check all of my personal mail to see if there were any coded ciphers in there.  While I do give you credit for remembering that the Enigma existed, it is disappointing that you do not comprehend the difference between that and the abomination that Snowden provided details on.  I do hope your voters know the difference and remember it when election day rolls around.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I've been in Oklahoma for almost a week.  The last time my company sent me out here, it was one week extended into two and the work days were 12 hours the whole time.  Not much time for sightseeing or cruising the local food scene.  I am back out for another stint, initially short and then extended by an additional week.  I am generally not working 12 hour shifts, so I have been able to get to some great BBQ places, as well as an unexpected NHL exhibition game.  The people have been very nice everywhere I have gone and the roads are a dream to drive in comparison to the Bay Area.

However, as there is always one in very crowd, I finally ran into the asshole driver that lives in every area.  Lane markers mean nothing to him, painted islands do not apply and when his phone's mapping program leads him wrong, he decides that it is OK for him to go straight when sitting in a left turn lane, causing the people behind him to miss the turn light and cutting off the people going straight, nearly causing an accident in the process.  All this in happened in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile.  The thing that struck me was that he was driving a Prius.  Does the sense of entitlement actually come with the car, or does it just attract that type of person?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Amazing how he sees things...

Our president made a speech today to talk up support for his "Signature Legislation" affectionately known as Obamacare.  Now, having already experienced the joy that he promised to bring (higher premiums, less care for that premium and higher co-pays) despite the fact that I already had health insurance and was very happy with it, I can say that I read his words with a bit of a jaundiced eye.  

He made a statement in his speech that showed either monumental lack understanding of the law he signed or that he is a complete moron.  I will not debate it, but I do believe that he gives far too good a speech to be a complete moron.  He states "even those who didn't vote for him are going to enroll."  Well Skippy, it seems that your prediction is correct because your law does not really allow people to decide to not participate.  While I disagree with the supreme court, and I would hope for Congress in the future to legislate so that this type of utter slap in the face of civil liberties doesn't happen again, they did rule that this fiasco is a tax and one cannot opt out of taxes.  And since you made the penalties painfully eye-watering for most, they will have no choice but to participate.  Or be penalized by the IRS, and then go to jail when they can't pay the exorbitant tax penalty that you will never be subject to anyway.  

And then he goes on to downplay the fact that the whole thing is not ready to go on Oct 1 as planned.  He termed them "minor glitches".  An estimated 10 million Latino's will not be able to use the Spanish site for the first few weeks.  Anyone who has dealt with the government knows that a few weeks is a unit of time usually equal to a few months.  Small businesses can't sign up at all.  I guess small glitches are all in the eye of the beholder.  Having see several presentations on this piece of legislation (because I have a responsible employer who wanted to show how this will affect us) I can certifiably say that this is a mess, Mr Obama.  There are no actual cost controls and the insurance companies can charge what they like.  Further, there are no cost controls in place and the health care providers can charge what they like.  You have this grand illusion that more people participating will magically drive the cost down.  Unfortunately for your lovely thought process, we still live in a capitalistic economy and both the insurance companies and the health care industry are for profit.  All you did was use a government hammer to force more people to give them money.  While I do agree that your political opponents are getting desperate and crazy (and likely already were) the reality is that I see no difference between you and them.  The only good I see coming from your administration at this point is that it will end.

The joy of travelling...

Hi guys,

I realize that you are excited about your cloud technologies.  My company has products in that realm as well.  I also realize that it is always good to network with other people who have cool cloud technologies that would compliment your cloud technologies.  In fact, even with my headphones on, I had to listen to you before and during the flight.  However, it would be really great if you could hold your impromptu technology conference on the concourse, not in the middle of the aisle while everyone behind you is still waiting to exit the aircraft to make their connecting flights.  As cool as your cloud technologies are, they won't help me get to my connecting gate any faster while you asshats chat in the middle of the aisle as if you are the only people in the world.



PS:  To American Airlines:  When you have already delayed us over an hour due to our plane being found to be broken at the gate, please finish the inspection on the replacement before loading us on the plane.  Having to sit for another hour on the plane waiting for a mechanic would have been preferable to the packed plane.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Curse you, Larry Correia...

I finally had the spare cash to buy a book.  Now understand, I love books.  I used to make weekly trips to Barnes & Noble to pick up something.  My wife is exasperated with my library, which in the house we recently moved out of covered three of the living room walls and one in the dining room with 6 foot tall shelves.  However, due to financial constraints, I have been limited on my book purchasing for several years.  Oh, yes, and my wife said that she would break my arm if I bought more books.  So I was thrilled when I got a B&N Nook for Christmas several years ago.  Unfortunately, while there are tons of free books on PDF and eBook form, most of what I wanted to read costs money.  Also, the Gutenberg Project is both limited and has what I consider poor quality control.  So even though I have two Nooks now (I got a Nook Touch as a present last year) I have not really gotten any new books.

That changed recently.  I was given a small bonus at work for a job well done and normally I spend these rare opportunities to take my wife out to dinner somewhere nice.  This time I was a little selfish.  I took her out and we got burgers instead of steak.  I then put some money into books for my Nook.  Evaluating the options, I purchased an omnibus edition of the first three Monster Hunter novels by Larry Correia.  Now, I know the man is a gifted writer because I read his blog.  In fact, you will find it linked in the sidebar.  And all the other cool kids listed there raved about his novels.  So I went with the cost effective option and grabbed the three for one book.  Since then I have not slept well because I am having a problem putting the book down.  Having a Nook with a light attached does not help, since I didn't even notice when my wife turned off the living room light and went to bed.  It is a page turner and fully the kind of book I love to read.  When I sit down at about 9 pm to read a few chapters and then realize its 2 am and I have to get up in 4 hours to get ready for work, I know its a damn good book.  So curse you Larry Correia for depriving me of sleep with your excellent writing.  Keep up the good work.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Mr. Mardell...

Mark Mardell is the BBC News North American Editor.  As such, one would imagine that, as a professional journalist for an organization that prides itself on journalistic integrity, he would make sure that what he states in his articles are correct facts.  However, reading his article on the BBC News website this afternoon, I see that he has the same bias and lack of concern for facts that is present every time Piers Morgan opens his mouth.

He presents the facts pointing out that Aaron Alexis was already breaking the law when he carried a disassembled shotgun into Washington DC (not to mention the base), but presents them as idiotic statements made by the pro-Second Amendment supporters who lack his wisdom.  Then he trots out the old gun show loophole (that doesn't exist) and states that the firearm incidents involving Mr Alexis were common occurrences brushed off by law enforcement.  Apparently Texas is the worst for this according to our fine British expat.

I was under the impression that the BBC required correct facts in it's reporting, but then again they are media and likely do have an agenda.  Blaming the earlier incidents on the gun culture instead of poor judgement on prosecuting them smacks of ignorance.  It's like blaming the NRA and it's "massive" out of state money for the ousting of two Colorado legislators when the out of state supporters of those legislators spent 10 times as much to support them and lost.  Generally in the US, the 2004 incident would and should have resulted in felony charges and loss of the right to bear arms as a result.  Even in Texas.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The problem with our society...

I have been privy to many a hand wringing session where people wonder "Why are our kids so <disrespectful, violent, dishonest, insert your word here> these days?"

Well, I can show you a perfect example.  No, not the idiot in the news who should have been arrested and charged in 2004, he appaarently lost it after he left home.  I am talking about the three thugs in Florida who beat a classmate that opposed them running a recreational pharmaceutical supply at summer school.  They beat him, broke bones in his hand and robbed him.  I believe that even in the state of Florida, we qualify for felonies at this point.  Do we show these thugs that crime doesn't pay, and in fact should cost dearly?  Mmm, not so much.

First, we waste time trying to find a way to prosecute the 64 year old bus driver because he didn't put himself in between a victim and three assailants and then smear his good name in the press when that fails.  Following that we go for prosecution of the assailants to show them the full extent of the law.  The result?  Probation and community service.  Oh, and they have to say they're sorry.

Really, this is the best that can be done?  And you wonder why kids growing up don't respect the law?  They should be seeing time on a chain gang, not wearing an electronic tracker and working community service.

This is a prime example of why many of us despair for the future of this country.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It seems a little staged...

I was reading an article today about the Egyptian army destroying smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border.  It seems that they take a bad view of extremists from Gaza flowing into the Sinai and causing unrest, culminating with the car bombing of of a security building in Rafah that killed six soldiers.  While there are always shortages of critical supplies in Gaza such as food, medicine and fuel, they never seem to run out of rockets, bombs and bullets.  Amazing.  Still, a significant supply of materials comes through the tunnels since the border crossing only really allowed people with legitimate business across.  Now that is cut off due to biting the hand that feeds.  What I found really interesting was the picture on the slideshow  (slide 22) of protesters at the border to protest the border crossing closure.

While it seems that they are short on food, medicine and fuel, they appear to have ample supplies for printing very clear, large professional signs for the protest. Of course the signs are held up by children for the most photogenic moment to gain sympathy.  But I guess in the retaliatory strikes, Israel has managed to miss all of the local Kinko's locations.  Which appear to still have supplies and power.  Good to know they have their priorities straight in Gaza.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What the media should be concentrating on.

After shouting loudly about the AR15 that now it appears didn't exist, the media is somewhat flailing to find the point that they lost regarding the Naval Yard shooter.  It now appears that he followed Joe Biden's advice and brought a shotgun and used that item to gain more weapons from onsite security.  Now they are somewhat lost since the evil black rifle was only present with law enforcement responding to the site.  I am impressed that the Anti-Gun Lobby has not already been dancing in the blood, but I am willing to bet that recent losses on that battlefront have taught them to tread carefully.  They will be out, have no illusions.

What has been mentioned and will hopefully get more prominence is the fact that this person actually shot out the tires of someone's vehicle in 2004 and is still eligible to purchase firearms.  I'm pretty sure if I shot out someones tires in my jurisdiction, I would have seen jail time and the loss of all of my firearms along with the right to get new ones.  In fact, with that item on my record, I doubt that I would have qualified to join the military as he did after that incident.  With all of the laws in place, how did this happen?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Money well spent... not...

Not shockingly, a California school district has decided to drop the equivalent of a teacher's salary on a firm that will monitor it's students social media accounts for indicators of wrongdoing.  And the company involved is working on an App to allow anonymous reporting of policy violations.  Really, is this the best use of funds during a time of both economic and educational difficulty?  Is this district so flush with cash and successful students that they can spend money on people cruising Facebook?  How about you concern yourself with what is happening on campus and concentrate on improving academic standards and achievement instead of trying to build your own little version of the novel 1984?  Heck, you might even try having your students read the book...

How about a little "Citizen Safety"?

One of the big items I read about (and see on reality TV programming) is an emphasis on "Officer Safety" when police are conducting their day on the job.  And I understand it.  I have friends in the law enforcement profession and I want them all to come home safe after every shift.  However, I also want all of the innocent citizens that they come into contact with to get home safe every day as well.  However, the possibility of things going sideways has caused law enforcement leadership to introduce policies and training that ensure officer safety but severely degrade citizens rights and citizens safety.  Two examples of questionable shootings are a recent one of an unarmed man in his own driveway with his own car being shot multiple times and now an accident victim being shot while apparently running towards police for assistance.  Now, both of these incidents happened at night and rather quickly, so armchair quarterbacking it is easier sometimes, but in both cases less than lethal options were there and not used by all officers.  Then we have (once again) the NYPD dropping bystanders.  However, this time the man was unarmed.  Oh, and they didn't hit him, just two bystanders.

This trend has to be reversed.  I don't know if it is more training, better policies or a combination of both, but the safety of the general population at some point has to come before that of the officers.  And the officers have to be made aware of that at the beginning of their shift.  For the amount of crap I see heaped on people who want to be able to carry a firearm for personal protection, I expect better from the police that are supposed to be the reason that people don't need to carry.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Eminent Domain rides again...

The City of Richmond, just north of Oakland, has decided that they would like to be the opposite of New London, CT.  As some of you may recall, New London went all the way to the supreme court to use eminent domain on an entire neighborhood.  This was to then be handed over to a developer so that a wonderful new and expensive neighborhood could be built for the employees of the Pfitzer facility that had been given huge tax breaks for ten years as an incentive to open shop there.  However, despite winning in court, all plans for redevelopment fell through and nothing was built.  Pfitzer closed up shop and moved out just about the time that the tax breaks expired.  And now the area has been used as a dump for debris from Hurricane Irene.  On the bright side, 44 states now have laws in place to prevent these types of shenanigans from happening.

Richmond is a east bay city that includes a neighborhood dubbed the Iron Triangle.  Comparisons to the Vietnam War area of the same name are due to the drug and criminal activity that goes on there.  During the housing boom times, it was famous for having a three bedroom home on a large lot for sale for Less than $30K (ish).  However, due to crime levels, nobody wanted it.  Now they want to play Robin Hood and use eminent domain to save people from the evil bankers.  In a reverse of what New London did, they want to use eminent domain to seize the loans of the underwater homes in the neighborhoods designated.  The banks will be paid a reduced sum for this seizure.  They will then have the homes put under new loans, more affordable to the "homeowners".  

See, here's the problem.  If we shouldn't be allowing the government (local, state or federal) to use eminent domain to take people homes/land and give it to a private developer (and I agree that this should not happen), then we should not allow said government to use eminent domain to fix the mistakes of private citizens who can't do math.  They all willingly agreed to purchase these homes at those prices.  If they can't do the math or take the time to read the contract, it's not the government's job to save them.  If the loans were deemed to be dishonest, then there are other laws and options to be used.  This is not the solution and it sets a bad precedent if allowed.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Common Courtesy...

Dear Senior Director,

Since your administrative assistant and I responded to your request and arranged for the large meeting room, the presentation equipment, the web meeting with video and the catering, I don't think it is out of line to ask that you show up for your own meeting on time.  Especially since you were seen coming from the onsite gym.  I mean, I realize you only had two weeks to plan for your own meeting, but still better scheduling may need to be evaluated on your part.  And while we do appreciate that you showered before you showed up 10 minutes late to your own multi-national departmental meeting, I think you were a mite inconsiderate to spend another 10 minutes finishing your slide presentation.  Considering that the people in the UK stayed in the office until 9 pm for your meeting and those in Moscow were up at an ungodly hour to attend on a Friday, you may want to think about being late.  And to top it all off by belatedly realizing that your Mac Air has no native ability to use any of the cables or ports to allow it to project was simply brilliant.  Those adapter dongles that we bought for your computer were rightly left in their package at your home office.  Best place for them.

While I view it as my job to support these meetings properly by anticipating your every misstep and providing the technology to work around it at a moments notice, your employees deserve a little more consideration and respect than you showed.



PS:  Thanks for leaving the laptop and presentation mouse in an unattended meeting room after the meeting.  Really, I was just joking when I asked that it be returned.

Same opportunities, different results...

I see on the BBC News site two separate reports regarding economic health in two separate countries located in Europe.  Both were under Axis control in WWII and that is a good starting point for this comparison.  Both have spent the years since following what they believed was the proper economic and governmental philosophies.  However, the results could not be more different.

On one hand, we have Italy.  Damaged in WWII, and on the losing side, Italy had a lot to fix.  Eventually, they built a large economy and then somewhat struggled.  They also built a huge government and red tape factories.  They eventually joined the Euro and allowed their banks to operate with the same impunity that other EU members allowed and later suffered from.

On the other hand, we have Norway.  Occupied during the war, they also had rebuilding to do.  They rebuilt their economy and joined the initial European trade organization, but eventually did not join the EU proper or join the Euro.  They have kept rules in place to control government size, spending and actions.  They also put in place a method for managing their natural resources (specifically offshore oil deposits) so that the profits are saved and invested for future generations.  They now have a surplus fund that approaches if not tops a trillion dollars.

This really strikes me as interesting since the leaders in the EU state constantly that the Euro is the best way to go and the EU is the best way to go.  If the leaders of Norway had successfully joined the EU and the Euro, would the EU have allowed them to pursue the policies that they have?  Many portions of the EU are all about the "social justice" arguments and I just kinda doubt that they would see a trillion dollar piggy bank without figuring some way to raid it.  I see the two stories as showing personal responsibility on a national level.  The country that showed personal responsibility is comfortably examining future options for managing their nations money.  The other is mired in a financial mess and has businesses literally moving out of the country in the middle of the night.  Since the stories are both presented by the BBC, I wonder if the people in Britain will see any correlation and decide to change their national path a bit?  Maybe, maybe not...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seriously, these are adults?

During my morning coffee break I was cruising the intarwebs to see if Mr Putin had finished collecting the Syrian chemical weapons inventory with his bare hands and no shirt before destroying them in a bonfire while the Spetsnaz roasts marshmallows.  Apparently he has only submitted this plan on paper.  However, three small clicks later I am led to an amazing show of how silly professional baseball has become.  We go to a baseball game in Florida, where the Marlins were hosting the Atlanta Braves.  Late in the game the rookie pitcher, having an amazing game already, clocks his first MLB home run.  This is in front of the home crowd in what will apparently be his last game of the season.  It was a beautiful bomb, a nice long arc into the stands that sends the crowd into a frenzy.  When he hits the ball, he watches it go as he slowly starts towards first tossing the bat after two steps.  He then trots the bases to home plate.

Now, up to this point, I have not seen anything in this series of events that I have not seen many, many times before in televised baseball games.  In fact, it is rather subdued compared to what I have seen the superstars of the baseball world do on clocking one out.  At no point was anything showing to be disrespectful.  However, he apparently insulted the whole visiting team.  The benches clear.


Gentlemen.  You play a game for a living.  You play a game in a sport where the smallest of "injuries" regularly sidelines a player for weeks.  Why yes, I was listening when a player was put on the IR list for a strained pinkie.  In other sports, players play through injuries like fractured and broken bones.  They literally get stitched up and go back out.  Please get some perspective.  You are payed six to seven figures (sometimes 8) to play a game, and not a terribly demanding one compared to other professional sports.  Your pitcher hung one out that got tattooed into the bleachers.  There was every reason to start slowly, since it was obviously gone.  Based on the game up to that point, he should have been waving to the crowd to raise the noise  level after that hit.  Based on his pitching and the score at that point, I think he would have been justified to flip off the opposing pitcher all the way around the bases.  He didn't.  Learn to lose gracefully, because complaining about this "insult" reinforces the opinion that you are a bunch of overpaid whiny children.

The new shiny... Meh...

I have read a number of accounts and seen several videos showing the spiffy new fingerprint reader on the iPhone and I am not terribly impressed.  As noted in a number of reports, this is not a new technology.  I have been dealing with Lenovo and Dell laptops that have fingerprint readers for about 10 years.  However, the general way we have dealt with them is to disable them on all of our issued computers.  Some users have gotten around that and enabled them, much to their own detriment.  We did not feel that the technology was ready for primetime as a security feature in our environment.  Costs to properly integrate it outweighed the benefit when compared to our current security protocols.  Plus, in the end, most of the people complaining that we should use it really wanted it for the ease of use.

When the people who liked the ease of use decided to enable the readers themselves, install the software and begin using the convenience of the finger swipe to access their computer, we in IT were not involved.  What we noticed were two fairly regular occurrences.  First was the fact that password expiration meant that when they had to change the password after 90 days, they had forgotten it.  Which I guess makes the password really secure once 90 days is up, cause now nobody can access the computer or files.  If they were remote, we found that they could not update the password unless they were connected to our network.  Since they could not get to the VPN software due to the method of lockout, they could not do anything other than travel to an actual company office or FedEx us the laptop.  We liked the FedEx option because we could remove the software and disable the hardware.  The laptop was returned with a lovely note (as well as the note being emailed to their boss) advising them that they were not to do that again.  Second was that the fingerprint software tied the fingerprint into the encryption certificates, which meant that our master certificate was no longer any good for decrypting the data when their computer crashed.  This was even better when we found that they had disabled the backup software because they felt it was too much of a drag on the computer when they were working.  I tried not to laugh in their face when this came to light.

So, despite the various pundits telling us that this will usher in a new era of security where passwords are a thing of the past, I really don't think so.  I have not seen anything commercially available that will stand up to the Mythbusters tests.  This item is no different.  In fact, it is likely that just by handling your phone, you are leaving the key on the surface of the device.  A dedicated individual will steal the device and use that to crack the "Password".  If they were dedicated enough to crack an actual password for a computer, they will be dedicated enough to fill in the blanks that the Mythbusters left out of their show for fingerprints.  So no, it will not usher in a new era of security, it will usher in a new era of lazy people who are caught unaware when their data is stolen.  Then again, some idiot thought that it would be a great idea to give temporary contractors access to the most secret documents in our government, so I won't be shocked by the fiascoes that will result in this "New Era".

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Making a statement...

The people of Colorado have spoken, and in my opinion put an exclamation point on it.  They successfully recalled two state representatives that voted for the knee jerk gun laws enacted earlier this year.  Both are now out of a job.  The exclamation point is that one was from a district where the Dems have the majority, and the other (the state senate president) was leaving office next year due to term limits anyway.  When you tell someone to GTFO when they were planning to leave office anyway, that sends a message.  What would really send a message at this point would be for the next election cycle to move more of these politicians out of office and those self same laws to be repealed in the next session.  However, I doubt that will happen.  History has shown that once enacted, legislators are loathe to remove laws, even those deemed wrong by the general population.  It took 13 years to repeal the 18th amendment, and that was hugely unpopular with the masses, in addition to sending crime through the roof.  So I'm not holding my breath on a repeal.

Monday, September 9, 2013

From Russia with love...

As I had hoped, someone (the only one big enough) in the same geographical location has offered an alternative to the US being the world police again.  Russia has put forward a proposal that Syria hand over their chemical weapons to international oversight to prevent their use.  If this moves forward, I believe it is a good step in the right direction for both the people of Syria and the region as a whole.  I have to admit, I think that without President Obama's threat, the Russians would not have moved forward with a proposal.  I also think that they were waiting for the western nations to make threats of force so that they could play peacemaker.  Mr Putin is not a stupid man and I am sure this was weighed and planned.  And in reality, its great because it won't strain the US military or economy.

In other news, the media is still pissed that Zimmerman got off...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Failures in parenting...

So once again we have the media fanning the flames in search of ratings.  CNN has posted this report about a shooting in New Orleans.

A home owner goes to check on a noise in his yard at 2 AM.  This is generally a time when people not working the graveyard shift are in bed.  He finds an intruder in his yard by his car at 2 AM.  According to him, the intruder made a move towards him and he discharged his firearm, because he came prepared for the possibility of it not being a stray cat.  One head wound later, the intruder turns out to be a 14 year old with no business in that yard.  The police do not feel that the story is as the home owner has presented, and have arrested him and charged him with Second degree homicide.  They do not dispute that the intruder was in the yard, that he had no right to be there or that it was 2 AM.

Now we have the local church leaders claiming that because he was an unarmed black youth they can invoke the Zimmerman trial and take to the streets.  And of course they are joined by all those who are floundering for a protest now that we have left Iraq, the Occupy movement has run out of free food and the jury in Florida proved that you don't have to like the guy to find him not guilty.  I expect Al Sharpton to be on the next plane.

I am interested to see this unfold.  I want to see the police to explain to me why the 14 year old was out at 2 AM.  Was he walking home from his closing shift at McDonalds?  (No, and he'd probably be on strike anyway... )  Then, even if you have some justification for him being out at 2 AM, what was he doing behind a locked gate in a yard not owned by him, his family or friends?  Also, I am curious to find out about the eyewitness who happened to be there at 2 AM.  Usually at that time of night, when bad things happen, the only people around are the victims and the criminals.  I expect to hear about the witness being a friend who will vouch for the choirboy now in the hospital.  As for the location of the shell casing, I personally have seen my Walther .22 throw a piece of brass 15 feet, not to mention ricochets off nearby structures sending it in odd directions.  My Jericho with the 9mm barrel will throw them farther.   (No idea what the .41AE barrel would do, I've never been able to afford the ammo.)

At 2 AM, in the dark, the homeowner is not under any obligation to determine the age, race, religion, intentions or armed/unarmed status of an intruder.  This is a perfect example of "Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes."  Had this child's parents properly raised this child, he would not have been found in someone else's locked yard at 2 AM looking down the barrel of a gun.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lessons in democracy...

Its not often that the US is shown a lesson in democracy by the place where Great Britain used to be.  However, yesterday they showed exactly how a democracy is supposed to work.  Despite great promises from the prime minister that great action must be taken over the atrocities happening in Syria, the House of Commons pointed out with a resounding "No" vote that the people really felt differently.  And this is a good thing for them, as they showed how a democracy is supposed to work.  Additionally, unlike the EU (who dislike when people vote against it) this vote has no "do over" option.  The people have spoken, please move on.

Here in the US our president, despite complaining about the previous president acting like a cowboy without the approval of congress, would like to act like a cowboy without the approval of congress.  While I have no use for the UN, this is an item that falls squarely within their realm.  Despite the fact that at this point they are both the most corrupt institution on the face of the planet and more ineffective than the League of Nations, this is what they were put in place for.  Also, it would really be better if the nations more centrally located to the conflict were involved.  Despite what some think, the US is not the world's policemen, and our president should not use our military as such.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear Fast Food Strike participant...

While I admire the drive and determination you are applying to your cause, I really would like to point out a few problems with your theory.  First, money does not grow on trees, so if you are suddenly paid 15 dollars an hour, that 50%(ish) raise will have to paid for somewhere.  This means that your employer will either need to raise prices or shrink the workforce.  Guess which one will come first.  Second, there are far more people in need of jobs than you think.  Firing you for walking out will not strain them one bit.

I have worked at fast food in the past and always knew that the pay sucked, the hours were crappy and that I was not going to make a career out of it.  It is not your employers fault that you are a single parent of three children who can't afford childcare.  You made the life choices that landed you where you are.  The simple objective you have is to use your work experience to show other employers that you can hold a steady job and show up to work on time.  Working your way up the ladder at that fast food job can't hurt either.  This is a stepping stone to a better job.

Also, while I feel that unions have their place, this really isn't one of them.  I doubt that this will succeed, as my experience shows that most employers will have planned for this and will have people on call who will not walk out.  Generally because they will be getting more hours, possibly OT.  So actually, you will be helping some fast food workers earn more pay, just not how you intended.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Finally, JayG's rage meter can get a break...

Finally a day a day arrives when JayG can honestly post something positive about Massachusetts.  Sumdood was responsible for breaking into a car and stealing an iPad.  Unfortunately, it wasn't just an expensive toy left lying around.  It belonged to an autistic child who uses it to communicate.  Being non-verbal, it is his only means of communication.  It's also used for his therapy, so double whammy.  The story ran on the local Fox news channel and got an immediate response from the viewers, who contacted the station with offers to help.  Within a day the deputy police chief delivered a new iPad purchased by the townspeople to replace the stolen one.

The story ran on Fox News (home to bitter clingers of guns and bibles) who responded with an outpouring of offers to help.  Not to have a rally, pass a law or demand that the government do something.  Just offered to help by buying a replacement asap.

CNN?  Not a peep.  Wait, I have my shocked face around here somewhere....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Denver Housing Authority, where the sympathy wells...

So, only weeks after the fiasco of Ross Management deciding that the Second Amendment was more of a guideline than a rule, the Denver Housing Authority decided that they didn't want to be outshone by Douglas County Housing Authority for dumbass moves made in their name.  Three days after Sandy Rosskilly was shot and killed by her neighbor, the DHA decided that it would be a great idea to give a grieving 70 year old mother 6 hours notice to get out.  Her daughter is still in the morgue, but that is apparently no excuse for not being out in 6 hours.  

It amazes me that on a regular basis, people who have no need for public assistance not only abuse it (and feel that it is their right) but continue to be allowed to use it after being reported (due to lack of .gov willpower to stop it) and yet a 70 year old woman is out on the street with 6 hours notice after the murder of her daughter 3 days before.  If the powers that be in Denver have anything resembling a shred of decency, they will correct this injustice immediately and make sure that the employee who made this spectacular decision is reassigned to something that suits their skills a bit better.  Something like sorting and reconstructing shredded documents and putting them in alphabetical order, and paying them by the completed page.  I doubt anything other than an award for efficiency will happen, however...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You are subjects, not citizens...

So this morning we are seeing a more clear picture of the Miranda Incident at Heathrow Airport.  While people up the chain were notified, none sought to question or prevent the stop, which tells us that they thought it was a good idea.  Additionally, the UK government has threatened legal action against The Guardian and forced the editor to allow agents into his basement to destroy hard drives containing the Snowden data.

Many are crying foul and screaming about freedom of the press.  Here's the thing:  You live in the place where Great Britain used to be.  You do not, nor have you ever had, freedom of press.  While that item is listed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, you have no such protection.  As Jeremy Clarkson once said of Britain, "We don't live in a free country."  If you don't like it, you could demand that your government change it, but I doubt it will happen.

Conversely, those of you who travel to such areas should be aware that your protections under said Constitution do not extend beyond the borders of the US.  Just because you have a US passport does not mean that you are above local laws, customs or arbitrary imprisonment.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stretching the rules...

In a strong desire to show that the US is not alone in abusing ill-conceived legislation enacted with the best of intentions but having horrible results, the UK "police" have decided to use the Terrorism Act 2000, Schedule 7 (apparently they have schedules instead of paragraphs and sub-paragraphs) against the partner of a Guardian journalist.  In using this particular set of tragic legislation, they have apparently designated The Guardian a terrorist organization.  That should throw readership up a bit.  Now, I put the word police in quotes because it appears that no one wants to admit it was them publicly.  It seems that the people that they publicly answer to are a bit miffed, since the US got a heads up and they didn't.  Some are trying to make a big deal about the US claiming that they did not ask for the detention.  However, since it was more of a courtesy call, and since the person was being stopped no matter what the US wanted, why would they muddy the waters by putting a request in formally for inclusion?  All they had to do was sit back and pop some popcorn.

The reality is that this was a power play, a bully tactic against the people supplied information by Snowden.   The problem in today's world is that the data, even if it was on this guys laptop, would also be backed up elsewhere.  Likely in multiple locations.  So really you gained nothing, since it is already known what was taken, and pissed off the guys who will now publicly crucify your actions with the information that they have.  Going after WikiLeaks like this didn't stop the flow of information at that site, and this won't stop The Guardian from publishing.  It's also a perfect example of what happens when legislation is rushed through with too little thought given to the far over-reaching powers given to police with no requirement to answer to anyone and no right of defense given to the victims of it's enforcement.  You'd think after the abuses committed during the troubles by British law enforcement, they would have known better.  I guess not.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I can see it already starting...

I see the start of another "celebrated" scumbag shaping up.  Earlier this year, two misunderstood youths stopped a woman and her toddler and demanded money.  When the woman said she had none, they shot her, missing once but hitting her in the leg, then shot her toddler in the face killing him.

Since then, having been identified by witnesses, the two criminals have been arrested.  Additionally, multiple members of the trigger man's family have been arrested and indicted for interfering with the investigation and disposing of the gun, which was found anyway.

The defense attorney is playing the "railroading my client" card in the press.  While I don't put it past law enforcement and prosecutors to ignore evidence so that they can assure a conviction, we don't appear to have that here. We have multiple witnesses and the murder weapon.  I doubt that we are looking at the wrong guys.  What I see building is the start of a new...

No, I won't name or link directly to the scumbag...

A new version of the scumbag that murdered Daniel Faulkner and then proceeded to make a mockery of our judicial system for 30 years.

I hope that they convict them and lock them up for life.  Due to age, despite the crime, I doubt that they will be eligible for the death penalty.  So I hope that they never breathe free air again.  More importantly, I hope they are not afforded the notoriety that appears to be in the works by this defense attorney.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

And the beat goes on...

Wow, just CNN alone has enough on the front page to make one despair for the state of our law enforcement apparatus.

We have a man locked away and forgotten by the DEA for 5 days being rightfully awarded over 4 million dollars.  They forgot about him, likely in a "I thought you processed him" fiasco. The agent in charge of the office stated that he held his employees to "High Standards", but I doubt so much as a single agent will be formerly reprimanded for this incident.  Business as usual.  Also, I notice, once again, that President Obama and Al Sharpton were strangely silent on the revelation that a member of a racial minority was unlawfully imprisoned and effectively left to die.  I guess it only counts for the right racial minorities.

Then we have a man looking for something in his car (located in his own driveway) after returning home late.  Deputies responding to a call of a possible car thief confront the man in his darkened carport and shot the unarmed individual after (according to a witness) less than 30 seconds of contact.  15 shots were fired and only two hit the victim.  The sheriff is already making statements to the press indicating that the victim was possibly drunk or high, not even vaguely entertaining the thought that his officers may have jumped the gun a bit.  This is my shocked face.

And finally we get back to our favorite subject, the TSA.  A three year report card:  9000 violations. The TSA thinks this isn't a problem.  Unfortunately, the rest of us that have to live through the farce that is security theater really take a less charitable view.  Their job is (supposedly) to keep us safe, and when agents are caught stealing, sleeping and otherwise abusing their position, we want to know what our tax dollars are really being used for.  I guess they were too busy harassing Peter Mayhew about his cane.

Really, its days like this that make me wonder why I got out of bed...

Monday, July 29, 2013

History repeats itself regularly, but nobody pays attention to the re-runs......

I read an article today about ancient Rome today that struck me with its last few lines.  In it, the author discusses Caligula, his bad reputation and if he really deserved it.  The lines that struck me were the last two:

"The Romans thought they were getting freedom, but got more of the same.
Considering what happened then, it's hard not to think of the excitements and disappointments of the Arab Spring."
It struck me because I could immediately see the point she was making.  Egypt is a strong current example.  People strove for freedom and thought they had achieved it.  Then they held free elections and elected people that would take that freedom and bend it to their personal and religious preferences.  Anyone with common sense could see this on the horizon after the elections.  My only shock was that the military stepped in as early as it did. 

But yet, we also see the same in our elections here in the US.  Our federal government is full of people who have rarely held what most would consider a real job.  They are mostly career politicians who do not know what the real world looks like.  Some have private sector experience, but it is in executive positions, which I find still somewhat removed from reality.  There are those who have extensive experience outside of government, but few who have that outside of the legal profession.  During every election cycle, we always hear about people wanting to get rid of the gridlock in congress, get rid of the dishonesty in the White House.  Yet every election cycle, we vote in the same type of people and are shocked when they continue to pass foolish laws, participate in the graft and corruption that has become everyday business and retire with excessive retirement benefits.  

Until we stop electing people, we will continue to see the same reruns.  History will continue to repeat itself.  When voting next time, be it local, state or national, and you have a choice between a politician, a shopkeeper and a homemaker, vote for one of the latter two.  They might surprise you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Address? We don't need no stinkin' address...

I would really like for the MacArthur, Ohio police chief to explain to the public why they came to the conclusion that no crime was committed.  A bank proceeded with a foreclosure on a home and sent a team to process the home.  Despite having the address, the team followed a GPS coordinate, picked the home with the un-mowed lawn and proceeded with their job.  The fact that it was the wrong address, and that the actual home was directly across the street was inconsequential.  They took most of the contents of the home and sold them or took them to the dump.  The actual homeowner returns to find that her key does not work and her belongings are gone.

As far as I can see, a burglary took place.  In addition, the stolen goods were sold.  There are at least two felonies, committed by bank employees who couldn't be bothered to actually read the paperwork.  And then, to top it off, the bank president got insulted when the homeowner requested 18k to replace all of her belongings.  I hope she sues and gets 10 times that in court.  Remember, civil court juries do not need to be unanimous and the banks have not made any friends in the last five years with their foreclosure record.  If he was smart he would have taken that 18k figure as a bargain.  With luck, she will go to court, win a large settlement and the bank board will remove this ass with prejudice for incompetence.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The finest we can hire...

We recently decided to move our help desk from offshore back to the US.  While the initial roll out to the offshore company was a disaster they eventually got it kind of together, although we still regularly got people on the line who appear to have been standing in the unemployment line just before the shift started.

So we made the bold move to bring it back onshore, and located it in an area that is technology rich but has a low cost of living.  The people we hire will be professionals who do this for a living and the skill levels will be far above what we had before.  That was the theory.  The following is a transcript of our skilled professionals in action:

Helpdesk Professional: “So you are going to have to take your laptop to the Desktop group and get your laptop OS rebuilt.”
User: “Okay, so how do I do that?”
HDP: “Just take to laptop to the Desktop Department, and they will flash the OS.”
User: “Like I said, I am in Duluth.”
HDP: “Well, just take it to the Duluth headquarters.”
User:  “What do you mean? Am I supposed to book a ticket and fly this laptop to San Jose, CA? I am in a branch field office in Minnesota.”
HDP: “Well, then I don't know how to do this. Are you sure you are not in Dallas?  Because then I could just swing by.”
User: “No I am not in Dallas…I am in Duluth.”

HDP: “Well….that changes everything. I’ll have to get back to you.”

Excellent with a computer, but apparently we didn't add geography knowledge to the job requirements...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where's Al Sharpton?

I see the indignation shown by prominent activists only applies to people who are convenient to the publicity to be gained.  While Uncle Al and his followers wax eloquent and stir up tensions over the Zimmerman verdict, I hear nothing from them about the tragic death of an 8 year old girl, killed by gunfire in the living room of her 7 year old best friend, also shot in the incident.  Also hit was the best friend's 4 year old brother and grandmother.  Where is the righteous indignation about these tragic deaths and the ongoing violence in the city of Oakland?  Why is Al Sharpton and his organization not protesting in the streets of Oakland over this?

Oh, yea, it isn't as good a sound byte, especially when it likely won't play into his narrative once the perpetrator is caught.  Since the Oakland protesters responded in the usual fashion for Oakland, I guess Al would rather stay in front of the cameras with the pretty people than actually address the more common problems...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why yes, clueless is their game...

Many moons ago, I was young and impressionable.  Having moved out of the parental lodgings, with a job, I thought the world was my oyster.  Wanting to be informed in the coolest way possible, I ordered a one year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.  It was a heady time, the first gulf war recently won, the soviet empire had fallen and presidential elections were coming up.  As such, I was impressed by my very first issue.  In addition to all of the music industry news that I apparently thought I needed, it also had an interview with presidential candidate Bill Clinton authored by PJ O'Rourke.  I was initially highly impressed.  However, as I continued to receive my subscriptions, I began to notice that the people writing and publishing the magazine should really stick to writing about the music scene, because outside of that bubble, they were lacking in perspective.  By the time my subscription expired, I even viewed their music reporting with a jaundiced eye.

So it comes as no shock to me that they thought putting a terrorist on the cover like a rock star would be a good idea.  They live in a bubble, not in the real world, and this type of "reporting" seems perfectly logical to them.  I am hoping that the list of retailers boycotting this issue grows to such a point that they end up using this issue as fuel to heat their offices.  At least then it would have value.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reason that I want to leave California #1,234.963

A jury acquitted a San Francisco man of murder in a case that absolutely boggles the mind.  The victim and the suspect were actually married during the brief 2004 California gay marriage window.  They were a couple for 20 years.  There was no history of discord between the two.  There was no physical evidence linking him to the murder, but evidence showing someone else was involved.  After sitting at the victims bedside for weeks until death finally took him, the police arrested the man.  With no evidence.  The medical examiner that was to testify was suddenly removed from the case.  The medical examiner that did testify could not even rule out accidental death.  No other suspects were ever pursued or even entertained, even though bloody shoe prints not matching the arrested man were found and video evidence showed someone else entirely.  

What we have is a lazy investigation and an attempt to railroad a man into jail so that a conviction could be quickly be logged.  In fact, I'm sure that SFPD listed that item as a solved crime in their stats.  While I realize that this type of fiasco happens in other states (Glaring Example) I have seen this type of BS from California too many times.  I hope one day to win a record California lottery jackpot so that I can tell the news media that the first thing I am doing is moving out of California.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The case for restrictions....

Lately, we have been witness to the realization that our government has decided to take liberties with what they were legislated to accomplish.  The programs revealed by an altruistic young man reveal that our leaders, no matter what they tell you to get elected, will generally abuse power once they achieve control of it.  But really, we should not be surprised.  For years, the American public has allowed "Mission Creep" in law enforcement under the guise of public and officer safety.  To think that the intelligence community would not be subject to similar mission creep is naive.  

However, as the full story on our spies has yet to play out, I will refrain on commenting on that.  The mission creep I want to address is at a lower level.  JayG linked to a story about a young woman arrested for buying a 12 pack of water.  The "sting" was effected in a dark parking lot by plainclothes agents who exhibited less than professional behavior.  The woman reacted exactly as she should have and still spent a night in jail.  Even the  ABC description of the incident tells me that the students made the right choice.  Although the charges were dropped, I doubt that the Alcoholic Beverage Control agents will see a single item in their files about the incident.  And here is where I start to have a problem.  

I have long had an issue with plainclothes officers making arrests with no uniformed officers supporting the event.  In this case, it was late night and guns were pulled over a suspected 12 pack of beer.  What should have happened is that the agents involved should have requested a cruiser be assigned to stop suspected vehicles as they leave the parking lot while the agents check on the purchase with the store.  Instead, we have the wild west with agents jumping on the hood of the car with drawn guns over not-beer.  

This is a perfect example of why I would like to see state and federal agencies lose this privilege as well as their right to carry on duty.  In fact, I feel that most of the state and federal agencies should lose their "Tactical Teams" (or whatever they call them in their organization) and be required to justify calling in an agency that does have them.  Despite what you saw in The Untouchables, Al Capone was brought down by a bunch of accountants.  We need more accountants, less gunslingers.  I would also like the scale tip farther towards "Citizen Safety" instead of "Officer Safety".  You chose a dangerous career, but that does not mean that I have to give up my right to be treated innocent until proven guilty just so that you can feel safe while doing that dangerous job.

Note:  Apparently, many other people have complained directly, because the organization is taking a second look and the "awareness" has reached the Governor's office.