Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I feel for these people....

A friend of mine forwarded this news story and I just have no words...


Actually, I have a lot of words.  Many of them are not nice.

When our daughter was a toddler, she would fly into fits of rage that could not be contained.  As a toddler, she did structural damage to a home and once launched a recliner three feet in the air a distance of almost 10 feet.  At these times, she was a little ball of uncontrollable fury.  Our doctors were unwilling to make a full diagnosis based on her age.  Autism was still a dirty word.  We were given many numbers for local organizations that could (in theory) help, but really did nothing but send a college kid to the house who could not help or would not help.  We also had a number of call to the police to assist in catching her (4 year olds can run fast!) and ambulance trips to the children's ward at several local hospitals.  We finally ended this run at a children's ward that seemed to get it.  However, after being there for three days, and despite our warnings about her behavior, we came in to find here in deplorable conditions.  We complained, were apologized to and the situation was rectified.  Two visits later, we find that she cannot walk since they washed her slippers, didn't dry them, and then made her wear them.  Her feet were a mess from this and they accused us of mistreating her.  I pointed out that she was in their care for over a week and the issue was not present when she arrived.  We documented everything we could and returned the next day to speak to the head nurse.  This was Friday night, we returned on Saturday morning.  We demanded to see the head nurse to register our complaint.  A woman appeared and identified herself as the head nurse, which we confirmed by clearly asking her again.  We then lay out our grievance and requested that the situation be addressed.  She then informed us that really she was just the person in charge of the desk for the shift and that we had to come in Monday to speak to the actual head nurse.  We were livid.  We were also told that since the child was there on a 5150 referral, we could not just sign her out.  Come Monday, we call to make an appointment and are told that our daughter would be discharged that afternoon.  So, while I am at work, my wife spends all day completing tasks that they asked her to complete.

At 4:45 she gets a call from CPS stating that our daughter's case had been referred to them and that they would be taking custody of the child from the children's ward.  My wife was hysterical.  I was livid.  This was the beginning of over two years of complete bullshit.  CPS owned the case and we had no redress until we got into court.  They placed our daughter in a county children's shelter that is notorious for child molestation by staff and predatory children housed there.  We only got to see her three times before we got into court.  CPS was arrogant, telling us that we would be lucky if we ever got her back.

Then we got to court.  The judge read the case files and was incredulous that we had even reached this point.  She was doubtful that this case was even credible, and was not entirely satisfied with the CPS agent's answers.  The public defender was not even aware of our names and really did us no service.  The case was continued to another date.  We were then treated poorly by CPS until the next hearing.  We only got to see our daughter three times during that time.

Then came the second hearing.  However, we had a real lawyer, not the public defender.  When the lawyer announced he was representing up, the arrogant CPS agent immediately stated to the judge that they were looking to fast track returning the child to the family.  Victory, right?  Nope.  Due to how things work, despite being cleared of all possible wrongdoing, we still had to follow forms and procedures.  So, our daughter remained in foster care for another 8 months while she was "transitioned" back to our home.  Then we had another 6 months of follow up meetings.  So much for the term "Fast Track".

So, I hope for the best for the couple in Sacramento.  They likely have a long hill to climb.  In the meantime, the rest of you should think on the actual power wielded by agencies like CPS, who can have the police completely blow past your rights and seize not just your property, but your children, and they really will suffer no consequences when they are proved wrong.

Apparently, it is difficult...

I have been struck by how many people in the tech industry have lost the ability to type correctly.  What really gets me is what many of these people think is acceptable to send as correspondence, be it email, snail mail, instant message or text message.  Now, I know that I am likely loosing the battle on text message spelling, as my 14 year old will happily tell me how hard it is to type on a phone keyboard.  Fine.  But really, in a corporate environment, with a full suite of software and a complete keyboard, am I asking too much that spelling, punctuation and sentence structure be given at least a cursory glance?  Microsoft Office, all of the major browsers and really any software I have come across that allows text in the last 10 years all have spell check built in and normally on by default.  Is it so difficult?  I have seen emails from director level people that was typed in all caps, no periods and with a number of mis-spellings.  I have several people in my work group that seem to think that they are texting when I know they are using a laptop with a full keyboard.  One in particular seem to believe that periods are strictly optional and parentheses are only needed at the beginning and not the end.  Some of these emails reach outside vendors.  I shudder to think what this says to them about the people at my company. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wait, they wanna do what?

In the unintended consequences file, we have the State of Washington and Obamacare.

It seems that state legislators realized that they can push a majority of their part time employees to the health care exchanges instead of providing them with health care coverage.  This includes teachers and many other unionized positions.  This kind of move usually results in a huge union outcry, strikes, blustering in the media and such.
The people pushing it?  Republicans.
The people supporting it?  Unions.
The people going WTF?  Democrats.

It seems that the republicans realized that if it exists, they might as well use it.  And they will, riding it till it breaks.  So, instead of forcing all of the evil big businesses to magically come up with healthcare, it has provided the cash strapped states with the perfect out.  Washington state will end up saving over 100 million dollars, the people they move over will get a small increase in their pay and the US gov will subsidize the health care costs.  And all those part time people who thought that Obamacare was a good idea?  Well, across the country they seem to be having their hours cut to under the minimum so that health care is not required.  Now they get less money and they are required BY LAW to pay for health insurance.

I do believe that the unions are looking at this as an opportunity to get more money for their members.  They have come out in support of it, but when it comes down to brass tacks, they will likely demand 5 times the compensation that they state is offering, settle for twice and still complain that a state subsidy program is needed.  But that’s just my jaded experience talking.

Remember America, you supported it!  And will continue to, since the chances of repealing this pile of steaming legislation moves farther and farther from reality.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Who elected these idiots?

The crime scenes aren't even complete and the politicians are already trying to blame someone other than the suspects for the marathon bombing.  Really?  And now we want to designate special terrorist status?  Look, I realize that, more and more, elected officials hate that little thing called the Constitution and its companion, the Bill of Rights.  Despite your dogged determination to fight the war on terror, the reality is that he is a criminal on US soil.  He is entitled to his Miranda Rights, his lawyer and his due process.  Just like every other criminal in the US.  Was the crime horrible?  Yes.  Was it possible that his brother had training elsewhere?  Yes.  Is it possible that they got everything they needed from the internet and local stores?  More than likely.  Should we maybe let the FBI do their job for more than a week before we start assessing blame?  How about you go do something useful at the capitol, like removing old laws that no longer apply or figuring out how to repair our national infrastructure without lining the pockets of all of your cronies?

The reality is that we, the people, elected these morons, and until we stop electing them, our government will continue to be a silly three ring circus.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Word to the wise...

When your wife is in a rage about unfinished and incorrectly completed items in the kitchen, the proper response is not "Dear, can you turn the attitude down a couple of notches?"  Trust me on this...

The news can be depressing or annoying...

I made an immediate observation yesterday while reading the reports on the tragedy in Boston.  There are daily bombings in Iraq that take dozens of lives and it is a Page 2, Column 3 item with the news organizations.  We have a bombing in the US that kills three and it is front page, top of the news channels complete with its own catchy title and font.  Admittedly, I am following it as much as any American, since it happened in my country, but I did find the observation interesting, as did several people on CNN's comment section.

That being said, I noticed another story regarding drones and how they are "radicalizing a new generation of terrorist" in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.  I am on the fence about drones, in that I like the military having that capability, but I don't like the legal twister that has been played to justify the use of them in other countries against the wishes of that countries government.  But that is neither her nor there, since the issue was the young boys being "de-radicalized" in the Swat Valley after being apprehended by the Pakistani government.  I applaud their efforts.  What I thought was simple minded was the journalist that made the case for drone strikes being the main reason for the radicalization of these boys by the Taliban militants.  The mentality shown by the islamic militants in general has shown that they will find a reason to blame the US for the woes of their people.  Drone strikes are convenient at this time, but support for Israel, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the shelling by US warships of Lebanon in the 80's, the Crusades, all of these are game and the list is endless.  When a group is looking to bend people to its will, especially people that will be expendable, they need only a convenient excuse.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The year has not started well...

The new year has not started well by any stretch.  I received diabetes for Christmas, although really that is my fault.  I don't get enough exercise, and while my diet isn't horrible, it isn't great when mixed with just sitting on my ass.  I have no one to blame but myself.

Then some close friends were notified that the house they were renting went into foreclosure and they got a 60 day notice.  Feeling bad for them, we immediately offered to assist.  Less than a week later, we found out that the house we were renting was being sold, and we got a 60 day notice.  Lovely.  In the middle of that time, I found out that I had unplanned 2 week business trip to Colorado.  Three weeks work in two weeks time later, I was back to complete the final push of the move from a three bedroom house into a two bedroom apartment.  And storage.  Lots of storage.  I didn't realize we owned that much crap.  Also, some friends, including those that had to move, assisted us with great effort, and I thank them heartily.  Some were not able to come but arranged for others to, who we now call friends as well.  And many, well they kept a low profile.  Sad, but I decided not to dwell.

Now I am exhausted.  My wife and daughter are broken, literally.  I will be selling a firearm to help pay for the move, which still  leaves a huge hole to fill.  We have been taking only what we need into the apartment, and still have too much there.  After that, we reduce the level of our belongings on a grand scale.  The next time I move, I want it to fit into one 17 foot box truck with room to spare.  Many things will go, some of which we have emotional attachment to.  But it will all have to go.  And maybe, after all of it is gone, we will be able to move somewhere that we own and can purchase outright.