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.