Am I becoming anti-technology or just paranoid?

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There was a time when I didn’t mind playing with Windows, Mac, Linux, UNIX, Android, and IOS all at the same time.

I actually liked the challenge of cobbling together all the bits necessary to connect disparate machines & systems into a nicely unified whole.

This led to about 20 email addresses and nightmares in synchronizing various contacts lists.

Lately, I’ve been on a simplification kick. I’ve been deleting accounts of various types that no longer serve me. Now I’ve gotten to the point where I’m looking very hard at email addresses.

I have an Android phone, I have Mac computers and an iPad that I freaking love. 

By definition this means that I have to have at least one gmail account. It also means that I have to connect the Mac & iPad to that gmail account in order to keep the contact lists current between the devices. 

This is an uneasy connection / alliance at best. When it works it’s mostly ok when it breaks it’s a royal pain in the behind.

I’ve gotten tired of fighting to keep everything in sync. 

I’ve long believed that technology should be transparent to the user. With Macs in general that is true. But sometimes trying to work outside the Mac empire is… well opaque. 

I’ve finally gotten to the point that I just don’t want to have to fiddle.

With the recent revelations about the monitoring our own government is conducting, It’s time for me to consolidate and reduce my internet footprint to as minimal as possible. One easy way to do that is to standardize on Apple devices and services exclusively.

Obviously, that won’t stop the monitoring, but at least I’ll know where I’m bleeding information from.

Sharp Fire Day 3 (What part of this don’t you understand?)

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Yes we’re evacuated.

Yes it’s inconvenient and a little uncomfortable, if for no other reason than our routine has been completely disrupted.

BUT…  and this is important.

It is far better for me to be here.

Not because I’m scared but because I’m out of the way!

Narrow roads, unpredictable fire, lots of equipment, lots of firemen, the very real potential for chaotic and potentially dangerous retreat where second of delay can cost lives.

So the Firefighters correctly asked us to evacuate. They very patiently explained their reasoning to people who didn’t get it,  and yet…

There were dumbasses who insisted on not leaving when they’re asked to do so. I get it, they wanted to stay to protect their homes if possible.

If I didn’t have responsibility for the dog, I might have been one of those dumbasses. Of course… The key would have been in the ignition of the car, the car nose out in the driveway and the basics would have been packed in the back of the car.

Worse yet are the dumbasses who insist on walking into an evacuated area.

Folks that don’t leave are, at least Identifiable because they’re going to be hunkered down in their houses. If things go bad the Firefighters can make sure they can take those folks with them.

But what about the people that walk in?

Are these people thinking at all? 

Many of them don’t belong or live in the area,  and don’t know what they’re walking into.

They’re placing yet another strain on the Police & Firefighters. Yes, another strain… How do the police know you’re not up to no good?

The Police and Firefighters are busting their asses to make sure that the property is protected from both the fire and from opportunistic scumbags.

The presence of people walking in and out of the evacuation area makes the jobs of the Firefighters and Police much more difficult than it needs to be.

These guys, have to keep doing head-counts to keep track of the number of folks coming in & out. And with ecah new body they see, its another person they’re responsible for.

Yes dumbasses…  

The Firefighters and Police primary duty is to protect human life, then structures & property. (Yep even idiots who by all that’s Holy should have offed themselves years ago and earned a Darwin Award in the process)

Your presence in the area makes them responsible for you.

Honestly I’d rather have the Firemen concentrating on putting the fire out instead of counting or trying to control idiots. 

But then again, I’m funny that way. I’d rather not lose my home again

If the wind changes and the fire starts moving fast toward them what are those people on foot going to do?

Ask for the cops to give them a ride out? Hop on the firetrucks and hope theres enough room?

I’d like to see the police give them a ride out of the area… to the local jail. Charge them with insufferable stupidity and hold them for 10 days. But that’s me…

Should the wind change, causing the firefighters have to fall back… Does it ever occur to these idiots, that a Firefighter or Police officer may lose their life trying to find or protect their moronic asses? 

Of course not…

Nope! All these people think about is their own selfish desires and self importance.

So, for the sake of the morons in the crowd.

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Fire has big red things climbing trees and crawling on bushes

Smoke from fire hard to breath its bad

Firefighters make fire go away

When Fireman tells you to go away… Do it!  

Go find someone else to annoy perhaps you can go chat up someone in the media I’m sure one of them would love to hear your inane driveling about big fire, lots of smoke, and that you were scared.

The media won’t even bother to ask if you’re a resident or why you crossed an evacuation line in the first place.

One last thing… we pretty much all agree that the Main Stream Media are a bunch of idiots… So since THEY are out of the evacuation areas what does that say about those folks that cross evacuation lines on foot?

Think about it.

Yet more obscenity… (Sorry, not the “Good” Kind)

A reader of my blog directed me to this little jewel of insanity.

T shirtA 14 year old in West Virginia was wearing a t-shirt at school like the one at the right. (I pulled this image from the NRA website. The shirt is for sale there.)

Short version.

The young man apparently tried to exercise his FIRST Amendment right to freedom of expression and refused to change shirts. Then the school calls the cops, the young man is arrested for “Disrupting the education process” REALLY? What ever happened to calling your Mom or your Dad and having them pick you up from school and giving you a talking to you wouldn’t soon forget.

Why the fuck were the cops called at all?

At worst, the kid may have been in violation of some dumb assed dress code. Hell you see more controversial shirts at the mall.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is yet another over-reaction from people about guns. Honestly I’d never thought you’d see this kind of crap from West Virginia. After all that is one of the “Flyover” states isn’t it?

I haven’t been able to confirm it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was another example of stupid “Zero Tolerance Policies”

In expressing his support for the Second Amendment… This 8th grader had his First Amendment right trampled and left in the Mud.

The police know they’re wrong in this. The District Attorney knows this trifling thing should have been nothing more than the school, the police (since they were called), the young man, and his father sitting down and having a discussion about why this shirt shouldn’t have been worn and as was already done, a day of suspension for the young man. Ideally it should have been the Principal, the young man and his dad.

That’s where it should have ended.

The people of Logan West Virginia should be outraged that their tax dollars are being wasted this way. They should be asking serious questions about the schools administration too.

As I’ve written before, what kind of lesson are we teaching? “Don’t handle your own problems foist it off on someone else? Make sure that you complicate things so much that only a jury can sort it out?” Come on!

This is not how civilized people in a polite society deal with simple problems.

There was a time in this country when we didn’t need Lawyers, Judges, and Police to be involved in every single aspect of our lives.

We shouldn’t need to take anything to court except in cases of the most serious breaches of law or in simply unresolvable cases.

Worse is that this young man is going to have a juvenile record for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Why do we repeatedly teach our young people about their Rights, about doing the Right Thing and then turn around and punish them for exercising their rights or doing the right thing?

I’ve written about this before,

The young man who disarmed a gun wielding moron on a bus in Florida because the person with the gun was holding it to the head of another student and threatening to pull the trigger.

The young life guard who saved someone life, but that “save” was outside the area he was paid to patrol and so as a result of doing the right thing, he was fired.

Then there’s the young man in Oregon who saved someone else from drowning and because of procedure his family was hit with a bill for an ambulance ride and examination in the local emergency room.

The Elementary school child who was suspended for chewing his poptart into the shape of a gun.

The child who took his cap gun to school and ended up being grilled for hours and his family’s home being searched for weapons.

The adult Army Sargent in TX who was arrested, had his guns confiscated, lost out on a Career promotion, and had his Son terrorized by a police officer because The Sargent was “rudely” displaying a rifle… By the way it’s  legal to carry rifles openly in TX.

There are so many more of these cases it’s unreal.

Folks, this kind of stuff goes on all the time, each day there’s another incident added to the list.

For every incident that makes the national news, how many are being swept under the carpet?

I’ve been told I’m wrong. I’ve been told that the government isn’t coming to take guns out of the hands of the people. I can only say OH, Really???

If that’s true, then why are police so quick to search homes, specifically looking for weapons? How do we justify the repeated violations of the First and Fourth amendments nationwide? How do we justify the denial of the Second amendment when legally owned guns are confiscated during searches conducted in violation of the Fourth amendment?

WE CAN’T!

If you entertain for one moment that the Constitution of the United States of America isn’t under siege you really need to think again.

To my conservative and liberal readers. Regardless of your stance on guns… (put that aside for just a moment). We need to reach out to each other to protect all of our constitutional rights.

The loss of the First amendment will affect all of us.

Do you want to live in a nation where you can’t speak your mind? How about a nation where you fear having your home searched randomly for contraband, not because you were accused but just because someone felt like it? This is perhaps not fiction anymore.

We already have seen the erosion of privacy that is tantamount to an illegal search by the NSA.

It will take a united America to protect The Constitution. There are no party lines in this, no color, no religion, no conservatives, no liberals, only Americans who believe in Freedom.

I’m no longer a member of the NRA, but I’ve got the hat… I think I’m going to be wearing it a lot more. A) to let folks know I’m pro 2nd amendment, and B) because I’m sure that I’ll be able to find liberals to have discussions with.

I was thinking we should have a “Jared day” where everyone wears the same t-shirt he was wearing when he got into all this trouble. I hope that the NRA is watching and provides funding for Jareds defense, I’m betting he’s going to need it.

If any part of this has struck a chord – stand up, take action.

Write your Congressman & Representatives. Their addresses are easy to find on various Government websites. Please take a second and look ’em up.

Try to wake up your family, friends, and neighbors. You do that not by browbeating them, but by presenting them with your concerns and facts.

Freedom is hard work. We’re up to it, but we all have to be engaged and pulling together.

Ahhh Bliss…

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I turned off Twitter, the TV, and am not reading or looking at any “News” sources.

After watching President Obamas brief speech this morning I simply couldn’t take any more.

The silence has been very nice. The more I’ve heard over the past week the madder I’ve gotten. After a couple of hours of peace & quiet I’m feeling much better.

I have been thinking it’s funny that the tin foil hat wearing crowd may have been vindicated!

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I’ve also been enjoying the thought that the most rabid of the Democrats must be twitching in apoplectic fits that their “Savior” seems to be at the center of a maelstrom of  scandals.

Somehow thinking of those Democrats (including one who told me I was a moron in my own home after accepting my hospitality) drinking themselves into a stupor over all of this, is somewhat satisfying.

Make no mistake. 

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The last Republican administration wasn’t any better. 

But the haughty arrogance that so many of the Democratic representatives have exhibited and that their rabid constituents have leveled directly at people like me, is deserving of a humbling.

More often than not I happen to agree with the Republican stance on issues.

I don’t agree with the Republicans about DOMA, and didn’t agree with them about DADT. I have a serious problem with the ultra fundamentalists injecting God into the government and then being shown as hypocrites when they’re caught with their pants down porking or being porked by some sweet young congressional page. I’d love to tell the hypocritical Republicans that Defense of Marriage starts at home. If they can’t live up to their vows, then how can they possibly be defenders of the institution.

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I most often don’t agree with the Democrats, about anything. I don’t think endless government agencies and intervention is the way. I don’t think that outrageous spending is going to help do much of anything except put our country further into debt.

But I work pretty hard to see both sides of an issue. 

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I can honestly say I’ve never told someone I disagreed with on twitter “Fuck off”, “I hope you get cancer”, “I hope you get shot”, “I’m sure that the natural disaster that has leveled your town is karmic payback for your beliefs.”, “Gee you seem like you want to learn perhaps you should go to a real school and learn the right information.” 

All of these curses/comments have been leveled at me for no other reason than I didn’t agree with the Democratic perspective. Or I committed the horrific affront of asking for facts. Just because I don’t drink the Democratic Kool-Aid doesn’t mean I’ve been smoking the Republican bong.

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What I really want is that simplest most elusive of Human states. Freedom!

I want to be free from religion, interference, hatred, hostility, and rhetoric.

I want to marry who I want to, and be left the hell alone to live my life MY WAY without 10,000 busybodies telling me that I’m wrong or trying to control every moment of my existence.

What I want is to tell Washington, and Sacramento;

You’re not living my life, I am. You don’t have a fucking clue about what’s best for me so let me marry the consenting adult of my choice, get your hands out of my pocket, your regulations out of my face and keep your noses out of my business.

And one more thing Government… 

I look at our relationship as a contract. One that you’ve not delivered on… If I were to have broken a contract as thoroughly and intentionally as you have, I’d be in jail.

Time for you Government, to realize you’re not above the law, you’re as bound by it as I am. 

So Start acting like it!

I was thinking about the slippery slope

I’m beginning to think that this concept isn’t taught anymore by parents or by our educational system. While it may be a somewhat fallacious argument, as a thought experiment The Slippery Slope can be a cautionary lesson too.

After all it does not necessarily follow that equal rights for everyone, will result in bestiality, paedophilia, and the end of civilization. Althought there are those who would construct that argument.

I personally believe that in the realm of ethics an exploration of the slippery slope is a worthwhile exercise.

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I guess it’s a tough concept to explain with a society that’s as fractured by special interests and the perception of special rights as ours is today.

Back at the dawn of time, I was taught about the slippery slope by my parents. My education on the subject was via philosophical discussions that my parents had or that happened during holiday get togethers.

Even in middle and high school we had discussions about slippery slopes using some of the morally ambiguous characters from literature.

My Granddad and Dad would sometime get into these discussions and it was only after many years and some information from my brother that I realized these discussions were perhaps more pragmatic than philosophical.

The Slippery Slope is at it’s core a description of how behavior becomes accepted and in the worst case even respectable due to repeated justification, excuses, and rhetoric.

Our politicians are pretty good examples. Influence peddling, favors for political contributions and the like. All of which are technically illegal, but which are often ignored because someone somewhere else is doing something 100 times worse.

You find yourself on “The Slope” when you justify an action you know to be wrong, using any variety of excuses.

Well, just this once.”, “It’s not going to hurt anybody“, “That sign only means if you’ve got bad tires.”, “They can afford it, they’re wealthy, or better off than me, or insured.

This is how you end up with a dozen people falling into a partially frozen lake.

This is how you have people believing that any imposition of law or order must obviously be racism.

This is how you end up with people more and more easily justifying that some criminal behavior is ok. 

My kids needed Christmas I only stole that Xbox for them”. ‘I wanted to watch the football game so I took the TV from that rich white fucks house, what does it matter? He’s insured.”

This is the slippery slope that so many of our leaders used to talk about.

Before you say “Yeah, well you’ve never had it rough”, trust me, I have.

I’ll tell you a story sometime if you’d like. 

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My point is that we’re on a very slippery slope in our country right now.

We’ve seen the abuses from organizations like the IRS,TSA, DHS, State Department, & FBI.

We’ve seen what happens when government agencies believe they’re immune to prosecution and above the law. “Operation Fast & Furious”, Brutal & cruel screening procedures at airports, the release of Illegal immigrants from DHS holding as an attempt to scare Congress into avoiding the sequester.

Even the assault on the 2nd amendment has elements of the slippery slope. “We’re going to just take this one kind of gun.“, “We’re only going to require this, or that, or this other thing, for you to exercise your 2nd amendment right.

But the scope of the requirements and restrictions keeps evolving and growing.

NYC “We’re going to limit your drink sizes because you people can’t control yourselves and are too fat. You’ve become a health burden.”

Now we’re seeing the Mayor initiating legislation to hide cigarettes. Again this is billed as “For the good of the children, and the general health & wellbeing of the people

NYC is, no matter how you cut it, abridging the rights of the people to engage in their personal pursuit of happiness.

These slides lead us toward a destination that is radically different from the Democracy that our forefathers envisioned.

Unfortunately, like the icy hill, once you’re over the edge you can’t stop until you hit bottom.

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We as Americans, need to think about how much we have to lose, and how far we have to fall. 

Call on your representatives to stop the abuses. Let Congress & The White House know that you The Citizens… (We The People) have had enough, and that Washington has your full and undivided attention.

Demand investigations, and that lawbreakers within our government be brought to justice No Matter Who the are.

If we don’t put a stop to it now, there may be no stopping it till we hit bottom.

Just a thought…

N.Y. mayor ‘shocked’ by soda law ruling

I saw the following headline this morning. This link should take you to the whole article.

N.Y. mayor ‘shocked’ by soda law ruling, takes shot at Mississippi law

I couldn’t help myself…

 


 

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Dear Mayor Bloomberg.

First… REALLY???

You really don’t understand why Mississippi has passed an anti Bloomberg law?

You really were shocked that  the Judge ruled against your soda law? Obviously you must have forgotten about a little thing called freedom.

You can’t be that clueless, therefore you have to be working at being purposefully obtuse.

Let me explain this to you in a way that perhaps your sycophant aides won’t.

Mississippi, isn’t legislating in favor of obesity they’re legislating against government interference in their lives, a phenomenon all too present these days.

I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand this concept, you’re so sure that you know whats best for everyone.

In your arrogant conceit you assume that no-one is capable of thinking for themselves or making their own choices. Further, you seek to remove any choice that could have deleterious effect.

Where Mr. Mayor would you stop?

Would Steak and all red meat be outlawed in the city of New York? Would you further legislate that only a vegan diet is acceptable? A healthier lifestyle requires less in medical costs doesn’t it?

Would you ban all alcoholic beverages from your city? That should put a stop to drunk driving. It would also reduce employee absenteeism thereby making your city more industrious and productive.

To protect society and New Yorkers Would you criminalize sex out of wedlock? Or Would you simply pass legislation to enforce reversible sterilization? This would prevent the poor from overly burdening themselves with children that could require assistance from the state, or who might become criminals.

How about requiring registration and licensing for use all cooking knives over 5” long?Those too can be used as deadly weapons.

Would you decide that fashion envy is a threat to the stability of your city and require uniforms to be worn by everyone?

Would you try to engage in eugenics, assigning men and women to each other for the purposes of reproduction. After all, in just a few generations you could erase or significantly blur the color lines in your city. Homogenous is good isn’t it?

Would you outlaw religion? Or will you simply define a State religion, thereby removing any potential conflict over beliefs?

When your ideas were rejected and the people engaged in protests and other forms of civil disobedience would you give the police a shoot to kill order? Would you bring in the national guard to enforce your will? I suppose you wouldn’t need the national guard, NYPD does seem to shoot and kill innocent people with frightening efficiency. 

Mr Mayor…

As insane as these ideas sound. To some extent throughout history been tried in various times and places, thankfully for the most part they’ve failed or at least been mercifully short lived.

Despots, and Dictators seem to start out by enacting laws “For the safety and Security of their people”. Historically, it doesn’t end well.

Thankfully you’re not in a position of national power. You pose little threat to the rest of us. 

The people of Mississippi and indeed other states are using you as a means to voice their opinion by saying no to the Nannyism which leads to a dark path, a path that is anathema to the core beliefs of America and her citizens.

That Mr Mayor is why you’ve become a laughing stock in so many places.

That’s why a Judge has ruled against your silly law. That is why other states are etching your name in the annals of their books of law as someone who is on the wrong side of common sense and freedom.

That’s why you’re becoming largely irrelevant.

Mr. Mayor, you do serve one purpose, You’re an example to our politicians about what can happen when you go too far.

I hope they get the message.

I look forward to the phrase “He’s a / Thats a Bloomberg” entering the national conversation as a euphemism for someone or something which is largely irrelevant.