Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nation of the offended, or politics of race?

So apparently an NBA team owner referred to a player's friends as the player's "posse" and the people are in a uproar, with the player claiming that the term is a racial slur. Is there anything that isn't a racial slur?

The team owner is just as confused as I am. Weeks later, the player is still complaining. I don't see what he has to complain about, since he is known for making actual racial slurs:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Part of the problem

My wife teaches a class at the High School level. Her class is computer based, and the students are given files to complete as part of the coursework. Unbeknownst to the students, those files have electronic tokens embedded in them as a digital watermark. Those tokens are unique to each student and to each electronic file.

Upon review, there were 200 instances of cheating committed by 20 different students, as evidenced by students turning in files that were watermarked with another student's token. Since her class is a dual enrollment class that also gives college credit, the college demanded that action be taken.

Several of the students involved are members of the National Honor Society. As a result of the cheating incident, they are being expelled from the NHS. The parents are livid. Not with the students, as you might expect, but with the schools and teachers involved. Why? Because they are "ruining my child's chance at a good college by putting this on their permanent record."

Several parents have requested parent conferences, and are claiming that this isn't cheating, but instead is delegating and "wisely using available resources."

How can teachers correct 16 years of bad parenting in the 135 hours that we have them as students in a typical school year?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Stand Your Ground

A battered, dark-colored pickup truck tore through the grassy shoulder to the right of Padgett's SUV, cut back into the lane and skidded to a halt. Padgett slammed on his brakes to avoid a collision.

Seconds later, the pickup driver appeared in the glow of Padgett's headlights — a burly, bald man shouting threats and waving his arms as he walked toward the SUV. Padgett told Durham to get back in his car, but he continued to approach. Padgett warned that he was armed.

I don't give a f --- if you have a gun. I'm going to kick your a--.

Padgett warned him again, then drew his gun with his left hand and pointed it out the driver-side window. He warned Durham he'd shoot.

I'm going to f----- kill you.

He was almost to Padgett's driver-side mirror.

At that moment, Durham appeared to reach toward his waist.

Padgett squeezed the trigger once.

Detectives told him if he'd gotten out of his SUV, Durham probably would have hurt or killed him, Padgett said. Criminal charges seemed unlikely, but he would have to wait two months for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office to decide.

The man he shot had killed a man in 2002 in nearly the same situation, and had served 10 years in prison for the killing. In fact, that homicide was his third stretch in prison. He was released in 2012 and was on probation at the time of his death.

Durham's widow, Heather, did not respond to interview requests for this story. In August, she told the Times her husband was a kind, generous man who wasn't defined by his past.

Read the whole story here. It is an excellent story of a defensive shooting, and the PTSD that the shooter experienced in its aftermath.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The plunge

Three years ago, I began dating a delightful woman. Within a month, we had taken our first trip together: we went to Mexico for a week.

Six months later, we were living together.

A month after that, I became a high school science teacher, so we would have extra money to travel and our days off would match.

Over the next two years, that woman from New York would change from mildly anti-gun New York girl to a CCW holding, gun carrying, Trump voting, libertarian leaning Trump voter.

To say that we had changed each other is an understatement.

So a year ago, on November 11th, we became engaged.

In the past week, we were married. It was a medium sized affair, with about 50 guests. The ceremony was short and meaningful, with many of the attendees saying that it was unique and fun.

She was so beautiful, and I was so moved. This was my third marriage, and for the first time, I cried at a wedding. I am not ashamed to say it. This woman is special like no other has been, and I am happy to have finally find the peace I have always longed for.

The after party was a blast, with an open bar, outstanding gourmet food. We are both foodies- I and my family are Cajun, and she and her family are Italian, so you know that the food there would be interesting, tasty, and not at all healthy. The chef we hired made great food, which we previewed this past summer, to make sure it fit our requirements.

Everyone had a great time.

Now I settle into the married life, once again.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Publicity Stunt

A woman claims that she was hiking and ran across a couple walking their dogs. It turns out it was the Clintons.

“I saw a couple of people and two little dogs walking toward me and as I got closer, I realized it was Bill and Hillary Clinton,” she told Inside Edition. “I asked to take a picture with her and he offered to take it for me, and the rest is history.”

This story is manufactured and untrue. You see, former Presidents have Secret Service protection for the rest of their lives, and therefore the woman would not have seen a "couple of people," what with the SS agents tagging along, meaning that she is lying and the entire incident here was staged for media reasons.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sanctuary City

Stockton, California is a sanctuary city. This means that you can be an illegal alien, and they will do all in their power to protect you and prevent you from being deported. Immigration laws mean nothing there.

However, you better not sell food without a permit.

"I don't write the laws, I enforce them. And the legislature has felt that this is a crime,” said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Kelly McDaniel. 

Funny that THIS law is where the DDA takes a stand. I guess some laws are important enough to enforce, and others aren't.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Revolving door

Old Town is a popular tourist destination in Osceola County. I have gone there a few times myself. On Saturday nights, they have the Classic Car Cruise, which is a great car show for old cars.

Last night, several hours after the car show was complete, there was a bit of a fight there involving known gang members. Deputy Rios was called there to break up the fight was attacked and then shot by Angel Manuel Lopez, a known gang member. To say that Lopez has a criminal record is a bit of an understatement.

He has 16 arrests dating back to 2008 for drug offenses, burglary, battery, and armed robberies. In each of those cases, he was either found not guilty, received only probation, or charges were dropped when witnesses wouldn't testify.

Now he is an attempted cop killer. The justice system doesn't work.

Shell phones- a rant

It used to be that you would get a cell phone for a small token payment, and the cellular provider would then lock you into a 2 year contract, with an early termination fee of several hundred dollars for leaving. 

For the longest time, I simply maintained two lines that were activated a year apart, and this enabled me to get a new phone every year. That worked until the cell companies figured out that particular plan and began selling you the phone at a highly inflated price. They allow you to make payments, but the phones have about a 50% markup, and you are locked into cell service for as long as you continue to make payments.

The salesmen make all sorts of promises, and then have you sign a book length contract that even experienced attorneys cannot decipher. Then it turns out that the contract entirely favors the cell carrier. Isn't this supposed to be what the consumer watchdog agencies of the government are for? Instead, business and government engage in a "one hand washes the other" arrangement where the little guy keeps getting screwed. This is why candidates like Sanders and Trump are so popular.

American cell phone companies are a ripoff. I was talking with people from other countries, and most countries pay less than $40 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. Sure, you have to buy your own phone, but there are no early termination fees, no contracts, and you can switch carriers as you please.

These contracts are distorting the market, and there is no real choice or competition in the cell phone market. I have been a customer of every major cell phone company, most of them more than once. 

- I was a customer of Verizon in the late 90's when they were still PrimeCo. Their service was so poor, and customer service was so rude, I left them and went to Nextel.
- I was a customer of Sprint back when they were Nextel. My relationship with that company ended with me filing a lawsuit when I cancelled service after my phone service failed during 2004's Hurricane Charley. I wanted to cancel my service, they wanted to charge me a $600 early termination fee for cancelling a contract where they were the ones failing to keep up their end of the bargain. I paid the early termination fee to avoid the hit to my credit, and then sued them. I won the lawsuit, and was refunded my ETF plus a small amount for my time and trouble. 

- I went with AT&T for awhile, but their expensive service and the number of dropped calls was horrendous. I went back to Verizon in 2012


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Security Fail

So I have a credit card with an electronics retailer whose name I won't mention, but it rhymes with Breast High. Because I have been updating my physical and electronic security, I was on the company's website trying to change my password to a more secure one. I last changed my passwords in 2014, so I was overdue for a change. While there, I noticed that the address they had on file was an old one that I no longer have access to. I resolved to change the address on file next.

When I tried to change the password, I got a message saying that the process had been unsuccessful. I was locked out, and now cannot get back in. Neither the old password or the new one work. I called the company, and they are telling me that they need me to read the numbers from the physical credit card in order to reset the password. I tell them that I do not have the card, nor have I had it in nearly two years.

They respond by telling me that I must read them the numbers in order to reset the password. They offer to send me a new card. I tell them that the address they have on file is an old one. She then offers to send the card to whatever address I give her.

Blink. Blink.

This "security measure" is more security theater. All anyone has to do is give their address, get a card, and then get the password. Security fail.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crime spree

I put my surveillance cameras in place during the first week of August. It takes about 5 weeks for the DVR to run out of space and begin writing over the old recordings. My cameras can see quite a long way. I can view at least 10 houses and their yards from my house. In the past three months, I have seen the following:

-  My lawn pest guy was just putting the "pesticide" sign in the yard and leaving. I got a refund of $375 and I now do it myself.
- I caught the lawn mowers cutting my screen and damaging several sprinkler heads, as well as the low voltage lighting. They came out and fixed it.
- I caught one of my neighbors' pool guys using my garden hose to add makeup water to the neighbor's pool. They agreed to pay for the excess water. It turns out that I was billed for nearly 2,000 gallons of water over my normal usage.
- When my neighbor's house was burglarized, I happened to get the miscreants on my camera. They now have their own camera system.
- I also caught some local youths setting off large fireworks, damaging some property. I gave the recordings to the affected neighbors.

These cameras have caught so much in such a short time, that I am amazed and wondering if this is normal, or if this is some sort of minor crime spree.

I was asked to join the neighborhood watch. I politely declined. The last thing I want is to be labelled as some sort of wannabe cop racist vigilante ala George Zimmerman. It's a shame when you can't get involved without being a suspect yourself.