Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Palin Email Foot-Dragging

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/sarah-palin-emails-governor-alaska-delay-wait

It provided the emails to the Department of Law in electronic form, hoping that office could use software it had recently obtained to review the emails electronically. This would cut out the long printing process. But, according to a January 28, 2009, memo from the Department of Law, the lawyers "found no way to convert the e-mail records from the format provided to the portable document format (pdf) necessary to use the new software, without opening each individual message to convert it." The memo also noted, "We were unable to batch-print the e-mail records in the format provided."

Once again, utter, raw, plain, unmitigated I/T incompetence among I/T professionals - this time very conveniently.  Are they so stupid that they think there's no way to batch convert text files to PDF?  Or are they so evil that they think everyone else is so stupid that they will believe here's no way to batch convert text files to PDF?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Name

Ok so there's this:



It's been all over the internet, and pouring over into regular media for the past few days - once again there's a shocking (shocking I say!) story about privacy on the internet.

I have always said that people will give up any privacy in droves, and take any risk, if they want the service.  The use of credit card for online shopping proves this (it was once something it was thought people would not do), as do many other services and toys online.  But lately I've been suspecting that, as we begin to understand that the internet can be just as secure as it needs to be to provide services, the very notion of what private information actually is may be shifting to accommodate fear and hype.  

I think this Facebook "issue" clinches it.

I've read very little about this since I don't use Facebook, and don't care.  But the other night there was a story on the News Hour about this matter.  The token expert on the panel explained what these Facebook apps have been found to be doing.  They share a user ID with interested parties (advertisers).  The expert was sheepish about explaining this because it's really, in reality, not much of an issue, and he knew it.  The user ID he explained can be tied back to a user's real name.  That's it.  Your name.

Ah, okay...  When did my *name* become some sort of secret information?  I use my name all the time.  A great many people know my name.  When I meet a new person, or interact with a business, I give my name without hesitation - even to strangers!  Is it just that Facebook users aren't old enough to know what a phone book is?  

Ok, to get philosophical about this...   It isn't just that the scope of what is thought to be "protected" on line has crept.  A name is a more interesting concept.  My Social Security number or bank number can be used to steal from me, but my *name* is an identity.  It is me, as I stand before you, living proof of my existence, and freely giving my name.   Hello, nice to meet you.

People put their names on their mailboxes.  They're not secrets.  A name is not private information.  Hello, nice to meet you, I won't give you may name because you might then believe that I exist as a person.

If you talk to anyone older than about 75, you get a very different take on identity.  Americans that remember when Social Security was created have a different mind set about identification.  They didn't like the idea of a special identifier standing in for them.  But now it seems we can't live without it.  In days long gone, a person just standing there was incontrovertible physical proof of their existence.  Apparently, among today's Facebook users, that existence is just another piece of abstract information that we worry about encoding into bits.
Check your ID each morning.  Make sure you exist.

Here's a couple other interesting stories.

To be fair it is probably the case that a name can be correlated with other info from other sources - but that true regardless of what Facebook does.  All that is saying is that "I" can be correlated with "information about me" - information which I have voluntarily put "out there" for my own purposes, like for example, my name, which I use all the time.
Why would someone use Facebook if they consider their very existence was a "secret?"

The story is in large part a media creation about the scary internet.  But I do also think there is something else going on when people are worried about "secrets" that just aren't secrets.

I was floored when I heard what this latest story was really about - someone might find out a user's name.  Wow.  If you don't want anyone to know your name staying off Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg of what you'd need to do.

People are stupid.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Phone

Microsoft...
Things like this ysed to make me laugh.  But now it's just sad.


http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6905PY20101002

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stupid

2nd half of 14th centuryImage via Wikipediahttp://www.politicususa.com/en/an-epidemic-of-stupidity-is-sweeping-america

"The days when Americans valued education and technological development are gone. In America today, the value system is based on stupidity and superstition, and the right’s goal of shutting down the education system except for religious schools will ensure America remains stupid."

I couldn't have put it any better. The whole post is definitely worth a read.

http://www.politicususa.com/en/an-epidemic-of-stupidity-is-sweeping-america

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The Terrible Truth Revealed at Last

http://www.theonion.com/articles/poll-1-in-5-americans-believe-obama-is-a-cactus,18127/

"According to a poll released Tuesday, nearly 20 percent of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water- retaining desert plant since he took office."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jerk

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/09/greer-apologizes-to-obama-calls-many-gopers-racist.html


"One year ago, when President Barack Obama gave his first back-to-school speech to the nation's schoolchildren, then-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, accused him of using "taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."


"Now, Greer is facing fraud and money laundering charges and has been thrown under the bus by the state GOP, which has accused him of living the high life on party money. And so he's had a change of heart.


"In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation's schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,'' Greer said in a written statement. "Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today. My children and I look forward to the president's speech."

Painful

http://www.blueoregon.com/2010/09/theres-only-so-much-stupid-one-man-can-take/

My gosh people are SOO dumb...
How in the world does someone like Blumenauer manage to get out of bed in the morning and carry on?  These are really, really bad times in this country.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taxing

Of course it's completely obvious from this graph:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_09/025514.php

just how important it is that we preserve George W. Bush's tax rate structure.


It should also be obvious just how dumb Americans are to elect Republicans - unless of course you're in the upper 2% of incomes rates that benefit from Republican policies, in which case you're not dumb just self-serving.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pawns

http://edsteinink.com/2010/08/30/puppeteer/

"I’ve wondered for years how so many people have been persuaded to vote again and again against their own economic self-interest. A revealing article by Jane Mayer in the August 30 issue of The New Yorker magazine helps explain it. Over the years billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers have steadily funded operations designed to stoke populist anger against the government and progressive ideas. The Tea Party, far from being a spontaneous populist movement, has been underwritten with tens of millions of dollars and coordinated through a network of organizations with names like Americans for Prosperity, with the singular goal of creating an angry block of disaffected voters who will unwittingly vote for policies that benefit the very wealthy."

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tax Dumb People

_DSF0234拷貝.jpgImage by leeisaku via Flickr

"The last of three men convicted for a tax evasion scheme offered in 43 states has been sentenced to federal prison.
. . .
"The main tax scheme involved in the conspiracy, the Claim of Right Freedom Program, claimed personal income was not taxable."
You can claim anything you like, but the idea that the law won't be enforced against you because of this personal claim is pretty strange.
"Bendshadler marketed and hosted seminars in Oregon detailing the tax schemes and promoted them on his weekly radio show."
 Radio...  Figures.
I find a common thread among dumb people, which is to say most people, that "rightness"  or "wrongness" has anything what so ever to do with law enforcement.  Justice and the justice system is about the enforcement of the law through a rigorous and well defined, repeating procedure.  It is not the place of those involved in law enforcement to interpret whether or not a law is just in any sort of absolute way.  Even judges can not do this, they can only make decisions in a context of existing law and precedence - not on any idea of rightness or wrongness.
In the U.S. Final judgement that a law is invalid due to being inconsistent with fundamental rights is a power given only the US Supreme Court.
A person may be able to defend themselves in the legal system on the grounds that a law is unjust, but it's a hard path to take, especially since it would generally involve admitting to committing the principle acts involved.
The bottom line is simple.  If a person violates the law, then they open themselves up to prosecution.  Their believe, the belief of a police officer, nor anyone else, that the law is unjust is just plain irrelevant.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MORE Bush, Ya That'll Help

President Barack Obama, left, flanked by Treas...Image via Wikipediahttp://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2424344720100824

"John Boehner on Tuesday called for the resignation of President Barack Obama's embattled economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic adviser Larry Summers."

WTF?

"Time to put grown-ups in charge"

Right.
This the same party that openly wants to continue the exact policies that got the economy in this mess in the first place.  In fact, maybe he'd like to just put the same crew in charge again and just replay those eight years.  How long could we go before the entire structure of society collapses?  Except for the well armed, privately secured, walled communities people like John Boehner live in...

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Dumd

http://wonkette.com/417619/dumb-hick-mosque-haters-cant-even-spell-ground-zero

"America’s differently-abled freedumb fighters tend to have trouble spelling the dumb shit on their signs and banners, but this particular piece of visual evidence also calls into question their comprehension of the supposedly Hallowed Ground of the WTC site. Is it truly a “monument to terrorism”?"

Idiots are controlling the national agenda.

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