Archive for January, 2007

Losing our rights as Americans

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

With the recent political actions of creating and enforcing the patriot act, land seizures, warrantless wire taping, and military tribunals, our rights are all gone now. I cant think of a single part of the bill of rights that we still have:

Why is speech “limited” at political rallies or universities? Why is hate speech a crime? Because the 1st Amendment is meaningless.

Why are there gun laws restricting firearms? Because the 2nd Amendment is meaningless.

The 3rd is possibly impractical and also probably meaningless as well but if not, the feds will find a way to make it legal.

The government can search practically anything they want now? Laptops, Phone records, E-Mail, you name it, why? Because the 4th Amendment is meaningless.

How can the City of New London take people’s land and give it to Pfizer? Because the 5th Amendment is meaningless.

Why has Jose Padilla been in jail for 4 years being tortured, when his case is still pre-trail? Because the 6th (and 8th) Amendment, are meaningless.

Why does just about everyone accused of mutable crimes seek a plea bargain for a lesser offence instead of standing up for their rights? Why does the state tack on so many charges with extreme punishment (101 years for spamming)? Because the 7th Amendment is basically meaningless.

Why is a man being sentenced to 101 years for spamming? Why is another man sentenced (and denied appeal) to 50 years in prison for selling pot? Why are children being convicted of molesting each other? Because the 8th Amendment is meaningless.

Why does the government have the power to do anything we don’t specially say they don’t have or can pick apart and widdle down the other rights we have? Why is it the people reserve no rights beyond what’s listed in the constitution – that or what the government allows? Because the 9th and 10th Amendments are meaningless.

These thoughts came out after reading this Wired article.

Quote of the week: January 29th, 2007

Monday, January 29th, 2007

“If you keep your mind sufficiently open, people will throw a lot of rubbish into it.” — William Orton

Can’t help but laugh

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

What happens to your computer if you mispell google.com

roflcakes 😛

What are politicians doing to fight spam?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Arrests don’t seem to happen that often. Do a google for “spammer arrested”, and most of the hits are about the Buffalo spammer. He was arrested back in 2003 to much fanfare. However my mailbox still gets some spam even after filtration. Do you think maybe there is more than one of them out there? Hello?!

I’m guessing spammers spam because they know the chance of them being caught is zero. Yet, this is a criminal racket just like any other criminal racket. If some serious money is put into law enforcement, then spammers might finally get the shakes. Apart from pump-n-dump stocks (get off yer asses SEC), spammers aren’t hard to catch. Consider Mortgage spammers. If you reply to a Mortgage spam (I am told) you will later be called by a seemingly unrelated mortgage agency. They have bought your contacts off the spammers. Everything can be traced, and if we have the feds seed spammers with 1-use-only phone numbers, buying stuff and tracking it just like they do any other illegal contraband, of course they can bust it. Make receiving spammed contact details an offence too. The recipient must be reasonably confident that the leads they received are not spam. Harder to prove, but if there is a reasonable chance of prosecution buyers of spam harvests will become shyer and the market dry up. Lets make it a legal requirement that ISPs have to report spamming users to the feds.

Let’s get beyond “fines” for offenders – fines for any profitable business are merely an operating expense. What really scares company directors is jail time. This has been used in Los Angeles to force companies to comply with laws they’d otherwise have simply paid out. If a spammer thinks there is a 0.0001% chance of him being caught (and then let off with a warning), they will do it. If they think they probably can’t sell their harvest, have a 50% chance of being caught, and will definitely go to jail, they won’t – it’s just that simple.

So why isn’t this happening?

1 – It’s not an issue for politicans. I can just about guarantee that the “older crowd” in Washington doesn’t use email often as most of them don’t implement technology to do their jobs even though they should. Our government is wasteful and inefficient enough as it is – use the technology that’s there. The problem is most politicians don’t know enough about technology, but want to create laws governing technology and this fangled gadget called “the internet”. I want to see politicians debating about spam! and so…

2 – The money isn’t budgeted for law enforcement. With some Elliot Nesses on Spam, I would imagine that we can crack this, but how do we let the politicians know this is an issue for us?

Quote of the week: January 22nd, 2007

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.

Effects of a global economy…

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

One of the problems is that when you go to Wal-Mart or an expensive department store, odds are its all sweat shop goods. It’s sickening, but in a modern society it’s unreasonable to live “backwoods” by making your own clothing and such. Sorry, show up to a job interview dressed like a relic from a few 100 years ago and you can’t afford to live because you can’t work.

Historically the wealthy or noble – whatever you want to call the actual or de facto ruling class in any society – force or effectively force the “peons” to do things. When the average American is starting to look forward to nothing but working FOR Wal-Mart, where else are they going to shop? Increases in wages in this country are not proportionate to the increase in taxes over the past few decades. Not even close. While the “average” American may be the one buying things that support slave labor, it’s the fascist combination of the wealthy, the coporations and the governments that have, more or less, made too expensive for “regular” people to do anything else.

A lot of us would like to “buy American” just as much as we’d like to “eat organic.” However, in the end things like “wearing any clothing” and “eating anything” and oh, I don’t know, “paying rent” win out. This is not to say that the average American is blameless, but placing all the blame on your minimum to low wage workers who have little choice is like blaming European serfs for the vile imperialism of their leaders in the middle ages. Yes, they could have stood as one to fight back and revolt (and did at times), but few people are willing to die and suffer for such things. Are you?

Wal-Mart is just the 21st century “company” store, only the greedy bastards that run these corporations have become far more sophisticated in the last century. For instance, in the USA a lot of people think we “defeated” slavery with the civil war. When, in fact, the industrialists of the north had figured out that it was much more effective to have slaves who had the illusion of freedom.

I mean you’re on a computer and so am I. Certainly it’s not just clothing made in China and other portions of Asia that’s sweat shop material. Thanks to allowing corporations to tap into the high profit margins yielded by nations who allow their people to be treated with few rights and no dignity there’s almost nothing you or I can buy in an industrialized nation that doesn’t fuel sweat shops in some way. Even if it’s “Made In America” or wherever, odds are tons of the parts and raw materials are imported from slave labor camps.

What I do agree with is that we need to take a stand in industrialized nations and particularly in America where it’s our damn birth right and DUTY. The best way to take a stand isn’t to grow cotton or live like the Amish. All you end up doing in that case is looking like a crazy person who, while taking a personal stand, isn’t really doing anything to change the injustice he/she is opposed to.

The best way to take a stand is to simply say, “No.” Say no to government. Say no to all the things that create this blight in industrialized nations. I really admire Rosa Parks. She demonstrated how much a simple “no” could change things. Until the people of this country are willing, in a large number, to stand up against high income tax, foreign affairs, corporate rampages, and similar problems and face the consequences of doing so, like their forefathers did, like the brave minorities during the civil rights movement, we’re simply going to dwindle. It’s not just a matter for standing up for ourselves either. It’s a matter of telling these greedy tyrants all over the world that we will not stand for putting children to work for 16 hours a day making sneakers!

When a nation has no factories at home and is totally dependant on foreign labor, it’s in trouble. Dependancy on a thing makes you a slave and a servant to that thing. The solution is easy, deregulate small business (lower their prices and increase their employee wages), penalize corporations with taxes for setting up shops in countries that do not meet certain human rights requirements (make it too expensive to use sweat shops), increase trade tariffs on countries that use slavery to compete (their economy is, in many ways dependant on ours and to survive they must change) and stop taxing the locals to death! Nested taxes (the direct AND indirect ones) are what make it too expensive to run a manufacturing business in the US of A.

Anyone replying to this might consider “bitching” to be “free speech.” One of the biggest problems in this country is that a lot of people seem to think that just because they can still say certain things that somehow not only is SOMETHING being accomplished, but that until they can’t say it anymore that there’s no reason to really fight back. You don’t wait until your chains are forged and being put around your neck to fight back. Or, to use a more modern analogy, you don’t wait until your rulers are piling you and those like you onto to trains set to arrive in death camps before saying no. Rights are responsibilities, not gifts. Until a society realizes that it will never be free.

If industrialized nations don’t stop buying into this “global economy” bullshit and don’t do something to make slave labor more expensive than honest and fair labor then this so-called “global capitalism” IS going to make us all equal. It’s going to eventually make us all equally third world with our ruling CEO masters whose power and influence is truly multinational. How exactly do these pro-outsourcing CEOs think we are going to be able to afford their high-priced products when our jobs have been outsourced overseas and there are none to be had here in the U.S.?

Teacher convicted for school’s spyware-induced porn popups.

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Article here.

“While an expert for the defendant said he had discovered spyware on her PC that had been downloaded from a hairstyling site, the local police investigator claimed that the spyware had been downloaded from actively visiting porn sites. Amero testified that she had told four other teachers and the assistant principal about the popups, but received no assistance. The school’s internet filtration software was not working because it’s license had expired.”

The really important point here is they’re not suing her, they’ve convicted her of a criminal felony – there is a HUGE difference. Most importantly, she faces prison time. This isn’t 50 hours picking up trash on the side of the highway, she will likely go to pound-me-in-the-ass prison. She will be placed among society’s worst. Then when she gets out, she’ll have to register as a sex offender so that she can be publicly rediculed and forced not to live near schools, churches, or daycare centers. In addtion, wherever she moves, all residents within a mile of her home will get letters telling that a pervert is living near them, so be sure to keep their kids locked up. On every job application, she will have to list herself as a perverted sexual deviant, and she really stands little chance of ever having a normal life.

The most important distinction, however, is that it’s not some hairbrained idiot at the school that decided to levy these charges. Anybody can sue anyone at any time for any reason. No, this charge was levied by the people. By people representing you and me. The real responsibility for this miscarriage of justice rests on the prosecutor that was elected by the people, and who decided to prosecute this case. He or she needs to be held accountable for ruining the life of another human being.

Don’t talk about this like it’s something that could really suck for this woman or is a rarity. It already does suck, it already happened, she’s already been convicted, and now a precedence has been set. Sure, she can appeal, and based on what I know from this case, she stands a chance of winning, but that black mark is on her record forever. Appeals are not based on the merit of the original conviction, but rather on the fact that she had a fair trial. Until you are convicted, you are innocent until proven guilty, however, once you are convicted, you are guilty until proven innocent. It’s a whole different ballgame.

As someone who regularly uses a computer in front of children as an educational tool, as an IT student, and a future IT instructor, this story scares the hell out of me. Although I know how to keep my computer free of spyware, there isn’t one person I know in the IT realm that hasn’t been stuck in a random porn loop that they themselves didn’t cause. I don’t visit bad sites, and I don’t open up bad emails, but more than once I had a porn loop pop up on my PC when I was running Windows. Now, after this story, I am seriously faced with the dilemma of how to continue using a computer as an educational tool.

Quote of the week: January 15th, 2007

Monday, January 15th, 2007

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history – with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila

Windows toolbar hell

Friday, January 12th, 2007

I’ve seen IE loaded up with tons of toolbars before, but this takes the cake.

Good bosses

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

From what I have found, the best bosses are usually those which act as advocates for the employees beneath them. This means that your boss will act in your best interests at all times. There are lots of benefits to the company from this in that employees are usually happier, more productive, take less sick days and stay around longer. Someone who is deceptive is usually attempting to protect themselves and is typically not acting in the best interests of anyone else. Whether they lie to others (taking credit for your work) or lie to you (about upcoming work) they are not looking out for you.

As an example of how a boss can act as an advocate for you, I have worked in a company where we ended up doing (paid) overtime through November and into mid December in order to complete a project on time. My boss at the time worked it out with HR for everyone to recieve extra vacation time in order for everyone to have the week off between Christmas and New Years. It was a small gesture, but the additional 2 (or 3, I can’t remember) days off made everyone happier and more refreshed when we came back and most people felt far better towards the company for giving them the time off. I’m not positive, but I suspect the extra days off probably prevented sick days from being taken in January through March because most people didn’t become burned out.