Privacy? Oh, were you using that?

The incident in Paris is already being used as an excuse to take away what little privacy (and other rights) remain in the world, despite the fact that privacy is a necessary feature of security. In the meantime, bulk data will continue to be collected by both the government and various corporations (who of course, can sell that information to the government without anybody having technically violated the 4th or 5th Amendments). Nor is the NSA the only agency collecting information; the DEA is doing it too. Are they at least sharing nicely, or are We The Taxpayers paying to collect all this stuff twice?

Now, don’t forget for one minute that the President is proposing laws that crack down on “hackers”. Those laws would make a dizzying array of normal and sometimes necessary activities illegal. That’s on top of the undead CISPA cyber”security” bill. Oh yeah, and that nasty old TPP that would make corporate rights more important that national rights.

At what point does Joe Average get fed up? Congress is doing the opposite of what he wants almost every chance they get. And thanks to rigged Congressional districts, all of our political voices are diluted. Further even though the amount of money made in our nation per person is near a record high, Joe Average has very little to show for it. What happens now?

In Closing: why you can’t have hot and cold running municipal internet; misinformation; how dare you be a crime victim; brother, can you spare a bridge; some of us would like our sons to know this stuff too; backfire; denial; take the money and run.


Heartbleed Beat

Ok folks, you could drive yourself mad trying to figure out the whole Heartbleed thing, so let me round it up for you.

What the heck is Heartbleed (thanks, Adam), and what does it mean?

How is the NSA connected? Or are they? Or are you really gonna believe they’re not involved, come on! (Bonus NSA linkage for your browsing pleasure!!!)

Ok, so what should you do now?

In Closing: Stupid kid; I’m not sure how you understand Nakba without understanding Auschwitz; let the dead bury their dead; why was it ever allowed in the first place??; circumcisionGlucosamine; priorities; and college.

I think I have a better idea….

So Clark County School District — the 5th largest school district in the nation — has a “successful” pilot of a program to keep track of students on school busses. Parents can theoretically find out whether their kids got on the bus, and where the bus is. Roughly 700 of the 110,000 students who daily ride the bus got special ID cards and were tracked for 4 whole weeks. Clearly something short of a representative sample. However, “because of financial problems, the district has shelved any large-scale program.”

Good for administrators for realizing that there were concerns about losing passes, and concerns about the costs of the system.

However, here’s the thing. There’s already a great technology in the hands of many middle school students and virtually all high school students that parents can use to keep track of their kids. Better yet, there is absolutely zero cost to the school district for this technology; most parents willingly — nay, eagerly — pay for implementation and all necessary equipment. I personally tested it for 4 years within the Clark County School District Transportation Department, and I feel certain that other parents here and elsewhere have similar experiences. In one case, I was even alerted to a wreck involving the school bus. This of course not only delayed pickup, but changed the pickup location. Use of this amazing technology saved the school district the time and expense of individual notifications to parents in most cases.

It’s called a cell phone.

Stop trying to reinvent the wheel, and stop pretending that a child’s RFID tag is necessarily in the same location as the child.

In closing: good call; inconvenient truth for anti-porn crusaders; Heinlein; I guess none of the researchers ever played the “telephone game”, or they could have saved a lot of research; so some busybody docs and pharmacists think they know more about women’s reproductive health than gynecologists; support a political cartoonist; hackers, crackers, and black swans; Expert Ezra; what could possibly go wrong; income inequality; the Buffett Rule; sure, there’s no such thing as inflation; and Cat Heaven Island. Enjoy an early Caturday.

To the Lady in Workout Clothes ahead of me at the Grocery Store

Hey dear, let me tell you why you’re never going to lose that 10 to 20 pounds around your hips and waist and why your hubby is never going to lose the gut unless you change your ways.

I’m not going to put all the blame on the expensive whole wheat crap that you think is good for you, even though you should probably only eat half that at most, and even though there is a case to be made for that being your biggest problem. Many experts think that’s good stuff, but you still should put some of it back on the shelf.

I’m not going to be too hard on you for the gallon of frozen yogurt. Again, you think you’re doing the right diet thing, even though it’s still got far too much sugar in it to be truly healthy. Maybe you only eat a tablespoon a day? Maybe I wasn’t close enough to see that it was one of those fat-free or sugar-free chemistry sets masquerading as real food?

I’m not going to put all the blame on the plentiful sports drinks in your cart, even though there is simply no way you are working out hard enough for them to be beneficial to you. Have you ever looked at the nutrition panel? It’s probably replenishing every calorie you “worked” off, and many of those drinks contain corn syrup. If you seriously worked out hard enough for these to be a good idea, you would never dream of wearing your disgusting sweaty workout clothes to a grocery store — even fresh out of the wash!

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the 3 boxes of different kinds of crackers. For pity sake, if you want to eat something that goes crunch, try an apple or a carrot! You might get some vitamins out of the deal.

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the fact that the only protein I saw in your cart was a pound of ground beef. Come on, that’s going to last a week? If you don’t eat some protein, your body is just going to steal it from your muscles. In case you didn’t know, muscle is what keeps you from looking like a complete blob.

But the one thing that I think is your biggest problem was the stack of 6 frozen pizzas. That proves that you only give the faintest lip service to eating healthy: pizza is neither low carb nor low fat. Ever. Just, please, tell me that’s not a one week supply. Lie to me if you must. You want a pizza? Learn to make that stuff from scratch. I can guarantee you’ll eat less of it because it’s harder than stuffing that frozen crap in a hot oven, it will be better tasting because you’ll use better ingredients, and healthier. Why healthier? You’ll actually burn some calories kneeding the dough, shaping it, and putting quality stuff on top!

Want to make that gut vanish? Try eating real, minimally processed food. Sure, you’ll have to spend more than 3 minutes preparing it, but you and your husband will both be better off.

I’d like to say at least your dog eats well, but you didn’t buy any dog food.

In Closing: would you like to play a game?; playing it safe; poverty tax; ever wonder what the numbers mean?; duh; travel tips; “let’s just take these laptops with no anti-virus to a hacker’s conference! What could possibly go wrong???”; parks; make “the PillOTC, prevent abortions; we don’t need “administrators” with no common sense having any authority over children, ever, for any reason.

The Shorties Inside

Japanfilter: Mt Fuji is at risk of eruption.

Expect Republicans to call for NASA spending cuts in 3…2…1….: NASA explains the last decade.

A few items on Employment, Unemployment, and Job Growth: Why have millions of Americans given up looking for work? Why mostly young people? How many jobs do we need to create each month to keep up?

No kidding: Prince Harry is considered a high value target.

Did you know we had one?: Las Vegas Chinatown.

Hold your nose and vote: Amen Jill.

No argument from me: Unlike most “liberals” and “progressives,” I’m not a fan of gun control. After all, the Founding Fathers who wrote the 2nd Amendment overthrew the government. Money quote: “The real point is that gun control fails because gun control laws are only effective against law-abiding people.”

Well, something is repressed: a quick quiz.

Empty Apology: Yeah. Just trying to help. Sure. I hope a real woman runs against her using this as ammo.

The Italians Noticed: The right to vote is imperiled in America.

One Miiiiiiiiiilion Dollars! Muahahahahahahahaha!: That’s what Larry Flynt is offering for Rmoney’s tax returns. Heck, I wonder if that’s enough money for Ann Romney to send them in.

Why was it there in the first place?: ~21,000,000 compromised medical records, 54% due to stolen computers, including laptops where the data should NEVER have been in the first place.

Mental Health Parity: What if we treated every illness the way we treat mental illness?

And Finally: Fireflies.

Trust Your Eyes

Once more it is book review time. Today’s selection from the BlogHer Book Club is Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay. As usual, this is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. Join the discussion here!

When Ray Kilbride comes home after his father’s fatal accident, one of the things he must deal with is his schizophrenic brother Thomas: a recluse who thinks former President Bill Clinton has personally tasked him with memorizing every street in every major city on the behalf of the CIA. Thomas spends all day, every day, clicking down streets of the world using a tool that is absolutely not Google Maps at all against the possibility of a massive internet outage making all online maps inaccessible. Then one day, he spots what looks like a possible murder.

This has by far been my favorite of the books I’ve been asked to review. It is a thriller with more twists than a mountain highway. I absolutely promise there will be things you didn’t see coming. Chapters are generally short, so I found myself thinking “Oh, I have time for one more” often. It is unfortunate that any accurate description of the plot gives away what should have been the first twist in the Prologue.

A++, Would Read Again.

In Closing: be sure to read to the end; aw that’s sweet; I’m so glad somebody is asking what the heck information on 12,000,000 Apple devices was doing on a laptop for any reason; “Ok, you can play, but only approved games led by an adult”; dirty lies; wage stats; as expected; and I liked number 4.

Oh Boo Hoo

Fortune Magazine tells us that “For banks, it’s getting harder and harder to earn a buck.” That’s because interest rates are so low. Or at least that’s what “conventional wisdom” would tell us. Please cry for the banks and demand higher interest rates!

Not so fast. If banks are having such a hard time making an “honest” buck, then how come “U.S. bank earnings rose 21% in the April-June quarter and lending to consumers increased, adding to evidence that the industry is strengthening four years after the financial crisis.” Turns out there’s actually a good reason the banks are doing so well:

That’s because most of them have increased the historic spread between the interest they charge for mortgages and the interest they have to pay for their own borrowing and, of course, the now minuscule rates they pay to folks with savings accounts. As a result, according to a recent news story in the New York Times, bankers are enjoying ballooning profits from their mortgage business.

If the banks were using the formula that was in effect up until a couple of years ago, the 3.55 percent rate for a 30-year mortgage would be close to 3.05 percent. Or, they could increase the rates they pay savers by about a half percent.

So yeah, the gap between “what they pay you” and “what we pay them” got bigger despite mortgage rates near record lows.

I hope Fortune Magazine isn’t hoping for a subscription fee from me anytime soon.

In Closing:  you might want to disable Java; trying to change the law without bothering to involve lawmakers; 14.8% of Americans are on food stamps; and Boehner admits that the easiest way to win is for poor people to stay home on election day.

Cyrus: Shorties of a Serial Killer

8 Years: Somehow I managed to overlook my Blogiversary.

Next time you have a hard time getting through to your doctor’s office: Remember that the Feds are tying up the line trying to figure out how hard it is for you to get an appointment.

He’s just so nice: Matt Damon is trying to find ways to help African people get clean, safe water. And he’s good looking, and he can act.

On Fitness: Ladies, please ignore the fact that it comes from a publication called “Men’s Journal.” The Truth is unisex.

Let’s Get This Out of the Way: Everybody knows that yet another appeals court says there’s no Constitutional problems with the Affordable Care Act, right? Ok, moving on then.

In other news, Bill Gates Doesn’t Understand Capitalism: Ignoring the diseases of poverty isn’t a failure, it’s a sign that there’s no money in it. That’s why it’s called “poverty.”

Shut up and get back to work!: Yeah, it sure would be nice to have paid sick days. I have no idea how you’d do that for those of us who are self-employed.

Professor is Correct Again: Cutting the budget deficit won’t put a single person to work. In fact, it will put some government employees out of work. It will also reduce GDP — which by definition includes government spending. Who are the President’s economic advisers? The ghost of Herbert Hoover? A least he understands that there is no way to balance the budget without taxes.

Computer Security: Don’t stick strange memory sticks in your computer! You don’t know where they’ve been! Stupidity makes hacking possible.

Missing Cute White Girl of the Week Club: Why it’s bad for all of us. Amen, brother.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Speaking Truth in a place where it has been lacking.

To those of you who just got out of medical school: Sage words of a Dinosaur.

Too Big To Fail: Simply must be Too Big To Exist.

Sahara: The sign is going to be at the Neon Museum.

Most expensive used car ever: A painstakingly restored 1963 Volkswagen Microbus.

Looking forward to it: Shatner‘s latest film is a documentary wherein he interviews all 5 actors who have played a Star Trek captain.

Speaking of documentaries: Everything you know is probably wrong.

Screw Infrastructure: Apparently it is more cost effective to build a bridge in China and have it shipped here. We won’t have any lasting recovery until we get away from the Latte Economy.

Tomorrow, I’ll have some exciting news for you. In the meantime, stay cool.