This is Just Depressing

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There is at least one bright spot here.  The young man is the back row on the far right is not giving the ‘Sieg Heil’ salute.  He states and it shows in his face that he is uncomfortable with the actions of his peers.   His name is Jordan Blue.  The following is what he had to say.

“I couldn’t leave the photo as it was taken within 5 seconds,” he says in the statement. “The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in. I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school, I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed. These are the boy of Class of 2019, nothing has been done and my question is.. With anything ever be done. I truly & firmly believe we need to make a change to this horrible act, it needs to stop. Bullying. Immaturity. and just taking things as a ‘joke’…”

If you look closely at the picture a young man in the front row is also not giving the Heil Hitler salute; however, he is giving the ‘Okay’ sign or the white power hand sign.  He is 5th from the left.   There also to the left of the sign reading Notice, is another young man that is not raising his right hand.  He doesn’t seem to be enjoying the moment either.  At least two additional young men appear to eschew the Heil.  The ‘Notice’ sign and to the right is a young man whose face is partially obscured doesn’t appear to be heaving up his arm.  In the back, a boy with red hair whose head is directly positioned to the right of the ‘Notice’ sign looks uncomfortable with whole affair.  Of course in the front on the far right is another young man that is not offering the saluted but he is laughing.

I cannot speak for other parents, and I suspect that most find this unflattering.  Some will see this as a harmless prank but it’s not.  It serves to paper over and make light of a dark chapter in our history.  A history that is not so distant that those who lived through it have left the earth.

I don’t believe all these boys are Neo-Nazi’s or adherents of that ideology.  They probably think of this as a harmless prank, all but those few pointed out.  It is alarming that only a few see the shame in what they are being asked to do, and that so many of them do it without thinking.

And what of the photographer that snapped the picture?  Hopefully someone will name him or her.  It’s only fitting that they receive the “full reward” for asking these youth to slander themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CPAP

I’ve decided to give my CPAP machine another chance.  It’s been several months since it’s been used.  The head gear went to hell, the elastic denigrated into black powder that nicely misted my pillow.  Thankfully I was able to jury rig a workaround.  The cost of a new headgear is about US$30.0 not too expensive but not cheap.

What is surprising is the number of perishables that are necessary to keep the CPAP in top performing condition.  Filters for the air-intake, understandable since keeping the dust out of the system, and the blower will add to the life of the thing.  Water reservoir(s) for the humidifier so that my nasal passages and throat don’t dry out.  Flexible hose, which eventually wears out and can become contaminated with bacteria mold and other crud.  The mask, and headgear.

I’ve had the machine for years but find using it discomforting.  Naturally my friends that are also users, maintain that the secret to a lasting, beneficial  relationship with the machine is finding the best mask.  Since I have a beard, I am limited to a nasal mask.  No the beard isn’t coming off, I will take it to my grave.  Neither my wife nor daughter have ever seen me without it.

The smell of the hose, that rubber plastic smell is unpleasant.  Nevertheless I tolerate it.  so the past couple of nights have been spent retraining myself to wear the gear.  What I didn’t realize is that a prescription is required for purchasing the headgear; providing that it is sold as a single unit.  Purchasing just the headgear without the mask can be done with out a doctors prescription.  Because the machine itself is configured according to the doctors instructions it makes perfect sense that that part of the system requires a script.

Requiring a script for headgear attached to the mask is really stupid.  Governmentally stupid.  Fortunately the headgear I need can be purchased without the mask.  Even better, the mask works pretty good with the home brew  configuration now in place.  Eventually, if all goes well, I will find it acceptable to wear the gear, mask included and make use of the CPAP.  Then when the time comes place an order for all of the sundry items needed to maintain the bugger.

Fight Back Against Authoritarian Government Intrusion: Here’s How

Information Security for Journalists

You can read and download the Information Security for Journalists at the above hyperlink.  Due to quick advances in technology this hand book is a little dated but much of it is relevant.

The following article written by Cora Currier for The Intercept is the reason for my post today.

It’s worth reading even if you’re not a journalist.

Government Can Spy on Journalists in the U.S. Using Invasive Foreign Intelligence Process

What we have learned from Edward Snowden; our alphabet agencies do not follow the law.  They didn’t at the time prior to his, and Chelsea Manning’s whistle blowing,  and it’s unlikely that they do now.  The law to these agencies is a word consisting of 3 letters one of which is a vowel.  Bereft of meaning when focused inward but outward looking it has the benefit of tying down or locking up suspects, persons of interest.  The article give a very balanced take on what journalists can expect and have endured or will endure as required by their reporting.  Hence I have linked to the above report authored by the team of Silkie Carlo and Arjen Kamphuis.

Kamphuis, at the time of this writing, is in a state of “whereabouts unknown”.  And may no longer be among the living.  Some of his belongings have turned up, and his back pack/travel pack was discovered by fishermen.  I am among those that believe that foul play is involved.  I suspect the Five Eyes are responsible for his being disappeared.

Some quick background notes about Kamphuis taken from here:

The TEDx video description describes Kamphuis this way: “Arjen Kamphuis is a Digital Self Defence professional. Every day he helps people keep their secrets safe in the digital world. He has seen firsthand how government funded spying, hacking and security programs fall into the wrong hands and cause more harm than good. He argues that it is time we all start keeping ourselves safe by taking responsibility for our own digital defenses and letting go of the idea that we’re just not smart enough to adapt.

I spent sometime this weekend reading Information Security for Journalists, and found it enlightening.  There are similar works available however, they too are somewhat outdated due to the same reason.  Time and with it technology marches on.  Silkie Carlo, and Arjen Kamphuis, make several good salient points concerning InfoSec.  They also layout solutions that will aid the working journalists and others in order to circumvent prying eyes.  I will update this post but for starters Tor is your friend, download and use it.  What you need to know about using Tor is in the ISfJ linked to above.  Start there.

Then download TAILS and make a bootable USB or DVD.  All of this is clearly explained in the InfoSec. Book.  It’s all free and when used properly and in conjunction with other tools discussed in said security book will go along way to satisfying security requirements, and give the added benefit of stymieing even the most robust eavesdropping attempt.

This post will be updated shortly.

 

 

Say It Ain’t So

My Alma Mater is in the news but not in a good way.  Seems the husband of the Chancellor has taken liberties with the ladies.  He is charged with making unwanted advances i.e., sexual harassment.  Perhaps that’s too strongly worded.  It was found that the allegations against  Pete Hill, The husband of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper, have merit.  What those Allegations are have not, and likely will not be disclosed.

Kopper said in a public statement Friday that the UW System has ended Pete Hill’s unpaid appointment as associate of the chancellor and restricted him from attending UW-Whitewater events.

“I fully supported and cooperated with UW System’s investigation,” Kopper wrote in a letter posted on UW-Whitewater’s website. “It was determined that the allegations had merit.”

The University, and the University System are in full  “circle the wagons mode”.  Attempts to contact responsible officials for comment have hit a dead end.  A dead end that was no doubt created for such cases of emergency.  This per the comments of the Chancellor herself.

Kopper said in her post that she felt it was important to “share with you a difficult situation for me personally and professionally.” She noted that, “although we typically do not discuss personnel issues publicly, I feel it is important to make this one exception and I have UW System’s permission to do so.”

One exception–okay so just this once you can reveal that all is not as it seems in UWW-land.  Privacy is so important when the career’s of the those that inhabit the Ivory Towers and breathe that rarefied air.

Kopper’s statement did not indicate the nature or date of the sexual harassment offense or allegations. The university’s assistant director of marketing and communications declined to comment and directed calls to the UW System. A request for comment from Heather LaRoi, director of strategic communications/university relations for the UW System, had not been returned as of this writing.

Not returned, and don’t hold your breath either.  Nothing to see here folks move along.  The Allegations by the UW Whitewater’s own admission, have merit.  So it’s interesting that thru the well sculpted means of damage control, the UW System is trying to have its cake and eat it too.  “See, we are taking this very seriously, but we cannot comment on it because of UW policy well, in this one case, permission has been given to part with official policy.”  However, since it’s a personal matter, nothing more will be said ever.  Also note there is no mention of victims here.  Allegations but no victims.  How’s that cake taste anyway.

So the only resolution is that Pete Hill is restricted from UW Whitewater events.  I feel safe sending my daughter to the UWW now.  Although I’m not sure that she or any other female student, or student that identifies as a female was a target of Pete’s unwanted attention, so there’s that.  Down the old memory hole it goes.

Punishment for Nothing.

A young boy is punished because he referred to his teacher as ma’am, and not by her preferred title.  To be fair she requested that he not call her that, ma’am,  after he mistakenly used that term before.  The story doesn’t say what her preferred title is or was.

A 10-year-old boy in North Carolina was punished last week for referring to his female teacher as “ma’am.” The incident left his parents both concerned and confused, they told WTVD-TV.

Teretha Wilson noticed her son, Tamarion, seemed upset after leaving the bus Aug. 21 from his school in the town of Tarboro, she told the station. “I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma’am’,” Wilson told WTVD’s Michael Perchick.

As a punishment Tamarion had to write out ma’am dozens of times on a piece of paper.  Stupid I know, why not have him write out the preferred title?

The story continues and makes note of the rising number of families that choose to home school their children.  Most do it out of religious reasons but a growing number, like my family, are doing choosing to home school for reasons like the above.  I do not want unwarranted and unwanted interference from the state.  Hence we use the K12 alternative school, offered by WIVA–Wisconsin Virtual Academy.  It cost us nothing more than a regular brick and motar school.  My Daughter’s classes are online and she is excelling in her studies.  She actually enjoys school now.  Her complaint is that not all of her school materials for this coming year have arrived yet.

My wife and I like it because we are very much involved in her studies, and know what transpires in her classroom everyday.  Moreover we are raising a adult child and not a automaton.   There are no snow days, and even sick days have gone the way of the dodo.  She doesn’t fight going to school.  Her school day is very much the same as a college students day.  If you’re a parent and considering a online school, and look before you leap, but by all means consider a K12 school.  All grades kindergarten through 12 are available.  It works best if there’s an adult present during the day.  Sofia, my daughter, would never go back to a traditional one size fits all brick and mortar school.  On line school is not for everybody naturally but for those that are tired of being abused by the system, tired of picking up and dropping off, bullying et al.  Try it for one school year.

AT&T is Gutting its US Workforce (again)

In the small, sleepy Midwestern town in which I live there’re two choices for internet service.  AT&T and Charter, now known as Spectrum.  Of course your cell phone plan provider is another option.  Since I use a pay as you go it’s not an option for me.  I used to have AT&T as a internet and phone provider–yes, I am one of a dying breed that still has a land line.  We have since switched to Spectrum.  Think about that for a moment.  How bad of a service provider do you have to be for your customer(s) to want to switch to a cable company?

But after being forced, by AT&T, to move to their U-verse plan for approximately US$50. a month, and additional charges if and when we went over the designated allotment of gigabytes per month;  of really lame, slow internet speed, and on top of that a hefty boost in price after the one-year mark, we left for the cable people.  I had been with AT&T for several years.  Download speed wasn’t all that important since we don’t stream television content.  Moreover, we didn’t need the television component at all.  Still don’t.  But to pay cable price for mendacious internet speed and extra if I went over the amount, well I was forced to make a change.  The cable company is better.  I would like more choices since price is still outrageous but I cannot imagine going back to AT&T.

Nevertheless profits are up for the communication company and I cannot figure out why?  Except for the fact that they benefited greatly from Trump’s tax cut, and the continued laying off of US based employees.  What else does this dinosaur company have to offer?    Cellphone service but I don’t know a single person, anyone,  that pays for AT&T service.  It’s not that I am boycotting AT&T, it’s a matter of underwhelming products given the price paid.

 

Amazon’s Hired Army of Trolls–Not Yet Sure if They’re Russian Trolls Cuz Yeah Russians.

I cannot recall ever buying anything from Amazon.  I always found what I wanted for less elsewhere.  Moreover when possible I will shop locally even if it costs more.  Plenty of people that I know make purchases from the evil empire, they give me the boxes and I re-purpose them.

Beginning slowly in the last couple of years Amazon has been getting some negative press.  Mostly surrounding working conditions at their sweatshops–aka distribution centers.  From the stories that I have read, these centers, are hell holes.  Nevertheless it’s a job–not one I would or could take for health reasons; mental or otherwise.  Recently to stem the tide of negative publicity the powers that be at Amazon have hired nameless faceless minions to talk nice about the company.  This according to the SFgate web site.

The company now has a small army of “FC Ambassadors” saying nice things about the company online and engaging in dialogue with average Twitter users. The ambassadors are full-time employees, according to an Amazon spokesperson, and it is their job to share their experiences working at a fulfillment center.

I haven’t met or talked to anyone that works or worked at a Fulfillment Center nor am I boycotting  Amazon as part of a bandwagon campaign.  Just don’t want to do business with the bastards.

Favorite Sites

 

AMS DataStreme Atmosphere Real Time Portal

Since it’s a holiday week here in the USA, I thought I would post items sans the snark.  There is no shortage of great weather Apps and sites but the link here will take you to one of my favorites.   It will take you to the AMS DataStreme Atmosphere Real Time Portal.  It’s an educational website with tools used by the weather sharps.  While attending classes at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, I took a class with Dave Travis (a weather sharp) and we made great use of this website.

Nick Strobel’s Astronomy Notes

Just as with the weather, there is a plethora of great astronomy sites.  I like Nick Strobel’s Astronomy Notes because it’s also meant to be educational.  It’s directed at university students but is suitable for most anyone.  I find myself referring back to it often.  My daughter took a astronomy class in her high school, and I had her refer to this for questions that she had after I gave her my explanation.

Stellarium

Stellarium is a download, not so much a website.  It’s free and works on just about any operating system.  The following is take directly from there web page:

Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

 

I have this on all of my systems, and forced my daughter to download it to hers.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History/Common Sense

Hardcore History,  is a guilty pleasure of mine, and my favorite podcast.  He covers a wide range of history.  His are not simple one and done coverage of the topic du jour.  There are single episodes but they are multiple hours in length.  Many topics are handled in several hours long installments.  Very well done.  As for the Common Sense podcast the intro says it all.  I paraphrase “If Dan hasn’t offended you yet, just wait.”  Worth a listen, both of them.

The Bible Geek

Dr. Robert M. Price aka the Bible Geek.  Price is an atheist but a bible scholar.  He is very kind and not what one would consider a raving atheist.  He has a PhD in systematic theology, and a PhD in New Testament.  The show is based on questions submitted by listeners, and they range from the simple to the complex and Dr. Price does his best to answer them all.  The Bible isn’t the only holy book covered.  The amount of knowledge this man gives away for free is amazing but listeners are encouraged to become Pateron supports.

The Trail Went Cold

A true crime podcast hosted by Robin Warder, that’s how the sub headline reads.  The episodes are very well done, though some of the crimes covered are difficult to hear especially when the victim is a child.  Several episodes are maddening in that the reason for the trail going cold is due to incompetence on the part of law enforcement.

To be Continued.

 

Just Say No Canada

If the wonderful and polite citizens of Canada, for reasons unknown, decide to travel to the USA while Donald Butt Trumpet is the Stooge in charge.  Or even after that, you will or could be asked if you have used Marijuana.  If you answer in the affirmative you will be banned from entering the USA for life.  So just say no.

Not that being banned from the rotting states of America is a big deal.  You of course also refuse to answer but that will likely mean you would be banned for the day.  I suggest that you use the governments own words when they are caught red handed perpetrating a illegal act, or some other corrupt offense–simply state with your best poker face that–I can neither confirm nor deny the use of Marijuana.