Category: Legislation

Don’t you stomp my flag, or the latest in midwest idiocy

First – I love the idea of this country. Also, I have respect for those in, from, and around the armed forces. They’re way braver than me just to sign up, never mind what some have had to go through or do in their service times. I am not a fan of pissing on the flag. By that I mean it has been a symbol of this country through good and bad and I view it as a symbol of the good and ideals that this country used to aspire to become.

With all of that being said, Fox News blew up with some guy and some idiots advocating stomping on the flag for whatever reason. Well, they seem to be twats but whatever. Now Fox drew in a guy who got the Medal of Honor and there was planted the seed of blah blah blah challenge. Okay, it was cute when it was ice water and raising money for disease research but these days people call anything they want support for a challenge. Get over it.

Some idiots want to trash the flag. I believe them to be jerks, but so be it. Pretending that you posting a picture of a flag is some anti-protest or whatever is only keeping their attention going. Do something productive and get our troopers home instead of playing world police. THAT would actually be something to issue a challenge about.

Back when it was chairs in yards because some old fart actor told you to do it. Now it’s pictures of flags. How about you do something useful instead of voting the same crap into office and fighting over things that don’t affect your day to day life. Focus on your money leaving at a rate of 50% while you argue if sex education should be taught in schools or if birth control should be available to people. While you argue over details the rich keep stealing your money and then making you pay for keeping the system going and they walk away richer.

Wake up.

Vaping, or the latest way the world will destroy your children

So, there have been a lot of articles and misinformation regarding vaping, e-cigarettes, or whatever other term fits the editor’s fancy. The short version of what this process involves is heating a liquid or juice to make it evaporate and then inhaling that vapor. That’s it. This is similar to a vaporizer that someone might use to treat respiratory issues. The main difference between the two applications being that one delivers medicine and one can deliver nicotine. Also the vapers, people who vape, tend to have portable devices rather than a breathing treatment system like an asthma or other respiratory treatment which is usually immobile.

There should be a few things said about recent clickbait fear mongering articles that people love to bring up if they find you are a vaper. These are provided in bullet and answer form for your convenience.

  • You’re inhaling antifreeze! – Well, no. There is an ingredient in juice that is also present in antifreeze. It is also in a number of foods you eat. Calm down.
  • Kids and pets are killing themselves! – Perhaps. Overdosing on Drano will kill you too. It’s about being responsible with drugs, chemicals, even foods.
  • Those e-cigs blow up! – Well, so do 9-volt batteries if you aren’t careful. If someone combines an improper battery and vaporizer, yes, it can explode.
  • Kids are taking this up! – They have sex too. I don’t think kids should vape, but I’d rather they do this than cigarettes or weed. It’s a fad and will fade like they do.
  • Those things put out formaldehyde, etc. – The study that showed this result superheated the liquid to a point you couldn’t inhale it. If you superheat macaroni and cheese it might put out some nasty stuff too.
  • Do you even know what’s in that thing? – To a detailed level, no. It could be acid for all I know. However reputable juice mixers have their ingredients listed on the side and have a great incentive to be honest – money. Juice is incredibly cheap to make, especially on scale. If someone puts out questionable product word gets around and they don’t make money. People like money. Most juice contains very few things: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, food-grade flavorings, nicotine, and maybe citric acid. The citric acid is in extremely small amounts and adds tartness. It’s also in your foods.

So if you have any reason in you at all you should be able to tell that the latest fad of vaping is not likely to do much harm to anyone. No, there have not been long term studies regarding the effects of vaping versus smoking cigarettes. Personally the very short list of ingredients and fact that I can now breathe easily means that I will keep vaping for the foreseeable future. Maybe I’ll grow a third arm. I can tell you for sure that smoking cigarettes will likely give you cancer, lung disease, heart disease, emphysema, and a host of other horrible things. I’ll take my chances on the new deal that I know what it contains.

Facebook is evil, or How your driver’s license betrays you at the grocery store

Recently there was a lot of hoopla about how Facebook is evil for the permissions they require in their new messaging application. That was idiotic in the grand scheme since the main Facebook application requires the same permissions and that any similar program (Snapchat, Vine, WhatsApp, etc.) will require the same permissions to send and receive messages, make calls or videos and more. The only reason I can figure this was such a viral hit is that it is from Facebook and that they are busting messaging out into its own application.

From a corporate standpoint this move is brilliant and a can’t-lose proposition. This will make their application a stand alone messaging platform so that even if you don’t keep the main program on your phone this little guy can serve as your messaging service. They can then directly compete with WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other messaging programs that have become quite popular recently. Even if this doesn’t take off or compete as well as they would like it to, they can fold it back into the main application and nothing is lost from their standpoint. Brilliant.

Recently we moved much closer to the metro area (STL) and when we bought a bottle of wine at Target they asked for my driver’s license. That’s not so unusual even though I’m obviously over 21. Stores in our rural home would often do the same thing to comply with store policy or as a spot check. What made it weird was when the cashier didn’t even look at my license but instead scanned the barcode on the back. I then realized that barcode must contain my date of birth to prove I wasn’t a fake old man with a kid in a suit. From that point it stuck in my head to find out what information those barcodes contain, but I never took the time to look it up until tonight (delayed posts are wonderful).

I have to say that my eyes are now open. There are three barcodes on an Illinois license – license number, ‘document number’, and the mystery barcode that looks like a 3D barcode with a bunch of tiny dots in a strip. The last barcode was the one Target was interested in scanning and now I understand why. That barcode contains everything that the front of your license shows. Name, address, weight, height, license number, date of birth, county of residence, date issued, date expired, and even if you’re an organ donor.

So what? Well, mostly nothing because all of that same information is in human-readable form on the front of your license. What makes this captured information especially tasty to corporations and marketers is that they now know your name, address, age, and all of the rest so that they can market to you and learn what you buy. Maybe you think you will foil their system and only buy booze in the transaction so they don’t know all of your other information. Nice plan, but when you first checked out with your debit card and/or credit card without wondering what information they took your information is now linked to that card or cards. Since most people only use one to three cards on average they can now track everything you ever buy and how often you visit. Even better if your household has a couple of people in it they can cross-check the addresses and learn your family unit, how many kids you have, how much your pets eat and more.

Look, I am not stupid enough to think that we can avoid any form of tracking, marketing, etc. but that doesn’t mean I have to lay back and take it. To that end they won’t be scanning my license any longer and I’ll be asking my bank for a new debit card. They can have the information I want to give them when they ask and I decide to give it. until then they don’t need my details nor should they be selling my information to marketers. You do realize they sell and trade all of our information, right? Again, I know it happens, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

At the very least I want to stay out of these data warehouses because they are an information thief’s wet dream. Everyone gets up in arms about a messaging application that does nothing new, but they don’t pay attention to the thievery right in front of them.

In case you’re wondering, anyone can read this information using a free app. Go get it and check for yourself. PDF417 on Google Play.

Hurt kids? That’ll be a beatin.

Recently two girls were kidnapped from their family’s stand near their home. The girls were then “sexually abused” before being released, found, and returned home.

We can be thankful that the girls were not killed and the trash that performed this act (a man and woman) have been arrested and charged with these horrible crimes.

What amazes me is that the father/family was interviewed by the Associated Press and he feels sorry for them while the interviewer reports he expressed no anger in that same article. I won’t say that this man is better than me because no one knows that. However I will say that he has much better control than I do as evidenced by his demeanor. I would be strongly encouraging anyone willing to help the trash who performed these acts to endure the pain themselves.

It is my opinion that anyone committing these types of crimes against children should be severely beaten at least, and perhaps be lucky enough to endure the same torture they inflicted as well. I don’t say that lightly as I am pretty nonviolent and believe in accommodating most anyone and their beliefs. Those children did not deserve this and they will never regain their innocence from before this incident. To that end, these criminals should endure something just as horrific and traumatizing rather than to enjoy the memories of their crimes and be fed, educated, and entertained at my expense.

Maybe I’m wrong. Let me know if so in comments.

They’re all hypocrites

So, I was listening to some christian radio station on my commute home last night as I’m prone to do in the evenings. I was listening as they went down a list of complaints about marriage, Texas, and Obama. I get the marriage bit because their holy book says no-no. Fine. Your opinion is your opinion. I also get the Texas bit because it was something about making abortion illegal or restricted or something (I missed most of it paying attention to driving). They say no abortion ever, and I do agree with that as my opinion.

However, the bit about Obama saying the SCOTUS gave a great decision regarding marriage stumped me. It wasn’t that they didn’t like Obama supporting the decision. The station’s ire was raised by the fact that he said it in a country where same-sex marriage is is illegal – Senegal. Their bit was (paraphrased) ‘Obama shouldn’t praise something which is illegal within the country is visiting. That’s rude.’

Again, their opinion and they are more than entitled to it. It struck me as odd though considering Senegal is a muslim country with laws slanted in that direction. I have vague memories of Obama being called a panderer and other not-nice things when visiting other countries and paying attention to protocols as to not offend them. I’m having a hard time reconciling this in my head.

So, Obama is a douche for not ignoring protocols and being an ignorant American, AND he’s a douche for ignoring the fact that same-sex marriage is illegal in a country and speaking about it? Make up your damn minds.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate all these political pundits who spin shit over the public eyes but this is the most recent bit and it splintered in my mind so I wrote about it. They are all liars and spin data to rile up their viewers for ratings. You do realize that don’t you? None of the supposed news sources care about anything but money. They make more money by using spin to enrage you and lead you down the primrose path.

Take in your ‘news’ from multiple sources and be discerning. Don’t buy into the bullshit.