Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The infamous privacy issue.

About 2012, Aaron Swartz , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz who was a computer programmer and entrepreneur, got involved in on line activism and  a bill that was up in legislation. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a controversial United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking in counterfeit goods. Provisions included the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and web search engines from linking to the websites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the websites. The proposed law would have expanded existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act I don't know how many of you actually remember this, but it was a huge issue on-line for internet marketers. (I was one of those) 

On the one hand, my digital content, is mine, and is only shared with the public when I want it to . (Or so I thought back then) On the other hand, when I learned of the S.O.P.A bill, myself, and millions of on-line marketers watched as it became a looming threat to our insular world. I also thought, well, who cares? I'm not doing anything wrong, so therefore have nothing to hide. 

Now we are back at it. Different day, different name, same shit. The question now is, does our government have the right to everything we put on the net? Different bill, right? Kinda. We are still talking about the same thing here. The rights of our public, as opposed to the rights of our government. Now the threat is, an algorithm. I've read a few of the on-line articles, and I've watched the news today. I see the stock falling on facebook, but what I don't see, is the outrage again. What changed? A sign of the times? 

We are living in a world that has become increasingly smaller, while our population has become increasingly larger. The threat to our children is there for the government to see. School shootings, guns, the war on drugs. Ect. 

To understand what is happening now with our digital content, we have to go back and look at Aaron Swartz, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assuange. All 3 of them did something groundbreaking. Unprecedented. All having to do with what our government does, and does not tell us. I mean, Snowden didn't tell us anything we didn't already know if you were paying attention. Neither did Aaron Swartz. We are not private. Never have been, never will be. 

So here's the question, and I would really love to hear from my readers how you feel on this one. Should our government be privy to "Everything" we put out here, or should it be based on the Algorithms alone. You have to also understand, what data mining is, and how tedious that would be, and time consuming. In the security industry, we call that a decoy. Only flip it. Meaning, our government is so intent on this content, that they ultimately miss the real threat. Take 911 for starters. They had been warned, but did nothing. The school shooting in Parkland, also had advance knowledge. So why did either happen? I'll tell you, because they were mining to much data from us, to take it seriously. The information became diluted, therefore, leaving no time to act. 

See, the Algorithms, will tell our government if we are affiliated with Terrorists, or if we plan on a mass shooting, ect. It will tell them if we are democratic, or republican, for Trump or against Trump. (Remember, this is Trump pushing this again) It will use buzz words like, "The Anarchist cookbook", conspiracy theorists, shootings, ect.. just like I am doing right now, and from that, it will determine if I am a threat or not. Do we really want our content public, (which I think already is) don't fool yourselves. Do you think, if I put up a meme, that says, Trumps an idiot, or some stupid thing like that, because I am not happy with what he is currently doing, or not doing, does that mean I am not a republican? Really? Our government is that smart that they have time to figure this out? Do we really want the men in black showing up, knocking, asking "whatcha doin" because of  a stupid post? I think they have better things to do than that. 

Once again, I happen to disagree with this. On the one hand, if you are doing nothing wrong, who cares then, right? On the other hand, is this just more bullshit for our government to wade through, that has nothing to do with our national security. 

Food for thought. I'd love to hear from you all! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Should Teachers have guns

No. Emphatically no! (hey, just my opinion) and I'll tell you why. 

Our teachers have spent years being educated, going to college, spending thousands of dollars to educate themselves, in order to educate our children, and now some want to arm them. In fact, Trump has stated he will give a bonus to those who go and train and get certified to carry. Seriously? You really want to risk putting our children in a class room with an armed teacher? 

What happens when that teacher can't pay his mortgage, and is loosing his home, his wife cheats, and he goes ballistic. ON OUR KIDS. Don't say it can't happen. It can. It has in fact happened in other professions. Remember the postal workers in the 90's? 

What happens when the young co-ed teacher becomes afraid of the class room bully? She's there alone with him before school. She shoots him? Yes, it could happen. Teacher are not there to arm themselves. We pay them to educate our kids. That is what they are trained to do, and paid to do. Kids need to feel safe in school. It should be their home away from home. 

Teachers with guns is not going to make them feel safe. They will feel threatened by anything from the outside. Our teachers will be on high alert, constantly. This will not make the atmosphere in school conducive to learning. Our kids are to young to comprehend the ramifications of an armed teacher. C'mon people,  is this what we want our kids to see? You have to remember, this is not just in high schools. It's in our grade schools too. Sandyhook. 

Anyone around who would remember May 18th 1927. The Bath School Massacre. 38 children were killed. (Bath Michigan) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster 
NOT BY A GUN. By a bomb. This is not just about guns, and who should have them and who should not. We need resources for our mental health programs. NOT armed teachers. Teachers are already underpaid and over worked. They always have been, I don't believe we should have the added stress of a cross trained teacher. 

Should it be their choice? That I could go for, but to make it mandatory is wrong. Our Teachers should be what they already are. Educators. Everyone that I have spoken with since the Parkland shooting is either saying arm the teachers, or ban the weapons, or both. Why has NO ONE said, what are we doing about the mental health of our families? I'll tell you why. Because it's politics, and it shouldn't be. These are our kids. I'll say it again. Wake up America. We are letting down the next voting generation by our in action to do anything about mental health. According to the CDC 4,400 children a year commit suicide. 

Why is everyone stuck on the gun issue? 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Being a mother of School age kids.

This article has taken me a couple of weeks to write. My son Gabriel came to me last week and asked a very powerful question in the wake of the parkland shooting. "What should he do?" His classmates have planned 6 student walk outs. I asked him why, what were they trying to gain? He said they want our teachers armed. More security in the school. I asked what he wanted. He said, I am staying in class. Even though he would be the only student doing so. He wants his education. Period. 

We, my children and I, went through the fear of a school shooting. The Marysville one. We had just moved when it took place, but all the kids classmates and friends were still there. My granddaughter was friends with the boy who did the shooting. We had check ins on facebook, because I did not know where all my kids were on that day. I know my oldest had planned on being at the school. I tagged him and his friends to check in because we could not get through on the phones. 

The questions that people had after the shooting, the emotions, the fear of going back. All these overwhelming thoughts happened. What if my kids had been in that cafeteria? 

I'm a gun owner. I would not say advocate per say, because I think it comes down to the individual and how that persons handles everyday stress. I do not believe that everyone should have a gun, or even have access to one. 

The Parkland Florida school shooting, has become the catalyst for our political platform on the great weapons debate. (and I hope you are paying attention to what I am writing, not to respond, but to make you think) hint, Catalyst. (Our children, who are being killed, are making people stand up an say, it's the guns.) they are the catalyst. The next voting generation, and they are saying, we will vote you out. We have the power to do so. 

Does anyone really know how wrong this is? To depend on our children to make the change. I empathize with the Teens who have come forward to blast Trump on gun laws, and I get it. I do. But what is happening is nothing to do with the access of guns. 

Correlation, does not mean causation. These shooters show 2 personas. You recognize the signs after, but never before. There is a psychopathy to these children, or young adults. They have impulse control issues, they are incapable of empathy and they are dis inhibited. Meaning, they are marginal to society. So unless the mental health professionals get involved with families and children who are marginal, we will not see a change. 

The guns will always be available, regardless of the lawmakers. What's happening in politics comes no where close to whats happening on our streets. 

There have been 461 school shootings since the Texas Clock Tower massacre. This year alone there have been 18. That works out to about 3 a week. maybe a little less. 

We are evolving backwards. Our brains are getting bigger but malfunctioning more. We have become godless and self destructive. We destroy our habitation, and eat our own. If we want to save our children, we have got to change the way we think. 

Wake up. The gun debate is the least of our worries. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

The cold and Flu season; This years epidemic (to get the shot or not)

The cold and flu season. Usually starting in mid October and continuing on to the following year, sometimes in to March. 

For me, it starts in late November, and I usually have it until the beginning of January. This time however, it has hung on until just the past couple weeks, and is slowly going away. I do not have a spleen, so it is harder for me to fight anything I get. I do not though, get the flu shot. 

Here's why; several years ago, when the doctors figured out I did not have a spleen, they loaded me up with shots. The flu shot, the   
pneumococcal and more. I had a rare auto immune disease that was treated with chemo, so all my defenses were low. Through the years though, I stopped getting the shots. Moving, changing Doctors, life changes, and so on, so I just stopped. I have found that I have been healthier without the shots and other medicines that I have been on. 

This year has been the 1st year that I caught the flu really bad, and it knocked me for a loop. I got it one day before the New Year, and still have the cough, and sinus issue. (mostly from working in a smoke filled casino is what I believe) Anyway, I don't get the shots. This is a personal choice. 

In Washington State, we have had over 150 deaths from complications of the flu, 27 have been in Snohomish county. The highest in the state. http://www.heraldnet.com/news/county-leads-state-in-flu-deaths-now-at-27/  This is my county. I live in the North end where homelessness and drug abuse has also risen. No doubt contributing to these statistics. 

According to the CDC the shot this year was only 46% effective. That's not a high number. I'm not a Doctor, nor a scientist, I didn't study medicine, or biology. None of those things, but it seems to me, that getting a shot that is not 100% effective, is not really worth it. I'm basing this on personal experience, but think about it. Why would you want to put a live virus in your body. (I get it, it builds the immune system) but if it's not going to work, then why do it? We've seen through the years what shots our Doctors give us, and our Government says we need, to go to school, to travel, ect; have done in the long term. Higher rates of Autism, meningitis, and other side effects. So, to me, there is just no point in getting one. (Again, a personal choice) 

Personal belief; It all comes down to DNA and Genetics. To get the shot or not is up to you. 

Other statistics involving shot's that our Government tell us we need. Let's look at the Amish, and people and culture who do not go by the guidelines of popular society. https://www.facebook.com/HealthRanger/videos/10154510104936316/

So there ya go; think things through before you blindly do what someone else tells you is good for you. You decide. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A mother's view of the racial divide

It's been a bit since I have written, and I've been thinking a lot on the racial divide in this country. 

22 years ago, I gave birth to my oldest son. Antony Michael Yousseff Ahmed. I was married to his father at the time. The gulf war was happening, and tensions in the Arab community were high. 

I didn't really worry about Antony all that much when it came to his ethnic decent. He was born in America and therefore, he was American. Period. End of story.  My outlook was complacent. 

Over the years, as America has engaged in more and more conflict with the middle east, I worry more about my son. That conflict has now come to our soil, so as a mother, you can see why I would be concerned. 

I've always accepted people for who they are, regardless of skin color, social status, or religion. We are all human, and all have the right to the pursuit of happiness. We, as a people, have taken to stero typing individuals, and putting them into one group. Arab? Yep, he's a terrorist. Black? Yep, thief, rapist and more. White poor? Heroin and drug abusers, Mexican? Illegal immigrant, and so on and so forth. I wonder if anyone has taken a step back and really looked at their own behavior and reactions to each individual group. 

When we talk about the racial divide in this country, we tend to lean towards speaking in hostile tones, and pointing fingers, and yet we claim to be a tolerant people. Tolerant of what? A color? A religion? Just what are we tolerant of, and why is that particular word even being used? Why can't this be as simple as "I like this person, but dislike what that person is choosing to do?" Based on character, and nothing else. 

From my standpoint, when people view my son as "Arab", and lump him in "that" category, it scares the crap out of me. Is some whack job going to shoot him? Beat him to a bloody pulp, target him in some way? What about our own government? They have now decided that the Arabs are terrorists. All of them? Really? Come on people. Wake up! It's not our place to judge, and by doing so, we are apart of the problem, not the solution. 

My son's not Arab. He's American born and raised, educated and an upstanding young man. A productive contributor to our society. Isn't that the goal in this world? To raise productive well rounded children? I'm damn proud of him.  I don't know that I can relate to the black man who gets discriminated against for the color of his skin, or the Mexican man for wanting a better life for his family, or the Arab who lives here and get's snubbed, just for being Arab. I'm white. So I do not have the same prejudices against me.  But I can empathize, and I can start a conversation that can lead to solutions. I can understand the plight of all people trying to live in peace in this world. 


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sexual harassment and pay offs

This is a follow up to my article on Sexual harassment; a different perspective. 

In the news lately there have been a lot of stories on Sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or mis conduct. The most recent as of yesterday is about a young woman by the name of McKayla Maroney. 

She was an Olympic gymnast,  a Gold medalist, and starting at the age of 13 at her training camp in Houston Texas, Dr. Larry Nasser allegedly abused her. Her and 141 other young girls in his charge for the Olympic's. McKayla was paid off in a mediation settlement for an undisclosed amount to keep quiet about her abuse. For full story, see here; http://time.com/5074524/usa-gymnastics-paid-mckayla-maroney-sex-abuse/  Nasser is now serving 60 years in prison. 

So clearly we have a legitimate case of Sexual misconduct, and cover up. However, here is the million dollar question that I think any mother of a young girl would be asking herself. Why did McKayla's mother allow this to happen and why did she take the pay off? McKayla was underage when the mediation and settlement happened. Therefore she had to have a parent or guardian with her when the legal paperwork was signed. So what the hell was she thinking and why aren't charges being filed against her for neglect and child endangerment. (at a minimum) 

At Nasser's hearing McKayla and her mother both submitted victim impact statements. Seriously? I'd like someone to explain how Mama was a victim of the Olympic committee and the "Law". Was she coerced also? Or did she see a fat paycheck. I did some digging and came up with nothing on Erin Maroney, McKayla's mother. Not her back ground, not her source of income. Nothing. I also cannot find anything on McKayla's father. He's not mentioned once in the articles on McKayla. 

The photo above shows McKayla and her mother Erin. Both look healthy and happy. Either way, I am watching this story as it develop, and you can bet, I will have an opinion regarding Mama's duplicity in this case. 

As for McKayla, my heart goes out to the young girl she was, and the young women she is now. I pray she finds peace with her past. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sexual Harassment; A different perspective

I'll start this with a caveat; This is in no way a defense of current events that are happening around the globe and in our news. I cannot speak for the women who are currently going through this or have gone through this in the past. My belief and views should not negate what other women go through, nor the Law, or statue of what they are dealing with. It is not my place. 

I am speaking for me; and me alone. I believe each of us experience the same things in different ways. 

I've always been a hothead when it comes to politics, policy, rules, and guidelines, and this is no different. Should sexual harassment be taking place, and in what capacity does it become a law suit. 

This should come down to individual experience. Period. We have no right to judge what someone else has gone through. Question, yes, not judge. 

In 1987, I was working as a cocktail waitress in a local bar. The uniform back then was a black mini skirt, white tux shirt with a cummerbund and tie, and high heels. I was barely 22 years old, and did not question our "look". ( no, I have no photos..lol...) I did not date, and did not put up with men who made sexual innuendos. I was there for the job and paycheck. Period.  

When I switched from cocktail waitress to bouncer, my look did not change much. I was still required to wear skirts and heels, but I could choose my own clothing. 

The owner of the club I worked for was in "love" with me... and a few other girls. I considered him a friend only. He was about 6'5 and weighed about 600 pds. His frequent comment to my turning him down on a relationship was "It's because I am fat isn't it?" my answer was no, "it's because you are an alcoholic". That, and he was 22 years older than me. 

That said, he kept the guys away from me, either with his "looks" and intimidation, or flat out telling them I was his. Me being me, I would roll my eyes and tell him to get stuffed. He fired me at least once a week, and called me back to work the very next day after he would do it. 

He showed up at my parent's home in his limo one morning at 3am, and got my father pissed off as all get out, as his limo blocked my dad from leaving to work. My father then pounded on my bedroom door, getting me up. 

In the meantime, Steve was in the driveway, yelling that he was gonna marry me, or see me dead. He also pulled a 9mm on me and my cousin one night when I was being walked to my car at the club. Was this sexual harassment? I'm sure in other women's eyes it would have been. In mine, it was just flat out annoying.

The point I am attempting to make with this little story, is, I was smart enough to know that this was just a game with Steve. It was harmless. I'm also smart enough to know that women like Katie Couric "appears" to be jumping on the band wagon of sexual assault victims these days. Breaking her silence". 
Indeed. Did she really feel her livelihood was threatened by Matt Lauer? Was he really "pinching her on the ass" as reports say? Or is this all media hype because people want Trump out of office for his sexual misconduct. (Which, by the way was prior to him being in office.)
 It's entirely possible. However, I'm seeing a trend here and it's called diversion. Media blitz. Yada Yada.... Katie is and was in a position of power. Her Intellect put her there. Do we really want to believe that she would not have come forward when this was happening 14 years ago? Her salary was 15 million a year. 
I for one cannot believe that a woman in her position, or any position of power; ie: the rest we are reading about right now, would not speak up. She did stories on victims, and was one herself? I smell B.S. Why now? What's the benefit? The statue of limitations on Sexual assault in New York, (where the Today show is filmed) is 5 years. So this becomes a civil suit if true. In Virginia where Couric lives however the statue is 20 years. So this begs the question, why come forth now. 

I'm sorry folks, I just don't buy into this media frenzy of Sexual miss conduct. Do I think it happens? Yes, do I think the women that are coming forward now have had it happen to them? I just can't say. It's all allegation at this point, and I don't believe that anyone should be fired before a fair and impartial trial. IF that is, charges are even going to be filed. I also know that had it been sexual miss-conduct with me 30 years ago when I worked for Steve, you can bet your sweet ass I would have filed charges and pursued them. Then, not now. 

I've raised 3 boys, and if I ever caught wind of sexual miss conduct from them against a co-worker I would be the 1st to stand up for her. My boys would get a boot up their you know what for it too, along with any charges from the woman. 

I'll say this, what I do believe is how a man treats his mother is how he'll treat a woman.  I'd be interested to know what Matt Lauer's relationship with his mother was.