It’s All About Privacy

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This week it has been reported that Apple is not giving the federal government access to the iPhone information that one of the terrorists of the San Bernadino attack.  The company is standing firm that there is no back door to the phone’s encrypted information or any software to access it.

I really don’t believe that this is true because all software has ways to get to its data.  I believe that CEO Tim Cook just doesn’t want this door exposed as others may use it in ways not intended.   Of course, the government could just hand the phone over to Apple and have them decrypt the information and then give the government back the phone with unencrypted information.  They really don’t want to do that either as it would still violate the privacy of its customers.

So here we have the clash between national security and privacy.    This could spend a long time in the court system.

Then, there is me.

For those who are regular readers of this blog knows how much trouble I have had with my gmail account and how I have been receiving emails that have not belonged to me.

These emails include such things as names, addresses, telephone numbers, credit card numbers,  and other information that I would consider personal.

The problem with these emails is that all of them come from companies that I don’t do business with.  The worst thing about all this is the reluctance of these companies to delete my email address off many of these companies’ databases.

Unfortunately, for most of these companies they don’t realize the possible damage done to the intended customer by accidentally releasing personal information to me.  To make matters worse, is that some of these companies blame me for someone else using my email address.

Certainly these companies are clueless regarding how to protect customer information and show a complete disregard to protecting privacy.  In fact, I see no end to receiving emails that don’t belong to me. 

Overall, I feel that Apple should allow the government access to the information on the iPhone without question as in real life, privacy really doesn’t exist.

Just ask me about all the private information about other people that I have accumulated.

The Mysterious Case of the Former Friends

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Today is the 12th anniversary of Facebook.

 

This makes it the perfect day to discuss the disappearance of 2 people from my friends on Facebook.  Let me say that I knew both of these people in person and quite honestly I have no idea why either of them decided to unfriend me.

 

Unlike other posts, I will not disguise their names as I feel it is better to expose them for what they are rather than protect them.  People who leave without any explanation don’t deserve any protection as far as I am concerned.

 

First up is Norma Jean.  I have known her for over 30 years, actually since junior high school.  I was never overly friendly with Norma Jean as we had different circles of friends.  My friends were a cross section of jocks and smart people for the most part.  Her friends were more of the lower class bunch.  She hung around the bullies and troublemakers.

 

For the most part, I tried hard to stay away from these people as they were always getting into trouble and most had nothing to do with me.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of times where I ended up in classes with some of these lower lives along with Norma Jean herself.

 

After high school, I (thankfully) lost track of everyone from my graduation class.  When I came onto Facebook in mid-2006, Norma Jean became one of the early people who wished to friend me.  Reluctantly, I accepted her friend request as I thought that after so many years, people would have changed and matured, but with people like her, I was mistaken.

 

While I did have a couple of online comment sessions with her, I always felt that she really was not interested in anything I said.  So I believe out of boredom, she decided to unfriend me.  A few months later, I confronted her online in a mutual friend’s post as to why she unfriended me.  She seemed to blow it off and didn’t give me an answer.  Apparently, she has not changed in over 30 years. I have declined to friend a couple of people from high school as I felt that those people would unfriend me as well because they were part of the same bullying group.

 

However, the most bizarre unfriending happened over the past week, with my now apparent former friend Bridget.  She and I became friends while we both worked at Staples.

 

During her time at Staples, it was apparent that Bridget had social problems.  She never really seemed to get along with many of the associates, managers and most importantly the customers.  It was this type of attitude that made her be called into the manager’s office for one of their “little talks”.  These talks never really seemed to help and she seemed to always get a little meaner and ruder with each passing day.

 

I am not saying that she overall was a bad person; we always seemed to get along as we both had similar feelings toward people in general.  She always seemed like a rollercoaster of emotions, one minute happy the next angry and the following giggly.  Overall, she was rude to people as she did not seem to have the words “please” or “thank you” in her vocabulary.

 

I think this type of disrespect has more to do with her upbringing, sort of like how Norma Jean treated me.  Unfortunately this type of rudeness continued when she became one of the earliest people to friend me on Facebook.

 

Rarely did I ever make a comment to any of her postings, but when I did I was either ignored or never acknowledged for it.  For someone who was a friend of mine at work, I really thought that she would have a little more respect, but apparently I was very wrong.

 

Everything seemed to be fine, up until this last week when surprisingly decided to unfriend me.  I have absolutely no idea why she unfriended me as I have not had any conversations with her online in weeks.  So this was certainly a headscratcher at best.

 

I will probably never find out the true reason why either of these women unfriended me, but all indications point to the fact that both shared a common rudeness, which is not the type of indication of what a real friend is.

 

Overall, let me point out that I found out about these people unfriending me by using a plugin to the Chrome browser (also available for Firefox as well).  Without using a tool like this, both of these women could have remained anonymous in their unfriending of me.

 

But in the world of the internet, you can run but can never hide.

 

Maybe both of these rude people should go and hide forever if they have no respect for me anymore.

Why I Didn’t Vote This Year

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Yesterday was Election Day in the United States.

 

I did not perform my civic duty as I usually do for one very simple reason: there was just nothing I cared enough about that would sway the general vote.

 

This year no Congressional seats up for grabs/

 

No governor position to fight for.

 

And last, no Presidential election this year to vote on.

 

That didn’t mean that I wasn’t interested in some of the elections going on around the state of Maine.  I just wish I lived in some of the other communities to vote on some of the important things that were happening in other towns than my own.

 

I will now give comments on some of those other elections.

 

First up is the Lewiston mayoral race.  For anyone who has read this blog will realize that I have written about current mayor Robert Macdonald a couple different times in recent years.  He is most popularly known for his comments against the growing Somalian community in his city.  This has now caused him to have several opponents for his job as mayor.

 

However, under Lewiston rules, if nobody gets at least 50% of the vote (which they didn’t), a runoff election must be held with the top two candidates to determine a winner of the mayor position.  His opponent, Benjamin Chin, is of Chinese descent and may play a factor toward supporting the immigrant population.  So this runoff may be more an election of the immigrants vs. those who don’t want the immigrants.  Personally, I see Macdonald recapturing his position and will continue his dislike toward the immigrants flooding his town.

 

Portland had 2 interesting referendum questions on its election ballot.  The lesser of the 2 questions, as confusing as it was, now will allow developers to build properties no matter how much it destroys any scenic view within the city.  This basically means that people who pay big money for those wonderful ocean views may lose them to some greedy developer.  Maybe people didn’t understand the question or maybe it was twisted in such a way that nobody could understand the ultimate result of the question.

 

The second referendum question of greater importance was to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour for all employees within the city limits by 2019.  While on the surface this would sound wonderful, most small businesses fought this one hard as it would create massive layoffs and possibly have many businesses leave the city.  Thankfully, this was defeated by a 58% to 42% margin.  However, and this is a big however, the city will be raising the wage to $10.10 starting in January.  This means that Portland, Maine will be the 7th highest minimum wage in the country.  I expect to see many businesses to start leaving or scaling back very soon.  Let me point out as a side note that in the near 13 years I worked at Staples, I barely got above the $10.10 rate at the time of my termination.  I think Staples is probably glad they don’t have a store within the Portland city limits as they would probably close it just to save money.

 

Speaking of Staples, my own city of South Portland had one of its city council seats up for grabs by a former Staples sales manager.  I would never vote for the guy because I felt the type of antics that he did to get himself fired from Staples was unprofessional and uncalled for.  What makes it worse for him was that he had a strong ethic to wanting to make the city more business friendly.  While this sounds like a great idea, it throws all the regular taxpayers under the bus and not being supported.  Thankfully, the taxpayers agreed and he was soundly defeated.  Ironically, 7 of my Facebook friends are mutual friends of his, but I am not.  Maybe he is still bitter over being fired from Staples?

 

Overall, this election year was a ho-hum year for the most part with some key issues being decided locally and around the country.  However, next year I will definitely be voting in November as I want to make sure that I cast my ballot for the proper person to be our next President.

 

Until next year…. No I will have posts before next November (I hope).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Was Not SO Perfect

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Note:  This week’s post is being posted in both of my blogs.

 

Today is being called “Back to the Future” Day as it celebrates the date notable in the second movie of the trilogy.

 

One of the items in the movie was a product called “Pepsi Perfect”.  To celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary, PepsiCo released a limited number of a special edition “Pepsi Perfect” product collectively boxed.

 

This product was limited to 6500 units and was to sell online for $20.15 for residents of the U.S. PepsiCo’s website did not state what online retailers would be selling this product but it was later discovered that the retailers were Walmart.com and amazon.com.

 

Of course, all was well and good to try to snag one of these bottles at the stroke of midnight on the east coast.  I had my computer on and launched to search on twitter to see who was selling the item.

 

Quickly, I found myself shocked when the #PepsiPerfect hashtag was trending as the product was already sold out at both online retailers well before the official launch time/release date.

 

Apparently, this product started selling online at approximately 10:15pm last night, a full hour and 45 minutes before it was supposed to be sold.  Twitter was exploding with comments showing anger from dozens of people who felt cheated that the two retailers started selling the product before the official release date.

 

So what exactly went wrong?  We may never know the answer to this question, but my thought is that someone decided to let it get released on the websites early unknowingly that it had a somewhat specific release date/time.

 

It would have been better if PepsiCo had announced a specific time of release and list of retailers who were going to be selling the product.  By not doing this, the retailers made up their own minds as to when to sell the item.

 

This brings me to the point of my blog.  Release dates are important and retailers (online and physical stores) should strictly adhere to them.  To be fair to everyone, the guidelines should be met at all times and not waver from them.  Companies produce these rules to keep everything fair for everyone and when someone violates that, the result is nothing but anger which has spread across the internet.

 

Unfortunately, there are no winners in this whole situation except for the few who managed to score one of the few available collector bottles.  I, however, will remain disappointed as I missed out on this as well.

 

In a future post, I will discuss more about release dates and the awkwardness they create and how now they are worse than ever.  As if anything could be worse than missing out on a collectible Pepsi bottle…

 

 

Way Over the Edge

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This week’s post discusses one human and one flag, both of which seems to be getting no respect for reasons that are less than reasonable.

 

First let me start off with the human:  Donald Trump.

 

A couple of weeks ago, Donald seemed to turn the world upside down when he announced his run for the Presidency.  His claim of all Mexicans being bad people who are coming across the border left a firestorm behind as companies started abandoning him everywhere.

 

Let’s look at some of these abandoners:

 

  • NBC television network. Sure the company is still stinging over the whole Brian Williams thing, but by dumping the “Miss USA” and “Miss Universe” pageants was just totally uncalled for.  It is understandable why “Celebrity Apprentice” was cancelled given that Trump’s run would not be allowed.  However, it should be noted that Al Sharpton, who is employed by sister station MSNBC makes many more inflammatory comments than Donald does, yet Sharpton is still employed.  Does anyone else see a problem with this?
  • Univision television network. They dumped the pageants as well and Trump is suing them for hundreds of millions dollars for backing out of a contract.  While the amount is excessive, my hope is that Trump gets something out of this broken contract besides cancellation.
  • Macy’s. They are going to stop selling Trump clothes and Trump branded beds.  Seriously, as if they really need to get rid of more overpriced merchandise.  Of course, the local Macy’s  has a large number of non-US born employees so I would assume that this is the case nationally, which means they didn’t want to offend all their low wage employees.

 

Overall, nobody likes to hear the truth and Trump is speaking the truth despite how much it really hurts.  It would be nice if the other Presidential candidates would get a backbone and start saying something that they would do if elected to the highest office.

 

Honestly, I like what Trump has to say despite what so many haters don’t like him talking and considering him a “sideshow” or a “clown” – it is the others that are the real clowns.

 

Now onto the non-human:  the confederate flag.

 

Yes, this flag got a lot of attention after pictures surfaced of the church shooter posed with the confederate flag.  As disturbing as it was, the flag quickly sparked outrage by many as to why it is still being displayed anywhere.

 

Yes, this flag does represent a time when the nation was divided and slavery ruled the landscape in the south, but now it seems to be part of the southern culture more as an icon than a remembrance of the past.

 

This is the problem.

 

People have wanted to get rid of flying the flag over the North Carolina capitol building, which the state has been taking a lot heat over.  However, it has gone far beyond that.

 

Now it seems that the flag is not welcome anywhere.  NASCAR wanted people to leave their confederate flags at home or they could trade them in for a US flag at the day of their races, just as an example.

 

But the biggest crossing the line is the removal of the “Dukes of Hazzard” from TV Land as the flag is shown prominently on the show’s General Lee car.  Anybody who ever watched this show would realize that this flag never was part of any storyline that I could remember and was mostly just decoration than used to cause any harm.  Compare this, however, to the extra short shorts that Catherine Bach wore on the show, then we can talk about some possible offensive stuff, otherwise this show was fairly innocent.

 

This brings me to this point:  Where is the line of being offensive and being politically correct drawn?

 

Will every show have to come with a warning of possible offensive material?

 

Will Donald Trump have to be preceded by a notice that he could spew out truths that the world would not like?

 

Will society crumble under political correctness?

 

I may not know the answers to these questions but I do know that I personally will always tell it like it is, both in this blog and my Staples blog.  After all, somebody needs to hear the truth no matter how much it hurts.

The Law of the Land?

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Warning:  The following post contains material that may be offensive to some readers.  Reader caution is STRONGLY recommended.

 

Note:  The following is being posted in both blogs this week as I feel it is important enough to appear in both of them.

 

Yes, everyone the government has officially gone wild and stupid.

 

Back when I was in school many years ago, I learned that we had 3 divisions of government:  executive, judicial, and legislative branches.  Nowadays, these divisions have been crossing paths with each other because each of them wants to make laws that we are supposed to live by.  Of course only the legislative branch has the power to make laws.

 

Tell that to our government today.

 

Recently, the President made an executive order regarding immigrants and last week the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.  The latter is what I am going to talk about in this post.

 

Nos while this may seem fine on the surface, let’s get to the real problem here.  Quite a few states have yet approved gay marriage and some have rejected it more than once.  To have the courts decide what is good for the country in one fell swoop is not only a bad move but creates the type of problems that have been plaguing this country for years.

 

For someone to call this “the law of the land” makes me sick, as this law was forced down the throats of people whether they want it or not.  Let’s add to this the following things that irritate me just as much as just passing the law:

 

  • Lighting up the White House in the rainbow flag colors. What can be worse than having the “People’s House” not representing all the people and being paid for at taxpayer’s expense?  When you don’t represent everyone you should not force the values on everyone else.
  • Having people change their Facebook profile picture to be covered in the rainbow flag colors. Do these people even have a clue that their so-called support is just flaming the fire of those who don’t like having a law slammed down their throat?  Apparently all these rainbow people have not done their research on this “law”.
  • The celebrating in the streets by those who feel like they won the lottery. Truth is, your rights are still limited despite being the law.

 

It is this last point that is the most critical of them all.

 

Even though gay people have the right to marry, the bigger question is who will marry them.  Any religious leader can still deny a gay marriage performance if they don’t want to do it.

 

Add to this that places like bakeries can deny a customer who wants to create a wedding cake for a gay couple as well.  Let’s even add more to this as gays can be fired from their jobs, denied seating in restaurants, and can still be treated like second class citizens.

 

And the gays think they won the marriage battle?

 

Honestly, what has now happened is a Pandora’s box of problems that will sprout and raise its ugly head.

 

Oh sure, those of you wearing blinders waving your rainbow flag and showing your gay pride by changing your Facebook profile pic may feel happy, but the truth is that the gay community has won nothing.

 

NOTHING!!

 

Are you people hearing me?  If anything, the passage of a law that goes against the views of the people will cause nothing but problems.  More discrimination and more hatred will be coming.

 

If the black community think that they have been hated lately, that is nothing compared to the firestorm against the gay community to come.

 

Since the Supreme Court was a 5-4 decision, the court was pretty much evenly divided, however since 2 of the justices on the affirmative side have performed gay marriages, they should have recused themselves from making a decision on this case.  If that happened, then this law never would have passed whatsoever.

 

So here is the problem with our court system.

 

Instead of going by the Constitution, which makes no mention of gays in it, the justices decided to go by their own personal beliefs to put forth their decision.  Let’s forget that there were any evidence to support either side, the fact that the court even made a decision on this at all just proves that the court wants to make its own laws just like the Congress does.

 

It is bad enough that Congress can’t make laws but to have the courts step up and make laws just shows how wrong our government has really become.  It appears that the courts wants to make laws and then execute them in any way they like even if it means screwing the American people.

 

Now let me say that I am not in favor of gay marriage, however I do have several gay friends.  I am not a racist or a bigot but I do believe in what the religious teachings I grew up with are.  Even though I no longer practice religion, I still stand behind the faith that I have known all my life.  I do however support the idea of gay unions just not the idea of redefining marriage.

 

Of course now the courts have opened themselves up to yet another problem.  What about those who are bigamists or those who believe in marrying their pet horse?

 

Shouldn’t these people be given their rights as well?  Shouldn’t they be given the chance to be happy as well?  Should we not discriminate against these people either?

 

If you are going to give rights to one group, it should be fair to give rights to all groups.  Certainly we don’t have a fair and balanced court system if they refuse to have everyone get an equal playfield.

 

Certainly if I had my way, I would be impeaching the Supreme Court and remove them from their lifetime tenure that they so enjoy.  I believe that our entire court system is riddled with problems and that judges should be replaced on a regular basis.  Of course, only Congress can make that decision unless the Supreme Court wants to make a law barring that from ever happening.

 

Finally, let me say that our entire government system is broken.  Those of you who read my blogs probably already knew that.  However, I do believe that we need an honest system where everyone is fairly represented and that we don’t have laws shoved down our throats without the type of representation that this country was built on a couple hundred years ago.

 

It seems that the more we try to go forward in advancing equality for all, the further we seem to go backwards.

 

Unfortunately, our Pledge of Allegiance statement of “and justice for all” seems no longer apply to everyone anymore.

 

Our only hope is that someone will try to repeal the national gay marriage bill and allow states to make their own decisions on if they want it.  It was the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

 

For those of you, who read this and appreciate this, thank you.

 

For those of you, who hate me for what I have written, maybe you should really dig deeper into what you personally stand for.

 

In the end, I know I will be hated for what I have written, but I did forewarn you.

 

To all, thanks and let’s repeal this ugly law.

 

 

 

 

My 2015 Commencement Address

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Warning: The following post may be offensive to some readers.  Discretion is advised.

 

Welcome folks to my annual commencement address!

 

This year I am not only addressing those graduating school, but I also have some brief advice to others as well.  I am going to do this in a top down fashion starting with those graduating college.

 

Fellow college graduates, you have that wonderful degree that you just received from your favorite school with a degree in Amish electronics.  The problem is now that you have that paper but for some stupid reason you cannot find a job using that degree.

 

Ha!  You just became the victim of going to college and wasting money on a useless degree.  Of course, if Obama has his way, that money you paid for that degree will be forgiven and you will not owe anything for it.  That’s right, friends, get that useless degree and enjoy those years not having to join the workforce.

 

Naturally, you will have to join the workforce at some point.  While places like McDonald’s could be an option that is not what you were going for.  So your only choice is to get some low wage job that you can get, more than likely retail is certainly a fine choice, just like your humble speaker did.

 

Now onto the high school graduates, you are in the pretty much the same boat as the college grads.

 

You have the choice of spending money you don’t have to go to a college for a degree that will be useless in 4 years or so or you can go out and get a real job in the real world with the high school education you have.

 

Naturally, many students are not prepared for college.  I was one of them.  I found myself in trouble very early but I persisted and kept at it until I got my degree after 8 years of going part-time.  I could never get into a work-study program with my major because apparently I was “too rich”.  Seriously, too rich when I was taking out student loans every year to survive, what are they thinking?

 

This brings me to the point of a disclaimer that I have been hearing that “a degree doesn’t guarantee a job”.  It used to be that colleges would offer job placement assistance, now all they do is send you out the door with a “good luck” attitude.  They should just hand you a Walmart name tag at graduation instead.

 

Now for the kids in middle school and elementary school, you are the rebel group.

 

You spend your time with your little smartphones.  You play games, texting, talking to your friends, and using them to help you cheat on tests.  You may also be using them to send out those inappropriate pictures of yourself to your friends and to everyone else in the world as well.  Believe me, I have seen pictures before and the parents should be ashamed of not teaching proper etiquette.  Instead the parents shame their kids on the internet, sometimes with tragic results.  One child just recently committed suicide after being public shamed by their parents.

 

Which finally brings me to the parents and the little babies in their lives; you are the ones who should be acting like grownups here.

 

You opt out of vaccinations because people like Dr. Jenny McCarthy (not a real doctor, by the way) say that they cause autism.  You do other readings from others who echo these false claims.  Sure, you can send your kid to school unvaccinated, but you run the risk of not only having the kid getting sick but also spreading disease to others as well.  I am not just talking about in school, but any public place as well, such as shopping malls, where large numbers of people gather.

 

As livings in one of the states with the highest opt out rates in the country, I am disgusted that such behavior can go on.  When I was young, I could not even go to school unless I brought in proof that I was immunized and then the school secretary called the doctor to verify the information.  Back then, there were very few exceptions and if you didn’t follow the rules, you weren’t allowed to go to school period.  We should go back to those ways when everyone was protected.

 

Now I place the blame for this on parents.  You know you are a bad parent.  You may even be a single parent.  You may be a single mother.  You may not even know who your child’s father is.  You may have even had several children and don’t know who any of the fathers are.  Just watch any of the afternoon TV programs and you will see this played out in all its glory.  Parents need to become more aware of their children and more responsible people.  You are raising the future generation and you only get one chance – don’t screw it up!

 

In conclusion, let me say that society is going to hell fast.  We are all hating each other.  Authorities are not being respected.  People are becoming liars just so that they can get ahead in this world.

 

So people put down your gadgets and look around you.

 

We are becoming a world where nobody likes each other and just want to create chaos everywhere.  Add to this, a President who is out of touch with reality and wants to do nothing to make the world a better place.  I am ashamed of the USA and you should be as well.

 

Remember after 9/11, how we all came together united as one nation.  What happened to that?  Now we are beating each other in the streets, murdering each other, setting fires to local businesses and creating chaos everywhere.

 

This needs to stop today and we need a leader who can bring forth the kind of change that will bring us back to the greatness we once had.

 

Soon, we will be electing a new President.  I recommend that everyone pay close attention to each of the candidates and see how each of them plan on bringing this country back to greatness.

 

After all, we are ONE NATION.  We are AMERICA!

 

You are now free to go and continue to live your lives.

 

Thank you and good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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