You Can Hear Me Now?

© 2015 RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY

I don’t care that the government collects metadata on my cell phone activity. In fact, knowing what they use it for, I encourage the practice. It is too important and useful to stop.
Besides, how do you think your phone bill is created? Do you think Verizon/AT&T/Sprint is just guessing as to who you called and for how long? Or how much data you used and who you used it with? And what do you think Verizon/AT&T/Sprint does with that data besides use it for billing?

We’re able to view just everything that they do.”

– Verizon Wireless Executive

This isn’t news, folks. Neither is the NSA activity. This has been going on, in one form or another, for almost 70 years. Many of the people who were fully aware of it are now expressing shock and dismay in public. And that is so very sad.

Case in point, I have 283 Facebook friends (don’t judge, I’m not a very personable person). About 50 of those Facebook friends are personally aware of the activities of the National Security Agency and other intelligence organs of the United States government. They are aware of the data types and methods used for obtaining that data. They are aware of the restrictions on and procedures for handling this information when it comes to a “US person”. And, yet, the only time you will hear one of them express any concern is in order to support their politics. No other reason. Why? They know the danger. They know that it is negligible. They know that this is all hype designed to stir up the unwashed masses.

They also know that scaring the ignorant doesn’t take very much effort.

For most Americans, the conditioned response to government of the opposite party (fear, loathing, disgust, hate) trumps common sense. On an immense scale. Sad.

So, what are we left with? Little concern when your information is collected and sold by a For-Profit entity with limitations based only on those it places on itself BUT major concern when your information is collected and analyzed by the Government in order to defend the country based on the limitations provided by the duly enacted laws of this country.

Brilliant.

Commentary on the Mad Hatter’s Latest Tea Party

© 2015 RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY

I’ve been following a fairly unbelievable conversation on Facebook complaining that the volunteers fighting Ebola need to shut up and be grateful that we gave them the chance to fight Ebola? (Honestly, I had a real hard time figuring out what the basis was for this conversation). They were compared to the 101st Airborne and their oath of duty and…I don’t know. Let me say a few more things than you really want to hear about all of that.

There is a major difference between the military and volunteers. Volunteers aren’t “idiots“. They decided to risk there lives for little or no compensation to help others during a health crisis. Disdain and demand for ill treatment of those that are trying to save lives fits well with the current “me first” culture but it is still wrong.

Cowardice and illogical fear of this disease should not replace common courtesy nor the requirement to be grateful (or, at a minimum, humane) to those that are helping people while we bravely sit at our keyboards and opine about how the people that actually are helping should feel or be treated. We imagine farfetched scenarios under which Ebola could affect us and find friends to whine with about how brave we are while we cower on the Barcalounger with a Coors Light firmly in hand, stuffing chicken wings into our maw and explain what the young men on the television are doing wrong. We discuss how much danger we are in while watching the NFL on CBS and in between howling at the TV about the latest injustice the referees are perpetrating on “your” team and making plans to watch Lucy Liu in “Elementary”.

We are strong believers in our expertise in things we have no expertise in. And disbelievers in experts who differ with our opinion only because they know what they are talking about. Welcome to the Tea Party’s America.

Meanwhile, this nurse who they insist should “just shut up” and stop being an “idiot” and a “crybaby” has been wiping up the blood and snot and piss and shit of dying people. Dying.

She has watched children die while we curse the Gods because 0.00000126984% of Americans have been infected with the Ebola virus which must mean that it is coming for us next. Lurking around the corner like some slavering beast refusing to recognize our exceptionalism no matter how many times we point it out.

This is narcissism on an epic scale and embarrassment at this is what causes us to pretend we are in some sort of danger when we know that we aren’t. How do I know we know we aren’t? Because no one is that stupid. Absolutely no one.

A woman (with no symptoms which means she’s not contagious even if she was infected no matter what Drudge, WorldNetDaily, Fox, Breitbart and the Daily Caller are telling you in between their adverts for Topless Machine Gun Thursdays at the local gun range) who treated Ebola victims travels to the state you live in. What does that mean for you? Absolutely nothing. How about if you are introduced to her and shake her hand. What then? Still nothing. What if you berate her soundly and then collect her tears to make ironic salty caramel treats which you later binge eat? Nope. Nada.  You know it, I know it, everyone with a functioning brainstem knows it. No pity points for you. No moral high ground that lets you judge these good samaritans. Nothing.

As with so many hypocritical and horrible acts, many of the perpetrators claim Christianity as their faith. Well, I don’t recall the part about scorning the Good Samaritan for breaking the rules of the day to assist the man by the side of the road. Maybe the Lord just forgot that part of the parable. Maybe we are supposed to heap scorn and disdain on folks that help others. Maybe they are “idiots” and “crybabies“. Maybe they should “just shut up“. Maybe He wanted us to figure that out ourselves.

There is one thing you are right about. Someone in this needs to shut up. And it’s not the nurse.

Protect your child and our’s

Nothing can change the mind of a parent who believes there’s any chance their child might suffer a permanent learning disability as the result of a vaccine (which is weird because diseases like measles can kill kids?). These parents don’t believe in science. They believe in anecdotes from their friends and neighbors. They want something to blame, and the timing of the vaccine and their child’s ailments makes sense to them. Screw the evidence and screw the scientific method.

– Kristen Philipkoski, Gizmodo

Will it ever end?

I got this from the comments section of a website called iSideWith.com. It was in response to a poll.Obama Family

An individual using the Facebook name of Donald B Brooks called for the killing of the President in the comments section.

Here are his comments:

Donald B Brooks · Top Commenter · Valley High School
the jerk is a failed leader , a menace to society and should be removed from office by ANY means possible! where are you Oswald?
Reply · Like · Follow Post · January 30 at 7:53pm

Donald B Brooks · Top Commenter · Valley High School
Carolyn Beckwith call me anything you want,obama is no kennedy! I would like to see him removed from office for criminal activities. has nothing to do with being a rep. or dem. Obama is a menace to the US constitution which calls for action when the govt oppresses its citizens! and being a Christian has nothing to do with this matter! christiasns kill the enemy all the time.
Reply · Like · February 12 at 12:02pm

I’ve sent an email to the contact address at the site asking them if they’ve done anything about this as a courtesy. I’ve also informed them of my intention to report this to the Secret Service. According to YesWare, the email was opened and read at 12:55PM Eastern.

Things are the same all over

Russia has its own Radical Right and its own version of Fox News telling lies and beating the drums for a war that they will watch comfortably on television while young men and women die in the mud and muck. Meanwhile, Ukraineour Radical Right and Fox News do exactly the same. Am I saying that the events in Ukraine are right or justifiable or acceptable? No. What I’m saying is that cowards sitting at home should stop beating their chests and selling wolf tickets that they don’t have to back up. If only we had a rule that said, if you’re a politician AND you vote for or condone any sort of war, you and your immediate family must participate on the front line in an infantryman role. Regardless of age or sex or infirmity.

Leonid Ragozin at Politico Magazine has a great write up on what is being said in Russia about the situation in Ukraine. It all sounds so depressingly familiar.

Truman Wept

Bill DiamondMissouri: Once the home of “The Buck Stops Here” under Harry Truman and now “Home of the Illiterate Dumbasses” .

Who can forget the spectacle of the rodeo from last year when they used blackface to mock a sitting President of the United States – at a partially public funded event“Oh, but that wasn’t racist!”  

Sure. 

Well, Missouri, if you just can’t wait to be next in line to make a complete ass of yourself, you might as well be next door to Kansas and Oklahoma. Good luck with that. Since you don’t fathom the consequences of your action, hillbillies, let me ‘splain it to you.

You are helping to ensure that Supreme Court rules in favor of gays and lesbians because you are distinctly and narrowly passing laws intending solely to discriminate against homosexuals. This meets the litmus test for “suspect classification“. That’s the legal term for a group of individuals that have been historically subject to discrimination. Any statute (a law, not a STATUE) that makes a distinction between individuals based on suspect classifications under the law will be subject to strict scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

Oh sure, you think sexual orientation isn’t one of them. You’re doing your damnedest to force the Court to recognize it as one.

If you don’t believe me, go review the Carolene Products Footnote.

– Bill Diamond

Heroes of the Radical Right

Nugent and Palin

And now for a few words from poster boy for the Republican Party, Ted Nugent

I’ve got no inhibitions

So keep your keys out of your ignition
I steal a car like I got the curse
I can’t resist the old lady’s purse

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won’t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I’ve got to have you in a matter of time

Well I don’t care if you’re just thirteen
You look too good to be true
I just know that you’re probably clean
There’s one lil’ thing I got do to you

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won’t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I’ve got to have you in a matter of time

So tell your mama that I’m back in town
She likes us boys when it’s time to get down
She’s got this craving for the underage
I just might be your mama’s brand new rage

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won’t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I got to have you in a matter of time

Honey you you you look so nice
She’s young she’s tender
Won’t you please surrender
She’s so fine she’s mine
All the time, all mine mine
It’s all right baby
It’s quite all right I asked your mama
Wait a minute officer
Don’t put those handcuffs on me
Put them on her and I’ll share her with you

Jailbait, jailbait