Archive for September, 2010

Thank You, Missouri

September 27, 2010

Missouri County MapI stumbled across an article on today regarding Missouri’s new legislature…makes me happy.  The new law restores assurance (for residents of the “show me” state, anyway) that a burglar will not be able to sue a homeowner if the social leech gets hurt while trying to rip off the honest person’s belongings.  It is now legal in Missouri to use deadly force against someone trying to steal your car…and the best part?  The burglar cannot sue you for getting hurt if he, say, falls through a skylight (Liar Liar reference).  This is great because homeowners must, no longer, hesitate to react because of possible civil suits if the burglar lives—I assume this also applies to the family of the burglar if he/she is, uh, stopped.  If someone breaks into a house or tries to steal something, that person is a threat…end of story.  Good job, MO.

The law has already been tested…today, actually, in Kennett, Missouri.  Short story shorter, a 17-year-old broke into the wrong house, which he did not leave.  Homeowner received no charges.


Gotta Love the F.B.I.

September 27, 2010

Those crazy lazy people at the F.B.I. have amazed me, once again.

TestIt has come to pass that several—possibly dozens—of agents and supervisors have admitted to cheating on an exam.  The exam tested agents’ knowledge of new domestic terrorist investigation guidelines.  The exam followed a course consisting of 16.5 hours of class time.  The exam was supposed to take 90—120 minutes to complete.

When 200 agents completed the exam in 20 minutes, officials figured something was askew.  A shallow investigation uncovered several agents, including supervisors, who had cheated by various means, including use of computer security flaws and cheat sheets.  Instructors also, reportedly, stomped feet to indicate materials specific to the exam. The BBC article links to the official report.

So, basically, this indicates about 1/100 of the F.B.I.’s 20,000 agents have no clue what they are doing when it comes to domestic investigation guidelines because…who the hell needs guidelines, right?  If that was not bad enough, there is another angle to consider:  these men/women are supposed to be tip-top when it comes to investigating national matters, yet they could not properly cheat on an exam?  In some cases, crooked legal advisors were actually present when the exam was taken.  Did it not dawn on anyone to try to make the dishonesty appear convincing?  Clearly, the F.B.I. only accepts the brightest people this country has to offer…and a select terrorist group, as well.

FBI SealBefore people get up-in-arms about that last comment:  I remember reading on PCWorld how a Hizballah sympathizer gained employment to the F.B.I. and C.I.A. after gaining fraudulent citizenship.  She used her position to find what the U.S. knew about her buddies.  Meanwhile, her sister and others routed millions to Lebanon while selling U.S. citizenship benefits.  I Googled it, and happened to find the same 2007 article here.

Ah, Arkansas Politics

September 21, 2010

Governor-Politicshopeful, Jim Keet, had some unanticipated assistance with his campaign.  The newscast names the rapper-hopeful as “Courtney Ray, or ‘X2C.'”  Already, common ground has been established.  X2C says he did his research, and Keet is his candidate.  The newscast also summarizes the rapper’s repertoire as consisting mainly of songs about “partying and women”—gee, what an unusual rap characteristic.  The “film-maker” was not named in the newscast, but the YouTube video shows a “Quality Video Services” logo after the vid.

Anyway, the song is a semi-catchy result of a couple people messing around for the sake of doing it…it just happens to be for their candidate of choice.  Interestingly enough, the first person to denounce the unemployed rapper (another one of those strange characteristics) happened to be the same race as the rapper when she commented, “You are black and you don’t even know what’s going on, and you want to do a song about it?”  I am not saying it is a great song with complex melodies and snappy chord progressions [watch it here], but it is no worse than some of the other political propaganda out there (a lot more to-the-point, as well)…and it was not sanctioned by Keet’s campaign.

Diddy--Vote or DieThe white guy to comment next said, “If that’s that kid doing on it on his own, without the funding from Jim Keet, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”  Not only is there nothing wrong with it, it is a terrific use of media in politics—especially considering there was no monetary gain.  This brings me to Benjamin Gray’s point, when he said, “I just think this kid is out there to get a check.”  As a side note, his wife made the disparaging comment mentioned earlier—the editor just split the reactions and threw a couple positive comments between the two.  BUT…he has a valid concern.  After all, “X2C” is a self-proclaimed “starving rapper.”  There is a clue.

As far as I am concerned, Courtney Ray is simply making due with his current circumstances…whatever those are, exactly.  The political ad turned out to be a great publicity tool, especially with the news coverage and YouTube hits.  However, under normal circumstances, this maneuver would require a follow-up publicity stunt to truly be effective.  And that is disregarding the overused “parties and women” theme.  The political angle would be a good strategy, but P. Diddy already did-y did it…in 2004, under the “vote or die” guise.  The bottom line is that I would rather watch X2C’s campaign video than sit through the long version of the “ballsy” Axe commercial.

Various StereotypesTo whomever is reading this on behalf of Professor Reeder:  this is the “example of stereotyping in the media” assignment.

They’re Here…Bed Bugs, that Is

September 20, 2010

Apparently, bed bug populations are on the rise in the United States.  Recently, “attacks” have been reported in Chicago and New York.  Reports from Chicago seem to center on residential areas.  In New York, bed bugs took over the main Nike store, causing it to temporarily close.

Since bed bugs do not pose a threat to humans (other than being an annoyance), controlling/tracking the population is not a federal issue.  Some people, such as Dana Strong, are having some serious psychological issues as a result of infestation.

Still from Orkin CommercialThe best thing about bed bugs is their resiliency.  From what I gathered from the BBC article, some experts believe bed bugs are immune to insecticides.  However, there is a myriad of pest control products claiming to kill bed bugs.  As of August 20, 2010, Arkansas has had no reports of bed bugs.  Regardless, a lot could change in one month.  [left: an image from an Orkin ad campaign]

Gettin’ Down to It

September 14, 2010

An assignment for a class is was to take a news story and critique the coverage by a few different news outlets.  One story that caught my eye was the peacekeeping antics of President Obama following Hillary Clinton’s “Mexico” remark.  Basically, she pointed out similarities between the current condition of Mexico and former condition of Cuba.  Moreover, she specified “[…] where the narco-traffickers controlled certain parts of the country.”  First and foremost, this is partially true.  Columbia in the ’80s and early ’90s was a country based on cocaine sales, via Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellin drug cartel.  Mexican drug cartels keep a few politicians on the payroll; civilians have died in the crossfire; city officials have been killed in the crossfire; Mexico plays a larger part in the drug trade than Columbia.  In certain parts of Mexico, drug cartels have corrupted the government in their favor.  This is not a late-breaking development, either.  This has been going on for many years…similar to the crescendo of the former condition of Columbia.  Of course, First Lady Michelle Obama did not visit these particular parts of Mexico on her visit below the border last year.  Nevertheless, Clinton called Mexico on its problem.  Mexico did not like this.  Mexico did not like this at all.  So sensitive.

MapTo keep the peace, Obama had to get out there and kiss the ass of the portion of Mexico Clinton did not refer to.  MSNBC ran the story without adding spin.  The article points out how, because of the current political and economic condition of Mexico, Obama believes Mexico and Columbia cannot be compared.  MSNBC also pointed out how Obama’s reply to Clinton’s remarks were printed only in Spanish, in a Spanish L.A. Newspaper.  It does not take any spin to see what the truth of the matter is here.  Obama was hat-in-hand to save some face.  However, he copped out.  Sure, the Mexican disposition may be swell…in areas the drug cartels have not taken over.  This is where he should have defended Clinton on that “[…] certain parts of the country” clause, mentioned earlier.

The L.A. Times published its version of the story.  This article placed equal focus on Clinton’s remarks and Obama’s attempted revising of said remarks.  The very end of the article addresses the need to balance honesty and sensitivity.  Mexico will not admit it has that much of a drug problem.  Denial.

My favorite is BBC’s thorough coverage of the fandango.  As with the previous, attention is shown to the influence behind (and validity of) Clinton’s remark.  However, this extra paragraph sneaks into the bottom of the page:

“Speaking in Mexico City, a government spokesman said the only aspect that the Mexican and Colombian conflicts share is their root cause – a high demand for drugs in the US.”

Because their product is flying off the shelves, the struggle to keep up with demand is exceeding the capabilities of the government to conceal the corruption…ultimately leading to the collapse of parts of the Mexican government.  That may true.  I mean, I know the British do not buy much from Mexico…they have their own connection.  Mexico does supply the products for the majority of the U.S. drug trade.  Clinton had already addressed this in March of 2009.

On a not-so-serious level, the demand is not the issue.  If trafficking halted on the border, I guarantee there are several people who would find this as a terrific time to capitalize on the vacuum left by Mexico.  We, as a country, need Mexico.  Without Mexico, the entire U.S. drug trade would be in the hands of baby cartels, biker gangs and street gangs within the U.S..  And these guys are bad enough on society, as it stands.  Keep the b.s. over there until the bitter end.

I just hope Obama did not pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq to send them to Mexico.  Mexico is probably just as, if not more, dangerous…but ONLY in those areas where corruption is king.  The softer side of Mexico (wherever Mexico sympathizers believe that is) is not included in those areas.

Emergency Room Service

September 2, 2010

Okay…I just want to get this out of the way.  Another oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not a platform owned by BP.  No fatalities.  That is all I have to say about that.

Mark Eskelsen, of Oregon, spent 10 hours resting in a hot tub.  The problem is the hot tub is not his.  See, Eskelsen is homeless, so his calling the police to tell them he had been soaking in a hot tub, periodically yelling, was not his intuitive side shining through.  There is more, yet—he started the call by telling the 9-1-1 operator he was the sheriff of Washington County.  Later, he came clean with the dispatcher.  He also requested a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows…and a hug.  The article does not mention who owned the hot tub.  The detail that arrests my attention is the cell phone he used to call 9-1-1.Homeless Coder I do not know many homeless people walking around with cell phones.  The homeless person I did know had a cell phone, but he stopped buying minutes when he could not afford rent.  The stereotypical image of homeless people shows a group of people in one area with shopping carts and bags full of cans (with a music box somewhere in the mix…and a spray bottle with a towel).  What purpose would a cell phone serve here?  *ring* Hey, I found the motherload of cans over here, under the bridge.  Yeah, there are even one-pint Pabst Blue Ribbon cans.  All right, see you in about 10 sec—oh wait…there you are *click*.  They may be homeless, but there is an appreciation for classical music—until they figure out how to change the ringtone.