Sunday, December 25, 2016

These 2 Things were absolute garbage this Christmas...


Christmas is over, on to the dirty business of who did it badly.

My 2 top picks for crappiest Holiday observations are a tie  between Google's Holiday Doodle and TWIT's holiday (or lack thereof) spirit.

Let's start with the the Google Holiday Doodle...

In previous years We saw everything from adorable polar bears to a toymaker's workshop.

This year we got this....

(Cllick on the image to see it full size)

WTF Google?  

At least last year showed SOME creativity.  This year's collection of noncommittal  imagery not only was limited to just 3 days instead of the full week we used to get, but was so bland and uninspired that it could have represented any day of the year.  

The Holiday doodles evoked no Holiday spirit of ANY Holiday.  The only variance you got was whether you were in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere and even then the words, "Holiday" or "Christmas" were nowhere to be seen.  

Now I get why some overheated Politically Correct busybody may get his panties in a bunch over the whole "Christmas" thing but all we got was a hover text that said, "Tis the Season."

Tis the Season for what?  Boring doodles that inspire absolutely nothing.  No warmth, no spirit, no soul.  I've seen Heimlich Maneuver posters with more feeling.

Even Muslim and Jewish folks can appreciate the largely secular traditions of the Holidays and let's not forget that Google has done Easter, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah doodles in the past.

Are we so afraid of offending some jerk with a Google+ page that we have to screw it up for everyone else?

Who's going to sue over a picture on a search page?  Besides, you're Google, you don't fear courts...

You know, I'm not especially religious but I do embrace the Holiday season. 

I'd someday like to visit New York at Christmas time to see Rockefeller Center and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  I'm not looking for some religious epiphany.  These are just places that most American's would find as iconic to the Holiday as Time's Square is to New Year's eve.  It's a cultural thing and Google is getting lazy about it.

We already know that Google can serve up regional doodles for different parts of the world so the whole excuse about offending non-Christian nations is BS anyway.  Last I checked, we were living in the 21st century not the 12th. 

Regardless of what some radical groups may profess, I firmly believe the world to be far more sophisticated than flying into an uproar over the image of a Christmas wreath.

It's not about disliking the design, it's about the vanilla, shareholder friendly dogma behind it.

I won't belabor the point any more other than to say,  Google, bad form dude...

Now on to my second pick for worst example of Holiday spirit.

It's our old Friend TWIT!

What more can we say about the newly "downsized" TWIT operation.  We should have known there'd be no holiday spirit this year after the mass takedown of TWIT related videos on YouTube IN VIOLATION OF THEIR OWN CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE that damaged more than one YouTube content creator, myself included.

This year we get virtually nothing but a crappy panel show recorded December 1st with the few remaining hosts at the round ( err... make that oblong) table.  All of which suckle at the breast of the dying bovine that is TWIT.

Somebody puts on a Santa hat and calls it Christmas....

What?  No TWIT Holiday special with all of Leo's famous "friends?"  In fact no special Holiday programming at all.  Just a bunch of boring "Best of's" Which is a pretty tall order for a network so short on talent and now apparently ambition.

It's a glaring statement of disinterest.  

For proof look no further than the December 21'st Windows Weekly and you'll be hard pressed to see anything on set that would indicate we were mere days from the Holiday.  

Windows Weekly and Security Now are done from Leo's office.  A spot much more secluded and private than the Brickhouse.  Now more lair than set, if you're looking for the real Leo, look at that set. 

If it aint there he don't care. 

There isn't even a holiday bug on the edited shows!  (that translucent icon thing in the lower right corner.) For a guy so concerned with copyright you'd think that bug would be everywhere!

A heartfelt, "Meh" not only from viewers but the network itself.

If anything ever boosted ratings it was the Holidays.  Do something, anything special at the Holidays and you'll get eyeballs even if they're attached to a face that doesn't necessarily hold you in high regard.

But good old Leo can't be bothered even to feed the sycophantic TWIT fanboys ( yes, I stole that from Totaldrama ) 

Not even a  New Year's Eve special.  

Yes, I'll say it.  It was the one show that TWIT produced, aside from the Holiday Specials with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton that was actually worth watching.

Even if you hated Leo, watching it would at least give you the same sense of kinship with fellow geeks that normal people get from watching the Ball Drop in the aforementioned Time's Square

But we're not doing that.  We're sticking a Candy Cane on the set, putting a Santa Hat on the Channel Bug and calling it done.

Bad on Ya!

Neither Google nor TWIT has enough respect for their audiences to make anything but the most pitiful of efforts at the Holidays.

My rating for TWIT and Google's Holiday doodle's this year.

5 Heaping banks of Yellow snow....

Thursday, December 22, 2016

All the Best for a Happy Holiday Season and bright New Year!

Let's face it, It's been a pretty lousy year for most people. If ever there was a time for Holiday cheer it's now.  To that I end I hope the video above provides you some.

Regardless of the Holiday Celebration may it be warm and bright.

...and let's try to have a Happy New Year too!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Friday starts on Thursday now

Black Friday....

Rampant, unrestrained, consumerism.  The world watches the darkest side of capitalism run amok.  No wonder they hate us.

Why do people still camp in front of stores for days just to get last year's TV marked down 50% from the 80% markup 2 months earlier?

Have you not heard of Amazon?

By the Way, In case you weren't aware the "Black" in Black Friday has nothing to do with how dark it is outside when the store opens. 

Nor does it have anything to do with the darker side of human nature although you'd be excused if you've ever made the mistake of participating in the madness.

There was a time, supposedly, that retailers counted on the holiday shopping season to bring their books into positive numbers aka "being in the black."

Which assumes the rest of the year they're operating at a loss. 

Which may be true but gross sales have less to do with it than the perverse trickle down economics of corporate structures that reward CEO's with multi-million dollar bonuses.  

Shed no tears for a corporate empire built on the standard of indentured servitude and slave wages.  

I find nothing more distasteful than the want ads for a "seasonal" worker with the lure of  some meager discount off merchandise they can't afford.

No wait..

I find something even more distasteful than that...

Stores open on THANKSGIVING!

What the living hell is wrong with you?  I'm not just talking about the stores either.  Why they hell does anyone think it's OK to force people to leave their families just so you can buy some more crap?

Black Friday is bad enough but now we can't even let the pumpkin pie settle before it's off to the races!  

What's the point of a holiday if everybody has to go to work?  

OK, not "everybody"  just those poor unfortunate souls forced into indentured servitude by the likes of Kohls and Best Buy.

Here's a list of the worst offenders. 
  • JCPenny stores open at 3 p.m.
  • Old Navy is scheduled to open at 4 p.m.
  • Best Buy, Macy's, Toys'R'Us and Bonton will open their doors at 5 p.m. 
  • Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Dick's, Modell's and Sears will all open at 6 p.m. 

They blame everything from to Obama for it but the real reason is bald-faced greed.  

They'll claim in an age of online stores that they must do this to survive.  By extension they'll claim to support the economy by providing jobs to all those "seasonal" workers to meet the "demand."  

You probably saw this coming but here it is anyway....

Boycott them.  All of them without exception and anyone else that thinks it's OK to perpetuate this outrage.  Oh and before you get on the high horse about all those jobs they're providing.  Know that most of those "seasonal jobs" don't contribute to the economy when people  have to supplement their wages with food banks and government assistance.

It's even worse for the "regular" employees many of which are working 39 hour "part time" schedules.  They're on Food Stamps too.

Talk about corporate welfare.  

Wanna get all biblical about it?  

Fine.  Since the Thanksgiving tradition usually involves somebody spouting bible verses before gorging themselves try this one out...

Matthew 25:46

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

You say you live in a "Christian Nation?"  

Then start acting like it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crybabies? Time to change the diaper and move on

Look I get it....

Your guy won our gal lost.  I'm OK with that mostly because there isn't anything anyone can do about it now.  Unless you're literally an advocate of the very anarchy that was suggested by the Trump camp if he lost, we really need to move on from this.  

For the most part nobody's voting rights were denied, nobody is even suggesting it.  At least nobody anyone is listening to.  By the way, around 121 million votes were cast for Trump and Clinton combined.  Allowing for around 5 million "protest" votes for the third parties that leaves us about 160 million short.  

Dead serious here.  So, if you didn't even bother then shut the hell up.  You're entitled to your boycott, abstention or whatever you rationalized it as but now you get to live with the trappings of that choice which means I don't care about your opinion as far as this election goes.

That said...

We've got to give the guy a chance even if it means choking down some bile.  Still, I know why they're in the streets.  The reality now is that we're going to have to live through a rubber stamp across 3 branches of government. for at least the next 2 years.  

On the bright side.  Republicans are just as eager to appear relevant as Democrats.  Trump's election was only a mandate for the elimination of the electoral college.  An institution that in the last 20 years  has managed to subvert the popular vote twice.  

Oh, and to those of you out there jubilant in your "victory" I'll say this.  The will of the people has as much relevance in New York as it does in New Albany Mississippi buddy.  

The electoral college was a concession to another group of "crybabies" in the southern states back in 1787.  Those "crybabies" went on to comprise membership in the Confederate States of America by the way.  You know, the guys in the gray uniforms.

Making the Electoral College as outdated and clumsy as the three-fifth's rule.  Google that to see where this abomination of democracy came from.  

So today we have the popular vote functioning as little more than an "also ran" for no other reason than making 200 year old slave owners happy.   The result is that barring Satan himself on the ballot there will always be the same few states that determine who wins the presidency making everybody else sloppy seconds.

That's an argument for another time, however.  Suffice it to say the only other mandate in this election was for whomever occupies the Oval Office to close the chasm of division brought about by 35 years of ideological civil war.

To that end I offer hope...

There was actual support for many of the social and infrastructure programs offered up by Democrats over the past 6 years from a Republican dominated congress.  It was just that one nagging thing that wouldn't let them move forward.  

The guy in the oval office.

They didn't like him because...Who cares, we all suspect what it was and the barbs and birthers all lead back to the realization that the last 50 years may not have been as socially progressive as we'd hoped.  Maybe that three-fifth's rule is still fresh in their minds too...

If the election showed us anything it was that regardless of whom you voted, that shit just had to stop.
Look no further than the images of Trump's face this week.  It's been blank, contemplative and just a bit fearful.  There was no evidence of the fiery threats or xenophobic tirades.

The demonstrations in the streets of America may have been largely viewed as the tantrum of a petulant child but they were something else as well.  An indication that any move toward the fascist dream of the far right would not go unanswered.

Trump does not want to be the president that goes down in history as starting another civil war.

So take heart "crybabies"  It's not as bad as you think.

Despite the rhetoric, nobody is going to allow the US to descend into a 21st century version of Nazi Germany.  For one thing, there's no money in it.  For another, it literally doesn't have "popular" support.

 How long do you think this country would put up with anything that curbed its access to the McRib or 65 inch TV's anyway?

What I'd also suggest is instead of boiling in your own rage that you find a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

One thing I know for sure, especially living in a RED state, is this; The purse strings get a whole lot looser when the Republicans have the White House.  The other is that political rhetoric is just that.  Valueless, baseless diatribe.

Republicans don't want to live in a police state any more than Democrats do so don't expect armies of "Jack booted Thugs" anytime soon.

From my own experience I can tell you that while I supported Obama, My personal fortunes only suffered under his administration.  Still, I had to think of someone other than myself when I voted.

Trump would be wise to do the same... and so would you.

If it's at all true that "Joe Six Pack" made his voice heard you have to address that.  There are far too many living on the fringes to spend any amount of time waiting for the payoff of a "higher purpose."

That's a condemnation of both sides.  Yes, one more than the other but both are to blame.  If the possibility of bipartisanship is dead so is this country.

...and news flash...Canada doesn't want you...

Think about that the next time you fire off an angry tweet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TWIT hypocrisy part 2? ----- The TWIT Live Special of the Microsoft Surface Event

I'll keep this short....

We all know that TWIT appears to regularly violate other people's copyrights with its "Live Specials."  In the same breath they'll bully users of it's own content even when compliant with their purported "Creative Content" licensing.

So today we had yet another "questionable" example of wanton abuse of someone else's copyright in the form of a "TWIT Live Event" covering the Microsoft Surface announcement.

Now to be completely honest,  Microsoft isn't as explicit about rebroadcasting of it's live events as Apple but I did find a general statement of use of the company's Intellectual Property (or IP) that extends to online content.

As such, I managed to dig up a few sections where TWIT could be in violation of their Terms of Use for Copyrighted Content.

Specifically:  (from the Microsoft website)

"Offensive Use"

"Your use may not be obscene or pornographic, and you may not be disparaging, defamatory, or libelous to Microsoft, any of its products, or any other person or entity."

Laporte and Paul Thurrott repeatedly offered commentary during the "Live Event" that could be considered disparaging of the presenters especially Panos Panay.


"Link Methods"

"You may link to Microsoft content by using either a plain text link with words such as "This way to" or by participating in an applicable Link Logo program. No other images may be used as a link to a Microsoft site."

Everybody else provided a hyperlink to the event.  TWIT decided to embed it in their own content and context.  If it were an Apple event there'd be no question how big a NO NO that is.

As for the actual event..

Surface tablets and a big all-in-one called "Surface Studio" that folds down into a desk with a big knob you can put on the screen...

Who cares...this article is about hypocrisy not another boring product launch from a company desperate to be relevant.  

BTW, I'm referring to Microsoft but the observation could apply equally to TWIT...

At the end Leo wrapped up the "coverage" in his trademark style with a live read of a "Blue Apron" ad.

Nice of Microsoft to provide content for Leo's "reaction video" and Blue Apron to pay for it with an ad read.  

Maybe the term "reaction video" is incorrect.  Reaction videos usually don't violate commercial copyrights of whatever's being "reacted" to.

Here's the proof straight from the horse's ass...err mouth...


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Get a Job!

Yeah you!

If I were you I'd be knocking on every door.  You need to make some money!

This is a discussion (more of an argument)  I actually had with a relative.  Mind you, I'm not some Instagram obsessed teenager laying around the house binging on Netflix.  For god's sake!  I'm in my 40's.

I can't afford to binge on anything.  That's what's so irritating.

It's one thing to be 20-something and have trouble finding work.  Nobody judges you.  Your frustration has more to do with unbridled ambition than a perceived character flaw.

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you know my story.  I've worked....hard.  I've ticked off all the boxes; College, career, sacrifice, frugality.  I followed the rules, kept my options open and always kept an ear to the ground.

All seemingly for nothing.  

I had a fairly stable living for many years that allowed me to not only better myself but my family.  Now that same family is harder to deal with than a bill collector.

I understand their disillusionment.  For a long time I was looked at as the guy who always seemed to be able to keep it together.  I took adversity with aplomb (well mostly, I do tend the bitch a lot) 

These days I can barely afford to feed myself.  To them it must seem like I've given up.

Thing is, I haven't but I'm far more disillusioned and frustrated than they are.  

There was a time when there was always a fallback position.  If you couldn't find work in your own field you could at least find something to keep you going til you did.

It doesn't take much investigation to find confirmation of what I always suspected was true.  That being that regardless of the unemployment numbers and Wall Street rallies there are still way too many barriers to making a living.

Minimum wage hasn't kept up with the cost of living for a generation but worse than that the competition for jobs that offer it is staggering.   Look at the candidates for these jobs and you find everything from the high school kid to PhD's. 

Those who've never suffered the indignity of rejection for a low wage job don't understand.  They believe there are still jobs whose only requirement is a warm body.  

They're wrong.

These days even flipping burgers requires training on your own dime just to obtain a food handler's card.  With that in hand you're well on your way to 25 hours a week crafting Angry Whoppers for the princely sum of $8.05/hr.   Oh yeah, with benefits too, if you can afford the payroll deduction....

It gets worse....

Now we're hearing an uproar over raising the minimum wage to something in line with what it actually costs to live somewhere other than your car.  

"It'll cause higher unemployment!" 
"We can't afford to pay more!"  
" It'll break the back of small business!"

Which ticks me off even more.  While all these "job creators" game the system to overwork and underpay their current employees, they place hurdles in the way of new hires to ensure nothing changes.

There's no way around it and if you don't understand what I'm about to say I'm sorry but you're either bloody stupid or worse a selfish bastard.

Hiring someone full time for a wage they can't live on in a first-world country is institutionalized slavery.

Offering only part time hours and scheduling employees so that it's impossible for them to get another part time job is even worse.  As an employer you're effectively forcing your workforce into poverty for no other reason than greed.

Don't give me that crap about high labor costs either.  If you can't afford the means to sell your product you don't have a damned clue about how to properly run a business. 

Employees are your partners not your slaves.  Paying them shouldn't be looked at as "an inconvenience."

It's no different than the argument from the Southern states that led to the Civil War.  Let's get one thing perfectly clear here.  Lincoln was no great abolitionist, he was a nationalist. He was far more open to compromise: even those that would include continuing slavery if it would have kept the country together.  The Civil war was about human rights only as much as the space program was about inventing freeze dried coffee.

That's historical fact.

Meaning any business, especially BIG business that argues against a livable wage is taking the same position as the Civil War South.  For them it was about cheap labor to improve their bottom line.

Sound familiar?

In America, it's not about some misguided fantasy of climbing the ladder of success.   it's about production at the lowest possible cost.  That means near poverty wages to keep an unskilled workforce forever unskilled and powerless.   Now add in the yoke of the "Credit Economy" that exists only to perpetuate itself.  A faceless beast fed by the poor.  By the way, that includes you if you're only one paycheck from financial disaster. 

It's hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if the boots have a 29% interest rate.

We, all of us of unfortunate birth are increasingly subject to the indecencies of an inadequate paycheck that won't even cover the basic necessities.  

It's nothing less than indentured servitude.

Which comes to people like me.  I'm not unskilled but I'm not especially talented either.  So I'm right there with you.

I hear a lot of, "You're a top candidate" when applying for jobs in my field only to not get the job.  A bit too much of hearing that lately meaning I've taken to applying for "seasonal" positions with local retail stores.

Even then the whole premise is twisted..

Questions like, " Why do you want to work here?"  Duh!  I need money and you're supposedly hiring.  Of course you can't say that.  You have to come up with some bullshit about a life change and trying new things and ground floors for new starts, blah, blah, blah.

You're actually better off if you never did anything with your life.  Otherwise that 6 figure resume becomes another hurdle to overcome fighting for a job you don't really want for a wage you can't really afford.

BTW, it's damned hard to dumb down a professional resume for $8.05/hr.  Nobody's going to believe you've been sitting on your ass for 30 years of your life.  The background check ( that they all run ) will show your lie anyway.  So no, acting stupid isn't an answer...

Who the hell actually prepares a resume for a minimum wage retail job anyway?  What are you going to say?  Stocked shelves, greeted customers, kissed ass?  All that crap fits on the application.  Resume's are for the jobs you work after you get the hell out of retail.

Anyway, more to the point: that there's any expectation that working retail is a great career move is lunacy.  I know, it's what I did when I was in high school 1000 years ago and I knew I didn't want to do it when I was my age now. 

Give me a break.  Once everyone's returned their Christmas gifts and yanked down the baubles and twinkly lights you're out the door buddy.  

If'someone like me is on your doorstep looking for work, I'm fucking serious about being there.  I've taken a deep breath, swallowed my pride and committed to the relationship.

By the way, never, ever tell me I need to swallow my pride.

I've been so beaten up that I don't have any left.  I've seriously entertained a job delivering and cleaning port-a- potties.  The only thing that stopped me was the lack of a commercial driver's license and being in my 40's.  Meaning I'm not sure I can lift 100 pounds 30 times a day every day on a job with no health benefits.  ( That's what the ad actually said BTW )

I'm mad as hell that I'm being denied a living ( as corrupt as the word is in this country) and even angrier when someone assumes I'm not doing enough to improve my situation.

I'm also sick of being judged by people who don't deserve the jobs they have.  Worse, when they cast aspersions on someone like me who's been in the field longer than they've been out of high school.  

That sounds arrogant but remember, I know from whence I speak.  Most of the people I've interviewed with (with rare exception) got their positions through the buddy system. I only say that because part of my interview preparation involves looking them up on LinkedIn.  I've found IT directors whose last job was a sales director and others with no IT or management training at all.  

I really don't care how they got their jobs just so long as it doesn't have an effect on me getting hired.  Unfortunately, it does...

It's an old boys network and I DO MEAN old BOYS.  I've yet to meet a female IT director.  I doubt I'd have as much bullshit if I did.  The nice thing about having a female manager is that chances are she's gone through a lot of crap to get where she is.  That tends to minimize the games because she just doesn't have the time for it.  

It's natural for the male of the species to feel threatened when someone better than him has come along even if he gets to boss you around.   In my experience women don't engage in that kind of pissing contest.

If you think this is just a bunch of whining and excuses then put yourself in my shoes for a minute.

You're in you 40's, lost all your income and can't replace it.  Nobody takes you seriously when you apply for low-wage jobs and your relatives don't want to talk to you unless you're sending them a check.

Pull myself up by my bootstraps?  My boots have holes in the soles buddy.

It doesn't stop me but what slows me down is your misinformed judgement.  I'm putting it out there, no agenda but to survive.  

Until you know what I'm going through (and I'm pretty sure most don't) keep your admonitions to yourselves and thank your creator that you don't have to be here.

I won't quit but I know a lot of people that dismiss me would have long ago.

That makes me better than them and if nothing else, that's worth living for.  There needs to be a change and perhaps I need to feel the effects to understand how badly it needs to happen.

Livable wage now!  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Self-centered Prick


No, this isn't an article bashing Trump but it does have something to do with him.  That "something" is a label that often brands those undeserving of it.

It's a label that's often only a superficial representation of the myriad of perceived character flaws exhibited by those who at least on the surface fit the remark.

I'll admit that I've felt the sting of it myself.  The accusers used kinder terms like: arrogant, overconfident or entitled but that's only because they're uttered in mixed company.  The real meaning is: Self-centered Prick.

Did I deserve it? In their mind I did but it doesn't matter.

Once you're branded as such, there's not much point in defending against it.  To do so just proves the point to the prosecution.

Maybe that's why Trump never apologizes.  You can't admit a mistake without owning the flaw and as we all know, everything about Trump is, "Fabulous, never better."

But more to the point...

I've leveled the barb myself and of course I was right to do so.....Uh Oh....maybe I am a self-centered Pr...

Perception is rarely reality.  We color our views with our own experience.  Whatever we're going through now is viewed through that lens.  

Even if it's a family member, if something they're doing ( or NOT doing ) is affecting YOU in some way and they won't acknowledge it to your satisfaction, I can guarantee the phrase will at least briefly come to mind.

Thing is, who's the bigger devil here?  If you're only concerned with yourself how are you any better than the other guy?  If you won't take the time to see things through their eyes, their experience and their beliefs then who's the real "prick?"

I don't make excuses for people that deserve the charge.   We're all products of our environments and if that's a negative thing and we don't try to change it then the label is deserved.

But an attack is rarely left unanswered.  The conflict only escalates and in our society conflict sells.  We even encourage snap judgement without further reflection.  It's a world with little more patience than the life of a paparazzi's flash bulb.

Everything is black and white.  You're guilty or not.  No time for evidence or reflection.  Why waste time moving past the first impression when it fits so neatly into our safe, uncomplicated view of the world.

If there's anything from the Star Wars prequels I liked it was one quote.  

"Only a Sith deals in Absolutes"  - Obi Wan Kenobi

Sith's are bad people, you don't want to be a Sith.  

Nobody is completely right or wrong and by extension you know nothing about anyone if you don't bother to listen to them first.

You have a right to an opinion, don't waste it with unilateral decisions based on petty evidence.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricanes are nothing to take lightly and if you're in an area subject to them please, please listen to your public safety officials and move out when they tell you to.  Far too many think they can "Ride it Out" only to find out nature had other plans.

Property can be replaced, lives can't.

With that in mind witness the power of a Category 4 hurricane as it thrashes the Southeastern coast of the United States.  This is the only safe way to have a front row seat...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thank You! (100K views)

Thank You!

We just broke 100,000 views of this blog.  Yes, it took 5 years to do it, yes, most sites get that in a day but to me it's a major milestone so THANK YOU!

Your support is the catalyst to continue and I intend to.

So whether it's popular culture, TWIT or anything else I cover know that if it's worth writing about I'll be sure to post it here.

Tell you friends!  Looking forward to the next 100,000 views!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Arizona Monsoon 2016 Highlights

So let's take a break from the activism for a bit and explore one of the other reasons for this blog's existence. 

I've said it before.  I'm a frustrated storm chaser.  I'm fascinated by weather and storms and if I could afford it I'd have one of those home weather stations just so I could check barometric pressure and wind speed every 5 minutes.

Alas, I'm just an enthusiast with a smartphone and an old 1 Megapixel camera that eats batteries like a 5 year old eats fruit loops.

Below are some of my favorite examples of this year's Arizona Monsoon season.  I actually got lucky in  a few videos and caught some dramatic shots but truth be told this year's monsoon was more about wind than rain.  In fact the meteorologists are saying we're actually down 2 inches this year having not broken 5 inches in total.  

Some places got much more than that but those were isolated cases.  In one storm event a part of the valley received 3 inches of rain in an hour.  That doesn't sound like much if you're from the Midwest or deep South but here it translates into freeways underwater and cars floating around.

Of course I can't let this post end without mentioning that you can enjoy most of these videos Ad Free thanks to TWIT's abuse of YouTube's copyright system.  The very same one that Leo's brain-dead zombie henchmen led by the #DarkTrollWitch  have used to demonetize the entire channel till November....

Leo's on a boat for this year's vacation.  I hope he doesn't get too seasick but Karma being what it is....


Try to enjoy these snippets of time from this year's Arizona Monsoon storms brought you courtesy of my crappy cameras and poor videography.  

You might see something that surprises you!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ITT Tech: Proof that profit has no place in education

Riddle me this....

If an education from a "For Profit" educational institution is so expensive how can it be considered worthless?

How can an education costing sometimes 2 to 3 times as much not offer 2 to 3 times the benefit?

It all comes down to greed.

The problem with getting a good education is its cost.  Even if you haven't been victimized by the outrageous tuition and questionable value of a private college, the bottom line is that getting a leg up is going to cost you.

As generations go by the hurdles get higher.  Today without the aid of grants, scholarships and student loans any hope of an education past high school is out of reach.

Enter the "For Profit" education industry.  These are the ITT Tech's, Devry's and University of Phoenix's that promise a more accessible road to success but at a premium price.  The problem here is the profit motive that short-circuits the emphasis on the student in favor of how much money can be extracted from him/her

When you mix profit and education, education suffers.  Profit in education to me is equivalent to profit in retail and retail is all about volume and maximum return with minimal investment.

Maximum return from minimal investment may be fine for paper towels but I don't choose a university the same way I choose the store brand over Brawny!

Students aren't making a minimal investment.  Not of their time, effort or especially their money.  To that end, I'm adamant against painting these students with the same brush as those that have corrupted their institutions.

Forget the term, "diploma mill."  From my own experience I can tell you that while the motives of the "for profits" CEO's may not have been pure the motives of the students were.  Nobody gets on the hook for 5 figures without expecting something for the investment.  That said, education is a personal experience and it's up to you to get as much out of it as you can.

That doesn't absolve a school from their responsibility to provide value, however.  The "for profit" schools often demand sums far in excess of their public university competition for comparable education.

A sum that's often paid in the form of student loans that put the recipient on the hook for thousands of dollars regardless of the quality of the institution.  A process with little oversight that provided billions of dollars to "for profit" schools that didn't deliver on their sales pitch.  So long as the body was in the seat, however, they didn't care because the free flow of taxpayer money was a tap without a shutoff.

At least until now.

With the blatant mismanagement of ITT and Corinthian we see the seedy underside of the "for profit" education industry for what it is. 

That being, profit driven with no more regard for the student than what's required to continue abusing the Federal Student loan programs.

You didn't see that in the glossy brochures or flashy websites, however.  Instead you saw a sales pitch that paints these schools as the light at the end of the tunnel for the disenfranchised led by benevolent philanthropists.

Except that these schools aren't being operated according to some overarching altruism.  We're back to that maximum return for minimum investment thing again.  It was about making as much money as possible for as long as they could get away with it.  Ultimately, leaving the students holding the bag.

And without intervention from some government body they will continue to be holding that bag.  The institution may fail but that doesn't absolve the students from the debt.  

When you have Federal Student Loans the Federal government is your creditor, not the school.  Once the disbursement is made the school has their money.  Even if they go bankrupt you're still on the hook with nothing to show for it.