Category Archives: Rants

Information Technology Security Stupidity

The biggest bane of my current job is stupidity, whether it be stupid laws like HIPAA or Obamacare, or “We’re so smart, we’re stupid” Indians, or corporate stupidity, brought about by the people running said corporation who have no idea how things actually work, but they have a college degree and theories on how things “should” work.  All of this stupidity is quite, quite frustrating.

The account I’ve been working for the past few months is a major health insurance company, whom I’ll name HCIC. Because of Obamacare and HIPAA law and regulatory requirements (to say nothing about any of the countless other laws out there), HCIC has been forced to do a lot of stupid things, including having those of us who actually work the account have to beg for permission to do our jobs every 72 hours (improved from every 24 hours). That way, they don’t run afoul of any laws or regulations.  As such, to accommodate this, The Company (the place I’m contracted to) initially had to hire tons of people for their IT Access Administration department. However, since The Company is only in business these days to cut their own costs, this was a major problem. Their solution was to use a tool, called the Vault, to place our “privileged” IDs into, whereby they’d be treated like shared IDs and “checked out” every 72 hours.  HCIC agreed to this and that was that.

In order to process HCIC’s nightly batch, which covers everything from insurance claims, billing, pharmacy, data warehousing, medical providers, etc., and make sure the onlines are up by the Service Level Agreement (SLA) time, I have to use my privileged ID’s to accomplish this, as a specific script has to be kicked off to start the ball rolling, part of which has me remoting into other machines to set their environments for processing.

Fast forward to Friday.  When I came on shift, I had active privileged IDs. However, a few hours later when it was time to start the night batch process, I found my password wasn’t working. I did a quick check and discovered that my IDs were revoked, manually. So, I contacted the oncall Service Delivery Manager, who naturally is in India, thus making him a pain in the arse to work with, who then started a chat conference with myself, a member of the Access Admin team, and my Dispatcher.  It took nearly an hour, but the AA person was able to determine that 86 IDs had been revoked because the AA team had determined that we all needed to get revalidated in order to use the Vault. Since we were no longer authorized to the Vault, even if our IDs were still in the 72 hour activation window, they were revoked.

So, nightly batch processing for HCIC has been delayed for an hour. My team lead and manager are paged by the Dispatcher and apparently, my manager goes nuts, wondering why this wasn’t detected earlier. Yeah, ’cause having my IDs pulled on me after I come on shift, which does not force me out of the system if I’m already logged in, is something I’d know earlier.  *_*  So, I’m forced to scramble to provide all sorts of information, including proof that I’ve taken the legally required, yearly HIPAA training and certification. I’m told to cut a SEV 2 problem ticket for this issue so that my access request may be expedited. I do so, then I send everything in to my team lead, including the HCIC HIPPA training certificate.  I then get notified that I can’t use HCIC’s HIPAA certification, but I have to use The Company’s HIPPA certification.  Yeah, thanks to the stupid HIPAA laws and regulations, I have to take redundant certification training (currently, three times since there’s another account that I have access to, but am not currently working on, which falls under HIPAA).

After finding and sending in the proper HIPAA certificate, my team lead fills out all the paperwork, then my manager approves everything and sends it on. However, by the time it gets to the people at Access Admin who are responsible to add their approval, they decide to reject it, citing that specific verbiage has not been used. Even though my manager put, “I approve AstroNerdBoy’s access for the next 72 hours, starting with today’s date”, this was not good enough. It HAD to say, “I approve AstroNerdBoy access for today’s date-time through the next 72 hours.”  So, my team lead had to be paged out again, fill out new paperwork, then my manager had to be paged out, approve it with the absolute verbiage, and then it went back to Access Admin.

By now, it has been three hours since batch was supposed to start and if I don’t start it soon, the dozen jobs or so that must complete before online come up won’t be done in time, meaning we’ll have an SLA breach. Access Admin then has to cut two Service Requests to get my ID back. After it gets to the SDM an hour or so later, the SDM then wakes a bigwig at HCIC to approve my request for access.

With all of the approvals in place, now the machinery has to go through the process of actually restoring my IDs. The actual time it takes to remove the disabled flags on my IDs would have taken me about 60 seconds, and that’s for two clustered environments. It took Access Admin nearly two hours to accomplish this, partially because of procedural requirements, and partially because AA uses 3rd party software to accomplish in 10-15 minutes what I could do on the command line in moment.

It has now been nearly six hours, but I now have working IDs so that I can now start the night batch script, do the things that I’m required to do, and then actually launch the night batch. The Indian SDM was desperate for The Company to not look bad (and as a result, make himself look bad), thus he insisted that I not cut a SEV 1 problem ticket and just use my SEV 2 ticket to account for the fact that the onlines missed their SLA. I protested, but my manager told me to let him make the call and take the hit. However, I wanted that SEV 1 because that’s the only way The Company wakes up to problems is when they have to pay financial penalties for the stupidity that goes on.

Thankfully, an HCIC employee in the U.S., who just happened to be Indian, stepped in and overrode the SDM, citing the fact that the onlines not being up impacts hundreds of users in India, thus a SEV 2 problem ticket is not adequate to the issue at hand. Since the customer demands it, the SDM has to bow and agree. I got up and did an evil, gleeful dance.

With the SEV 1 now in place, a new problem raised its head. The entire next shift had their IDs revoked as well. I laughed and laughed at this because this meant that once I went home, no one could work the production environments for HCIC as security policy dictates that no one may use my IDs when I’m not there.  Because the next shift would have to submit all of the same stuff I had done earlier, paperwork to get access restored to their IDs couldn’t even be started until after they came on shift. I laughed again.

Once the next shift came on, their Dispatcher told me that I was now authorized to stay as long as I wanted and collect O/T. On one hand, I was tired since I’d not gotten as much sleep as I should have and I wanted to go home. On the other hand, I’d lost a week’s pay when I caught that nasty flu-sinus infection and had a doctor’s order to not go to work. So, I opted to milk the overtime and hang out with the next shift.

By this time, I’d already worked twelve hours. I stayed another five and a half hours before I just ran out of gas and went home.  When I left, my co-workers on the next shift still had not received their access back, and it looked like their access request had hit a snag. I laughed wearily and walked out the door.

Hopefully, Access Admin will get hit with the SLA and teach them a lesson that when revalidations are required, advanced notifications must go out instead of just revoking the IDs on a whim.

Why Do Some Want Freedom for Movies, TV Shows, and Music but Not for Games?

As I get older, I’ve noticed a trend in video games that is completely opposite of the trend for movies, TV shows, and music.  For entertainment videos and music, consumers demand choices to let them play a movie or listen to a song WHEN they want and HOW they want. For the gaming community, they’ve all dropped trousers, grabbed their ankles, and said, “we are grateful for whatever you give us, even if it means being a slave to your system!”  How the heck did that happen?

Back before the VCR was invented, folks had to be slaves to the TV networks in order to watch a certain program, or they were slaves to movie studios putting out movies in the theater. So, if you didn’t catch a movie in the theater, or if you weren’t home to watch a certain program, you were just plain out of luck.

The advent of the VCR helped change all that.  Suddenly, TV programs could be recorded and then watched LATER when the consumer felt like it.  People had the freedom to watch part of a show, or indeed all of it, and even skip the commercials if they wanted.  Once movies started appearing on cable channels, like HBO, the VCR opened up the realm of movies so that again, people could record movies off the TV and watch them at their leisure.  Not only that, but once movies started being officially released on VHS, consumers could buy copies and again, watch when and how they wanted.

Of course, the movie and TV industry were outraged by consumers having their own choices and branded the VCR as nothing but pirate equipment. They tried to sue the technology out of existence and lost (and it was only then that they decided to try to capitalize on what consumers were demanding).  The loss has NEVER been forgotten by Big Entertainment, who’ve continually looked for ways to get consumers to pay them constantly for the privilege of watching a TV show or movie. One such scheme was the DVD player that was “enhanced” with DIVX, whereby the consumer purchased a DIVX DVD, but once they put it into the special player and unlocked it, the DVD was only good for two days.  After that, consumers had to pay for the privilege of watching again.  Immediately, campaigns appeared on the Internet to stop this, and it didn’t take long for the scheme to fail.

Both Big Entertainment and the music industry fought tooth and nail against consumers accessing digital versions of movies, songs, or shows, all in the name of fighting piracy. Here too, despite massive legal and PR campaigns to stop this rampant piracy, the industries have been forced to give consumers more of what they want, with the music industry even dropping hideous DRM requirements (Big Entertainment still refuses to do that).

So on the music and video front, consumers have forced the industry to listen to them and give them what they want — the freedom to watch or listen to products when, where, and how they want…well, more so than what we used to have.

Oddly enough though, the video game industry has gone just the opposite way.  Back in the days of PC’s with MSDOS, folks like me used to buy floppy disks and trade copies of games with each other as most of us didn’t have the money to go out and buy all the games we wanted. (Many of use would go and buy legit copies later when we had the money, especially if it had a sequel.)

The video game industry attempted to stop piracy by making it impossible to use the DOS DISKCOPY command.  Someone crafty invented a bitcopy program that got around that.  The game industry came out with challenge questions. (What’s the fourth word of the first paragraph on page 3?)  Folks got around that by copying manuals.  The game industry tried using code wheels and other forms of protection, but folks always foiled them.  When games started being released on CD’s, software keys were created, but they too were overcome.

So now, the video game industry decide, “screw you paying consumers — you’ll play the games we make at OUR whim, all so we can stop a few pirates.”  They accomplish this through the act of forcing everyone to play online.  Oddly enough, most gamers gladly comply, even if they get thrown of the server in the middle of a game, find that lag causes their character to get killed, etc.  I find this to be amazing.

The dirty little secret about piracy is that the industry (no matter if it is the video game industry, Big Entertainment, or Big Music) tries to claim that 100% of everything pirated is a lost sale.  Really?  For starters, how can you lose something you never had?  That’s the same logic that says that renting something is a lost sale, or that borrowing something is a lost sale, or that someone deciding not to spend their money at all is a lost sale.  Now, if someone paid good money for a pirated copy, then yes, I would label that as a lost sale, but that’s it.

Secondly, a lot of people who get pirated copies of game do so in order to try out the game first, just to see if they’d even like it. Others get a pirated copy because finances are such that they can’t afford $60 (or something).  However, these folks will more often than not go out and purchase the game later on.  Were the industry forced to take these people into account when calculating piracy numbers, the figures would be dramatically lower.  Since accurate numbers don’t help the narrative that piracy is killing the universe, we won’t ever see an accurate picture.

That aside, it doesn’t answer the question of how the gaming industry managed to do what the video and music industries haven’t been able to do — get consumers to WILLINGLY cede freedom of play for the bonds of restrictive, and sometimes intrusive DRM schemes.

Part of it probably has to do with the mentality that some folks have where they’ll be willing to do anything for something that is good or cool.  For example, if I had $1-million to give to someone, but the condition for getting that money is that they’d have to be gang raped by gorillas three times a day for the next ten years, there would be plenty of takers.  In terms of games, if a game is said to be totally awesome, well what are some server outages, lags, etc. for having something cool?

However, I think the majority of the reason that young people today are so willing to accept being forced to jump through game company online hoops in order to play a video game is that even if a game isn’t an MMO (such as Diablo III), is the whole, social aspect.  “I can talk to my friends and play games at the same time.”  Back in my day, we had to go to our friend’s house to accomplish this, so the online aspect lets folks “keep in touch” as it were, but still play games.

Me, I don’t play games to socialize. Sure, back in the day, I’d go with friends to game arcades, or I’d go to different friend’s homes to play video games.  We were certainly socializing, but those were simple games.  When it came to more in depth games, like Bard’s Tale or Starflight, people weren’t interested in talking, only playing.  We’d do our talking later when we’d all meet up somewhere.

I realize I’m just an old fogy here, but in addition to not caring about socializing with people, I like to be able to play a game WHEN I want, for HOW LONG I want, and WHEREVER I want.  The online-only aspect of games today kills that.  I can only play the game WHEN the game servers are up, or WHEN I have an Internet connection.  I can only play for as long as the GAME COMPANY allows, so if they need to shut down the servers for whatever reason, or if they decide to stop supporting a game, those with online-only games are out of luck.

Let’s face it, Activision Blizzard probably LOATHES the fact that I can STILL play Diablo or Diablo II whenever I freaking feel like it, because they are LOSING A SALE on Diablo III.  Too smegging bad.  Even if Activision Blizzard goes bankrupt, I can STILL PLAY.  Not only will I still play these old games, I’ll one up ya and break out the serious old school RPG Rogue. How ya like me now?  ^_~

How Come Greedy Politicians Aren’t Called Out?

You know, in all this talk about “greed,” in the normal list of evil, greedy people (including corporations, who qualify as “people” on the greed scale but aren’t “people” when it comes to giving their money away), have you noticed that greedy politicians are never included?

As I sit here, making my low wage (which still pays the bills thanks to not being in debt and God being very gracious to me), I have been fuming again over politicians who seem to think that every dollar in existence belongs to them. Indeed, the thinking seems to be that whatever I’m left with after they bend me over and fleece me (because I don’t qualify for any poor-folk gimmicks to get out of paying income taxes) is due to THEIR good graces.

Most politicians seem to live for one thing — power. They pass laws and regulations because it allows them to control the people and force them to do “this” or “that.” The tax code is the biggest tool in their arsenal,whereby they can punish those whom they determine aren’t behaving correctly or for whom the politicians have determined have too much.  Then, these same politicians can use the tax code to buy votes.  That’s why only 53% of Americans pay income tax.  The other 47% get off scot-free on income taxes and even get paid by the government after all is said and done.

So, the 47% (or those who think they are in that bracket, thus the “99%” number) complain about evil corporations and CEOs and love the oh-so-wonderful Big Government, because in the hands of the CORRECT politicians, the Government cares about you…like a mother, or a father, or even a Big Brother.  Oddly enough though, as the 47% are looking elsewhere and thinking Big Brother cares for them, Big Brother is still raping them, only the 47% are too dumb (thanks to our wonderful education system) to realize it.

You see, most politicians of BOTH PARTIES are just as evil and greedy as the CEO’s the 47% loathe.  In addition to their lust for power, their greed for all monies knows no end.  If you think I’m wrong, have you ever stopped and taken a look at all of the taxes you pay?

Back when I was unemployed in 2008, I needed to make a budget to spend as LITTLE money as possible and still survive until I found a job.  I got rid of things like the satellite dish and scaled back other items like the phone.  So, while my phone bill went to a basic tier of $10/month, the taxes were $15/month!  That’s right, I pay MORE in taxes on my phone than I do for the blasted service.  I cut my cell phone bill to ~$22/month, but there too, taxes boost the bill back up to ~$37/month!  My electric bill?  All sorts of taxes and fees.  Gas bill?  Ditto.  My house? Taxed heavily despite the falling property values.  I need something at the store?  I’m taxed. I get a tiny bit of revenue online?  I’m taxed. I have to call a repairman to fix a critical, electrical problem at my house?  I’m taxed. Buy gas?  I’m taxed. Time to re-register the car? Nothing but a tax.  Oh, and I have to have an emissions test for my car registration?  More taxes and payment for “services rendered” made to state employees, thus another tax.  On and on and on it goes.

That’s why whenever I hear these bastard politicians crying about people paying their fair share or blasting the greed of others, my wrath gets kindled, not at the targets the politicians point to, but at the politicians themselves.

To make matters worse, the state I live in decided that they so desperately wanted tax revenues, even if from out of state purchases, that they passed a tax law targeting Amazon EVEN THOUGH THE COURTS HAD RULED AGAINST THE STATES.  Basically, my state and others who’ve passed these so-called “Amazon tax” laws decided to say “FU!” to the Supreme Court and do an end-round and get their greedy paws into Amazon’s coffers (because politicians have votes to buy and all money should be theirs anyway to redistribute as they see fit).  It is looking like the Federal courts will be shooting down these laws, but we’ll wait and see.

So, in the name of “helping the little people” and “making sure an evil corporation pays their fair share,” the state passes their Amazon tax and Amazon basically fires all of us associates in the state.  Of course, I’m not supposed to look at the results of these greedy politicians actions, only their good intentions.  I’m supposed to be mad at the evil corporation who wouldn’t pay their fair share.  While I am a bit annoyed at Amazon, my wrath is still pointed at you, elected bozos!

You see, after my unemployment period of a decade ago, I became a contractor for a giant corporation I liked to call “The Company.”  A month after they hired me as a contractor (less pay, less benefits than the regular employees), “The Company” decided that contractors were paid to much and told contracting companies that they’d be paid 5% less on all contracts.  Naturally, these contracting companies need to maintain a certain profit level and so passed the 5% cut onto the contractors.  When irritated contractors confronted management people of “The Company” to complain, the official response was, “We didn’t cut your pay.  We simply reduced the rates we paid your contracting company. If you have a problem with your rate of pay, we suggest you talk it over with your contracting company.  Have a nice day!”

No contractor I knew blamed their contract company for the 5% pay cut.  That’s because we all knew from whence it originated — “The Company.”

So today, the idiots that run our state legislature say, “We didn’t have your affiliate income taken away.  We simply wanted Amazon’s money and they wouldn’t pay us because they are EVIL.  If you have a problem with not getting paid, we suggest you tell Amazon to pay their fair share and stop harming people like yourself. Have a nice day and remember, we care about you so make sure to vote to keep us in office in the next election!”  Well, I’m not blaming amazon because I know whom to blame — the GREEDY POLITICIANS IN THE GOVERNMENT!

You know, I still sell stuff for Amazon, only now, I do it for free.  I do it for spite.  My state not only isn’t getting their precious Amazon tax, but now they get no income tax from me either on the sales I made ther.  So even though I’m not supposed to judge the results, only the good intentions, I say, “was it really worth it to pass a greedy Amazon tax?”  Bozos!

To Occupy Wall Street: You ARE the 1%!

When these spoiled brats decided to “occupy Wall Street” in protest of evil corporations and evil banks who are keeping down the poor “99%” of the United State’s population while making sure that the greedy “1%” have all of the wealth, I had to laugh.  Why?  Because these kids just don’t get it.  For them, the system MUST be changed to one where there is “fairness” and where those who have achieved MUST give it to those who have done nothing to earn it, all in the name of fairness.

Guess what people?  Life is NOT fair!  Not everyone gets to be President.  Not everyone gets to be a high-paid athlete.  Not everyone gets to be a sex symbol.  Not everyone wins the Lottery.  All will NOT be saved!  A heavy smoker, sedentary person might live to be 100 while a health nut who does all the right things might die at 25.  Not everyone will get their dream job.  Everyone won’t get to marry their first love or even have their first love return that love.  Life, by its very nature, is unfair.  I think Herbert Spencer called it, “survival of the fittest.”

You know what makes America special?  Thanks to our Founding Fathers, who understood that Government will always attempt to take freedom from the people, our country is one where you have the OPPORTUNITY to be what you want to be, at least for the moment.  There are countless people who’ve seized that opportunity and made something of themselves.  I know several people, who thanks to their own hard work and spending their free time learning new things, were able to leave crappy jobs and move onto higher paying and more fulfilling jobs at other companies/corporations.   I know of a man, who came from a poor, black family, who worked his tail off and is now a very successful businessman and more.  He’d be in the so-called “1%” that the Occupy Wall Street crowd hates even though he earned his place there.

So, we have these spoiled brats, exercising their First Amendment rights to protest about how there are no jobs.  Well, jobs ARE very tough to come by for sure, but how are you able to afford protesting for weeks on end without a job?  Are you willing to do crappy jobs until you can get something better, or do you expect someone to just give it all to you now just because you borrowed $25,000 on some worthless degree and can’t find work that pays you $250,000 to start?

I hear cries of how banks are screwing them thanks to those massive student loans.  You know, when one buys a house or a car and takes a loan for them, is it the bank’s fault that you spent more money than you should on that house or car?  And since the cost of an education continues to rise, how come there’s no anger at the school’s about how they are gouging their customers (you students)?  I guess because those who run most colleges and universities have “good intentions” and “care” about people, they are exempt from the criticism that corporations would get for doing the exact same thing.

One of the things apparently not taught in school (besides accurate US and world history) is irony.  I have this vision of one of these Occupy Wall Street protestors being asked what “irony” is, and getting a response like, “It’s like goldy or bronzy, only it’s made of iron.” While that was a humorous line when Baldrick said it in Blackadder II, it isn’t funny in reality.

The irony that these Occupy Whatever fools fail to grasp is that while they protest against Capitalism, they enjoy the fruits of Capitalism.  While they decry evil corporations, they use the products of those evil corporations.  While they decry banks, they are quick to use them to get these overpriced educations.  They rail against the system, although our system is the dream of people world-wide and the reason so many people want to come to the United States.  After all, being poor in the U.S. is being RICH in many other countries in the world.

For example, if you go to a poor slum in some other country, how many of their poor people have TV’s?  A/C?  Microwaves?  DVD players?  Reliable electricity?  Running water?  On average (and not to discount the truly needy people in the US), most people classified as “poor” in the US have these things, yours truly included when I was officially in the “poor” category a few times in my life.  Indeed, I shudder thinking about those days of desperately trying to make ends meet, yet I always had electricity, I ran the A/C during the summer (I just didn’t run much of anything else) and kept the house COLD during that winter.  I always had food to eat and even sodas to drink.  I had a fridge to store food products in and a 4-eyed stove, with oven, to cook them with.  I even had a small TV, a large boom box, a nice collection of audio tapes (this is the 80’s we are talking about), and somehow, still found money to waste on comic books.  *_*

So, though I was officially poor by American standards, compared to poor people in other parts of the world, I was part of the rich, 1% who have so much and clearly stole it somehow from those other poor people in the world.

To the protestors, have you considered that despite your whining, you ARE the 1% as the world sees you? 

Do you know why jobs continue to be outsourced overseas even though there have been many, powerful, people who talk a good game decrying these activities?  You see, there are those who truly believe that America needs to be brought down to size and that America is too rich, even America’s poor. They see America as the world’s 1% and want to see social justice for the rest of the world.  What better way to redistribute the wealth of the United States than through outsourcing jobs?  Those who want this redistribution can then say, “These EVIL corporations are outsourcing jobs and it isn’t right!” while at the same time, they privately applaud it.  After all, it isn’t fair that American IT workers were making so much money and that these oh so smart people in India have nothing (as an example). 

As such, many companies send a great deal of IT work to India.  The corporation cuts their costs, then makes political “thank you” contributions to BOTH parties.  India gets a wealth injection, because even though they are paid pennies on the dollar of what an American worker would make, to those in India, it is a massive quality of life improvement.  Thus, as some might say, we have started to “given them the wealth” that was somehow stolen from them by all of us evil Americans, Occupy Wall Street crowd included.

Meanwhile, back in the US, the blame is placed squarely on the corporation’s shoulders and that evil political party who doesn’t care about poor people.  Union leaders strive to get the “workers of the world” to unite and thus put more money into their coffers, some of which is to be transferred to politicians who claim to care for the working man.  It is a nice, tidy package here, and why nothing changes.  The government and corporations work together in what has become known as “crony capitalism” — the corporations and companies get what they need and the politicians in charge of the government get to attack the corporations while getting political contributions form them, all in the name of staying in power.  Should one of these corporations fail, well, the politicians are there to make sure the government bails them out (but only for the sake of the plebs workers, you understand).

Our Founders had it right when they put the Bill of Rights into the Constitution of the United States to block the Federal Government from doing things to the citizens.  That is how our nation went from a being a colony to the most powerful and richest nation in the world in such a short period of time. Sadly, the desire to rule and to have the power to control people’s lives is so strong that both Republicans and Democrats have done much to overcome these limitations.  I fear this will result in us becoming slaves to the State as well as our nation dropping from its lofty heights. 

However, if you think our dropping will help the rest of the world, you are in for a big surprise.  It will just mean that everyone is equally miserable except for the ruling elite, who will live in comfort and luxury while finding new ways of shifting the blame for the economic misery of the people onto anything but the ruling elite themselves.  I for one, do not want such “fairness” imposed upon me.

Why Soaking the Rich Won’t Help Pay Government’s Largess

Being a libertarian, the insane amount of money our government is spending, making what George Bush did look like chump change, just pisses me off something fierce.  I’ve heard that ultra-rich Michael Moore trying to say the country isn’t broke because apparently folks like himself have been stealing it from the poor in make themselves rich.  I’ve long believed that there’s not enough money that could be taken from the rich to pay for the current government largess but this video lays it out quite well on what it would take to pay for the current Federal expenditures for only one year.

This really helped put things into perspective on just how much our government is spending and why we can’t afford it, even if we made the evil rich “pay their fair share” and then some.

Oh, and by the way Michael Moore, when you start contributing everything you make over $250,000 to the government without getting ANYTHING in return, then I’ll take your blathering on the evil rich seriously. 

I’m Angry! (So clearly this is Bush’s, Palin’s, and the Tea Party’s fault!)

I just heard about that nutcase Jared Loughner’s killing spree in Arizona through Twitter.  My first thought before knowing ANY other facts was, “I bet this is some left-wing or Muslim nut job but the press and the left will initially attempt to blame the right-wing as hard as they can until the facts come out, at which point the left and the press will have already planted the lie as the truth and then shift the narrative to ‘this was just a mentally unstable person but we still need more control over talk radio, TV, the Internet, and guns.'”  Sadly, it appears that I’m completely right.

For starters, let me say that Jared Loughner is clearly insane.  Anyone that goes out and slaughters people like this has a screw loose to begin with, but Jared’s YouTube videos, writings, and the e-mails from people who attended class with him tell me that the man had lost it.  Regardless of his mental state, he ALONE is responsible for his crimes, no matter what he watched, listened to, or whatever.

That out of the way, lets get down to what has me pissed off.

When I saw Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s early remarks on the case, he said they had no motive yet BUT he clearly had no problem citing talk radio, TV, and the like for inflaming unstable people to hate, commit acts of bigotry, etc.  The remarks came off to me as someone blaming Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the Tea Party, etc. for encouraging a radical, right-wing bastard to attempt to murder a Democrat congresswoman.  Oh, and there was some Bush appointed judge, a 9-year old kid, and some others who were killed too but that’s not important because clearly this was a right-wing ideologue going after a Democrat.

It went downhill from there as the mainstream press, left-wing politicians, and left-wing blogs all ID’s Jared as some sort of right-winger influenced by the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc.  The more of the screeching I read, the more I was convinced that Jared was no right-winger but was more likely a left-wing nut or worse, a radical Muslim.   After all, when Major Nidal Malik Hasan went on his “Allah Akbar” shooting spree at Fort Hood, the initial reports were to try to blame this on talk radio and the right.  Once it was revealed that Hasan was an Islamic extremist, talk of his motives vanished because Islamic extremist aren’t influenced by Rush or Beck.

A similar thing happened when the failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad attempted to set off a car bomb.  Mayor Bloomberg rushed to a camera and blamed the Tea Party, speculating that the person who attempted to set off this car bomb was, “Home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something.”  Sorry Mr. Mayor, but Faisal is a radical Muslim, not a Tea Party person.

So, while Jared is not a Muslim, he’s also not a right-winger.  Indeed, everything he’s said indicate that in addition to being a nutcase, he’s a radical left-winger.  His favorite books were apparently Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Yeah, I hear Glenn Beck all the time spewing about how we need to become either Communist or National Socialist.  (Oh wait, he says the opposite, blasting any form of totalitarian, big government philosophy.) 

Jared posted a video of himself as a terrorist burning the American flag and we all know how much Tea Party people love to burn flags. (Oh wait, they actually love waving the flag and not burning it.)

One of his high school friend confirmed that Jared was a leftist in high school and that they were anti-Bush in high school when Senator Kerry ran against Bush.  She sounds like a leftist from what I can read of some of her tweets but she doesn’t sound like some radical, “Silence Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News” type.

Jared’s hatred for Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords apparently pre-dates the Tea Party movement, going back to 2007.  Apparently, he wasn’t the only one angry with her as this Daily Kos poster shows (which naturally, the ultra left-wing Daily Kos pulls from their site).   That angry poster is apparently now angry that his hate-filled rant is being used against the left since as we all know, only the right-wing losers who listen to Beck and Rush and watch Fox News are filled with hate and would want to murder a Democrat representative. 

Wait!  Rep. Giffords supported Obama-care (+250) but also supported Arizona’s law on immigration (-500) and voted against Nancy Pelosi in the recent House of Representatives leadership votes (-250).  So she’s a traitor Democrat who must be killed for her betrayal, is that it?  Or was it because she supported Obama-care that she must be killed?

The way I see it, Jared’s an insane guy who also happens to like Communist and National Socialist ideals (which are almost identical except in terms of scope) and had NOTHING to do with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Fox News.  So what?

The truth of the matter is, I don’t care what books, blogs, etc. that he read; I don’t care what TV shows he watched; I don’t care what video games he might have played, to include the most violent games imaginable; I don’t care what kind of music he listened to.  The fact of the matter is that Jared Loughner pulled the trigger and that he alone is responsible.  I have always rejected this notion that some 3rd party is to blame for the actions of a killer!  Yet all of the time, some game, musician, TV show, etc. is blamed for the actions of some bastard who commits heinous crimes. 

No matter though.  Crooked FBI Director Robert Mueller is on the case and since he’s blaming the Internet for giving people so much ready access to hateful information, it will give the FCC and its new Internet regulatory powers a chance to exercise more control over free speech (the First Amendment of the Constitution).  Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D) is ready to have the government exercise more control over the Second Amendment and right to own a gun.  And finally, the radical left will scream that it is hate speech of Rush, Beck, or Fox News that drove this man to insanity and to kill folks, hoping to make the lie the “truth” when the actual facts prove no such thing, only that this was an insane man who ALONE is responsible for his crimes.

Thus endeth the rant as my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families of the victims of this terrible crime.

President Obama and Democrats to Old People — DIE!

Bloomberg has this interesting piece about yet another element of the so-called stimulus bill wherein Big Brother creates a Health Czar to allegedly control the costs of health care. In fact, this system is worse than the crappiest health insurance company out there as ALL doctors must submit to Big Brother. Big Brother will then determine is a course of treatment, tests, drugs, whatever should be done. If Big Brother feels it isn’t required, screw you. If you are an old person and the cost of a treatment outweighs whatever life expectancy you have, just get over yourself and die already!

So, let the glorious new Big Brother Obama world form as we start down the road of Eugenics. *_*

Man, I’m afraid this is going to be a rough four years or longer. The outrageous spending on Democrat paybacks is bad enough. This little tidbit about Big Brother trying to run our lives more in matters of health just takes the cake.

There’s No Money in the Training Budget

We have this fairly large account called “Big Road Bank” (BRB). The account has been with The Company for a number of years, but the new executives in charge of things there have decided that they do not wish to outsource their work. Thus, they have begun to transition servers and support slowly back in-house to be completed by 2010. No problems thus far.

The Company is clearly not happy about losing such a big account, so as BRB begins transitioning the account in-house, The Company is desperately trying to get the account to India so that they can maximize their profits for the last year it is around. Thus, a big chunk of our work is leaving us to go to India for now. The Company wants us to train the Indians to do our job. However, there is a caviot — there is no money to train them.

What?

For other accounts that The Company rushes to get to India or Brazil, two things happen. Initially, members from the offshore team come to the U.S. for two weeks to start learning to do the jobs. Then a couple of people from the U.S. head to India or Brazil for a week or two to insure things are up and running smoothly. This helps minimize the impact to the customer for the transition.

So, how do we train Indians with no training budget?

“Oh, you use our Instant Messaging tool. They log into your ticketing system and work all BRB tickets. You will be in a chat with them and they will pester you with tons of questions about the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. That’s the best way.”

Because Indians do not operate without a tight script or flowchart, we have increased our ticket count. Why? Because whereas we in the U.S. know that a CPU running high, paging rates, or other “who cares” alerts can be sat on until we see the problem go away, India does not do that. These servers are supported by other teams so the tickets have to be sent there. The System Admins or other support people see these worthless SEV 3 tickets (which BRB won’t get rid of) and immediately close them as “server working as normal” even if the conditions that caused the alert have not stopped. That means that we get another alert and another ticket whereas before, we would sit on the ticket and monitor until things returned to normal.

Further, because the Indians are so “by the book” oriented, they give us constant updates.

“We see ticket in the queue.”
“We open ticket in the queue.”
“We see this is SEV 3 ticket for Oracle to look at.”
“We transfer ticket to Oracle Support.”
“Ticket is transfered.”
“We are waiting for another ticket.”

It is interesting that as The Company continues to rapidly send stuff to India and Brazil, conditions continue to degrade that make it a cost savings for The Company. The Brazilian folks have proven to be pretty dumb when it comes to IT/IS work (not all, but most) so The Company is sending more and more work to India instead. However, the Indians are expecting more and more money (how dare they?), so much so that the projections we are told is that by 2013, it will cost the same to work stuff out of India as it does out of the U.S. If thats true, this is a huge waste of time and energy for what will ammount to a very small cost savings in the end.

Well, who am I other than a worker bee who tries to do the best job he can, only to have the executive bees make a right mess of things for their own 6-figure cost-cutting bonuses?

I Can’t Drive 55

Senator John Warner from Virginia feels you are driving too fast. Since he wants to be perceived as “caring” and doing something about your pain at the gas pump, he’s proposed that the national speed limit be returned to 55. That’s just nuts and so I sent the Senator this letter.

***

Senator Warner,

I know you are not my senator, however, you ARE trying to make my life more difficult and therefore I am writing to you regarding your desire to return us to a national speed limit of 55. I’m sorry sir, but that’s unacceptable. What, should we bow to Mother and Father Government? “The government is mother. The government is father. The government knows what is best for you because you are too stupid to know what to do yourself.”

Sheeze, sir. You know, if I want to reduce my own costs for fuel, guess what? I drive less. I can carpool. I can drive slower ON MY OWN WITHOUT YOU MANDATING IT! It is called freedom.

Do high gas prices suck? You bet. But I don’t need the stupid government being a freaking nanny telling me, “Drive 55 to save money!” Why don’t you watch what I eat, monitor my weight, force me to exercise, etc. while you are at it. I’m sure that will save money as well.

Thank you for your “concern” but frankly, the solution to the gas problem is not for you to make me drive 55.

"I Can’t Read!"

Blogspot, which is owned by Google, experienced some problems today with the service, namely that most blogs were throwing up a 502 error. If folks were able to get to their Blogspot blog, it was very slow and accessing the dashboard would fail. So for a while there this morning, this was a right mess, losing Google money (how many blogs have their ads?).

Google has a place for us Blogspot folks to come when to report problems or ask advice. So I went to the problem group and saw someone had already started a thread on the problems I happened to be experiencing. So I added my problem to that discussion thread. By the time I had submitted my post, others had popped in and done the same. The only difference is that a few decided that they needed a new topic to discuss this. Some weren’t satisfied with starting only one topic on this issue, but decided to post more than one.

While that was going on, most of us were discussing things in the problem thread. It was amazing that people continued to ignore the obvious “Blogspot is down” thread and continue to create new threads. Why?

I often wonder if some people even bother to read anything at times. I could understand creating a new topic when the last discussion on the problem a person is experiencing is old. However, when there’s an obvious thread to discuss the outage, what makes said think that starting a new topic (or multiple new topics) is the way to go? Then they ask in their new thread, “Is anyone else having a problem?”

No. We thought we’d discuss a Blogspot outage without actually experiencing a Blogspot outage.

The most outrageous of the new posts regarding the outage was a demand from some Catholic blogger to restore his blog immediately.

Hey dope! We’re all down and when our blogs are restored, your’s will be restored. *_*

Oh well. I had to get that off my chest.