Archive for the 'Rant' Category

Environmental Activist’s Address to the Court Makes US Government Fascism Naked to Everyone

Tim DeChristopher, an environmental activist who was sentenced to two years in prison for “disrupting” a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008 that would’ve illegally granted mining rights in national parks.

His statement to the court before his sentencing is some of the most powerful commentary on corporate favoritism in the US Government:

In West Virginia, we’ve been extracting coal longer than anyone else. And after 150 years of making other people rich, West Virginia is almost dead last among the states in per capita income, education rates and life expectancy. And it’s not an anomaly. The areas with the richest fossil fuel resources, whether coal in West Virginia and Kentucky, or oil in Louisiana and Mississippi, are the areas with the lowest standards of living. In part, this is a necessity of the industry. The only way to convince someone to blow up their backyard or poison their water is to make sure they are so desperate that they have no other option. But it is also the nature of the economic model. Since fossil fuels are a limited resources, whoever controls access to that resource in the beginning gets to set all the terms. They set the terms for their workers, for the local communities, and apparently even for the regulatory agencies.

Unsurprisingly local residents are overwhelmingly in favor of his actions.

The speech is also a pretty thorough beat down of the US Attorney who prosecuted him. It’s a good read.


I’m not a Resource

I get a lot of email from headhunters. Apparently the tech job market is kinda hot. I ignore 99.9% of all the emails, because most of them are from headhunters I call keyword monkeys. They spam their templated emails to everyone their semi-automatic search bot keyword matches no matter how irrelevant that job may be to the potential candidate’s experience and skills.

For example I regularly receive job “opportunities” for ATG Dynamo and ColdFusion jobs. The problem is the last time I did any work with those technologies is more than 10 years ago. I wouldn’t know a .jhtml page from .cfm page these days.

Anyway, today one of those keyword monkeys sent me an email that had these words in it:

This is a Senior role.Resource needs to be able to work independently and be completely immersed in the building blocks of an ecommerce web site.

Totally awesome!

I’m going to, for the moment, ignore the fact that the position was for a business analyst, which if you took even a quick glance at my resume, is as far from my actual skills as you can get.

Instead I’d like to give this keyword monkey, and all headhunters of his ilk, a bit of free advice.

If you want quality candidates, PLEASE, for your sake, try to fucking treat your prospects as human beings and not just as “resources”. That means you should NOT send templated emails. I junk those faster than employers/headhunters junk uninteresting resumes. Please try to convey that you’ve spent at least a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with who I am and what I can do (as much as you can do that by looking at one’s resume/experience). Mention where you found me (a database of 10-year-old resumes is NOT a good place to do that). And do try to communicate why do you think I’d make a good candidate. It’d save your time, and mine.

Maybe, if you keyword monkeys followed that advice, I wouldn’t be receiving job opportunities for jr. system administrators, senior Perl programmers, ColdFusion developers, ATG Dynamo business analysts or Tibco consultants.


John Q Sr.

James Richard Verone, 59, is sick. He’s also unemployed, which means he has no health insurance.

He decided to do something about the situation, so in the morning of June 9th he walked into a bank, robbed it for $1, sat down on a chair and waited for the cops to come and arrest him.

He’s now entitled to free healthcare in the county jail he’s held while he’s waiting for his day in court. He’s refusing to post bail, because he wouldn’t receive healthcare if he did.

This is how healthcare works in the US. Free markets in full effect. It seems like enterprising individuals like Mr. Verone are figuring out how to play the game, too. Well done.


Promoting Movies by Suing the Viewers

The Copyright Group is suing over 23K people in the United States for torrenting the movie Expendables.

I have to wonder what the real point of suing people for copyright violations with regards to a movie nobody wanted to see. There is no market for this movie, because it is so bad nobody will pay money to see it. The only reason people are seeing it is because they can do so free of charge.

Given that the sequel for this horrible movie is being considered at the moment, one has to wonder why would the copyright holders alienate the only people who might actually be interested in the sequel by suing them? Or is it that they consider any publicity good publicity?

If I were the movie studio unfortunate enough to own this wretched piece of intellectual property, I would do everything in my power to get as many people as possible to see my movie prior to the sequel coming out. I would hand DVDs for free, if I could. Or I would just release a HD version of the movie as a BitTorrent without making a big fuss about it, and seed that version with trailers and other promotional materials about the sequel. I would think that would make more business sense than suing people who WANTED to see the movie.


The Feudal US

According to a recent study, one third of all working families in the United States can’t meet basic needs like food and healthcare with the family income.

They are working, but they are kept in poverty due to low wages (and/or high living costs).

In New York City this leads to a situation where the city is spending over $260M per year to support the families during their crisis:

In New York, where there is stiff resistance to living wage legislation from business and civic leaders, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city is already being forced to spend about $260 million a year to support poor working families with child care services alone.

Why are we, taxpayers, footing the bill to allow developers and other businesses to hire cheap labor and provide no benefits?

You and I are essentially supporting companies like Walmart, who provide minimal benefits and low wages to maximize shareholder profits. That’s pretty damn outrageous, if you ask me. At the very least I’d be entitled to free shares from these companies.

What would probably make more sense is to force these modern day feudal lords to actually pay fair wages and stop the suffering of people who are working incredibly hard to support their families.


The War on Cameras pt II

A case in Weare, NH is going to all kinds of records for ridiculousness.

A man is being charged with a felony for wiretapping on duty police officers.

He was placing a cellphone call as police officers approached his car after he was stopped. That’s right…the police and the district attorney is claiming that the police officers privacy was violated, because the recipient of the cellphone call could hear the police officers, and thus is considered wiretapping.

Boggles the mind.


The Plutocratic States of America

Over the holiday weekend I finally had time to read Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29th 2010. It shoud be required reading for all elected officials in this country, starting with the corporate apologists at the Wisconsin Governor’s office.

In his speech he outlines the different ways the rich have raped the country at the expense of everyone else since the 80s.

Average income went from that $30,941 in 1980 to $31,244 in 2008. Think about that: the average income of Americans increased just $303 dollars in 28 years.

Yes, think about that, indeed. The US has seen near unprecedented growth of wealth in these years, but it has done little to nothing to actually benefit the US people. Make no mistake about it, the trickle up economy is working exactly as planned.

The US has been fighting class warfare for 30 years with one side having all the arms, and the other side getting massacred without even noticing. Wake up people!

Update: Even Warren Buffett thinks so.


The Conservative Internet Policy

The US Government shouldn’t regulate the Internet unless it benefits those who pay us.

That’s how I would characterize the contents of the keynote speech by Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn. She is the representative, who also introduced the bill to get rid of net neutrality regulations.

It appears that she would be perfectly fine regulating the Internet, if it benefits the content producers. Not a word in her speech was said about fair use or other consumer rights regarding intellectual property. Not a word was said about benefits of a more relaxed stance to legislating intellectual property. In fact what she wants is more strict IP regulations. I am convinced all of it would be bad for consumers.

When are we going to get out of the Dark Ages?


US – The Land of Hypocrites

While condeming other countries for inhumane treatment of detainees the US Government is at the same time using the same inhumane treatment on its own detainees in a deliberate effort to break them.

I’m referring to the treatment of Bradley Manning, the person alleged to have leaked secret information to Wikileaks. He’s been held in solitary confinment for seven months now. He’s been denied pillows and blankets for no apparent reason. He’s not allowed to sleep when he wants to, and his one hour per day “exercise” time has strict limitations, for example he’s not allowed to run for some reason. There is no good reason for any of it. He’s not on suicide watch, although I guess if this keeps on going for much longer, he soon will be. It seems as if his treatment is entirely punitive. He’s been punished for something he’s not even been convicted yet. Not only that, but even if he was convicted his treatment would still not be appropriate.

There are significant second order consequences to treating people like this, as outlined in the article, but what’s most interesting is how the general opinion has changed in recent years to accept treatment of this kind, becase “those rotten terrorist belong in jail”. As described by Glenn Greenwald:

I think the worse part, is that very few people care what kind of conditions the incarcerated endure. We have essentially accepted prison-rape. The New Yorker piece asks is solitary confinement torture? I’d ask, even if it is torture, whether we even care?

It’s the perfect example of do as we say, not as we do. On the other hand the US is always preeching to other non-democratic nations how important human rights are and you savages are doing it wrong, and then on our own backyard we’re doing the EXACT same thing. Other countries are catching on to the deceit. So much for the “moral superiority”. It even looks like human rights organizations are investigating US for violations of human rights due to this.

And before some Internet tough guy starts accusing me of defending Bradley Manning’s actions…I’m doing no such thing. If he actually did what he’s alleged to have done, he’s guilty and deserves appropriate punishment for his crimes. Torture is not an appropriate punishment, especially since he hasn’t actually been convicted of anything yet.


The Tea Party – of the people, by the people, for the rich

The “grassroots” movement “reclaiming” America’s “honored” past turns out to be nothing but a front for fascism. In a most excellent piece of investigative journalism by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, it is revealed the Koch brothers have been funding the Tea Party the entire time.

The Koch brothers have a long standing history of self-serving agendas. The Tea Party is but the latest attempt by these ultra-rich businessmen – in the US their wealth is only eclipsed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – to change political environment of the country to favor the ultra rich.

It really is amazing how the Tea Party has been branded to stand against special interests and the “Washington politics” while at the same time being held together by funds from the very people the party is supposedly against. This has to be one of the greatest branding successes ever. It’s truly amazing that these are the same people who accuse Barack Obama for having some sort of a hidden agenda.

The Koch family history is a history of racism, disregard for the environment to enrich the family, communist witch hunts and behind the scenes political dealings. Its agenda is total abolition of all consumer protections, taxes, unnecessary Government agencies (incl. FBI and CIA) and all regulations that regulate businesses in the US.