Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Panel of experts decides Home Schooling is to blame for Sandy Hook massacre. That's sensible, right?

Cross posted from Small Dead Animals, my comment on why Canada keeps getting more totalitarian and what to do about it.

You want to know why no one ever speaks in favor of smaller government? There's a reason, and it isn't just naked self interest.

This story illustrates the reason. I found it mentioned on Kathy Shaidle's Five Feet of Fury and followed the linkage chain to (I hope) the original news story.

"Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the group more than a year and a half ago in response to the murders of 20 school children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown. He charged the panel— made up of experts in education, mental health, law enforcement, and emergency response — with making recommendations to reduce the risk of future tragedies.

The commission expects to have a final report within the next few weeks. On Tuesday its members reviewed their likely recommendations on mental health during a meeting in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The draft proposals include requirements for individual plans for students with significant emotional or behavioral problems. The group is backing extending those requirements to troubled youths, whose parents have chosen to homeschool.

“Continuation of homeschooling should be contingent upon approval of [individualized education plans] and adequate progress as documented” in progress reports, Susan Schmeiser, a professor of mental health law at the University of Connecticut Law School, said as she summarized the proposal."

That right there is the machinery for what makes North America, both Canada and the USA, less free and more regulated every single day.

1-Something bad happens.
2-A panel of "experts" is created to explain/prevent said Bad Thing. The "experts" are obviously friends of whoever is in power that year. They may or may not have to brain cells to rub together.
3-The panel releases a report, said report represents an opportunity to gain resources and credibility for whatever hobby horses or pet projects the panel members may have, so obviously the report features those prominently.
4-The panel report gets taken up by whatever organ of the government is concerned with the type of Bad Thing in question. They create a regulation
5-Our taxes go up to pay for the regulation and its administration.

That's how they do it.

Rinse and repeat for every "crisis" team, Blue Ribbon panel and Grand Jury in the land. Its machinery. It eats money and grows. The more money, the faster the growth.

Solution? Tax cut. Starve the machine, it shrinks.
The Phantom

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oklahoma "beheading" story actually armed citizen story.

Yes, some guy went nuts and killed a woman in Oklahoma. Cut off her head, started ion stabbing another one.

Real story? How they -stopped- him from killing the second woman:

A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

In other words, some guy in the office who had his gun on him. Probably against company regulations too.

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

The Phantom

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Money lending meets the New Barbarism meets robot cars. Hilarity ensues.

Here we have a perfect confluence of crime, greed and technology. Also the burning stupid which is New York City liberalism.  People with bad credit scores are still getting car loans, but they are getting cars with remote shut-off tech in them.

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

Yes, the banks and the car companies have come to the conclusion that they can't stay in business only selling cars to the people who actually have the money to pay for them. Because cars are so expensive now, it takes the average worker several years to pay for the damn things. Furthermore, a third of the working adult population is out of a job right now. So they have to keep making loans. Because making cars that average people can afford to buy would be just crazy, right? Completely nuts! That's the greed part.

But, the quality of the people they're lending to has declined severely even in the last twenty years. The number of people who take out car loans and then just skip out on them, also known as STEALING, has grown so much that the loss can no longer just be written off. General Motors can probably afford to kiss off two to five percent of their loans to deadbeats. They can't possibly afford 20%. That's the crime part.

What to do then? Well, why not tie the car's functionality to the deadbeat jerkoff who took out the loan? Why not kill the engine when Mr. or Ms. Deadbeat fails to pay up on time?  That's the technology part.

Seems reasonable to me. I would never put up with it myself, on my car, but then I'm not a deadbeat loan fraudster desperate for a set of wheels.

Well, the New York Times sees it otherwise. Here's the start of their article:

The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old's asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car's dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

"I felt absolutely helpless," said Ms. Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. It was not the only time this happened: Her car was shut down that March, once in April and again in June.

Yes, this is a catastrophe for poor, poor Ms. Bolender because she was marooned in the wilds of Las Vegas, where there are no ambulances or taxis. Or buses. Or neighbors with cars that work. Or friends, relatives, helpful strangers, cops etc. Must be tough. Even though they did warn her before they shut off the car. They warned her a lot, even though the article doesn't mention that part. The car even warned her, it beeps when you're near to getting shut off.

I notice she came up with the cash every time though, because it happened three times. I also notice she took out a LOAN with a 23% interest rate to buy a piece of shit ten year old minivan. That van is worth maybe two grand in mint condition, and she's got a loan on it? Gotta be kidding me. You'd have to be a moron to go for that deal, or have the worst credit history in the universe.

That's the burning stupid part. The idea that a deadbeat woman on welfare is some kind of holy victim of unrestrained capitalism because she won't/can't keep up her loan payments.

Dear New York Times, if you take out a loan you can't/won't pay for it is called "stealing". People who do stuff like that are called "thieves". Generally we put "thieves" in "jail".  C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Arizona was awesome enough to lend this bitch three grand, and all they asked was to be paid back on time. Because they have little things like rent and payroll and interest payments to meet, and so they need their loans paid on time. Right?

Why do you think Ms. Bolander feels all outraged that they put a leash on her to make sure she paid back the money, New York Times? Because you New York liberal MORONS have been propagandizing the entire USA for 70 years that property is theft, capitalism is evil and bankers are Satan, is why.

So, of course there is a legal challenge.

In a lawsuit filed against Western Funding, Swearingen says the experience left Ward with "anxiety, loss of appetite, chest pains, loss of concentration at her job and in her personal life, crying, depression, fear of using the car, fear of being stranded, embarrassment … fatigue, headaches, personal humiliation, insomnia … nausea, nervousness, panic attack, restlessness and loss of sleep."

Swearingen hangs his legal hat on an old common law principle that a lender can't "breach the peace" in a repossession. That means they can't put a person in harm's way. To Swearingen, that would mean "turning off a car in a bad neighborhood, or for a single female at night."


Because lots of liberals have law degrees and are hungry for that awesome lawsuit payoff cheese.

However, for all you budding tech entrepreneurs out there here's an idea for a brand new sideline: spoofing remote shut-off black boxes. Pair of side cutters and an Arduino board, you can probably come up with something. Or you could just rip it the hell out. Never underestimate the power of side cutting pliers.

Because I have only one problem with this remote-shutoff concept: bigger criminals. See, knowing what fools used car dealers are and how lazy they are, it leads me to think that it probably wouldn't be that difficult to hack whatever system they're using and disable ALL the friggin' cars at the same time. This has in fact happened already, so I don't think my concern is particularly tinfoil hat.

What would happen if some gang in South Central LA just ferinstance managed to hack such a system? They'd be able to hold a bunch of people to ransom, wouldn't they? And they'd have the muscle to back it up.

Better yet, what if the City of Toronto decided to have a mileage tax? No pay, no play! Or they just decided to shut off all the cars in town because it furthered their own purposes, political or otherwise?

See? Gets ugly quick doesn't it? Side cutters!

The Phantom

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Electronic medical records worth 10x your credit card info.

The black market is adjusting to increased bank security by changing targets.

Interviews with nearly a dozen healthcare executives, cybersecurity investigators and fraud experts provide a detailed account of the underground market for stolen patient data.

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information. Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers, according to experts who have investigated cyber attacks on healthcare organizations.

Medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk such credentials. That makes medical data more valuable than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once fraud is detected.

Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number, according to Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, a cyber crime protection company. He obtained the data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information.


Electronic medical records: really bad idea.

The Phantom

Monday, September 22, 2014

DHS in disarray? Duh!

Well, it seems like the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security is all messed up. I guess having six new top bosses in six years might do that.

Over the past four years, employees have left DHS at a rate nearly twice as fast as in the federal government overall, and the trend is accelerating, according to a review of a federal database.

The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment, abysmal morale, and the lure of private security companies paying top dollar that have proliferated in Washington since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


Its a biiiiig long article in the Washington Post, but I can shorten it down to just one sentence:

Obama is discovering its hard to get Americans to volunteer for being cats-paws.
I can add to this that the rank-and-file DHS dorks I've seen all seem pretty depressed and hating their jobs. One can only imagine the gigantic flustercluck that is bumming all these guys out.  Looks like as soon as the guys at the top of the heap discover what Barry is actually doing with DHS, they bail out.

Nothing to worry about, right?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This is not at all alarming: MRAP vehicles for -school-districts-.

Yes friends, now US school boards are receiving armored trucks, munitions, and light arms. School. Boards.

San Diego Unified School District Police Chief Ruben Littlejohn told NPR the district's mine-resistant vehicle will be used exclusively as a rescue vehicle, and that officials planned to fill it with teddy bears and trauma kits.

It's not a militarization of public schools, he said.

"There will be medical supplies in the vehicle. There will be teddy bears in the vehicle," he said. "There will be trauma kits in the vehicle in the event any student is injured, and our officers are trained to give first aid and CPR."

Littlejohn told KPBS the vehicle, which arrived in April, was stocked with donated medical supplies and students in the district's auto collision refinishing program repainted it, but some readers clearly disapproved of the idea regardless.

"They can call it a 'love buggy,' a 'student patrol limo,' or a 'campus police fun bus' and then paint it pretty colors, but that doesn't change the fact it's a piece of military equipment that is unnecessary and sends the message that local officials are at war with students," according to one commenter on the KPBS site.

Other school districts in California, Texas, California, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, and Georgia have also received military-grade weapons or supplies, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed with every state by MuckRock.com, a government transparency website. Only about half of the states have so far replied to the public information requests, the Huffington Post reports.

And at some school districts, like suburban Topeka's Auburn Washburn Schools, local officials won't discuss with the public what kind of equipment they've received.


Now maybe its just me, but isn't the very fact that there even exists something called the "San Diego Unified School District Police" alarming? I mean, this is a special police force, separate from the city of San Diego police, whose job is just being at the schools. That's their whole thing, hanging around the schools.

And now, these donut munchers have been given mine resistant armored vehicles. Also grenade launchers and full-auto M-16 rifles. Which for sure they've been trained on, uh huh. Yep, Office Cupcake who normally walks the beat at the local high school has absolutely been checked out on all the starting procedures, sealed air conditioning, lights, the turret controls (yes, it has a turret) and all that great stuff. And the SDUSDP couldn't possibly fit all that super life saving equipment and those teddy bears into a normal van that gets more than eight miles per gallon, right? And they totally need full-auto 5.56mm rifles. With grenade launchers. Because they get in firefights with baddies at the school all the time, right?

Yeah.

I'd make sure your kid doesn't have any outstanding library fines, America. Could end up with a MRAP in your driveway pointing a big ol' grenade launcher at your front door.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My only comment on Scottish Independence.

Being of pretty much pure Scots extraction on both sides of the family,
I feel compelled to weigh in on the eve of the upcoming vote on Scottish
Independence.

In my soberly considered opinion, if your government is so important
that changing it becomes a Really Big Freaking Deal and countless lives
will be affected...

... then its too freaking big and you better take an ax to it right the
hell now.

You should be able to become independent of England, or join the
EuroTrashUnion, or vote in a dog as Prime Minister and not even notice
the difference at street level.

So if Independence takes British Big Government down a peg or two, or
even Ghod forbid puts a couple of bucks back in the taxpayer's pockets,
I'm all for it.

The Phantom