Tag: tsa

Don’t use the condiments

Don’t use the condiments

On a local social networking site, a person sounded off about some child drinking from the chocolate syrup bottle at the local BBQ joint. She corrected the child and told management what had happened. The girl behind the counter tossed the syrup. When the boy told his father, he glanced at the woman, waved, and left the establishment.

The thread went on with many weighing in.

Since my thoughts are more verbose than intended, I thought I would put this on my blog instead.

It starts with the parents. It might be more profound than that. Kids are being raised by video games and what used to be Hollywood.

The economy is such that usually, both parents must work. Your children are not raised by ‘Father knows Best, or Leave it to Beaver.’ If they are in a single-parent home, that lack of good behavior goes double. Where do they then learn what is socially acceptable?

I am a writer. Often my characters bump into today’s value system. It has been incumbent upon me to learn where these kids get their values. It was not an exhaustive search. After looking at some of the games they play, examining the amount of unsupervised time they have, and the educational system tolerating bad behavior, I had my answers.

Not long ago, I was in the food court close to some teenagers who were lamenting about their home lives. These were kids wearing designer clothing. They each had a smartphone, some had braces, and they went on about how crappy their parents were. I had to leave.

Speaking with children of different generations, I notice a variance in what they think is acceptable behavior. It is rather shocking.

Today’s 30-somethings that I speak with are clueless. At their age, they should be saving for retirement. Instead, they rent an apartment equivalent to the house they grew up in. They attempt to live as if they were still under their parent’s roof and eat out as if it were free. Many parents enable this behavior by supplementing their income. Their kids live paycheck to paycheck, usually running a deficit by the end of the month. Much like that college loan, they also have credit card debt. Why? They were never taught to manage money.

Instead of attempting to do it for themselves, they complain about how crappy life is and, yes, spend their free time on the computer playing video games. It is no small wonder they cannot afford their student loans.

The gaming industry is $188 Billion. Proponents of video games will argue against what I am telling you. Still, from Sandy Hook to many other mass shooting events, most of those shooters had one thing in common. Can you guess?

One of the officers investigating Sandy Hook told the press that the kid was ‘very proficient’ at killing that many people. It was almost as if he were trained in the military. Huh…

The Parkland Shooter was part of a unique program where his misdeeds (criminal) were kept secret from the School to avoid the school pipeline to prison. The argument for this program is that kids will grow out of it. One trip to the south side of Chicago will change the mind of most. The FBI knew about the shooter’s violent proclivities and were even warned before the shooting. They did nothing. I am still amazed that the activist David Hogg has yet to figure it out.

A teacher in California was beaten by a student because ‘she gave him a failing grade.’ The school system tried to convince the teacher (while she was still in hospital) not to press charges. If memory serves, he broke her jaw, among other things. It would ruin the boy’s life if you pressed charges. I wonder where that ‘child’ is now?

Playing video games releases endorphins which make the player feel good. The hormones and chemicals released are addicting. We humans can be addicted to almost anything, even pain. Does that fact shed some light on why some self-harm?

Those game players reading this will likely chime in, telling me I am wrong. Truth is, I am not mistaken. If you were to honestly log the amount of time you spend playing games, you might be surprised. How does it make you feel to win or take that hill? How do you feel when you lose? When confronted with the truth, how does that make you feel? How does that make you feel if you are a sniper and kill the ‘enemy? No, I am not wrong.

Can you guess why Syrup Boy was drinking the syrup? Sure, it tasted good, but what else? Yes, chocolate is addicting, as is anything that makes you ‘feel’ good. That little feature of most animals is for the survival of the species. I don’t need to spell that out for most of you.

Those proponents of video games immediately tried to spin things differently, but…If you live in a world full of violence, day in and day out, guess what happens to your psychic? Where did this Sandy Hook killer learn to be so proficient? He blew one of the teacher’s heads off and was heard laughing about it after the fact. One wonders why. Was it what he expected?

Were you aware that you could get PTSD from video games? Now we have VR (virtual reality), which will most certainly make the game more real or immersive. Are we even looking into cause and effect? No, it’s the guns doing it.

It is almost as if we should have a consumer protection agency or something looking into cause and effect. What happens if?

There is a real danger among us; syrup boy is just one minor symptom that we are doing something wrong. The prison population is a vast indicator we are doing something very wrong. PFFT

Cause and effect, garbage in, garbage out. Why has nobody put this together? Is it that unpopular? Can we not handle the truth? Are we not paying anyone to look into such things?

Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, it will all be ok.

I mention the $188 Billion gaming industry because they hire PR firms to spin events like some mass shooting in another direction, away from the obvious. IT’S THE GUNS!!!

Guns are an easy emotional target or trigger word. That is why gaming lobbyists push the gun narrative. They know what it is, but $188 billion pays for PR firms and lobbyists and buys congressmen. It also makes the 2cnd amendment and the NRA the enemies of the people. If they can tie it to a political party, that is just a bonus.

Mental illness is rife. Covid, the lockdowns, and much more play into what is happening. With the lockdowns, the youth have more time to immerse themselves in these games. During the lockdown, the youth were not as socially active as they might have been. Games are an alternate reality. One wonders where reality and games collide. Add drugs into the mix, and that line will get super blurry.

Uvalde; his grandfather was a drug dealer, his mother a junkie, and you know grandma was not innocent or clueless about where the money came from. Pot today has a THC content of up to 95%. In the ’70s, the THC content was about 5%. The effects on the brain are mind-numbing and can cause uncontrollable rage. A toxicology report is still pending on the Uvalde shooter.

Riddle me this, why did the City of Carrollton, Texas, spend tax dollars on creating an E-sports (gaming facility for kids to play video games?) Wouldn’t it be better for kids to play these around their parents? Is this a taxpayer-funded babysitter or surrogate guardian who would also drink from the syrup bottle? Is it for kids who can’t afford a gaming computer?

In truth, I am uncertain what this facility is. On the surface, it sounds like a taxpayer-funded Dave and Busters, only for video games, period. Shouldn’t we try to get kids away from the keyboard and outside playing sports?

I am glad that the kid that shot up the July 4th celebration was such a coward that he gave up without committing suicide by cop. We need to learn what motivated him and everything else we can. He, like others, will end up being a statistic, but nevertheless, information is valuable.  

Where did he learn to be a sniper? He must have known about ballistics to shoot that distance and hit the target. Where did he learn?

Many people claim that School is a pipeline to prison. They blame it on things that are far from the facts. To quote Jack Nicholson, ‘They can’t handle the truth.’ In School, you learn the basics to get by in life and are introduced to social mores.

When I went to School, if your shirt was not tucked in correctly and you were caught, you earned a swat. For the rest of that day, every time you sat, there was this stinging reminder to make sure your shirt was properly tucked in.

Some parents argue against such things. They doth protest. Their argument is that you are teaching kids to hit; I disagree. You are teaching them that we have rules. While you are here, you will follow them. Trust me, parents, kids know how to hit already.

If you have flown, there are more rules than I care to count. Do not joke with the TSA.

In society, there are rules. You and I have those same rules. We get hit in the pocketbook if we speed or drive erratically. If you have one of your tires over the line in a handicapped parking area, the fine is over $600. I am talking about accidentally crossing that little white line with one tire.

One lady had just picked her kid up from school. She was on her phone while speeding through the school zone. The motorcycle cop had his lights on. He tried to get her attention for over a mile before he was forced to go up to her window at a red light and tap on it. I hope her child watched that interaction.

She was terribly distracted by the conversation on the phone. Speeding through a school zone is a hefty ticket. On your phone, while driving in a school zone is yet another. Not seeing the cop for at least a mile…Those mistakes will be quite the spanking.

My point is that there are rules; when do we start teaching them to our kids? There are social mores that are also incumbent upon us to teach. We don’t drink from the bottle. We cannot be our children’s friends. We must be parents first; that is our job. We are not talking about child abuse or beating anyone; we are talking about course corrections. We are talking about parenting. Know what your child is doing. We parents are held accountable for their actions until they reach adulthood. Our job is to raise them so that the criminal justice system does not have to.

Some scream about prison overpopulation. We, the parents, are in part the cause of this. The lack of morality and, yes, the violence are symptoms of not being engaged with your progeny.

Dysfunctional families are endemic to the problem, and that is what congress should be addressing. Breaking the cycle of single-parent homes requires education.  

Drugs and the promise of easy money probably eclipse poor parenting, as even the best of parents end up burying a child due to an overdose. Some lose them to gang violence. That, of course, is systemic of drugs and the drug culture.

It starts at home. You are the person they will model until such a time they attempt to emulate some actor or actress. If you teach them correctly and raise them right, you will not need to worry about what the schools are doing to indoctrinate them into this woke world of weirdness. You might also keep them from hanging with the wrong crowd.

Anyone who teaches your kids to hate their country must be in a different vocation. Any person who grooms your young child must be behind bars for pedophilia. The messages children get today are mind-bending. Homeschooling is almost a must.

Your options are clear. Either be of good moral character and lead by example or teach them how to look innocent in a lineup.

-Best

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HIPAA and other things that go bump in the night…

HIPAA and other things that go bump in the night…

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(HIPAA) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Being and IT guy for the last 35 years, I am no stranger to HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, and many other regulations from the government, including the federal mandates as to how this is to be accomplished.

While HIPAA is designed to protect your privacy, I wonder if that is how it is actually being used.

From a DR (disaster recovery) standpoint, your data must be backed up and off site. Your data must be recoverable; meaning that you have successfully tested the process on a regular basis.

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The easiest way to do this is with CLOUD technology but, I am here to tell you that the hackers attack the cloud… If you’re data, and my data, and your competitors, is in some nebulous storage arrays out there in some data center…that is a central target for the bad guy…

You must have written policies and procedures regarding same… This would be part of your DR plan, run book; or even your living document that is your DR plan.

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SOX or Sarbanes Oxley is another set of rules that apply to all publicly traded companies that share many of the same tenants of a good DR plan.  E-mails must be stored and retrievable in the event the government wants to see them.  Stored off-site and recoverable…

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The government, for the government’s own use, has stricter policies and procedures which I wrote about some time back when the Hillary e-mail fiasco came to light…  That is why this whole e-mail scandal is laughable as there is no possible way that those e-mails should have been lost, just like there is no way that she should have had a server of her own, dealing with Top Secret Classified e-mails.  Why she is already not wearing orange, and living in Club Cupcake Penitentiary, is a testament to the corrupt policies and procedures that our wonderful government seems to enjoy for the rich and famous or in this case the political elites.

Calling and talking with any of the folks at your insurance carrier, you are told that your call may be recorded and monitored for security and training purposes…  Now please tell me how this does not violate HIPAA?

 

When visiting your doctors you had to sign a release, basically nullifying HIPAA so they, the office staff or doctors can talk about your case, health or anything that is needed to whomever that they have to deal with to get paid.  Again, how is this not a violation of HIPAA?  Working behind the scenes at these places I have heard many cases talked about from end stage renal disease, to genital warts complete with names. I was once working in a plastic surgeons office where his desk was littered with open pictures of nude women with before and after breast augmentation etc etc.   This stuff should have been put up before I was ever allowed into his office.

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The simple facts are, that we are living in an age of no-privacy; either expressed or implied.  The idea of HIPAA is great but, like the thousands of pages of tax code, it is virtually meaningless after the lawyers get through with it.  It’s like living in Chicago with all sorts of police vehicles, and one cop who lives at the donut shop.  There is the illusion of security, but it simply does not exists.

The airport is another place where you have no privacy but, still the TSA misses about 95% of the threats that their agents try to smuggle through, while testing their efficiency. 

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While we parade through scanners that strip us naked, and expose us to ionizing radiation, they still miss 95%…! How the hell is that possible?!

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While in the waiting room the other day I could hear the office staff talking about patients and their treatment options… That was not bad enough… One of the ladies at the reception desk was calling patients who owed them money between greeting people, taking credit card info… Yep, she read back the guy’s number complete, the billing zip code and expiration where everyone could hear it.  I take credit cards and I thought to myself… you did not get the CVV code… A few minutes later she called him back to get that…. And repeated it to where anyone in the waiting room could have heard.

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While I have since written a letter to my Doctor…it does not end here…

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This same doctor prescribed some meds that I went to CVS to pick up…  While in line, the cashier, after getting your name and date of birth, grabs the meds off the shelf, and tells you what they are so everyone in line and the immediate area can hear.

Name and DOB are nobody’s business and certainly what you are buying is nobody’s business…

While I may be over sensitive to this, I don’t really think so…

Either we have HIPAA or we don’t.  Either we follow the rules and policies set forth…or we don’t.

The illusions of security is not enough.  The illusion of privacy is not enough.  Collecting everyone’s Meta data without warrant, is wrong on many levels.

We need to look at and re-vamp all of these policies as we have given up so much of our privacy for the sake of laziness on the part of the employees.

Instead of me telling the lady behind the counter she should ask me to see my ID verifying who I am and my DOB without saying it aloud.  After she pulls my meds she can show me what they are without voicing them… Simple policy changes prevent unauthorized or in this case nosey people in line getting into your business.

There are simple answers for all of these things but one simply has to think… We are too damned lazy to think…

-Best

© Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved

 

To Lock or not to Lock

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This is not the first time that I have written about air travel.

On a recent trip the bags went one way, and the passenger another.  Now if you tried to do this deliberately, you could not orchestrate it but; trying to keep the bag and passenger on the same plane is proving more and more difficult.

The bag finally was returned a week later, and after many phone calls to several different airport personnel who did not have a clue or care. It was almost as if, “hey you are bothering me, I am just here to draw a check, not actually do something!”  I was going to say I may be exaggerating a little but actually no; not at all.  This was the attitude! When asked for her name she would not give it.  Hmmmmm…  And we wonder why the airlines have to cut services, charge more for the services that they still do have, and are still going broke.  Get rid of the dead weight airline people!  Grow a pair!

Usually; when my bag has been rifled through, looking for god knows what; there is a lovely piece of paper in it telling me that it was searched.  “Like I need a piece of paper telling me that my once neatly folded clothes, now appearing as if some gorilla had worn them for a week was not clue enough.”  Still, some notification of who did this would be nice.  On a recent trip the bag was searched, the lock went missing and there was no piece of paper.  Can we no longer afford the paper or did somebody else go through the bag?

These locks are not cheap and for my money not very secure either; as we have no idea who all has the magic “TSA Key”.  I am guessing that there are more than a few baggage handlers who have them in their possession.  So where are all of the missing locks?  A quick look on eBay and I found several “lots of airline TSA approved locks all set to 0.”

I wonder if the seller either works for the TSA, or has family or friends that do, surely not, they surely would not be that stupid.

Here is another issue with this.  I realize that this puts me out there with the conspiracy folks but what if someone wanted to use your luggage to smuggle something out of the country or state, or into the country?   If the luggage (with the payload) makes it through, it then is simply intercepted at the other end. You file a missing bag claim and nothing happens as nobody gives a damn anyway.  You chalk it up to the lousy airline, buy new stuff and write a blog about how crappy the airline is.  But what if the TSA actually doing there job while trying on your clothes, finds the “payload.”  Then they get all puffed up thinking they have found the “bust of the year, their name will be in all of the papers and they will be a hero to women and children alike!  Wheaties will even want to put their picture on a box and they will get money for their likeness being used!” Well, maybe not, maybe then just a simple promotion for doing their job.  Meanwhile; you get arrested and have to explain “the payload.”  Like who would be stupid enough to put something illegal in their own bag.  Well, some idiots do and thank goodness that they do or there would be nothing for the “locked up abroad” folks to write about.   I digress.  Think about it though. Because your luggage is now “unsecure” what if?  Do you realize that in a lot of countries you are not presumed innocent, until proven otherwise?

While the TSA is doing an excellent job of feeling up old ladies and small children, and of course looking at everyone’s “rude bits,” I would be a whole lot happier if they would secure my luggage with cameras, people and of course honest TSA agents.

My advice for now, use a carry-on if you can. Consider shipping your luggage via USPS or UPS or even FED-EX as even that would be cheaper than trying to prove to someone in Bora-Bora, that the drugs or money or what have you in your bag, are not yours.

Failing that, save some money, Use a cable tie to lock your bag.  It is too much trouble for the average baggage handler to cut off, and if the TSA wants in there, they can cut off a lock, they can certainly handle a zip tie.  Put a few extra in your carry on, purse or wallet for the rest of the trip and leave nothing of value in your bag.  Realizing that some Blue Jeans can sell for over $200 a pair (you know the ones with holes in them,) you may want to wear them.  Besides, if they have enough holes, the TSA will have less to grope!

It seems a sad state of affairs when the people who are providing a service think that it is ok to steal from you.  It is equally sad that Americans and for that matter anyone that travels by air; is forced to submit to this treatment.  A major news outlet actually did something that was not politically motivated by taking part in apprehending two TSA agents who on two separate occasions absconded with two different iPads. You would think that in this day and age of cameras everywhere, that the airport folks could put some security in the areas where people’s bags are.  Now that we know what is in everyone’s underwear, how about turning the cameras on the fox’s watching the hen house?

-Best to you and those that you care about!