Today the president of the wealthiest and mightiest nation in world history signed into law acts that pave the way for a treaty which will ensure that millions more working class American jobs will be offshored to low wage havens in Asia, and while doing so he joked, “This is so much fun we should do it more often”.

Anyone who’s not disgusted by this travesty has no human compassion.

Someone on a site other than this one posted: “If you don’t like what I wrote, or are offended by it, don’t read it!”. And thought it a suitable deflection of criticism rather than an invitation for more.

I wonder how long it’ll be before Mormons are before the Supreme Court seeking legalization of polygamy as a First Amendment right. I’m not opposed to it — my only interest is in watching the news for laughs.

Congratulations to those who just got normalized! (Oh, and fuck off, Antonin. You’re a jackass.)

Time? Is it?

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves.

— President Jimmy Carter, July 15, 1979.

I periodically revisit President Carter’s significant speeches, and with every year that passes he’s proven just that much more right. We live today in the world he warned us about, and only because WE chose the certain route to failure. Congress is in stalemate with “constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility”, and it was done on purpose by people who told us that they were going to do it if we elected them. They said they wanted to beat government down until it could be drowned in a bathtub. It wasn’t a hidden agenda. It was right out in the open, and WE voted for it.

It was not lost on me that a Democrat signed NAFTA into law. It was not lost on me that Hillary Clinton, in what she intended to be taken as a non-commitment, said that she would reserve judgment about TPP until after the negotiations are over and would only support it if it contained provisions to aid displaced American workers. Think on that for a moment. Isn’t she saying that she knows TPP will displace American workers? And that it’s not reason enough to stand opposed to TPP? Her husband was the democrat who signed NAFTA into law, so it should come as no surprise that every indication is that she covertly supports TPP. It’s time to paraphrase one of her husband’s lines: Hillary Clinton, it is time for you to go!

If you’ve not paid any attention to Bernie, here are a few of his agenda items:

  • Universal single-payer health care (“Medicare for all”)
  • Free tuition at all state universities and colleges
  • $15/hour minimum wage

Sounds a lot like the foundation of equal opportunity, doesn’t it? Sounds like a big step toward finally fulfilling the promise of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, doesn’t it? Isn’t the entire purpose of our government to secure the unalienable rights of all to equality, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Ain’t it about time we got around to honoring that promise?

Wherein I May Stir Controversy

Submitted as food for thought: Angelina Jolie said the following, as reported by Time magazine and found here:

There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership.

Ain’t that interesting? Flip the genders in the above sentence and it becomes offensive to just about everyone in every non-backward society as blatantly sexist. There would be screaming, and lots of it if a male actor were to stand up and proudly make the flipped version of that statement publicly. His career would be over and no one would want to be associated with him so he’d find it extremely difficult to start a second career. Society would punish him severely for it.

The greater context of the article is that Ms. Jolie is active in trying to end violence against women. I’m all for that, but I wonder why she’s in the feminist bunker when every statistical analysis ever done without gender bias, and there are many of them, has proven that the three big demographics when ordered by prevalence of their victimization by violence is men, then women, then children. What they’ve all got in common, in addition to being victims of violence, is being human. If that’s less important to you than their genders, you’re a sexist, too.

People who understand what’s happening in the conflict zones and in the areas around the diamond mines of the African continent know that it’s not “a women’s issue”. More men than women are victims, but they get far less publicity. I’m not saying that we should shift our sympathies from the women to the men, but that we should increase our sympathies so the men will be included.

I suggest that we might also consider that no woman who wears a diamond has the first fuck to give about the victims of that violence Ms. Jolie believes she’s combating. Even if one can conclusively prove that one specific rock has no blood on it, wearing the things promotes the wearing of them. If the public’s perception of diamonds was what it ought to be when facts are considered, it would be considered shameful to wear one.

Helluva Nice Guy

As I expected, booting the unidentified shithead off of that client’s server caused all kinds of screaming. The unidentified shithead was essentially who I thought it might be. The client didn’t understand the ramifications of giving a vendor the root password for their internet server, and didn’t know that the as-yet unidentified shithead was in there making a terrible mess of things using wrecking ball tactics. I’d nicknamed him Tasmanian Bonehead.

Only because it wouldn’t do to call him Tasmanian Shithead in email going to the client company.

After all kinds of mean and nasty things were said to impugn my proficiency in the effort to regain root access on that server, and the client teetering on the edge of insanity instructing me to give up the password, one of my colleagues somehow showed up on-site — 900 miles away. He wasn’t aware of any of this, as he’s on the Windows side of things taking care of their office network, and was there for some other reason. While the office manager was telling him about what was going on, I was writing the email message telling them that I can no longer be responsible for the security of their system. As I was rereading it to make sure it was right, my colleague was educating the office manager about why I was perfectly right to do what I had done and how they were shooting themselves in the head by giving the root password to a vendor. Then my phone rang, and I told the office manager that I was just about to send her an email. She said, “Don’t send it yet”, and told me that she had seen the light and hoped like crazy that I hadn’t handed over the keys to the kingdom (the root password) yet.

While we talked, my colleague invited himself into the CEO’s office to educate him as he’d just educated the office manager. That was awfully nice of him. Come to think of it, he’s the one who referred that client to me in the first place. He and I have been working together now for something like 15 years, referring clients back and forth, helping out on technical problems, and so on. And there he was educating the CEO for me. Helluva guy.

That set up the fun. The client told the marketing agency that I’d set them up with a normal user account with sufficient privilege to do everything they might reasonably need, and that if they had any problems they should address them to me. Murphy’s Law is fucking relentless: Tasmanian Shithead got to work and ran into problems that were once again attributed to an improperly configured server, and instead of taking it up with me it went to the client CEO.

Tasmanian Shithead didn’t want to take it up with me. I kicked his ass out of that server on Sunday in what amounted to a heads-up Unix-fu match between two root users, and then he/they said all kinds of mean and nasty things about, well, me, basically, by claiming that the server was horribly misconfigured and that’s why their shit doesn’t work. Now he’s expected to talk to me?

My phone rang this evening and Caller ID showed a number in the 713 area code. Oh, hey, Tasmanian Shithead, whoever he is, in in the 713 area code. Let the games begin!

As far as his problems go, after we hung up I found that he’d installed a WordPress plugin without reading the instructions, so it was only partially installed, and that he’d installed another plugin containing a coding error that was obvious as balls on a tall dog in the error logs. The only configuration error on the server was the one that allowed him access to it. :D

But what I really wanted to know was who gave him the root password in the first place. No one at the client company would cop to it, and to the best of my knowledge the only ones who had it were the client CEO and I. I asked, but his response was, “Oh, I have my ways. I’d rather not say”. Tasmanian Shithead is apparently far more accurate than I’d suspected!

In the end he not only told me how he’d got the password, he spent three or four minutes digging around to find the damning email message and read it aloud to me. He told me a few more things I wanted to know and thought it was his idea to do it, and even told me some useful things I wouldn’t have thought to wonder about. Before he gave up the goodies, he tried to outgeek me by talking about the various ways of getting passwords, and the great irony of the whole thing is that we spent about five minutes talking about social engineering.

I wonder if it’s hit him yet that after kicking his ass on Sunday I engineered his ass on Wednesday and it worked even after we’d just talked about it. In fact, that was why we talked about it — he wanted a dick swinging contest and I wanted information. It took two hours, but I got a lot more than I’d hoped for.

He might not realize it yet. He’s probably too busy fuming over the email message I sent to him, as I promised I would, telling him what I’d found. And CC’d to all of those people to whom all of those mean and nasty things were said about me, too. But in it I was very nice and took a friendly conversational tone because by golly I’m just a helluva nice guy.

C’mon Lottery Jackpot!

Oh. Joy.

I ended a workweek in which I went about a hundred miles an hour for at least ten hours each day and only managed to move about two inches with the decision that I would spend this weekend doing nothing. What I was aiming for was this:

What I got instead:

Well, except for the therapeutic destruction of the second half. I got some of that in a couple of weeks ago so can go a bit longer before I again feel an irrational compulsion to wantonly fuck some shit up.

I was very successfully accomplishing nothing when Amethyst came to me to tell me that the washer wouldn’t drain. I did my dutiful husband thing and manually pumped the soapy water out of the washer, then tore into it to check out the pump for clogs or failure… just as I got the cabinet off of the thing my phone yelled at me that something was wrong on one of the servers I administer remotely. I went off to the office, all the way across the family room, cursing Murphy and his terribly inconvenient law.

Once there I found that some unidentified shithead was logged in and doing things I would never approve. I assumed that the unidentified shithead was a third party contractor who’s known to me, but I don’t operate upon assumptions so I kicked the shithead out and sent an email to him, his boss, our mutual client company’s CEO, their general manager, and their office manager. The only response I received came from the suspected shithead’s boss who said he assumed that it was his shithead doing it, so I explained (CC’d to everyone) that I don’t operate on assumptions when it comes to system security so if I didn’t receive confirmation soon I’d take actions that might cause screaming. The unidentified shithead persisted in trying to do dumb things and getting booted just as quick as he got logged in and I never heard another peep from anyone, so now no one at all can login on that server without talking to me first.

I expect screaming. I might not hear it — it’s well known that screaming at me is saying goodbye forever to me. I’m leaving it to my client to decide if I have to prove it. I would prefer that they don’t but it won’t appreciably affect my bottom line if they do.

Back to the washer: I removed the pump and ran it with a drill motor in a sink full of water. The pump works just fine. I reinstalled and tested, and sure enough it works there, too. Amethyst was just mistaken about which cycle the machine was in at the time — no biggie, it happens. I didn’t confirm that it was supposed to be in a drain cycle either. That leaves just the motor coupler to be at fault, which fortunately is a cheap and easy fix. Ten bucks for parts, half an hour from start to finish, no exotic tools required. Unfortunately we’ll have to hit the laundromat once before the parts arrive. I hate laundromats. They cost too much and too readily spread disease, which was one of the very first things I learned as a wee small child who was repeatedly made ill that way.

I’m feeling extraordinarily ready for an enormous windfall. C’mon lottery jackpot!