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Fans Acting Fanatically Foolish is not Acceptable

30 Mar

Anyone who is a sports fan knows there is a part of the game that fans get fired up about: trash talking. It comes with being a fan of not only sports but if someone is a fan of anything that has a rivalry. Look at Apple vs Google/Microsoft, Ford vs Chevrolet, US vs anyone not the US, etc. It’s all part of the game and taken in fun, until it’s not.

As someone who was part of one of the most well-known college rivalries (Texas A&M vs. University of Texas) I’ve seen trash talking taken much too far. Sadly, I saw this again but on a grander scale and we have the Internet to thank for it.

A funny thing happens when people get behind the perceived safety of a keyboard, mouse and monitor, or a smartphone. Those people get some “e-courage” and start saying things they (hopefully) would never say in public to someone’s face. The comments made to Ashley Judd, in my opinion are indefensible.

It is not acceptable is to have people respond in a rude, vulgar and out right illegal manner. There is no excuse for a response of telling them they should die, should go to hell, get gang raped, you get the idea. It doesn’t matter if these unacceptable responses are directed at men, women, straight, gay, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc… This type of action should not be tolerated.

To me this is not political issue; it’s a simple right or wrong issue. People will always have disagreements about subjects no matter if they are political, sports, technology, religion, etc. At times those disagreements and arguments can get heated, no doubt about it. However, we can still be civil and if anyone ever does cross the line into incivility they need to be held accountable.

Sometimes when they are confronted with their actions, the person will be mature enough to admit they were wrong. We should all be mature enough to do that. Unfortunately that is not the case all the time. Sadly there are those who would defend and try to justify their indefensible actions.

Please don’t misunderstand; I am not talking about government censorship. I believe people should have the right to speak their hearts and minds. I am not talking about chilling or stopping the conversation of an issue. Doing that would get us nowhere to coming to a resolution.

What I am talking about is taking the comments about saying someone needs to be killed, raped, etc. out of the conversation, as they are likely in violation of laws already in place. Those who make such comments should be held accountable for their actions.

What about continued derogatory insults which don’t violate any laws? I would say report the comments to the medium in which they were made. Many sites on-line have the means to do so. Also, find a way to ban, ignore, and/or block those people. Sometimes it is up to us to take the responsibility to limit the negative voices in our lives. Not that we should ignore a problem as on-line bullying and stalking are real issues which have to be addressed.

I’ve seen bullies go away when confronted and the light shinned on them. Take the vile remarks made to Kurt Shilling about a comment he made as a proud father to his daughter. Once the light was shown on those making vulgar (and possibly illegal) remarks, they fled.

It goes back to what I said previously, those who make such comments would never make them in person. They hide behind a keyboard and throw insults and bully from there. That doesn’t mean everyone not using their real name acts like that. Those who do are either mature enough to admit their mistakes or run and hide when they are exposed.

We are all guilty of going too far at times, I know I have and I was wrong. We’re all human and make mistakes. Not one of us is walking on water. So we should be able to be humble enough to admit when we made a mistake, apologize and learn from it. Most of us were brought up that way and need to put those lessons into action.

Being a fan is fun and the experience should be enjoyed. Talking some smack with a rival teams fan can be fun for both sides. It’s all part of the game. However next time the feeling of “unloading” on someone comes up just because they said something you don’t like, whether it is on-line or in-person; let’s ask ourselves if we would want someone saying those things to one of our family or friends. I doubt any of us would.

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Called Out: AP Drops “Illegal Immigrant” From Style Guide

3 Apr

Journalism used to be about telling an unbiased, factually correct story. The information was gathered and put into a form the general public could consume without distorting information. Sadly those days are gone and the Associated Press (AP) has capitulated in the demise of true journalism. Quite ironic.

In the latest blow, the AP has decided to bow down to political correctness and become intellectually incorrect by removing the use of the term “illegal immigrant”. Why do so? Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll states the style book is trying to rid itself of labels[1]. Huh? Human beings naturally group, classify and label everything around us.

Ms. Carroll wrote on her blog:

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

Now those learning or currently practicing “journalism” will be seen in a negative way if they use technically correct term “illegal immigrant” as a descriptive term. The AP has long lost its credibility of being an unbiased, true journalistic entity. This current move clearly illustrates, yet again, their move to show their bias. Giving a weak excuse which anyone without cataracts can see through.

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Only 11 Things Wrong with Congress? Part 1

21 Feb

An article[1] written back in September of 2011 by Rick Newman lists 11 things wrong with Congress. Limiting as list of things wrong with Congress to only 11 took a machete the size of the Empire State building to chop down. Some points on his list I agree with and other sound like the same liberal talking points heard numerous times before. In this series, we’ll break down the 11 things Mr. Newman lists is wrong with Congress back in 2011. Has anything changed? If so has it been for the better or worse? Are any of the points valid or are they just rhetoric? It’s time to find out.

1. Too many rich people

Mr. Newman begins his list with attacking “the rich”. Yes those horrible, people who create businesses, jobs and salaries. Mr. Newman’s contention is they are so rich they are out of touch. While I would agree there are some in Congress who are out of touch with the “common man”, being rich is not a direct correlation. But why let that get in the way of some old fashioned class warfare, right? In the final sentence commenting on this point he states, “Congress may even have gotten richer, overall, thanks to the influx of new money—at a time when America as a whole is getting poorer.”

Getting poorer? What’s his point of reference? Mr. Newman doesn’t say. However, let’s look at some data from the US Census Bureau. According to historical data available [2] people of all races (their breakdown no mine) have seen the median income increase since 2008. Additionally, there was a decrease of the population earning less than $25,000 and an increase in those earning more than $25,000, from 2010 to 2011. Clearly America “as a whole” was not getting poorer at the time.

2. Automatic pay raises

Here’s a point where many people would agree with Mr. Newman. Congress should never, ever get an automatic pay increase. Most of America has to prove they deserve a pay increase from their boss (and their boss, and their boss, etc…) Not Congress though. Unfortunately instead of making a real case, again Mr. Newman trots out more class warfare rhetoric. He does make one very good, valid statement when he notes:

“Congress has voted to forego its annual raise. One bill introduced this year would cut members’ pay by 5 percent, while another would dock pay for every day the government fails to operate. But such token bills come up every now and then, and never garner meaningful support.”

How many times has the American public seen this from both sides. What appears to be one party getting a backbone and standing up for what’s right and good for the country, only to bow and kiss the feet of the opposing side when push comes to shove. And yet we the people continue to elect these same hypocrites back hoping for something different?

3. Gold-plated benefits and 4. Free parking

Mr. Newman lists these as two separate items but really free parking is just another benefit of the elected position so we’ll put them together. Indeed Congressmen get quite a few benefits for their jobs. As noted in the article, their retirement and health insurance is second to none. And we the tax payers get to foot the bill for those benefits. Mr. Newman does give this interesting statistic regarding Congressional benefits:

“A recent study by Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, two nonprofit research groups, found that fringe benefits for members of Congress are worth about $82,000 per year—which raises total compensation to well over $250,000.”

Some other, minor benefits are free parking at their job (which lets face it many Americans have) and free mail service. Listing free US Postal service as a benefit might be stretching it though. A 2010 article by Fox News [3] lists some other benefits for members of Congress. While it’s perfectly fine for someone to advance to a position which gives perks and benefits for the job, Congress should never complain about not being able to cut expenses when there is plenty of room from their own, tax payer supplied, benefits to do so.

Tomorrow we will look at another set of Mr. Newman’s 11 things wrong with Congress.

References –

  1. 11 Things Wrong With Congress – US News
  2. Historical Income Tables: People – US Census Bureau (Microsoft Excel File)
  3. How Are the Benefits? For Members of Congress, Not Too Shabby – Fox News
  4. Rick Newman Bio

Any Port in a Storm: Petition Regarding Piers Morgan Deportation Pointless

27 Dec

It still amazes me what is considered “news” these days. Long gone are the days when really important stories or issues were the main topics reported. Now we have faux and manufactured news like the Piers Morgan deportation White House petition [1] and counter petition, on a third party website[2]. This is what passes for news to people these days? Sadly yes.

How does the process work? The frequently asked questions page[3] outlines the following general process:

There are two critical thresholds for We the People. First, a minimum number of signatures is necessary for the petition to be publicly listed on We the People and searchable. Second, a minimum number of signatures is necessary in a given amount of time in order for the petition to be reviewed by the White House, distributed to the appropriate policy officials within the Administration and receive an official response. This response will be posted and linked to the petition on WhiteHouse.gov, as well as emailed to all of the petition signers. Petitions that do not cross this threshold in the given time frame will be removed from the site.

The first minimum requirement to be posted on the website is 150. The second minimum requirement to get a response from the White House is 25,000. While the numbers sound reasonable for a petition to get some type of response, in this digital age of easy access, they are far to easily attained, even within the current time frame set by the White House.

These White House petitions got a spotlight in the news just a short time ago this year after the re-election of Barack Obama. A petition to allow Texas to secede [4] was created which lead to other states getting similar type petitions. So far the Texas petition has racked up a total of 122,954 “signatures” but no response from the White House. It is the second most popular petition with the Piers Morgan deportation petition just behind it. The most popular, with 264,102 signatures, is a petition with the request to “Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.”

The large number of “signatures” isn’t very impressive since it takes very little effort to create a couple of junk accounts which allow anyone to either create or respond to these petitions. For example, a person can go to gmail.com, outlook.com, yahoo.com etc… and create a disposable email account. Once the email account is setup, the person can go to the White House petition website and create an account there using the new disposable email address. The site asks for a first and last name but no one is stopping people from using fake names like Mike Hunt, Seamore Buts, IP Frealy, etc. Once the new petition account has been setup it’s time to go either “sign” a petition or create a new one. If a person chooses to sign a petition, the response shows up in the petition page details with the first name, last initial and “signature” number. If a zip code was provided (not required and could be real or made up), the city and state will be displayed as well.

This clearly shows the fallacy of internet based petitions. It’s too easy for anyone to create a fake “person” to either create or “sign” a petition. All this does is water down the real power behind a well done, physical petition. To create a petition there are certain requirements one is supposed to meet before being able to create an account. Again, looking at the frequently asked questions page they are:

Anyone 13 or older can create or sign an online petition seeking a federal government action on a range of issues. Then it’s up to the petition creator and signers to build support for the petition by gathering more signatures.

In other words, these petitions aren’t limited to the adult, voting population, which would make the most sense. Anyone who has just entered puberty can create any nonsensical petition in hopes enough “signatures” will be made to get a response from the White House or just make a few clicks and “sign” a petition to support it. They might even get their 15 minutes of fame if it goes viral and the media outlets think it will get them some ratings. This process cannot be taken seriously by anyone with a rational mind. And anyone who is foolish enough to report any petition on this website as news needs to be fired because they have no clue how to be a real journalist.

People in the United States have the right to freedom of speech, within the confines of the current laws. It is a right which is cherished and protected, almost to a fault. Petitions are one way in which the people use this right to express their grievances with the government. At one time it was viable way for the people to get the attention politicians and news organizations on specific issues. Today, the petition has lost much of its power due to the dilution of how easy it is to create and get “signatures” as well. The people now have different avenues to voice their concerns, though they may not have quite the punch the petition once did.

References –

  1. Piers Petition
  2. Counter Petition
  3. White House Petition FAQs
  4. Texas Petition

Friday Funnies

14 Dec

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Words Mean Something: Sheila Jackson Lee Talks but Says a Lot of Nonsense

13 Dec

This woman  is an embarrassment to Houston, Texas and the country as a whole. Sheila Jackson Lee keeps getting re-elected by wide margins due to a rigged congressional district. She couldn’t sound like a bigger idiot if she tried. Seriously do a youtube search on her and witness first hand the brilliance of her speaking and thinking skills. Her latest gem is getting lots of feedback, mostly negative. If you haven’t seen it here it is. Viewing could lower one’s IQ by a few points.

What the heck is shipshod? She wants to “use that terminology”? What does that mean? Has anyone heard of a narnstarter? I sure haven’t. Of course there is the typical political garbage spin heard from the vast majority of politicians.

After viewing this atrocity I was quickly reminded of a comedy show I used to watch back in the 90’s. The name of the show was In Living Color and for a time it was hilarious. There was one skit which was brought back to my mind though. It was this one:

I don’t care what a person’s race, religion, nationality, etc… are. If someone is just trying to sound intelligent by using “big” words they are doing a disservice to themselves and those who they are speaking. Just stop speaking and do everyone a favor.

Let’s contrast her speech with one by Ted Poe:

The difference is crystal clear.

Finders Peepers: Google New Default XXX Image Blocking Draws Fire

13 Dec

Don’t be evil. That was Google’s motto for years. How people inside and outside of Google have interpreted it is very different. Those differing views are again colliding as Google changes how it shows image results for “adult” images.

Google has started to do something different when someone makes an “adult” image search request. Going forward Google is making users get more specific when searching for pornography using its search engine. And let’s face it, finding porn on the internet isn’t exactly hard to do.

Microsoft is not, at this point, altering it’s Bing search engine to do more enhanced filtering of generic pornographic search queries. We will see if Yahoo follows Bing’s or Google’s lead. There is also the alternative search.xxx for anyone’s pornography finding needs.

Google has released a statement regarding the change. A spokes person from Google has stated the following:

We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in web search.

I think people are really missing what Google is really doing here. Let’s get to the real meat of this statement. Google says it uses “algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query.” In other words, when someone preforms a search Google is programmed to give the best results on what someone has requested. The more general the search request, the harder it is to get what the person requested. So another request is made to narrow down what the person is trying to find.

Now Google is requiring people looking for porn to think about what they are looking for and use words or phrases to narrow down their search to something more specific. This is a win for Google in multiple ways. The first, on a purely technical level, is the reduced load on their systems for performing the searches. Instead of a very broad search first search, it is more specific and should give a better chance of returning the desired results. Less work by the systems means less cost for Google for their “free” search service. Win number one.

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