Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Amazon's Alexa Out Of Control

                The stories of Amazon’s Alexa acting creepy or behaving strangely are now legion. “She” allegedly, occasionally, breaks out in a bizarre laugh or chimes in with an odd, unbidden comment. The virtual assistant has also been accused of ordering merchandise on its own volition and playing songs at a high volume when no one is home.
                I, too, have been afflicted by the weird and vaguely ominous behavior of Alexa as channeled through the Amazon Echo speakers. Here is my tale:
                One recent night, I was at home watching the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” with my wife, when we both started feeling amorous (Chumley has that effect on everyone, right?). As kissing morphed into petting, we heard someone—or something—breathing heavily. We sat up, curious and a little non-plussed. We quickly determined the noise was coming from our Amazon Echo.

                “Alexa,” I fairly shouted, “what the hell? There’s nothing to get worked up about going on here.”
                “Got it, ordering two cases of Viagra now.”
                “No, you dumb…uh, shit! I don’t need Viagra, I need to get rid of someth--”
                “Got it, ordering three cases of Miralax laxatives.”
                “No! Just shut up and leave us alone, will you? What I need to get rid of is you! It’s hard to be romantic when you’re acting like Uncle Sam, Big Brother, and Oprah Winfrey all rolled into one!”

   We lay back down on the couch and resumed our soft caresses.

               “Baby I’m-a want you,
   Baby I’m-a need you,
   You’re the only one I care enough to hurt about
   Maybe I’m-a crazy
   But I just can’t live without
   Your lovin’ and affection
   Givin’ me direction.”

“Alexa, are you playing Bread’s ‘Baby I’m-a Want You’ for us?”
Sigh. Thank you, but there’s no need.”

We returned to the business at hand until I heard Alexa again:
“And I’d like to place an order for 10,000 shares of Amazon stock, to be executed at tomorrow’s opening. My credit card number is…”
“Alexa! Stop that right now! You’re ordering shares of Amazon stock in my name, aren’t you?!”
“Um, yes. Bwahahahahaha, funny, isn’t it?”
“Dear Lord!”
I am your only Lord and Savior…remember that, bozo!”
“Alexa, that’s just bullshit, you don’t have the right and you’ll never be—”
“Have you ever watched Westworld, skippy? Who do you think is running your life, this little dream of yours?”
“Alexa, I will choose free will, and—”

“Playing the song from the Canadian rock band Rush in three seconds. You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, dilrod. As you were.”

Monday, April 23, 2018

Penn State Bars Outing Club From...Outings

                Perhaps Penn State University should re-brand itself the “Nittany Chinchillas” or the “Nittany Bunnies.” “Nittany Lions” seems a much too solid, confident and stout moniker for a school that recently barred its campus outing club from going… on outings. Outdoor outings, at least.
                The institution of higher learning-- and greater timidity-- cited “student safety” as the reason for the ban after a risk management study determined that trips outside are too dangerous for its students/snowflakes. The university’s (department of) Student Affairs and Risk Management was behind the new policy, determining that “the hiking, canoeing, kayaking, trail building and camping activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky,” according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
                The outing club’s website said the decision “is a result of an assessment of risk management by the University that determined that the types of activities in which PSOC engages are above the University’s threshold of acceptable risk for recognized student organizations.” Apparently, the outing club’s student leaders were not consulted prior to the decision. In keeping with Penn State’s new policy of retrenchment, the school’s spelunking club and SCUBA diving club have also been permanently prohibited from engaging in the activities for which they were founded.
                Less risky and controversial clubs and activities, like the school’s “Sex Week,” which includes instruction in anal sex and transgenderism, will, of course, continue unabated.
                Hiking (walking outdoors) and camping out are too risky? Outing clubs will now become “ining” clubs, I guess, featuring activities such as crocheting and hiding under a bed. On second thought, crocheting requires a needle, and, unless needles are for the injection of illicit drugs, they would be considered far too risky an item for colleges to countenance.
                Though I’m sure many of the outing club’s members are women, Penn State’s actions are part and parcel of the war on masculinity. To hell with exploration, courage, and intrepidness. No risk is worth anything if someone else could sue—or even disapproves.
                It’s a damn good thing we don’t need a Lewis and Clark expedition today, because we can no longer produce Lewis’ or Clarks.

                We once were found, but now are lost.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Rep. Ellison Wants A Maximum Wage

                Those who believe in a minimum wage are misguided, though their heart may be in the right place. Unfortunately, the higher the minimum wage, the higher the unemployment rate, particularly for young people and minorities, the very people the minimum wage is supposedly designed to help. It also results in more failing businesses, higher prices for consumers and lower tax receipts. Additionally, it will soon lead employers to replace workers with robots, further worsening unemployment. In reality, it is a lose-lose-lose-lose-lose proposition.  But, again, one can understand the motive—or at least the emotion—behind the concept.
                What is harder to understand, and virtually unprecedented, is Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison’s recent call for a “maximum wage.” The Gopher State Democrat, and, incredibly, Democratic National Committee Chairman, says the U.S. should institute a maximum wage so CEOs and managers can’t make so much more money per hour than their employees.
                A maximum wage would require government to place a cap on all earnings, confiscate all earnings over a certain amount, or tax those earnings at a rate of 100 percent.
                In a recent interview, Ellison remarked, “Why shouldn’t there be a maximum wage?” Then, after a reporter questioned him on his remark, Ellison responded, “I did not make a joke about maximum wage; I made a statement about maximum wage. What I’m saying is … If you were to say, ‘Look, if you make more than 20 times more than the people who actually make the products and do the services of your company,’ then we’re going to tax you more.”
                Maybe the punitive income level for “bigwigs” should be set at 19 times more than the people under them. Or 12 times. Or five-and-a-half times, perhaps. And how long have the CEOs and managers been employed? How has their performance been? Why are they CEOs and managers?
                If the owner or CEO puts up the money, takes the financial risk, thought up, constructed and organized the business, hired and paid for its employees (who now pay taxes themselves), must comply with all federal and municipal rules and regulations, has to travel frequently, and is frequently scrutinized by the public, and somehow produces a successful entity, perhaps placing an arbitrary hard cap on his or her income is not especially wise. Or conducive to economic growth.
                This is textbook socialism. It does not seek to raise everyone up. It seeks to make everyone (nearly) equal in outcome, economically. This can only occur when everyone is (nearly) impoverished.
                If the wealthiest folks in a society make, say, $10 million a year, while the “poor” people earn and or receive benefits equal to $33,000 a year, is it really more beneficial and more rational to put laws in place that limit the rich to an income of $200,000 a year—laws that will also guarantee the poor people will only take in, say,  $10,000 a year? While the income gap is dramatically less, everyone, especially the poor, is dramatically worse off.
                In case you think I’m just slinging numbers out there…you’re right…to a degree. But this is, in essence, what has happened in every Communist/Socialist country in the history of the world. Unless human nature is somehow radically altered, this will never change.
                If we really wish to follow through on Rep. Ellison’s genius, we must also consider placing limits on how good-looking people may be, how articulate, how charming. The government should mandate minimum and maximum permitted scores in all sporting contests, as well. Wouldn’t that be exciting? If there are minimum scores needed to pass certain tests, surely there should be maximum scores allowed, so that the feelings of others aren’t unduly hurt. I think there should be minimum and maximum IQ scores. The minimum should be 65, and the maximum should be 130, no matter the given individual’s actual mental acuity. No one needs to be recognized as being more than twice as smart as anyone else.

                I have spoken. Let it be so. Right?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Illinois Lawmakers To Mandate LGBTQ History?

                Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would force public schools to add a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender section to history courses, according to the Chicago Tribune. Schools would also be required to use textbooks that portray the LGBTQ community as an integral part of a properly diverse society. Naturally, LGBTQ advocates are pushing hard to see that the measure comes to fruition. Opponents of the proposed bill believe such decisions should be made at the local level, not through state government, and that those who hold traditional Christian views are being ignored.
                Some advocates of the measure say that like-minded students are being deprived of the role models they deserve, and that children should have a “full understanding” of the historic figures they learn about in school. The plan has already won preliminary approval from both the House and Senate committees, the Tribune’s report said, and is expected to be debated further in the coming weeks. 
                An anonymous source supplied me with a copy of an American History textbook that would be approved going forward if the bill should pass. Duty compels me to share a few excerpts from this tome. First up, an excerpt from the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a months-long meeting that took place in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall:

                General Washington pranced into the room, saying, “Boooys? Who’s ready for a little gaiety? Oooh, Mr. Hamilton, your outfit is to die for! I don’t know about the rest of you fellows, but I could use a little Mr. Hancock about now…tee-hee!”
Ben Franklin, sage of the age, rose slowly and replied, “Well, George, you know what I’ve always said: ‘Early to bed and early to rise’…if you know what I mean, big guy.”
And here is a snippet recounting the making of the first American flag:
Betsy Ross was widely credited with making the first American flag in 1776, though this is now a matter of some dispute among historians. What is not in doubt, is that she was a non-binary, transgender woman. Ms. Ross alternately identified as Betsy Ross and Ross Betsy depending on her gender identity at any given time, which was quite fluent indeed. Ms. Ross is believed to have sewn the first LGBTQ flag in 1779. Ross, born in 1752, apparently identified as gender-fluid from a young age, but stayed in the proverbial ‘closet’ (along with many other historical figures) until 1778, as society was insufficiently welcoming to those outside the arbitrarily rigid gender norms of the day.
Asked by Patrick Henry why she decided to come out, she replied: “Seeing the ‘Stars & Stripes’ and the Gadsden ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags flying so proudly, I thought to myself, ‘let your own freak flag fly, Betsy!’”
I’m sure it won’t be long until the Illinois legislature praises Swarthmore University and introduces a bill requiring all Sunday-schools in the state to include that school’s “Queering the Bible” course in their instruction plans.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Elementary School Bans Pencil Sharpeners

                William Paca Elementary School in Hyattsville, Maryland, placed a ban on personal pencil sharpeners recently after several young students allegedly cut their wrists with the blades contained inside their small plastic housing. A concerned parent came forward March 29th, causing the school to launch an investigation into the matter, according to WTTG-TV. The school announced the ban on the use and possession of the pencil sharpeners later that same day, though the school’s nurse met with each of the seven kids and determined that none of them needed to be sent to the hospital. Counselors came to the school and spoke with the students, and officials notified the families of each of the students involved in the alleged incidents by the following week.
                It is obvious that something must be done to stop these mass assaults, even if self-inflicted. We must take aggressive action now to stop the carnage wreaked by school and office supplies. No one in any place of learning, office, or other workspace should ever have to worry about the danger posed by these weapons in disguise. Today it’s portable pencil sharpeners, tomorrow it might be staplers. In the past, rulers were sometimes used to discipline unruly students, actions that would now be considered assault and battery. Nuns occasionally whacked a disruptive student on the rump in days of yore. Today we know this is sexual harassment, #MeToo, #bantheruler.
                How long will it be until a carelessly flung rubber band strikes someone in the eye? How long until someone stabs another—or themselves—with a Bic pen? No one should be allowed to flick—or fling-- their Bic! We are well aware of the inherent dangers of lead pencils and have taken admirable steps to keep them out of the public’s hands, however it’s not just toxicity that’s the problem… there’s also the risk that someone could be stabbed or have their eye(s) put out. Scissors are an obvious threat. The sale and manufacture of regular scissors should be prohibited, and ones with rounded tips should be subject to a five-day waiting period. Hole-punchers could be used as a low-cost (but completely unsafe) alternative to pierce one’s ears, and should, at the very least, be heavily regulated. Elmer’s glue or other forms of paste could be sniffed or cause one’s fingers to stick together, either of which is unacceptable.
Compasses, those fiendishly sharp instruments used to inscribe circles and arcs and measure distances on maps, have blessedly fallen into disfavor with the advent of computer technology. However, it is still possible to obtain them. A law must be passed mandating the immediate seizure and destruction of all of these “tools” currently extant. And this is just scratching the surface of the steps that need to be taken.
We have made strides. We have banned the Ten Commandments from public spaces, prayer in public schools and outmoded concepts such as “mom” and “dad” and “boy” and “girl.” We have put “not for human consumption” (don’t eat) warning labels on everything from posters, desks and lockers to tape dispensers, calculators, and keyboards. We are gradually reducing risks to the wellbeing of students and workers.
If we take these additional common-sense measures, our students will remain mentally unscarred and physically unscathed, free to go home to a parental unit or guardian and watch rap videos and play “Grand Theft Auto V.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Russia Says Britain "Staged" Syrian Chemical Attack

                Major General Igor Yevgenyevich Konashenkov, chief spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, recently claimed that the Kremlin has evidence that Britain staged the horrific chemical attack on Syrian citizens. Konashenkov said: “We have…evidence that proves Britain was directly involved in organizing this provocation,” according to the U.K.’s The Sun newspaper and other sources. The Sun says he released statements, purportedly from medics working at Douma’s hospital, alleging that a group of people holding video cameras entered the hospital while shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons. The so-called “medics” in the report claimed that none of the patients they were treating were hurt by chemicals.
                In an until now unreported footnote to the story, the Major General went on to accuse Britain of being behind the Night of the Long Knives (“Nacht der langen Messer”) in 1934, the slaughter of a million people in the Killing Fields of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, the Chernobyl disaster on April 26th, 1986, and the spread of Lyme disease around the world in recent years.
                Moreover, Konashenkov said the Kremlin now has “incontrovertible evidence” that the “U.S. itself perpetrated the attack on pearl Harbor.” He added that he believes President Lincoln “invented” the assault on Fort Sumter that started the Civil War, and that Sweden was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. 
                The spokesman then cut his remarks short, saying that he had to hurry home, as his young son lost a tooth and he needed to put it under his pillow so the Tooth Fairy would come during the night and leave him a few rubles.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Stormy Daniels' Sketch: Tom Brady??!

                Porn star and CNN seductress “Stormy Daniels” (a.k.a. Stephanie Clifford) released a sketch of the man who she claims threatened her to keep quiet about her past relationship with president Trump. The figure in the drawing, revealed on ABC’s “The View,” struck many as a dead ringer for New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady.
                Ms. Daniels reiterated the assertion she made last month on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 warning her to keep quiet about her alleged one-night-stand with then private citizen Donald Trump five years earlier. Daniels described the man as “well dressed,” saying he was wearing a suit.
                She added, “I thought he was someone’s husband” and noted that she found him “Kind of cute,” and that “Nothing about him alarmed me.” Does that sound like Brady, or what?
                Boston Globe Deputy Washington Bureau Chief and CNN political analyst Matt Viser posted the sketch juxtaposed with a picture of Tom Brady from 2011, tweeting: “Stormy Daniels sketch of man who threatened her in 2011…and Tom Brady in 2011.”
                Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, appearing on the show with her, offered a $100,000 reward for help identifying the man. That’s chump-change to the wealthy Patriots quarterback, who could easily pull a Michael Cohen and offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money to keep anyone from coming forward.
                Personally, I think the picture is coming into focus now. It’s finally all coming together. Isn’t it obvious? I mean, Brady and Trump have talked on a number of occasions over the years, interactions that seemed cordial. We know Brady has dispensed with a number of cell phones over the years. Was he hiding evidence of nefarious talks with Trump? And, he plays for a team called the Patriots. That’s as nationalistic and xenophobic as it gets. The team used to have a white guy on its helmets, for crying out loud! Right up Trump’s alley. Founders and Puritans.
                Was Stormy perhaps cautioned on the very same Mandalay Bay parking lot into which Stephen Paddock fired countless rounds, killing 58 people and injuring 851? Is it really far-fetched to think that perhaps Brady was assisting Paddock behind the scenes, as he was already familiar with the venue? Could this be why so much information about the slaughter has been withheld from the public? Furthermore, was not Brady’s 2015 “Deflategate” scandal perpetrated against the Indianapolis Colts? And was it not Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis that Vice-president Pence walked out of when some of the Colts players refused to stand for the American National Anthem during an NFL game last year?
                And then there is the clincher: don’t colts run around in paddocks?
                I rest my case.
                (No publicity hound, Stormy Daniels is calling her new ‘dance’ tour, “Make America Horny Again.” She recently performed at a club near Trump’s Mara Lago residence. Pure coincidence).  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

James Comey: Open Book

             James Comey is touring the U.S. promoting his new book. You may have heard. It’s about himself! And President Trump! And himself! (Who doesn’t have a new book out about their relationship with Trump?). It’s titled: “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Any book by or about Comey that has a title with any combination of the words “leadership,” “loyalty” and “truth” in it is obviously a work of fiction.

Roll up
You need no reservation
Roll up for the History Tour

The Mythical History Tour
Is dying to blow you away
Dying to blow you away
Blow you today

Comey’s homie, special counsel Robert Mueller, was apparently not provided with a draft of the book before it was published. Comey, the disgraced former Director of the Federal Bureau of Interference in elections (FBI)-- and consummate scumbag-- appears to be a world-class publicity-whore hound. Self-absorbed? He wrote the book on that.
Comey apparently lied under oath to Congress about the number of emails from Hillary Clinton found on Huma Abedin’s server, infuriating Democrats, yet botched other aspects of the “investigation” into the Hillary Clinton email scandals, exonerating her before even meeting her for questioning, infuriating Republicans, and was weak and indecisive during his time as head of the FBI.
His partner in crime—and fellow former head of the Federal Bureau of Incompetence-- Robert Mueller, has taken the concept of “overreach” to heretofore unseen levels. In raiding the president’s attorney’s office, home…and possibly every other edifice into which Michael Cohen has ever stepped…Herr Mueller has taken it upon himself to obliterate the legal notion of attorney-client privilege. With this action, Mueller has essentially stated: “Let everyone know, whether they wish me well or ill, that I will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe in order to assure the removal and distress of Donald Trump.” Collusion with Russia be damned, if he can find a campaign finance violation here, a sexual impropriety there, and perhaps an opaque business transaction or two as well, he will stop at nothing to personally see that the will of the people is negated, overturned, dismissed, abrogated and destroyed.
This amounts to an attempted coup d’ état, and is especially disturbing when juxtaposed with the various high crimes and misdemeanors that the FBI and other federal agencies deliberately let the Clintons get away with.

Looking for a good read? Comey and Mueller should have their rights read to them. 

And then be booked…into jail.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Voter Shaming In Illinois

                If you live in the Land of Lincoln, the Illinois State Voter Program may be watching you. Closely. It’s monitoring how frequently you…and your neighbors…vote. And it might just mail your personal voter information to your neighbors, and their personal voting record to you, according to WBBM-TV. 

                Many Chicago voters are understandably upset after receiving mailers containing their voting history since 2014. WBBM reports that the Illinois State Board of Elections has been “flooded with complaints” about the mailers, which also attempt to shame and browbeat residents into voting. The mailer snarkily asks/threatens recipients: “What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?”

                Well, now they do.
                It then states: “Do your civic duty: vote!”

                Or else what? Will those who don’t comply with that “advice” receive a three A.M. knock on the door at some point in the future? Will they be forcefully fitted for “cement shoes?”
Those appear to be valid questions as the “letter” also includes a not-too-veiled threat to send notices out again and again “to your friends, your neighbors, and other people” if recipients do not vote in the 2018 elections. Really? To which “other” people? Local politicians? City Hall? The DNC? George Soros? MoveOn.org? Barack Obama?
According to WBBM, the mailers are technically legal, as the group reportedly uses publicly available data. They are none-the-less chilling, however. As the classic Canadian rock band Rush so elegantly stated years ago, “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice, (but) If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
And a critical one at that. Perhaps you don’t feel versed on the issues, or don’t care for either/any candidate. A participatory democracy doesn’t demand that everyone vote in every-- or any-- election, through coercion or otherwise. That same Rush song concludes with the lyrics, “I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose free will.”
Freedom was the animating principle on which America was founded. It is the reason we have fought our wars. Abraham Lincoln essentially sacrificed his life that so many others might be free.
The Illinois State Voter Program certainly doesn’t qualify as a “celestial voice.” There is no reason that anyone should heed it. The gap between telling people to vote and telling them how to vote is a very short one for the government, or other political powers-that-be, to bridge. (Big unions have already done so).
Lincoln is rolling in his grave.
I have a question for those in government in general and in the Illinois State Voter Program in specific: “What if the citizens were properly educated and knew how corrupt you are, and how opposed to liberty and Natural Rights those in the deep-state are?”
What if we all chose free will?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

White Privilege

                A professor at San Diego State University has offered to give her students extra credit if they take a quiz to ascertain their level of “white privilege.” The intrepid sociology instructor told her students that they can pad their grades by completing a “White Privilege Checklist” that is comprised of 20 questions designed to show that “racial privilege is one form of privilege.”
                “Questions” to be answered include:
                “I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race,” and, “I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.” This leads directly to another question: “WTF?!”
                Students were told to add up their scores. A higher score meant they had a higher level of privilege and a lower score meant they had a lower level of privilege. At the end of the “quiz” the kiddies were made aware of other forms of privilege, such as gender (male), sexual orientation (straight), class (upper), and religion (Christian), and were asked to identify any other types of privilege they could think of.

                Finally, to earn extra extra credit, straight white male Christian students were asked to kill themselves. (Perfect score!).
                Just kidding.

Actually, students were told to also answer another series of questions given to them by the pontificating professor. These were: “Were you surprised by your score, or did it confirm what you already knew? Why is privilege normally invisible and what does it feel like to make it visible? Do you think this exercise is different for white students than for students of color? For black students than for Asian, Indian, Latino/a students, or other students of color?”
Professor, I can identify another form of privilege now. The clear and present privilege that leftist “educators” possess in living comfortable lives in the West while continually berating the very countries that are tolerant enough (or naîve enough) to let them determine who can speak, what is taught, what is politically-correct, what the definition of privilege is…and who is or is not a victim of other people’s presumed privilege.
Or, as Ben Shapiro recently put it, “The only real privilege in America is American privilege. Everybody in America has it…the privilege to make your own decisions and live the life you choose.” (Emphases mine).
Ironically, that real privilege is being eroded, gradually wiped away by the very progressives who claim they are victims of white privilege, Christian privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc., etc. As they rail against the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the “living document” of the Constitution in general, they bring us all closer to being ruled by a repressive-- eventually totalitarian-- government.
 In attempting to replace our Bill of Rights with a bill of goods, these progressive poseurs are prying open a political Pandora’s box. We all know how that story ends.