LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
Your boss refuses to include you in the layoff.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
In This Issue...
What's that under the bed???
I go to the gym regularly... to sit in a hot tub. It is far less expensive than buying and maintaining our own tub. The only trouble is you have to wear a swim suit. Ok another trouble is the one I go to doesn't seem to know how to maintain a pool and tub. They don't appear to be investing in filters. But I can go to other gyms when the water starts looking too pissy.
The entire chain of gyms is installing keypads and finger print readers at the front desk. This is going to be the new way to check in. The current way is a bar code on a card they gave you when you signed up. The idea is I will walk up to the desk, punch in a code and swipe my dirty finger on the pad. A little green light will come on to say I'm a fine upstanding dues-fully-paid member. But this begs the question, do I want to give my gym bio-metric data?
I'm not saying those fine people who can't keep a pool clean don't know how to keep a database secure. Maybe that's the pool boy's real talent. Truth is, I don't know if he has a talent. Corporate America seems to think that it is entitled to know everything about us. Companies regularly ask for information they don't need to do the job at hand. Personally, I think there's a market out there where all of this data is sold. It's another revenue stream.
What the gym is legitimately trying to do is keep me from giving my card to a friend so he can sit in the hot tub. But that problem has already been solved. When my card is scanned, my name pops up on a screen, then the pimply-faced youth behind the counter flips the card over where I've stuck a photo copy of my driver's license. Since the names match, and the picture looks sort of like me, I'm validated.
If the gym isn't going to sell my bio-metric data, what's the point of the finger print scanner? Honestly, I don't see one. They go on about how convenient this will be for me. Their web site says the finger print scanner is an option, and if I don't use it I'll have to show them government issued ID. But I already do that, and I have to bring it anyway to legally drive the Fekmobile. I don't see how the new system is any better for me.
Now before you go off about me being a paranoid, lithium-eating, Diet Coke-swigging schizophrenic, let me remind you that even if the gym isn't going to sell the data they gather about me, Corporate America has a horrible track record on the topic of not letting customer data be stolen. Even companies that should know better (like the credit reporting companies) have had their systems broken into. Do you really think a company who owns a chain of gyms knows to hire the best and the brightest security experts? If you were the best and brightest, don't you think this would look weird on your resume/CV to be working for a gym? No, I think the gym is going to have a moderately secure off-the-shelf package that isn't up-to-date with its patches.
I'm saying "no" to the finger print scanner. The gym already knows what it needs to. I think that's the key argument. My father worked in the defense industry and had a security clearance. He told me once that when someone asked him for information that was classified and he didn't know the person's security clearance level he would reply, "I mustn't tell you." If the person really needed the information they could take it through channels and my father would be told by an appropriate authority to provide the classified information. I think we as individuals need to take a similar stance. I know you Facebook users won't understand this, but when a bit of data is leaked here, and some more is leaked there, if anyone is aggregating these leaks, you have no privacy. I'm not talking about what you had for dinner. I'm talking about financial data, health data, and political associations that sometimes make you a pariah when the political wind changes. The gym is going to have to come up with a much better excuse for collecting more data about me than "it's easier". First, it isn't. Second, authenticating me should not be "easy" and should not expose more data about me.
America has a knack for repeating the past. We call it nostalgia. I think we do it because we're getting lazy. The latest nostalgia comes from the 1950's and I think we should reconsider going any further down this road.
Soon after World War II (The Sequel) we latched onto a new enemy. We had vanquished the Nazis and were beginning to re-create Japan in our own likeness and image. The Soviet Union was flexing its muscles and took over eastern Europe, and suddenly we were worried that there was a Commie under every bed.
People in the US who were Commies found it impossible to find work. People like Robert Oppenheimer (Father of the atomic bomb) who had ties to Commies lost their clearance to do government work. Washington started investigating the communist influence in Hollywood, and more people lost their ability to earn an honest living. Finally, the crescendo of these witch hunts was the Senate's investigation of Commies in the State Department. This circus was run by Tricky Dick, and Joe McCarthy.
What nobody seemed to realize throughout the Cold War, was that it isn't illegal to be a Commie. It never has been. You see there's this silly part of the Constitution called the First Amendment which guarantees your right to associate with whomever you feel like. So if you and your Commie buddies want to get together and live a life of non-ownership, that's your business. To this day, there are still communes in the United States.
Here is an instance where everyone looked the other way and ignored a group's right to have members and peaceably assemble. The members were punished for not being part of American mainstream politics. I think we're about to go down that road again.
The big item in the news has been an Islamic cultural center and prayer room. Some people are calling it a Mosque, but technically it isn't. At any rate, just a few blocks from Ground Zero the Islamic community is trying to get a permit to build this center. By the way, most news organizations aren't telling you that around Ground Zero almost every business is boarded up. This neighborhood is dead. The only people who go there are tourists who want to look at the hole in the ground.
Now because everybody involved in 9/11 was Muslim, a lot of people have decided that we can't have an Islamic cultural center in this dead neighborhood, two blocks from Ground Zero. It doesn't matter that this center might help rejuvenate the neighborhood. Can't have it. People would think it was a trophy. No way, no how!
Let's talk about this rationally, because almost no one is. Every single participant in the 9/11 attacks was a Muslim. That's a fact. You've got the 19 hijackers, the 1 who didn't make it onto a plane, plus the support group who helped plan and fund them. Let's pick a number out of my butt and call it 100 people, all Muslims. There are over a billion Muslims in the world. Are we really saying that all 1 billion plus Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers? If you said yes, go stand in the corner and put on the Dunce Cap.
Muslims are a very diverse group of people. Some are Arab, most are not. There are Muslim women in Asia who reject the covering of their hair saying it's an Arab form of dress, it's not Muslim. There are two major factions to Islam, and they don't get along. What's I'm saying is this isn't a monolithic movement whose goal is terrorism. It's a mainstream religion whose members are diverse and often disagree with each other. You know, sort of like Christianity.
People are saying this one religion should not be allowed to open a cultural center and prayer room because 100 members of this religion hijacked four planes and killed thousands of Americans, some of whom were Muslims. This is where it gets tricky. You see there's that silly part of the Constitution again. The current interpretation of the First Amendment is that you can't outlaw anyone's religion, even if you know yours is the only true faith, and that everyone else is going to burn in hell. So if you say there can't be a Muslim cultural center and prayer room, you have to say there can't be a Christian cultural center and prayer room. What politician would ever shoot himself in the head by saying that?
But the real problem is we're letting our irrational worries get the best of us. And when I say this, I mean too many of you are watching Cable News. Just about all of these channels work on the premise that a scared audience will stay tuned in. Cable News regularly uses graphics, music, and teaser lines designed to hook your fear. Cable News has turned Muslins into the new Commies.
Across the country Muslims are having trouble getting permits to build Mosques. It doesn't help when politicians go on Cable News and proclaim that no Mosque should be built in the U.S. of A. until Saudi Arabia allows Christian and Jewish houses of worship to be built there. Even in my city, there's debate over whether or not a minaret should be allowed to be built.
And now, just like in the 50's, people are being accused of being the undesirable. Notice all the chatter being injected into the press about is Obama really a Muslin? Americans don't know for sure the religion of their President, and that seems to bug them even though that wacky document, the Constitution, clearly states there shall be no religious test for office. It doesn't matter what religion the President is, what matters is can he get us out of these messes we're in?
Folks, this is the United States of America. We're a nation governed by laws, not religion, not the rabble on the street, and not by whatever direction the wind is blowing. I'm not saying that you don't have a right to your feelings about this cultural center, or even about the Islamic faith. You're entitled to your opinion, and to peaceably stand on the street to voice it. And if you lost someone on 9/11, I can certainly understand that you might have some very strong feelings, even if I don't share them. Our most important law says you are permitted to associate with whomever you want, and you're allowed to believe whatever you want, no matter how insanely stupid your friends are and dumb your beliefs. This is part of what makes us the best nation on Earth. Why would anyone want to throw that away so cheaply? I mean, what do you care? Aren't all those other people going to burn in hell anyway?
There's an awful lot we did wrong after 9/11. Not the least of which is we stopped living up to our most sacred ideals. Bin Laden and his troglodytes have been telling the Islamic world that the United States is at war with them. Doesn't taking actions to outlaw Islam help his cause and hurt ours? Wouldn't the best offense in this war of ideas be if the people of the U.S. stood up and rigorously defended law abiding citizens' right to build an Islamic cultural center and prayer room two blocks from Ground Zero? Wouldn't that tell the world that we punish law-breakers, not innocent people for their beliefs? Do you want to win this war, or do you want to cower under the bed with the only illumination coming from the Boob Tube telling you to be afraid, and here's the color code to tell you how afraid to be?
Turn off Cable News. It's poisoning you. I'm a broadcaster by trade. This software thing is something I fell into. When I watch TV, I see the mechanics of the program and what the Producer's message is. I know that the news started being a contrived entertainment a long time ago. If it was government-owned I'd call it propaganda. The truth is the purpose of the news is to scare you, which in turn causes you to stay tuned in, which in turn allows them to sell you more laxatives.
The best weapon the United States has is the Constitution and our will to enforce it. We shouldn't be protesting the building of a cultural center and prayer room based on religion. We should allow it to be built, and then hold the people who use it to the same standards of any other person within our borders. Obey the law, or suffer the consequences. This is what we need to declare as our most sacred value. In America, everyone is equal under the law, and protected equally by the law. The same cannot be said of any country where there is a legislated religion.
But it looks like we're going to go down the wrong path again and do everything possible to make being a Muslim a social pariah. If the Islamic cultural center and prayer room is blocked because there is a rabble in the street screaming about it, the world will see the United States is a country not governed by laws, but by the people who scream the loudest. This round of the war of terror will have been won by the enemy.
Nostalgia sucks. Just sayin'.
Paris Doesn't Know What's in Her bag
Sez "A Friend" Must Have Dropped The Humility in There
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"They're keeping Lori, a cheaper, less bitchier version of me."
"Most people fake it."
"Just give me chocolate."
"No problem with this procedure as long as they don't screw it up."
"One of the ladies from Marketing is quitting, and we're having a party to celebrate her leaving."
I have to administer loyalty oaths to all my friends. Both of them.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
This whole mess is copyright © 2010 by LowComDom Performances, all rights reserved. Wanna send this to your friends? Go ahead and pass out the URL.
feed available from http://www.lowcomdom.com/crapolla/index.xml