No More Sideways Websites!

Okay, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for clickbait, especially when the link is in reference to stories about dogs like the one portrayed in the graphic to the left there. However, I don’t care how compelling the lead in to the story is. I will never, ever again click the “next” button.

It’s just a waste of time and I just don’t have that much time to waste. Webpages can scroll down indefinitely. There is no need for a “next” button. So not only am I not going to click the “next” button I’m also going to ask you, plead with you, don’t click on the “next” button. You will only be disappointed, angry, and frustrated by doing so. Don’t put yourself through it.

What I hope to see happen by refusing to navigate a story this way is for page views to plummet and web designers who are more interested in ad revenue that putting out a good product will become trained to build websites the way we want them rather than building these annoying sites that also scam their ad providers.

Seriously, there is no need to build a website like this except to gather more click-through traffic and expose the reader to more ads. The content is never worth it.

Bumpstock? Sure, I have no problem banning this useless device.

Tragedy has struck Las Vegas this past weekend. A gunman in a high place with an unimaginable arsenal fired down on a crowd of concert goer killing at least fifty-eight and injuring five hundred or more.  My heart goes out to the survivors and the family of the victims and I’ll echo the chant that is being shouted, “Something must be done!” I just don’t know what that something is.

It seems the guns were all legally purchased. About half of these AR15 style weapons had been modified with a bump stock, a device that greatly increases the rate of fire to approach that of a full automatic by causing the trigger to bounce against the finger on every recoil. Technically these are legal without the FFL and tax required for ownership of a full auto weapon. That’s because it doesn’t modify the gun it just uses the recoil force to leverage the finger pull on the trigger.

After their notoriety from this past weekend’s tragedy that is about to change. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will introduce a bill in congress that states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, possess a trigger crank, a bump fire device or any accessory that functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle,”

Source: Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduces bill to ban bump fire stocks – NY Daily News

There have already been a couple of Texas Republican senators that have stated they would vote for this bill. I don’t oppose it. It’s a feel good only bill but I think we need something to feel good about after this weekend.


The reason I’m calling it a feel good bill is that the bump stock is a very low tech modification. Before this tragedy and the proposed legislation these could be found for as little as $40. Cabella’s was selling them in their store and even Walmart was carrying them for a while. There would be no problem in developing a .STI file for 3D printing these things and I’m sure a crafty person could make one out of household trash.

Still, ban them. No one needs them for anything other than an adrenaline rush at the local rifle range. Try firing one of these and you will be lucky to actually hit the target you are shooting at. Until we find out what the real something that we need to do is this can fill in and maybe help people feel like we are doing something to curb the violence.

Maybe it will even start us talking and learning that what ever that something is it isn’t singular.

Twitter and Facebook haven’t stopped Russia-backed RT from advertising on their websites

Twitter sounding an alarm about potential attempts by Russia to influence an election is one thing:

Twitter has continued to allow a Russian government-supported news network to advertise on its platform, even though the tech company sounded alarms about its ads to lawmakers investigating the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Source: Twitter and Facebook haven’t stopped Russia-backed RT from advertising on their websites – Recode

Refusing to place ads that aren’t specifically illegal is censorship and not in Twitter’s best interest to engage in. Russia Today is definitely a propaganda arm of the Russian government but it is as legitimate of a news agency as any other news agency pushing an agenda.

Link

I just wanted to give a small shout out to Jesse and Alyssia over at Pure Living for Life. This couple is building an off the grid homestead lifestyle and documenting it as they go. Homesteading isn’t for me but I can relate to trying to achieve the efficiency in living that they are striving for. And they are pretty good story tellers in their videos.

Medicare for all is not a good idea.

Bernie Sanders has come up with a health care plan, actually the same one he has promoted for a while now, that he wants to introduce to congress. This plan is for a single payer plan funded by a payroll tax. He calls it Medicare for all.

Let me first say that I really do like Bernie. I voted for him in the Democratic primary in Georgia. I think he has a lot of good ideas but, honestly, his implementation of these ideas into working solutions basically suck. Medicare for all falls right in there with the rest of his half-baked ideas.

Medicare is funded by a payroll tax just like Social Security. And just like Social Security it looks to the people working and having an income to pay for those people who have reached a particular age and (mostly) retired and quit having an income. It’s health insurance that we pay for on the front end of our lives to have coverage on the back-end. It isn’t set up to be a pay as you go system like every other insurance policy out there. Trying to force it into that model will only break it and it’s somewhat fractured as it is today.

What I’d really like to see in trying to insure medical care for the most possible people in the U.S. is for us to continue to use the health insurance companies that we use today and a trick from the ACA, mandate that everyone have a “high deductible” health care policy with the “high deductible” and the premiums being relative to income. The lower your income the lower the deductible and the lower the premiums, the higher the income the higher the deductible and premiums. Yeah, the rich ends up subsidizing the poor under this system but that’s how our tax system works and it seems that we are stuck with this model. Besides this model seems to be the moral and ethical standard for us.

With this system you would pick your approved policy from the company of your choosing but it would be paid for with a payroll tax. The unemployed would be picked up by a standard unemployment policy that would be as generous as the budget would allow with no choice of who supplies it. If the unemployed person is independently wealthy and doesn’t need an income some special case can be worked out for them.

Now let me be clear, this would be for catastrophic coverage and most people would want to supplement it with a private or some sort of group policy and they would be able to. The personal policy would have a deductible of your choosing but would also have a ceiling of coverage based on the deductible of your government-funded policy. This policy could be personally funded or employer funded and the policy could easily be written to be seamless with your government-funded coverage. Remember, when I say government-funded I’m talking about that payroll tax that the government is going to withhold from your paycheck for your insurance.

This is a general framework in what I see could work for everyone. There are details that need to be worked on even in the abstract of what I’m suggesting but overall I can’t see a problem with this. It keeps government out of totally controlling our healthcare solutions while protecting people from catastrophic health issues having to declare bankruptcy.

This plan also keeps the patient in the loop as the customer and gives the patient an incentive to keep costs low. They are on the hook for some of the bill too.

Rule 10b5-1

Have you ever considered rule 10b5-1? You haven’t? Neither have I until today. So you know I’ve looked it up:

Rule 10b5-1 is established by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow insiders of publicly traded corporations to set up a trading plan for selling stocks they own. Rule 10b5-1 allows major holders to sell a predetermined number of shares at a predetermined time. Many corporate executives use 10b5-1 plans to avoid accusations of insider trading.

Source: Rule 10b5-1

Now why is that important you ask? Well considering that Equifax is claiming that it got hacked and, well, let me let you read what they are claiming:

The credit-reporting service said earlier in a statement that it discovered the intrusion on July 29. Regulatory filings show that on Aug. 1, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2. None of the filings lists the transactions as being part of 10b5-1 scheduled trading plans.

Source: Three Equifax Managers Sold Stock Before Cyber Hack Revealed – Bloomberg

It’s got to make you wonder. Also look at the date of the intrusion, July 29th. Folks, the first I heard of this intrusion was yesterday, September 7th, forty days after the fact! What all kinds of mischief could these hackers have gotten into in those forty days?

Okay, Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for a year to anyone who may possibly been a victim of this hack but when I checked it out I was told it would be four more days before I could apply for the free credit monitoring. So I thought, let me freeze my credit with them right now. They want to charge me $3 to do that.

Also, I use Credit Karma for free credit monitoring of my Equifax and Transunion credit reports and FICA scores. it doesn’t work if your credit is frozen with those reporting agencies.

So, what’s my point you are now asking. My point is that three Equifax executives, not just one, have made trades that most likely were unethical, insider deals. These aren’t middle managers, this is the CFO and two presidents in the company. I have reason to be suspicious of at least these three executives but why would I stop there? This isn’t one possible bad apple but three possible bad apples. What other unethical dealings could be going on within the company?

Well, as I mentioned above, Credit Karma is giving away both Equifax and Transunion credit reports and credit scores. All I have to do is put up with advertisements for some credit cards. The price Equifax and Transunion will charge you for this type of monitoring capabilities is around $20 per month. If you put a freeze on your credit, like you should do if there is a possibility your identity has been stolen, Credit Karma don’t work no more. Credit monitoring is something else you should do when you think there is a possibility that your ID has been stolen.

Yeah, I know, Equifax is suppose to be giving you free credit monitoring but only for a year and after that they will start charging you the ~$20 a month. I have more than enough reason to be suspicious of Equifax’s motives so what’s to prevent me from going into conspiracy theory territory and suspect that Equifax hacked themselves in order to enhance their credit monitoring business?

No, I really don’t believe that but this is what happens when you have possibly corrupt executives running the company. Had these three guys just followed their 10b5-1 scheduled trading plans I would have never had reason to let my mind go cynical and put together this conspiracy theory.

Cynicism is a real problem in society these days. I’ve heard the problem blamed on fake news and the Russians. That isn’t where our cynicism is coming from, though, it’s the real news that is causing it. And I guess that’s my point.