***Please Read***

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Web Hosting Services Shut Down—Is there a Kill Switch?

Around July 9th, Blogetery, a WordPress platform used by more than 70,000 bloggers, was shut down and its members were told by the web host, BurstNet, that service was terminated at the “request” of a law enforcement agency. The mystery is, WHICH agency made this request and WHY? Then approximately 5 days later iPBFree terminated its service with no explanation.

There is speculation running amuck that Blogetery violated copyright laws, was posting child pornography, and also that some of its members were engaging in terrorist activities, like an al-Qaeda hit list and how-to tips on bomb construction. Another enigma, WHICH speculation is accurate?

A spokesperson for the Recording Industry Association of America said it had no involvement with the termination of BurstNet’s shut down and a spokeswoman for ICE said, “While ICE's Internet piracy enforcement efforts are still very much ongoing, we were not involved with the action." A spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association of America said he had never heard of Blogetery!

If the MPAA and the RIAA weren’t involved, WHO issued the order to shut down this site? Especially since those organizations typically make a big deal out of copyright law breakers. Benjamin Arcus, Vice-President of BurstNet, confirmed that he complied with copyright laws and removed unauthorized material “within 24 hours” whenever he was informed of the infraction. Besides, a BurstNet executive stated, "I can not disclose which agency or why they [ordered the action]. I can say that this is not a copyright issue."

A law enforcement officer, with experience in cyber crimes, who wished to remain anonymous, said that when child pornography was involved, hosting services weren’t just “shut down” and he didn’t know of any agency that had the authority to terminate service for thousands of people without jumping through legal hoops. In his experience, search warrants were normally obtained and Internet protocol addresses were turned over, but the service stayed in operation. He noted that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are required to provide due process and that in the United States we are innocent until proven guilty.

This leaves us with the allegation of terrorism. Was there a blog or blogs that were posting information on how to construct bombs or other incendiary information which could be construed as terrorism against the United States and its citizens? And if so, why not investigate THEM? Why did the entire domain have to be terminated, shutting down over 70,000 blogs, most of which were perfectly innocent, and you know, exercising that silly thing called the 1st Amendment.

Remember the anonymous law enforcement officer said he didn’t know of any agency that had the authorization to terminate internet access for thousands of people. Well, I know of an agency that has that type of authority—our Federal Government, and it now has a piece of legislation which does give them authority-- It’s called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. Is it possible that our government deemed Blogetery and iPBFree as risks? Threats of some kind and shut them down? Farfetched you say? Yeah, well I never thought I’d be called a racist for disagreeing with the President or for wanting LEGAL immigration, either. Anything is possible these days, as far as I’m concerned, especially considering we pass two-thousand page bills without even reading them! Heck, the Speaker of the House said, "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it"! Unbelievable I know, but TRUE!

For now we don’t know the answers as to why two internet hosting sites have been shut down. We might never know. Suffice to say it appears suspicious so I’m going to back up all of my information just in case I log in to Blogger one day and find out I can’t access it. One never knows if a computer will crash, a hosting site will go under, close down or if our government will…well…use a “kill switch”…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday.

The day of one’s birth is a day to celebrate so be sure to announce the day of your birth when it arrives!

I’m sending a special wish out to Shaw--we share this magnificent day—may it be glorious!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Son the Warrior

Monday, July 19th, my 17 year old son took an oath to uphold our Constitution, protect and serve our Nation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is now a member of the Army National Guard.

I am proud but also frightened for this young man, whom I carried within my body, then on November 2, 1992, at 6:33 pm after 14 hours of labor, delivered him into this world then held him as he took his first breath and looked at his environment for the first time.

Dalan is my first born son and has spoken about the military since he was about 12 years old and has been intrigued with WWI and WWII since he was a very little boy. He watched war documentaries with his Poppy, my dad, for hours. Poppy bought him trading cards, movies, and miniature aircrafts from those eras. I believe Dalan’s aspiration to join the military is in his blood-- he’s a warrior, like his Poppy, his uncles (my brothers), and his aunt (my baby sister). I don’t believe you can change a warrior’s heart, but you sure can make a warrior mom’s heart lodge in her throat!

My son’s adventure will begin during his senior year of high school, which is this fall. Dalan will be in the ROTC program and he’ll do drills once a month during that time. After graduating high school, he’ll be off to Georgia for 14 weeks of Boot Camp. Once he completes his training there, he’ll come home for a brief “vacation” then he plans to attend Valley Forge Military College and commission out as an Officer and then re-sign for another 6 years. After that, his plans are undecided. His options are open as his ASVAB scores were very high, he’s physically fit and has set his mind on a Ranger-type program, and once his mind is set, he pretty much achieves his goal.

I come from a family of warriors, as I mentioned, but I also come from a very patriotic one as well. Dalan’s decision didn’t come as a surprise, and like I said, I’m proud as a mom and as an American, but as a mom who has spent the last 17 years loving, nurturing, teaching and doting on her son, it’s still hard knowing I’ll be relinquishing my son to the Army. No longer will my “baby” look to ME when he has a problem or needs help. He’ll be on his own-- independent, strong and self-sufficient, and it gives me solace to know that I have given him those tools and he’ll take them with him into his future and they will guide him like an invisible hand—my hand… lovingly and silently resting on his shoulders so that he knows he’s never alone, for no matter where he is, my thoughts, my heart and my love will always be with him.

I’m honored to be Dalan’s mom--proud that he’s a member of our noble Armed Forces. If his service to our military is anything like his approach to life and his character as a son, brother, grandson, and friend, then America is receiving a very valuable asset.

*Although my post is written in the first person, I did not raise my son alone. I had support, guidance and dedication from Dalan’s father and my husband of 23 years. I am forever grateful to him, because his love, not just for Dalan, but for Austin and me as well, is a daily reminder that I must have done something good…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mel Gibson and Samir Shabazz—Two Racists

Mel Gibson did it again—opened his big mouth and let ugly words fly. He did that in 2006 when he was arrested for drunk driving. In 2006 his anger was directed at the cops and his words were directed toward Jews. This time his anger was directed at his girlfriend, whom he’s been having some domestic problems, Blacks, and Hispanics. His ugly rant was tapped by his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who felt she might need proof for the court battle they are sure to encounter over their daughter, since there is currently a restraining order on Gibson. After hearing the tapes, I can honestly say that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic, a racist against Blacks and Hispanics and he has serious mental issues.

If Gibson comes out and apologizes, I hope someone tells him to go to hell in a hand basket because he wouldn’t be sincere. Words like that don’t roll off your tongue unless you use them on a regular basis. There is no way, no matter how angry I might be, that I would use the “N” word, a disparaging word for Latinos or say something against Jews, or any other religion for that matter, because I have nothing against any of them—I don’t believe I am better than anyone. Needless to say, I don’t use those disgusting terms in my everyday language therefore rage won't induce a hemorrhage of them either.

Then we have the case of Samir Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party who tried to intimidate voters in 2008 at a Philadelphia polling center and who is also on video saying some vile things while calming standing on a sidewalk. He calls for the death of white people and their babies and not ONE person, Black or White even stops to question his hate speech. It’s almost like these passerbys hear this type of repulsive oratory every day!

What the heck is wrong with people? And where is this so-called post racial America that we were told we had since Obama was elected? It seems to me that I’m hearing more racism now than ever before.

I do think there are bigots and racists around us, as is apparent with Gibson and Shabazz. They are ignorant jerks, for a lack of better words. But I think the majority of Americans are NOT and when people are accused of being racist when he or she isn’t, it shuts down constructive conversation. I also think that lately the term “racist” has been way over used and has actually lost its shock value. Kind of like car alarms-- no one pays attention anymore. That’s sad, because when it’s important no one’s going to notice. It's imperative that we recognize real racism and bigotry and attack it at its source and STOP it and it’s also our responsibility to CEASE the false accusations and DEFEND those who are innocent.

In the cases of Gibson and Shabazz, I have nothing to offer either of them because I think they are beyond help. Both have black hearts and neither see the darkness of their own souls because they are too damn busy being angry at the world and everyone in it when it’s they who are wrong and have wronged. I don’t feel sorry for either of them and won’t waste anymore precious time on these sorry excuses for human beings.

I hope they don’t poison anyone else and I wish that more people would speak out against the true racists, even if it’s someone in their own race or someone in their own party--because it’s the right thing to do.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Governor Jan Brewer Tough on Food Stamp Fraud

For years-- literally, I’ve asked why we haven’t clamped down on fraud, waste, abuse and just plain THEFT of our welfare and food stamp programs, until it became quite apparent that the Federal Government didn’t WANT to do anything about it, so I stopped beating my head against a wall. Not asking, however, never stopped my anger or frustration, though.

I have to say that Governor Jan Brewer has impressed me yet again and given me some hope. First with her immigration bill, which proves she is at least trying to help her state of Arizona and its residents, something the Feds should be doing but have neglected for decades, and now with her new program to stop fraud within the food stamp program.

By stepping up to the plate and tackling fraud and abuse in the food stamp program, Governor Brewer is once again in the news and the topic of something controversial. The new fraud prevention unit, which was launched July 1st, was assembled to ensure that people who receive food stamps aren’t using them illegally. The Trafficking Detection Unit (TDU) will investigate people to make sure they aren’t purchasing items other than food or trying to convert their benefits into cash, a common fraudulent practice. Arizona saved 9.5 million dollars between 2008-2009 by denying people who weren’t “eligible” for the benefits. Imagine what our federal budget could “save” if it would implement such a program! Maybe Governor Brewer could give them a few lessons on how to use one’s “back-bone”!

I’m sure once this goes viral, Jan Brewer will be called a racist—again, and it will be said she hates poor people. But this has nothing to do with skin color, ethnicity, sex, religion, or creed and everything to do with CHARACTER. If you are cheating the system you are a dirt bag and should be thrown off, and have to pay back what you STOLE! But I’m sure that won’t happen, unless our politicians grow back bones or at the very least find the ones they left at the door when they checked in.

But for starters I’d be happy if all 50 states hopped on this bandwagon and tackled this problem which is a dis-ease that has infected our system for decades. Maybe once the feds see that the states aren’t afraid to implement something and that the people are willing to back their governors, they will finally step up and do the right thing!

I can dream, can’t I?
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